Belize’s Balmy Private Islands Trend Amidst Pandemic

by Carolee Chanona

While nearly all leisure travel was paused because of the coronavirus pandemic, the demand for private islands has risen worldwide. Brokers and travel industry experts have said that since March, prospective buyers around the world are showing an increased interest in escaping to an exclusive island. After all, those that are exploring their options are doing so with new fervor. These potential clients are mainly from the United States and Canada; interest is mainly for private islands in the Caribbean and Central America, with Belize being both. Agents, like Vista Real Estate, have been increasingly forced to rely on virtual viewings during the pandemic. Although, no sale in Belize by Vista has included a private island during the pandemic — yet.

Why Private Islands Are Trending Worldwide

Private Island Belize Vista

Nightfall at Little Frenchman’s Caye, Belize.

More affordable private-island markets are emerging in Belize – home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world. However Belize, found on the eastern coast of Central America, remains an undervalued market. Quite rightly, the chance to acquire private property in the area surrounding the Belize Barrier Reef is pretty scant. Beside, it is perhaps the Western Hemisphere’s greatest and most important natural wonder. Precious few plots of land ever come up for sale in the islands that dot the Belize coastline; most have already been bought by resorts, private entities, or used to protect the region’s diverse ecological value. However, privacy, seclusion, and escapism are all the leading factors that buyers today have in mind. While Vista Real Estate has a history of private island sales, including Spanish Lookout Caye and the Northern Two Cayes, with eight more are on the market today.

Turquoise Caye

The 4.78-acre private island set between Ambergris Caye and Leonardo DiCaprio’s famed Blackadore Caye can be described as a clean slate — exactly what most buyers are looking for in a private island. Transport yourself nine miles by boat from Belize’s #1 tourist destination Ambergris Caye to Turquoise Caye. The vastly undeveloped island comes with all the usual suspects: crystalline Caribbean shallows, soft white sand, and welcomed seclusion. Meanwhile, the popular and ultra-luxe Cayo Espanto Private Island sits just 7-miles south. Based on location alone, the value of Turquoise Caye is guaranteed to grow. That fact comes regardless if buyers are looking to invest in tourism or simply a family home.

Little Frenchman Caye 

As the most developed of the three, Little Frenchman Caye offers would-be buyers a unique opportunity: experience the island first-hand by staying on its existing boutique beach resort, which is also Gold Standard certified. Less than nine miles from Belize City by speedboat, enjoy five beachside cottages — each with two air-conditioned bedrooms, and a private thatched roof cabaña. However, owners can enjoy a separate two-bedroom private residence built for opulent seascapes. While the island in its entirety is almost 6.6 acres, the resort sits on 2.4 acres; the owner’s residence covers 1.2 acres while  3.6 acres remain undeveloped.

Water Caye 

Belize’s Water Caye stands as the largest island on its market at a whopping 550-acres of tremendous potential available in the Western Caribbean. Just twenty-minutes by boat outside of Belize City, the island is home to a 10-acre rustic resort; previously, it was a popular stop-off point for day-trippers and cruise visitors alike. However, the close proximity of Water Caye to Belize’s English Caye Channel is a huge selling point for the island in itself. Inside? Belize’s main shipping channel through the Belize Barrier Reef. Just 3 miles southeast allows immediate access to deep water — whether buyers are interested in developing commercially. 

While Belize holds popularity with would-be buyers, a major factor was not being able to physically visit Belize. Now, as Belize is officially open once more to leisurely travel, would-be buyers can follow Belize’s four-step travel process, like applying as a traveler. Meanwhile, Vista Real Estate offers an on-the-ground perspective alongside virtual tours and up-to-date drone videos for all of Vista’s private island listings. Although Belize is open to leisurely travel with Phase 3 of its Travel Reopening Plan, would-be buyers can utilize the contactless services of agencies like Vista, including virtual viewings and electronic signings, until Belize’s overnight tourism sector fully reopens in Phase 4. 

All photos courtesy Vista Real Estate. Source: CNN

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