Major Changes in Caye Caulker? A Bit of Sleuthing Around The Closing of The Split

Rumors have been swirling about the closing of the Split on Caye Caulker.  Or more specifically, the closing of the Lazy Lizard Bar and the building of condos and a large hotel in its place.  I took some pictures a few weeks ago and posted about some huge cement pilings and got lots of feedback.  Mostly people crying “NOOOOOOO!”

But none of the rumors have been substantiated.  For those who haven’t visited Caye Caulker or Belize, let me back up a bit.

“The Split” or the narrow waterway that cuts Caye Caulker in two pieces is famous.   Deepened by the powerful Hurricane Hattie in 1961, this crystalline blue, deep split is really the center of the caye literally and figuratively.


It’s the spot where families bring their kids to swim, where young people go to drink Belikins & Lizard Juice…

or not so young people…


…to sun and to dance, where all the big parties and festivals are centered.  It’s a weekend activity – to hang at the split.

Here is Lobsterfest this year – the party at the Lazy Lizard.  The oh-so-popular bar at Caye Caulker.

IMG_7515I don’t think that I exaggerate when I say that it is the place people think of first when they think of Caye Caulker.  Or that pictures of the Split draw many travelers to the caye OR that, in many ways, photos of the Split are what draw many to Belize.

It’s an icon.   It should be a UNESCO spot or at the very least a national park.  Here is a photo of the sign (no longer there) from 3 years ago.

IMG_4375To say that the closing and development of this block of land is the end of an era is understating greatly what this change would do.

SO…yesterday, I headed over to Caye Caulker to try to sort out what is really going on.  Has the Split (the block of land just to the South of it with the bar and crumbling hotel frame) been sold?  Are there plans to build?  WHAT is going on?

It was quite fitting that a dark cloud hung over Caye Caulker as I got off the water taxi.  (Yes!  I like drama!)


The dock that collapsed due to overcrowding at while boarding the boats during Lobsterfest has been doubled.  The old rickety dock next to the new one.


The Caye Caulker mosaic welcome sign is now cracked…I was not surprised.


Sorry…sorry…I’ll stop with the doom and gloom.  Oh wait…but not just yet.

I passed this sign for    Want to be depressed about development?

IMG_8666Take a look at this site.   It’s a website that is very rudimentary but its headline is:  “Welcome to Caye Colony, Caye Caulker’s ONLY master-planned, guarded community.”

And the picture from their site.  The PROPOSED development of North Caye Caulker.   Guarded community?  Sigh…

Take a look at the site to see the progress so far…


But I was on Caye Caulker for another reason…

I started by asking my water taxi guy…I went to get lunch and asked there…I walked around a bit and asked a bunch of people.

Drinking…horrific mouthwash tasting swill…soon it may be all we have…

(Sorry!  I love the melodramatic!)


I made my way down to the Split.

Into the area which has a loose fence around it and this sign…


To my left is this old building.  Allegedly started about 15-20 years ago by a few partners (including attorney Glenn Godfrey from Belize)…word is that they ran out of money and abandoned the hotel.  And then Hurricanes Mitch (1998) and Keith (2000) came through the area and further weathered and weakened the structure.


And to the right, the open space, the old cement sea wall and the ramshackle structure that is the Lazy Lizard.  It’s been growing board by board ever since I moved to Belize over 7 years ago.


Though a cloudy Monday, it was the busiest place in Caye Caulker.  By far.  With music, drinks, sunbathers and swimmers and a BBQ going…


I went to the second floor to take a picture of the new cement pilings.  Just a few…around the property.

IMG_8647 IMG_8653

And then a few behind the old unfinished building project.  Those I could not photograph, the area is completely fenced off.

Here’s what I found out by asking questions at the Split.  Rumors but solid ones.  The Lazy Lizard is leased by the current managers.  They have been told to move out this September or October…that the lease is over.

I also found out that the owners of the land are here on the island.  WHY NOT JUST ASK THEM?

Pfffft.  Sleuthing ain’t easy.  I headed back up Main Street.

