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.
I 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.
To 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 CayeColony.com. Want to be depressed about development?
Take 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.
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…
To 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 SanPedroScoopSplit.com.