A great news week for Belize…last week Belize was ranked as the second fastest growing tourist destination in the Caribbean…http://www.ieyenews.com/wordpress/belize-ranked-second-fastest-growing-caribbean-tourist-destination/
Then this week, CBS News ranked TWO cities in Belize as the best cities in invest in international real estate!!
I had a very eye opening moment when I posted these on facebook, in two large Belize expat groups. The group was less than excited about the articles; fact, most had quite a negative reaction! At first I thought, maybe Belize and other expat spots attract people who tend to see negatives, that is why they leave their home country. Or maybe living outside the US gets to you after a while and makes you get a bit jaded! But, it was neither–it was Cayo that was picked as a new expat hotspot, and the people who move to Cayo to NOT want this on the tourist/expat map, they do not want it to change, and are happy with it as is! The worry is, Belize is on the verge of blowing up into another Cancun.
This means, row after row of high rise resorts, lessoned character of the town, strip malls, chain restaurants, everything Disney-fied–where everything is sparkly clean, new, and also predictable. (ie, for some people, BORING/understimulating/not challenging/etc!) I have always disliked how whether you go to Jamaica, Cancun, Aruba, etc, you tend to stay at your all inclusive, and end up just seeing your beach and pool. You could be anywhere, and are not really experiencing a new culture, taking any sort of risk, or having any real adventure! (I realize this is just fine for some vacations as well, and I would enjoy this at times too!!)
There are barely any buildings over couple stories tall here, everyone hangs out together, it wouldn’t even be a trip to Belize if you didn’t spend time doing all of the activities in the village you are in. Just last night, it was Battle of St George’s Caye Day, and we went to Barefoot Bar to check out the celebration. It was packed, with great energy and a ton of fun. Tourists, expats, and locals all hang out together and everyone is so warm and friendly. You can walk around the village safely and not worry. The crime here is very, very low–of course in ANY country you can find stories of vacations gone wrong, but it is rare here. I can certainly see why Belize is popping up on everyone’s radar, and can personally say, that after building a small resort here, we are already over 50% booked through March-and we aren’t even technically open yet!