Phil, one elbow on the rich dark mahogany of the bar, reached out. Stevie knew the drill and planted an ice cold, old-school glass bottle of coke in his hand. It looked like an antique. Maybe they only make them in Belize now. (Like the Guinness bottles they have here that I have never seen anywhere else.)
Much different to the first time I was here five years ago. That visit was at the tail end of the rainy season. Under a palapa we also enjoyed a cold drink as Phil shared his vision for this special place he had fallen for, and then bought with partners.
Today, we are getting ready to sit down for lunch in the restaurant. It’s buzzing with activity. Glasses clink as the staff busily fill fridges with beer, coke and water.
A group of 30 is en route by boat from across the bay in Chetumal. In front of us is now a dock. And, to the right of the restaurant, 24 newly completed casitas are dotted throughout a waterfront site.
These are charming little homes of thatch roofs. Inside, hardwood cabinetry and ceilings give a sense of luxury and warmth. These aren’t beach huts. These are comfortable little homes finished to a high standard. Perfect for someone who wants to spend time here…but wants to be able to close the door behind them, free from maintenance worries.
The garden areas are communal and tasteful landscaping has begun. The full and bright indigenous flowers tend not to do what they are told. Sometimes, they choose their own direction.
The architecture behind this development is designed to foster a sense of community, with central plazas and communal areas to attract and keep neighbors together. Phil has even modeled a plaza here on the Circus at Bath.
This project doesn’t have a grid design. You won’t stroll from your lot to the beachfront restaurant in a straight line. You’ll weave your way through your community…taking time to smell the orchids as you ramble.
More than $3 million has been invested in infrastructure including underground electricity, reverse osmosis water, and waste water treatment. More than $1 million has been spent on roads and lot preparation; $1.5 million has gone into amenities such as parks, beaches, piers, and pools.
These guys have done well over a time period of great uncertainty. The project has moved steadily forward. I felt proud for them, seeing how far it had come in the past five years.
Editor’s note: You can buy a lot in this development for $39,000…and build costs start at $90 per square foot. Figure up to $125 per square foot for high quality finishes. For more details, see page 16 of the report Belize: Live the Caribbean Dream…For Less. Find out more here.