Belize has been busy. In the last year, hotel builders have doubled-down, primarily on the island of Ambergris Caye—gateway to the world’s second-largest barrier reef. One property has already opened its doors to guests (and their dogs), and another four are coming, starting later this year and continuing through 2025.
There’s also a newcomer to the sustainable glamping arena in the Cayo region, giving travelers another option for small-footprint travel. We’re excited about them all, and while we normally wouldn’t pick favorites, let’s just say that one of the most anticipated newcomers will be offering overwater villas.
The Best Western Grand Baymen Gardens Resort
On Ambergris Caye, this 54-suite resort has been refreshed and is now part of The Best Western collection. The Best Western Grand Baymen, less than a mile from the town of San Pedro, includes a pool, fitness club and tennis courts. The condominiums, a mix of studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom units, are available for nightly stays as well as long-term rentals up to six months.
Units can also be purchases by those ready to buy into island living; prices range from $98,600 to $299,900. At the time of writing, four of the six buildings have already sold out. Also of note: The property allows guests to stay with their dogs.
Margaritaville Beach Villa Resort Belize
Set to open November 2022, the Margaritaville Resort Belize is readying to offer guests the full Ambergris Caye experience, from the tranquility of the beaches to the action of ocean watersports. The resort keeps the fun on tap with kayaks, paddle boards and sailboats plus pickle ball and bocce. The 55 villas offer a mix of one- to four-bedrooms, so you decide whether to travel solo, make it a romantic getaway or bring the whole gang of Parrotheads.
Of course, it all comes with the Jimmy Buffett experience, from the legend’s music to his Landshark beer served at the open-air bars overlooking the water. While the property is still in the stages of completion, the resort is offering special “try before you buy” packages for $799 that include flights from Belize mainland, plus meals and accommodation. Should you choose to pull the trigger, that cost is subtracted from the buy-in.
Belize Marriott Residences
One to keep an eye on, this collection of beachfront condos on Ambergris Caye, just north of the town of San Pedro, is still in the building phase. The Belize Marriott Residences, 70 in total, will include studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom properties, all with colonial-style interiors.
These will become vacation rentals once completed, but the bigger opportunity right now is the chance to own a piece of the island coast; buying in ranges from $319,900 to $899,900
Hills and Valley
This sustainable newcomer in the jungles of the Cayo region, near the town of San Ignacio, is crafting a get-back-to-nature experience with seven A-frame glamping cabins. A mix of sizes will accommodate couples or larger groups.
Beyond the cabins, the resort offerings include lessons in permaculture, a sustainable design for environments, local fare at their onsite restaurant, plus offer vegan and vegetarian treats and staples sold at their market. As of time of writing, opening is slated for July 2022.
Four Seasons Resort and Residences Caye Chapel
This will be the brand’s first foray into the country, and its second Central American venture alongside the Four Seasons Costa Rica. The big plans for the 280-acre private-island experience include an airfield and heliport to receive guests following the 8-minute flight from the Belize mainland.
Overall, Caye Chapel is slated to include 50 estate lots, 35 private residences and 100 guestrooms, as well as an 18-hole Greg Norman-designed golf course and an underwater-focused nature and conservation institute by explorer Fabien Cousteau. The property is planning to open late 2022.
Six Senses Belize
You had us at overwater villas. Though ubiquitous in the Maldives and the Islands of Tahiti, this style of accommodation has yet to spread throughout the Caribbean—until now. Six Senses is building a new property across two Belize locations: Ambergris Caye and a 10-acre private island, two miles offshore, that will offer 45 overwater villas along with a wellness village. Promised offerings include an anti-aging center, outdoor yoga and healing practices that incorporate local Mayan medicine.
On Ambergris Caye, Six Senses is building 24 residences, ranging in size from two- to seven-bedroom. In addition to the golden beach—hailed as Secret Beach—the property will include a scuba center and an organic garden to supply the resort’s restaurants. Both are set to open in 2025.