Almost everything that is – hotels, homes, roads, electricity, shops – is located on the east side (or reef side) of Ambergris Caye. It’s the windward side of the island – the coast almost constantly brushed by the easterly wind that cools us off on particularly hot days and keeps the bugs down.
But just about 7 or 8 years ago, a road was built crossing the island — leading to a new building project called “Grand Belizean Estates”. Mangroves and low land was filled, sold and are stilling being sold. All vacant land without promises of electricity or town water. But land!
And on the beach side, beautiful blue calm water with sand as far as you can walk.
Since then a handful of houses have been built – all off the grid. Here is one I visited a few years ago.
Here’s an overhead picture from about 6 years ago. Hopefully to help you gain some perspective. The turn off towards Secret Beach is about 5 miles north of town.
Secret Beach was a secret back then…and has developed – very quickly over the last year or two.
The secret was officially out when this went up.
I visited it first in 2013 when there was nothing there but a shady area for golf carts and a sales office.
This week we drove back along the BUMPY road to check it out. Here are a few pictures of what I found.
My favorite thing was these bursts of red flowers in many of the trees. It looks like an ephiphyte. A plant that grows on another plant. The leaves and flowers totally different from the tree that it was growing on. Does anyone know what this is?
Out to the water.
The area adjacent to the first bar – Pirate’s Not So Secret Bar – is all cleared now. And…I’m not sure exactly what is going on…
Construction of some sort.
A beach club with a stage? A sand jousting area for Belize Medieval Times? Or maybe this is something that was used for a big party.
A look out to Cayo Rosario and beyond it, Blackadore Caye. Earlier this year, Developers of Cayo Rosario have submitted a plan to build over 85 over the water structures.
They have more recently adjusted the number to about 45. The ball is now in the Government of Belize’s hands. Let’s HOPE they remember that this is HOL CHAN MARINE RESERVE and probably the most active flyfishing area in Belize — for the catch and release permit, bonefish and tarpon.
Some views farther north – as you move up the coast more and more lots are being cleared.
A look back…
As we were headed back home – make sure to bring your bug spray during the rainy months – we ran into this red guy taking a dip.
I have no clever way to wrap this one up — we shall see how long it takes for this side of the island to develop. I imagine that nothing BIG will happen until we get electricity and power…OR…if the Cayo Rosario project is (tragically) ok-ed.
We started riding our bikes in GBE in 2010, and I predicted then it would be years until utilities ever made it up there, despite what the developers would have the buyers (and would-be buyers) believe. I feel bad for the many people who bought lots there expecting BIG returns on their investments that the original developers promised. Sad that nothing much has changed in SEVEN years, except for the secret beach becoming a thing. It was a great place to ride bikes, though!
I guess the thing is…that there was never anything promised? You were just sold the land…hopefully cheaply. I’ve seen parcels for sale for $5000US…and there is a sign out there that you can make a payment of less than that. I’m not sure exactly how power will make it out there. Or when…if ever? We shall see. You’ve got to be in it for the LONG TERM investment!
I have to disagree about what people being promised nothing in the early days of GBE, though I’m guessing no promises are being made now! I wish I’d saved the original website touting the BIG returns investors could make on those lots back in the late 2000 years (I’m guessing 2009-2011-ish) when they first went on sale. I investigated this because one of our blog readers in the US engaged me and asked me a lot of questions about GBE when we first moved to the island in 2011, so I was trying to help him a bit on the ground. I can’t remember the exact figures, but maybe doubling or tripling your investment in just a few years? A lot of promises that were pretty easy to see through if you knew anything about the island or how slowly things would happen north of the bridge, and I advised the guy to proceed VERY cautiously and with a great deal of skepticism, though I took a bunch of photos for him and encouraged him to come down and look for himself. I would love for someone who bought into this development in the early days to comment here about what they were promised re. ROI and when utilities would come in. I remember seeing so many lots under water in rainy season with the for sale signs on them and just shaking my head. I’m not trying to be negative but just stating what I recall and thought at the time. I do hope that people who bought in will one day realize their investment or at least not lose money if they sell their lot(s).
We will be visiting Ambergris Caye soon, staying at the Coco Beach Resort. Can you give me directions to Secret Beach from there? How long will it take to get there by golf cart? Thanks.
You guys aren’t far at all. Plus, EVERYONE knows the secret so you can ask anyone at the resort and they can point you in the right direction. You head north out the resort and you’ll see a huge sign after about 1 mile. You hook a left and follow the signs towards the end. It’s only about 3 miles? But the road is quite bumpy so it could take about half an hour.
That’s awesome. Thanks so much. Can’t wait to see your beautiful island.