Serious Construction: New Water Taxi Terminal and the New Marriott

I often get messages from you guys asking me to head south of town. I live up north and our businesses are on North Ambergris Caye so it takes a special trip to go south of San Pedro. But earlier this week, I thought I’d check out my old neighborhood – my original residences when I first visited and moved to Ambergris Caye just about 17 years ago.

When I first visited Belize in August of 2006, we stayed at Changes in Latitudes – a small B&B just north of the then Belize Yacht Club. Our favorite bar was Crazy Canuck’s – a short walk down the beach at the Exotic Caye Resort (formerly Playador Resort and before that, Ramon’s 2)

None of that exists now other than the Belize Yacht Club – which has been renamed Isla Bonita Yacht Club. Here’s a (careful) walk around my old neighborhood – you’ll see why I say careful later!

The only building that remains exactly the same is this cute gift shop.

The Little Old Gift Shop
The Little Old Craft Shop

Ok…across the street to the former Changes In Latitudes B&B. I’m not sure what is happening now…but it has ungone major renovations, is about to double in size and getting some Spanish flare.

Old Changes in Latitudes

I walked down the alley/easement and a bit south toward the Yacht Club.

The dock at the Yacht Club
I spent many hours swimming and sunning on this dock
Entrance to Dock at BYC
Entrance to the Yacht Club Dock
Yacht Club
Looking towards the pool and the condos

Next up, this on-again, off-again – now off – construction site that was called Sands Villas. It was actually my first job offer on the island – to sell, commission only, these units. I declined.

And 15+ years later…only one unit, the ground floor, beach-front unit, looks completed.

The old Sands Villas
Look towards sand villas

Here’s a photo I took in 2015 (you can see the blog post for more – there was even a casino at BYC) – this southern section of the Yacht Club had been opened BRIEFLY La Voile Rouge Hotel.

Sands Villas in 2015
2015 at Sand Villas and the briefly opened La Voile Rouge

Ok…back to the present.

A look from the other direction into Sands Villas
A look into the Sands Villas from the road side…

After the Sands Villas site is a HUGE dock under construction. And the walk by it is TREACHEROUS. I watched a tourist lose her shoe as her leg sunk to the knee in cement.

This HUGE dock and building (you can see the dump truck on it for scale) – is in the works. Being built by the San Pedro Water Taxi for their boats and…a mall? It’s HUGE!

Dock being built for water taxis
Careful of wet (unmarked) cement
Water taxi terminal going up

This pales in comparison to the next construction site…the former home of Crazy Canuck’s and Exotic Caye Resort. It is slated to be a HUGE Marriott Residences development.

The beachfront seawall
The seawall along the beachfront
Holy moly the Marriott Residences being built
Holy cow!
And at the North End the Royal Kahal Beach Resort
Royal Kahal Resort is open

I slipped between the two resorts (there is a paved alleyway) to get back to my golf cart. WOW. Holy moly.

I hope traffic is being considered and public transportation and…another road…because well…you know why. This island is reaching the maximum capacity for vehicles and…these are ALOT of rooms!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend – I was just up at Rocky Point Permit Camp and I took a ton of photos. I’ll share them with you over the weekend – for a look at the opposite end of the spectrum. Out in da bush!

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  1. Terry Stone on March 22nd, 2024 at 10:23 am

    Seeing all this development is a little depressing, maybe a lot. I’d like to see more somewhat less developed areas. I’m not a millionaire and have no interest in their hotels and condos. Please do articles on more affordable areas .
    Thanks for all your great photos and descriptions.

  2. Christine on March 22nd, 2024 at 10:32 am

    Thanks so much for this, it’s very timely! My first visit was in 2005 when I stayed at Banana Beach. In 2006 I stayed at Exotic Caye, and in 2009 I stayed in town at the Conch Shell Inn. Being Canadian I spent quite a bit of time at Canucks, and in preparation for my May visit I was trying to place where EC had been. Sooooo much has changed! The last time I was there people were fighting over putting cobbles on Coconut Dr, and now there’s been so much development I hardly recognize the place.

    • San Pedro Scoop on March 22nd, 2024 at 3:08 pm

      I remember that discussion! My first visit – we had all the sand streets but I also remember the first rainy season…where those streets were just a series of awful potholes…

    • Missy on March 23rd, 2024 at 7:55 pm

      Bananas is remodeling too and it’s not cool. Smallest pool are ever and way too over priced for the size and quality of condos with no outside space

  3. Terry Colbert on March 22nd, 2024 at 10:45 am

    Having first arrived here prior to Independence on March 5, 1978, I’m saddened to see the huge construction and foreign ownership that does little for locals. Most of the profits leave Belize and few advanced job opportunities are offered to Belizean’s. The ambiance of the tropical paradise I first encountered and fell in love with has long since disappeared. Progress is measured by the money made I guess, but I am so grateful I got to enjoy Isla Bonita before it’s true beauty vanished!

    • Ben on March 22nd, 2024 at 11:17 am

      I agree with Terry. We’re lucky we got to experience La Isla Bonita back in simpler times before all of the construction and Americanization showed up. Before long, the beachfront will only be large condos and resemble Cancun with little to no original charm. I hate to see it, but the great memories of old Ambergris will live on forever!

