We follow Belize news closely, and we recently learned that there is a new mega resort being proposed on Northern Caye at Lighthouse Reef, where the famous Blue Hole is located. The new mega-resort is to be called the Puerto Azul Luxury Resort. Plans were unveiled at this year’s Cannes Film Festival in France, where the Italian developers showed off a model for a super high-end luxury resort they propose to build on this island, designed for clientele such as attend the Cannes festival. The entire island would be converted to clusters of very fancy villas and bungalows with a marina, beaches, pools, and other resort amenities. An airstrip would also be constructed to facilitate travel to the resort.
As expected, there has been an immediate outcry from protesters about the ecological impact of such a development, and it is unlikely that the project will be completed along its original plan. An EIS study is currently underway as the fist phase of the project, and it will take several years before a development of any sort would be able to proceed. Nonetheless, some sort of resort will undoubtedly be built on this island in due time.
This is just the latest mega development Belize is seeing. Work has already started on Harvest Caye in southern Belize near Placencia, where Norwegian Cruise Lines is developing a cruise ship port. And another giant resort on the coast is well under construction just south of Hopkins, called Sanctuary Belize, where 500 lots, condos, and a hotel are being developed centered around a marina, a golf course, and private canal system in Sapodilla Lagoon.
All these huge projects, along with the development of smaller resorts on many of the cayes in Belize, is changing the face of tourism in Belize from the small, intimate retreats the country is famous for into the larger, more industrial style places one finds at locations like Cancun. We find these changes to be upsetting. At least we know that our island will remain a rustic, eco-oriented resort with a limited number of guests on the island at any one time, a true Belizean experience!