And passed this laundry display…


and this one…

IMG_8659To find the owners of the land.  I found their family house and a relative.  Who told me the owner would be back from the mainland TODAY.  And that the land has NOT BEEN SOLD.  But that the owner has found a partner, an investor, and a building permit and plan have been submitted to the local government.  And is still pending…

BUT WHAT IS THIS PLAN?   New improved bar restaurant and swimming area?  Or hulking condo complex?

And so I return to Caye Caulker today.  To get the scoop.  I am willing to go to any length!  Or at the very least, try…

Wish me luck!

OH…and one other thought.  If someone can raise $52,000+ US dollars to make potato salad on Kickstarter…surely I can raise a few million to buy the Split, right?

I mean the

  • Dale

    Love the suspense. Keep us posted

    • Belize Blog

      Ha. I will. I wish I knew the answer…

  • Fiona

    Thanks for the update. BTW, the dock collapsed on Easter Sunday afternoon, not during Lobsterfest.

  • Erik Terdal

    I’ll be up at the Split again this afternoon.

  • I’m on pins and needles! gosh I hope the plans aren’t extreme

  • Shary

    First of all the property has always been privately owned. They can do as they please and they as owners do not need to let people know of their plans for their own property. We have always had the pleasure of enjoying that piece of the island and yes it is the only ‘attraction’ the island has and we should be glad they have let us use it for so many years. Yes it will be a shame if they choose to close down the area but it is theirs and not ours. They have all the rights to do as they please. All those complaining do not need to know what their plans will be. All we need to do is wait and hope they still give us islanders the opportunity to enjoy that section of the island. Also make sure to get the right information if there will be news posted. FYI the bridge collapsed during Easter. It was all over the news.

    • Belize Blog

      Ahhh yes. Easter, you are totally right. I misspoke. And I totally agree with you…we have no idea what the plans will be. But I have heard lots of rumors…that it’ll be closed to the public, that it will be a huge resort and I thought I’d ask the owner what was going on. And maybe make the story more exciting than it really is. I had NO IDEA I would get this sort of negative reaction.

  • mysteryboy

    so, what is the Kickstarter URL??

    • Belize Blog

      Well…that (like much of the gloom and doom of this post) is just a joke…but I might start one to pay my traveling bills!

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  • Harry

    If you want to be depressed stay in San Pedro! If you want to see a pioneering project come take a tour of Caye Colony, if you did your homework, or read past the headlines, you would see that we wrote the book on sustainable development. The protected 100 acre wild life refuge / 53 acre “master planed guarded community” is low density and far ahead of the curve in environmental economics! you should get a job selling used cars or time shares anything meaningless or not important a gossip column.

    • Belize Blog

      Harry, I would LOVE to take a tour. Though, you sound a bit angry.

      • harry

        not at all ,I can see your point too, come over i will personally give you a tour and you are right the web site needs updating just call me 633 8515 schedule it for sure

  • Deanne

    You have a right to your opinion and to be concerned. It’s a unique spot and, like you said, an icon on the island. We visited Caye Caulker in May and loved hanging out there for a few hours. Good luck with your sleuthing and ignore the negative, overzealous posts you received. This is YOUR blog after all.

    • Belize Blog

      It is my blog. I guess taken out of context, people thought that I was “ragging on” Caye Caulker. The bras seemed to cause particular distress. I love Caye Caulker…and I always assume (wrongly) that people know that…when honestly, many are reading my stuff for the first time. And YES! It is my blog! Tx.

  • Gunnersmith

    Any new development is bad news, caulker caye should be left as is, and any new large development prohibited by the government making it a refuge. Might I suggest starting a petition to present to the government agencies that oversee new development. There are plenty of other areas of Belize that could be developed without such a horrific impact on the community. Once development starts all is lost FOREVER.

    • Belize Blog

      It’s been made quite clear that I should stay out of issues that aren’t mine. And I agree with that…this is an issue for the people of Caye Caulker. But in my heart? It hits very close to home.

  • Charlotte

    Buy the split, gyal. I know you’ll keep it real. Sell Johnny cakes, fried fish and ideals. If i win the lotto, I’ll hook a sister up. Thanks for your sleuthing. This is interesting, but sadly not surprising. A well done report.

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