I moved to San Pedro Town on the island of Ambergris Caye, on January 2nd of 2017. At that time, the island was beginning to see a shift in it’s long past of Mom-and-Pop vacation rentals. As a 26-year-old then, with no international real estate experience, I was lucky enough to get an opportunity to work for the new Hilton Resort at Mahogany Bay Village. A Collection by Curio.
The arrival of Hilton marked a historic chapter in the story of the country of Belize. It represented the first global hotel chain to enter into Belize’s burgeoning real estate market. This was a very big deal for the country (though also very controversial) because it brought hundreds of new jobs to the local population and added a few hundred international-standard hotel rooms to the market’s extremely low inventory. It also brought a new standard of service that guests, and honor members of Hilton have become accustomed to expecting.
As Mahogany Bay began to open its doors to the public at the beginning of 2018, more news began to come out that a brand-new Marriott would be joining the Hilton on the country’s tourism cash cow island, Ambergris Caye.
The Alaia Belize, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, opened its doors to the public in May of 2021 with 71 condos and 8 villas. To emphasize their bullish approach to the real estate market, the developer of the Alaia recently announced plans, and is currently in preparations to begin construction on a brand new 120+ room hotel known as the Alaia Beach Club.
There was clearly a high demand in our market for luxurious new hotel rooms that people around the world could buy, rent, and live in. With over 250 million honors members between the Marriott and Hilton combined, a new spotlight was brought to Belize, and more specifically Ambergris Caye. What clearer sign of this demand is there, other than the arrival of two of the world’s largest hotel chains. Both hotels are making massive commitments to the long-term investment of capital and resources into the relatively unknown tourism destination of Ambergris Caye. Much of this investment was done surely due to the land rights granted to foreign investors, the ease of doing business, the lack of high-end inventory, and the country’s incredible proximity to the United States.
Following Hilton and Marriott came the announcements for a brand new Four Seasons Golf Resort on the island of Caye Chapel. As well as what promises to be one of the most iconic Margaritaville Resort properties in the world on the northern side of Ambergris Caye.
Maybe it was a coincidence that all of these big players came into the market at the same time. The recent announcement of a brand new Six Senses Resort on Cayo Rosario (scheduled to open in 2025), came as no surprise. This resort will be located just a few hundred yards off the west coast of Secret Beach.
As the market continues to attract more foreign investment, we as real estate agents have been able to watch the island grow with our boots on the ground. It’s truly amazing how much growth the island of Ambergris Caye has seen over the last five years. Ambergris Caye has been rated the 4th best island in the Caribbean. The COVID pandemic did not slow down growth. In fact, it sparked a massive influx of investment into the country. People are looking to create a simpler life away from the seemingly incessant stresses of the big city. The majority of expats are from the United States and Canada.
My hope as a permanent resident of the country, and a father of a 2.5-year-old daughter, is that the growth we are seeing is done responsibly and respectfully to mother nature, and to the local population. They say, “build and they will come”. Well, they built, and now there are many more people set on coming down to pay this beautiful country a visit. Maybe their visit will become an excuse to never go home, like it was for me. Call or email me if you would like to learn about investing in Ambergris Caye real estate.