H.L. Dole, Owner of a Good Chunk of North Caye Caulker, Prepares to Open A Nature Park Called “The Estuary”

Friday I visited Caye Caulker to meet with Harry Dole, the owner of Caye Colony Ltd – an office I had passed many times when visiting our neighboring island.


I had been to the Caye Colony website and in an earlier post declared it “depressing”.   Maybe a bit unfair and judgemental on my part since I’d never met the owner nor had I been to North Caye Caulker.  I focused on this statement:  “Welcome to Caye Caulker’s only master-planned, guarded community!”

Guarded community?

Mr. Dole, whose family had owned over 200 acres of North Caye Caulker for generations, contacted me.  To come take a look at what he is doing up there…and after a few months, we finally coordinated a time.

During that time I googled H.L. Dole – OF COURSE.  And asked around.  That amount of acreage is a huge chunk of tiny, beautiful Caye Caulker.  The world wide web yielded very little.

People I asked, those who know Caye Caulker, assured me he was part of the “Dole Pineapple Fortune”…empire is more like it.

I would have to ask.

There was an article about him and a connection to John McAfee…and that’s always interesting.

Mr. Dole wanted to show me a nature park or reserve that he is opening to the public.  A perfect time to get the scoop.

Because everyone who visits Caye Caulker visits the Split…


and walks the sandy beach roads of the village but few people see this side…a totally different world a short boat ride away.

I met Harry at his office and, after asking two German tourists – Brita and Connie, if they wanted to join us, we headed up.

Here’s a map of the area.  There are more on his website.  His property goes all the way out to the tip of the caye.


The top 100 acres will be almost all private reserve, the bottom 50 acres are lots for sale.

North CC

And the google earth look at Caye Caulker. Village south…this land way north.

Mr. Dole told me he was NOT of the Fruit Doles but of the Kansas Doles (loosely affiliated with Senator Bob Dole) and only that his grandfather had purchased the property generations ago.  He has been in Caye Caulker for over 20 years at times managing popular bars and nightclubs like the Lazy Lizard and Oceanside Nightclub.

After donating over 50 acres to the Government of Belize years ago, his acreage totals 153.

After a 10 minute ride, we pulled in to a small cove on the reef side of the caye and to a dock.  TOTALLY different from the developed side of Caye Caulker.  (My walk around earlier that afternoon on a BEAUTIFUL day.)


We then started out along an impressive plank walk/bridge…sturdy and beautiful.  IMG_8177 IMG_8178

Birds…tarpon…iguanas…IMG_8181Clear across to the other side of the island.  Where there is going to be a guide station and perhaps some picnic tables and an area to BBQ.

At one point, we had a visitor follow us a few feet…

IMG_8185 IMG_8186

Made me extra glad for the sturdiness of the walk-way.


It is EXTENSIVE…and impressive.  One could quite easily get lost.


The beautiful marshlands near the shore.

IMG_8195And crocodile nests…empty now but coming mating season?



Brita and Connie (who have travelled from Panama up to Belize and then are headed to Mexico) were excited about the park.  Suggested a camp site for the more adventurous backpackers.  A sort of “Survivor” like rustic campground.  They cited The Lost & Found Jungle Hostel in Panama as a very popular example.

We headed back out to the boat…

IMG_8196Back up and around the north tip of the caye…the water is absolutely gorgeous.


As the sun was setting and one of the traditional fishing boats was going by…


And back through the Split so I could catch my water taxi back to San Pedro.

IMG_8200Back past Mr. Dole’s new nature park…


which I forgot to tell you, is called “The Estuary”.  Lovely I think.

You can stop by the dock to check out the area.  There are workers up there – you might need to shout “CHOOO!  CHOOO!” like we did to locate them…or come by his office near the Caye Caulker Water Taxi dock in the village.

H.L. Dole is quite a character.  And has a bit of the “wild west feel” about him.  He’s been in Caye Caulker for a while.  And…perhaps I am just wishing it so…probably has an extremely interesting story.

I was unable to extract too much…about how his grandfather came to buy 200 acres of Caye Caulker YEARS ago (probably when about 25 people lived there)…and why EVERYONE seems to think he is an heir to the pineapple/Hawaii Dole fortune…

But there is time, right?  Something for my “To-Do” list.




  • Erik Terdal

    Thanks! I’ve hiked around the southern part of the north island but never been up there.

    • Belize Blog

      I need to explore that side…much more developed (though I guess everything is more developed than this!)

  • miranda

    What is the target date for the opening of The Estuary, Rebecca? And is the Lazy Lizard really closing?

    • Belize Blog

      It is open now for use. You just…arrive. The guard/guide station, could take a few more weeks? There is no set date. If you are here and you want to go up, stop at Harry’s spot in the village. You guys can fix something up 🙂

    • Morgan

      The Lazy Lizard changed management, that’s all. Should be bigger, if not better!!

  • lifeagain

    Nice Post, Nice Pictures…
    Thanks Scoop

    • Belize Blog

      Thank you 🙂

      • lifeagain

        Curious question
        How do they build piers, decks and boat docks in waters that have Crocodiles? There is a lot of standing,getting in and out of the water and work by hands.


        • Belize Blog

          Look out with a machete? I’m not exactly sure. Hopefully the crocs have plenty to eat.

  • Caye Caulker Resident

    That’s total bullshit!!! He donated ONE HUNDRED (100) ACRES to the Government of Belize to be designated as the Caye Caulker Forest Reserve! He has since tried going back to hopefully latch on to the land he DONATED! There is supposed to be NO cutting out development in the reserve, however, Mr. Dole believes that he can di whatever he wants and has since cut through the reserve in order to make his stupid trails. He should be reprimanded and charged for cutting down a forested area.

    • Caye Caulker Resident

      P.S. He donated the NORTHERN MOST 100 acres.

      • Belize Blog

        I am only reporting what he told me…that he owns the land and it is a private reserve. I can ask him for a response to your statement?

  • Lsu1988

    I bought from Harry a few years back, have watched the project move forward , albeit slowly, and with electricity finally having crossed to the north, that area will begin to develop. Yes, Harry is quite a character. I visit Caulker at least once a year, and sometimes twice. I like many things about it, but it is still a small community. Limit negative comments. They bring no good to the people of our island. I wasn’t born there, but I got there as quickly as I could.

    • Belize Blog

      I love Caye Caulker…and his land is gorgeous. I hope it all works out for you and him…and Belize.

      • Lsu1988

        buy and you could be our neighbor. I own two lots and likely will buy more. It is a bargain, Harry is right.