Orchid Bay Development and Community in Northern Belize
Who, What, Where, When and Why Visit Orchid Bay?
Just recently I jumped on a short flight from Ambergris Caye to Corozal, Belize to visit a growing and changing but not totally new development project at Orchid Bay Belize. I’ve been seeing the advertisements for it….popping up on my browser and in my social media throughout the day.
The proposed open-air bungalows look so modern and beautiful…I had to find a way to go visit.
How beautiful is this rendering?
I posted about it on Facebook – asking if anyone had visited or had information – and quite quickly, received an invite from the sales team. Not just a note to stop in for a quick run-thru but an incredibly generous invitation to visit Orchid Bay for 3 nights. I gladly accepted. A perfect chance to explore the Belize district (there are 7 districts in the country of Belize) that I know least. Corozal.
A few weeks later I flew out to Corozal in the north-east corner of the country and jumped on a boat to Orchid Bay. (Approximately marked with the star below.)
It was a fantastic 3 days – exploring much of the 100 acres that make up the Orchid Bay community – going on a boat trip to beautiful Sarteneja village…
Exploring colorful Corozal town – the largest town in the area and a center for shopping as well as dining and local culture.
Captain Nate – who lives at Orchid Bay was a really knowledgeable tour guide.
Check out this great video where Nate teaches you to speak Kriol. I think I can finally say BWAI.
How I Got to Orchid Bay?
But back to the beginning. I arrived in Corozal town after a short Tropic Air flight from San Pedro.
The view of Corozal town and the Bay of Chetumal.
We were met on the main dock with fresh coconut water and cold towels.
A picture of the pretty dock from the shore.
A Look Around The Property
I was there to see the new plans for Orchid Bay Belize – but I was surprised to find that there is already quite a bit there. The property was first developed about 10 years ago by a different owner.
I was staying in a large thatched-roof bungalow by the water. A huge bedroom, large living area and kitchen and lots of fun stuff for my stay.
Each has a screened-in porch. You can see how BIG these casitas are in these overhead shots.
The central meeting spot and the hub of the community is Tradewinds Restaurant and Bar.
And true to the name of the area, there were orchids on almost every tree on my walk to Tradewinds from my home base.
The next morning, we set off for a tour of the current homes and condos and also the area for new planned development.
There are quite a few good size homes scattered about the property. – I’d guess about 20 or 30. Most are surrounded by beautiful gardens. There are also new ones going up.
There is a pretty bed and breakfast called the Crimson Orchid Inn.
We headed down to the 2 large condo buildings with a beautiful water view.
We toured the 3rd floor – all overlook the beach area.
Right now the water of the Bay of Chetumal is a bit darker and cloudy. The rainy season is here – after 7 or 8 months of virtually zero rain. The two rivers in this area – the New River (south of Corozal town) and the Rio Hondo (that forms the border between Mexico and Belize, north of Corozal town) – are flowing into the bay and turning the water a bit darker. During the winter and the spring, the water is more aqua in color though still a bit more milky than the water near the reef.
Just around the bend from these two existing condo buildings is the beachfront where new condominiums are being sold and will be built AND the area for the new homesites. (The beautiful renderings that had me dying to see Orchid Bay!) You can see all the pictures of the condos, the bungalows and the villas on their website.
The foundations for the first bungalows are being put in place…
Proper permitting and environmental clearance is on display.
What Differentiates Orchid Bay from Other Developments
Here are a few things I learned about Orchid Bay that are most appealing to me – that differentiates the property in my mind.
There is a huge amount of waterfront here.
There is a real community feel – especially around the Tradewinds clubhouse. It is very very very peaceful.
There are already about 30 or more full-time residents/owners with other part-time residents and visitors here so this is not “uncharted territory”. The area is quiet and very private but both scenic Sarteneja and Corozal are a 20-30 minute boat ride away…and you can also drive to both.
Note: There is a road that runs from Corozal to Sarteneja called the “Ferry Road”. It is unpaved and during the wetter season, can be a bit of a mess. There are two hand-cranked barges that can slow down your drive. Here’s a picture of us delivering a beer or two to the ferry operators.
A loan has just recently been secured to pave this road and to add two modern bridges. The completion of this project would be a significant upgrade and make movement by car much much easier to and from Orchid Bay. There was a groundbreaking ceremony for the road earlier this month.
Corozal weather is some of the sunniest in Belize – the north has some of the lowest rainfall totals in the country. So…if you are looking for warm sunny weather…it’s a great spot for it.
The renderings and plans are absolutely gorgeous. The full beach area that you can use to walk from one end of the property to the other. The amazing pools and beach club. The architecture and style of the bungalows and villas and the furnishings…all unbelievably beautiful.
And on a more simple level – the infrastructure: the water, electricity, and maintenance is part of the deal. While building “off-the-grid” in Belize can sound “pioneer-romantic” (I just coined that term), it can be very expensive, time–consuming, difficult and…lots of work.
Here’s the water tower that is in place.
Lastly, Chetumal Mexico is JUST across the border in Mexico. A large city (some estimate the population is larger than that of the entire country of Belize) with malls, movie theaters, a zoo, proper medical care and hospitals and more.
For More Information
I was so happy to see my friend Rhonda visiting at the same time I was. She is the hostess with the mostest of “Morning Matters” – a TV show in Belize highlighting people doing interesting things around the country.
Here she is interviewing Mike, part of the development team, and my lovely host while I visited.
I’ll share the episode when it goes online. Spoiler alert: I was WAY too shy to be on camera…good grief!
For all the information on Orchid Bay Belize, check out their website here.
For my trip to Corozal (the town and the Maya site) with Orchid Bay and for my trip to Sarteneja, see below.