Grand Caribe Resort, the largest resort on Ambergris Caye*, seems to be in permanent expansion mode. The development, located about 2 miles north of San Pedro town, broke ground the very year I first visited Belize…though a few months later in December of 2006.
* GC and Mahogany Bay Village are both large and growing. I am never 100% certain who officially is the largest resort on Ambergris Caye.
Here is a graphic I found that shows you just how big Grand Caribe is (and will be)!
I’ve written about days spent at the resort – and great overnights. From 2012 pool days to a preview of the new restaurant AQUA by Chris Aycock in 2019. Two nights in 2014. Being part of a secret engagement proposal in 2015. I was SO nervous!
I’ve posted LOTS of pictures since I now pass the resort every day on my way home from town (I live about 5 miles north of Grand Caribe).
The new Belize Medical Associates clinic. (Get information on their services and hours on the Facebook page)
And the corny new but oh-so-instragrammable-when-on-vacation “town” signs that JUST went up a few weeks ago.
But recently, what I’ve REALLY been interested in is the lagoon side of the development. I’ve heard talk over the years that there would be building. That there would be large homes built, that over-the-water structures were going in. All of that turns out to be untrue. I asked…and I received.
A preview of the expansion at Grand Caribe Resort. Sunset Caribe. The large scale cement pour that would be the base of the first building. Super impressive.
Mike, who took me over to the construction site, sent up his drone to take pictures. Man…I want one of these things. (And if I can sell 400 more books…I just might get there!)
For all your cement-enthusiasts – the total time for the pour (it must be done all at once) was 12 hours. 6am to 6pm.
Here are some of our pictures. I think you can guess which ones are his! I was too busy gawking desirously at the drone.
You can look through the website. I am here to sell you nothing! You can all decide if you like the size and design…the location or the views. But let me just point to something that REALLY speaks to me after a few years living in our own house on Ambergris Caye. INFRASTRUCTURE.
I’m not sure I would call the troubles and frustrations of owning a home on an island in Belize “a dark secret” as they say on the website. They are not hidden. Instead most are just things that I never thought of when moving to Belize. So focused on my exciting new life and all the upsides – I just didn’t think of expensive electricity or wonky internet connections.
Here on Ambergris Caye – especially on the northern end of the island – the things that you may have taken for granted when living in the United States like gas for your stove, water from your tap, the electricity that never falters, a fire department that can reach your home – are not at all “a given”.
All things take work, planning, coordination. Water? Our home is NOT on the public water system – so we collect water in a large cistern during the rainy season and then try to conserve in the dry. Gas for our stove? Once or two a year, we run out during mid-pasta boil, and have to toss it and go to town the next day to fill the HEAVY tank with propane. Trash? We bring ours to town every few days and pay a monthly fee to someone who properly disposes of it for us.
Salt air corrodes just about everything. I am typing this now from our guest room because our main air conditioner busted a few weeks ago. A rotten board. And buying a new one takes time…and more money since it is imported.
Our yard needs giant sand deliveries to stay above water in the rainy season…the weeds grow like…well…weeds.
You might be surprised by how much sand delivered to the beach costs!
This is our (tongue-in-cheek) security system.
I am not complaining. I love our house. It’s the first time in my post-college that I have not paid rent. I love the quiet and the privacy. But maintenance is tough and EXPENSIVE. There is no website for qualified fix-it guys or plumbers. Everything is a bit of a scavenger hunt – and a bit of a crap-shoot.
The more I think about it…and the older I get…the more condo life sounds incredibly appealing. Yes, you pay monthly fees but a generator when we have a power outage? (Just a fan on an incredibly hot day is life changing) A desalination system for all the water you want? Or simply a maintenance guy who can take a look at your washing machine if it’s having an issue? Sigh…
So that’s it from me. A look behind the wall across the street from Grand Caribe. That’s what’s happening. I will never ever think that Belize is an “all inclusive experience” – in fact, I wrote a book about what I think makes Belize special and my FAVORITE ways to experience Ambergris Caye. Did I mention this book? Now available as an Ebook on Amazon and coming in less than one month as a soft cover.
Let me know your thoughts on condo life vs. homeownership in Belize. I’d love to hear them.