  4. Gerald Phillips on March 22nd, 2024 at 11:15 am

    Wow, what a shame, I remember my first visit in 2012 how nice and quaint it was not too overcrowded I believe but then they limited the two-story buildings and I went to three and now I guess it’s five or whatever they want to build they just get bigger and bigger and take so much away from the charm of San Pedro. And you’re right it’s all about the money. It may be time to find another not quite known paradise to start visiting. Been there many times, and each time I go it’s more crowded and more high rises. I sure hate to see all these beautiful eyes get destroyed and that’s coming from someone who grew up in Freeport Grand Bahama Island When it was a beautiful place to visit also. Hopefully someone will realize this time to put a moratorium on construction.

    • Brian Lindsey on March 22nd, 2024 at 11:34 am

      You might want to try Caye Caulker or Placencia! 🙂

      • San Pedro Scoop on March 22nd, 2024 at 3:06 pm

        Not me. This is my home but if you are looking for more slow paced and vacatoin – those spots would be ideal!

    • San Pedro Scoop on March 22nd, 2024 at 3:08 pm

      There was never a limit to building size…that was just an urban legend or maybe a real estate person legend. It is all about money…I just wish it went in more than a handful of pockets but I guess that is the story of the world.

  5. Jerry Elrod on March 22nd, 2024 at 1:23 pm

    Hi, I m curious about the progress of the Venezia Del Caribe resort next to CoCo Beach Resort North of town. I had heard that part of it may be open this year. Could you do an update on its construction.

    • San Pedro Scoop on March 22nd, 2024 at 3:06 pm

      I also heard that part would open this year. I am a bit hestitant to do such specific posts especially since I can only go on what the developers tell me! And – it seems to change a bunch at this spot.

  6. MJN on March 22nd, 2024 at 2:05 pm

    You have published a complete historical record of how to over populate, over build and ruin something that was once idyllic !

    • San Pedro Scoop on March 22nd, 2024 at 3:05 pm

      Thankfully this is just a small part of a big island but it is…overwhelming!

  7. RJ on March 22nd, 2024 at 6:21 pm

    My Father worked out there for a few years in my formative years and I have seen it grow, but at what rate? Is it sustainable? I have not been out there for about 5/6 years or more but when I did recently I no longer see familiar faces on the street, traffic jams, so many new bars, it’s incredible. I wonder what’s the tipping point? (Not hoping for it but just an ever present thought) how many people are benefitting at a level to survive from all the development? How land? I worry for my people, they will be renters for the rest of their lives because they missed the opportunity or didn’t have the means to back then.

    Great blog post Rebecca, have never read a boring post from you!

  8. Rob on March 23rd, 2024 at 4:47 am

    This is why I like the north side of the island!! Get away from the riff raff. It’s like living outside NYC. I can pick and choose when I go into the chaos, but live in the slow, quiet area.

  9. John on March 23rd, 2024 at 7:24 am

    Hello. I too would like an update on the venezia del caribe since i purchased a 3 bedroom timeshare there 4 years ago And would like to experience the same enjoyment i had at that time since i am ready to retire at this time

  10. Sharon Adams on March 23rd, 2024 at 9:35 am

    Thank you. Our winter trip had to be postponed due to my back surgery. Your “scoop” keeps me thinking of our next opportunity to visit.

    • San Pedro Scoop on March 25th, 2024 at 7:40 am

      I hope it goes well! Sorry to hear that.

  11. Stan Jones on March 23rd, 2024 at 9:36 am

    Good News Bad News
    Good been hellva of investment Bad news been hellva of investment.\\
    Years ago a friend visited and purchased a small villa. we would see people and they would ask how we like Bz.. i raved about it he would say it sucked. i said why do you say that ? he said you’ll see ..NOW I Do !!!!!“““““““““““““““““““
    We both have been here 30 years.

  12. Blair Anderson on March 23rd, 2024 at 1:05 pm

    Unfortunately….the ambience of Ambergrise Caye is rapidly being developed out it…..Jungle is being cleared, mangroves destroyed, the lagoon being filled in at an unprecidented rate…birds and wildlife displaced… is at a break neck pace….no thought given to upgrading infastucture by those in charge….where the sewage will be treated….or where the water will come from…it is out of control…..I no longer want to be apart of the new “Cancun” or “Flordia”…..too much concrete, too many people, too expensive, too busy

  13. Billy Frank Thornton on March 25th, 2024 at 12:16 pm

    Hi Rebecca: Yes to everything about the overdevelopment, traffic, ect. I first arrived in San Pedro in 1985…two restaurants: Evi’s and China Garden in the ole Blake mansion. To put a positive spin on San Pedro, I must add that the locals maintain their charm, if not, their innocence. When I think of San Pedro, I think of the people and not the massive construction site around my residence. All the best: Bill

  14. Billy Frank Thornton on March 25th, 2024 at 12:19 pm

    PS. Elvi’s Kitchen.

  15. Gary Mielcarek on March 26th, 2024 at 11:06 am

    When if ever have you been All the way South to report? Being a 1/2 mile from San Pedro isn’t really South there are 6.5 miles more of “South”

  16. Tim doyle on April 8th, 2024 at 6:37 pm

    I have written before on this very issue. The mayor and town council need to step up and start enforcing construction guidelines and variances. Secret beach is a dump. If that is what the north will become, San Pedro will be loosing the Crown Jewels, beach and habitat, to poor zoning and stewardship.