Has Secret Beach, West Ambergris Caye, Jumped the Shark?

When traveling north, there is one bumpy road that will take you to the west side (or the leeward side) of the island.  It takes you from the reef side to a strange scrubby moonscape of jagged limestone…

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…stunted trees and lush mangroves and then the other side of Ambergris Caye.  Crystal clear, calm blue waters less than 5 feet deep, sand bottom and sand bars.  Beautiful.

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But things are getting BUSY!  It’s not longer a hidden paradise…a spot for only locals on Sunday afternoon.

Has Secret Beach, with the gaudy sign and sudden upwelling of new businesses, jumped the shark?

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Haven’t heard that term?  Let me help.

To jump the shark, broadly, is to change the style or quality of something, the point where something goes into decline.  The phrase comes from an episode of “Happy Days” in which the uber-cool Fonzie, wearing swim trunks and his leather jacket, jumped (on water-skis) over a shark.

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 20:  HAPPY DAYS - "Fonzie Goes to Hollywood, Part III" - Season Five - 9/20/77, Fonzie (Henry Winkler) accepted a challenge to jump over a shark tank while water skiing.,  (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

Totally. Not. Cool.

It was considered the mark of the end of a great show.

So…with 4 eateries, 3 places to buy drink (one with a license to stay open until MIDNIGHT), a beach club and room for many many more people.  Is it the end of an era at SECRET Beach?

My opinion:  It is DEFINITELY no secret…and many have been mourning that.  But I think it’s bigger and BETTER.  Especially during the week…

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Here are pictures of what I saw yesterday.

The very first time I wrote about the area was March, 2013…and it was still a bit of a secret.  You can see the pictures here.  But the only structure, other than two docks over there was this blue house.

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As we drove over, you first pass Caye To Paradise.  A pretty pastel house with a handful of cabins…

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I wrote about them earlier this year just before they opened.

And then Aurora’s Food Truck.  She was closed yesterday…

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But two new eateries have sprung up since my last visit.  One is an outpost of Pirates’ Treasure less than one mile north of the bridge on the main road.  Now they have opened “Pirates Not so Secret Beach Bar & Grill” in the little blue house.

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With a rooftop viewing deck…

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You can see Rosario Caye on the left hand side of this picture…secret-beach-5

…the tiny caye that some sketchy developers are proposing NINETY OVER THE WATER STRUCTURES FOR.  HOPEFULLY this never comes to fruition.  I’d MUCH rather see Henry Winkler out there.

They have also painted the dock a pretty pretty blue.

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The swimming off the two docks here is lovely.

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As is the sunning – this little boa was here first.

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I helped him move along and took my spot at the end of the dock.

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There is beach and rocky shoreline but the water is gorgeous.

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Did I mention that?

Now take a short walk north…very short.

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And there is another bar and grill with a beach club!

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Holy moly!  This place seemed to spring out of nowhere in the last few months…and it’s beautiful.secret-beach-24

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I can DEFINITELY see lounging here during the week.  I love these new additions and increased beach space.

And another plus of all these businesses?  The trash situation seems to be more under control…now there is incentive to clean up…

And the view to the north.  There are now two more docks and two more cleared but empty lots.

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Love the new secret beach.  Definitely not a secret but a beautiful spot to spend the day when you live here or are visiting.

Just be warned…it will be the MOST busy on weekends.






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  • jack

    I was there in September they just started building pirates deck off the house, and secret paradise was going full swing with thatching the palapas wow did they “getter Done” really nice people at Paradise on the Caye totally great additions to the Belize beach scene!! Nice…..be there in Dec!!

    • Awesome. It’s a really cool place to spend the day. Or two!

  • Wow, what changes since we were last there. In 2011 or 2012 on a bike ride up there, we met the nice young couple who built the blue house and were living in it off-the-grid with their 5 dogs. Guess they moved on. Can’t say I blame them — they went from a secluded haven to being the hot area on the island! Amazing.