I’m a die-hard Jimmy Buffett fan.
I’ve seen him in concert a dozen times… know the lyrics to most all his songs… and have been playing his music for my children since they were born.
And, like all Jimmy Buffett followers, I understand that Margaritaville isn’t a place.
It’s a state of mind… and a world view.
A perspective that, as I interpret it, prioritizes freedom, flexibility, and fun over most everything else.
Most would agree, though, that, if Margaritaville were a place… it’d be on a white-sand beach…
Lapped by an azure sea and fringed with softly swaying palm trees.
It’d feature island tunes, spicy seafood, bottomless bottles of rum, and like-minded fellows to enjoy it all with you.
Margaritaville is a moveable feast… that, in fact, Jimmy Buffett and company have found a way to bring to life.
Fourteen branded Margaritaville resorts have been built in the United States and the Caribbean… with eight more in the works… including one in one of my favorite spots on Earth—Ambergris Caye, Belize.
I visited the island of Ambergris Caye for the first time in 1986.
I climbed down the stairs of the eight-seater airplane, pulled on my sunglasses, picked up my duffel from the runway where it’d been placed by the pilot who served, as well, as landing crew and baggage handler, and carried it with me across the dirt road to the hotel where I had a reservation.
I was 23-years-old.
Ambergris Caye, likewise, was but a young girl.
San Pedro Town, the fishing village around which development was just beginning, consisted of three parallel roads, all unpaved. The hotel where I stayed that first visit and the several that followed over the next few years, the best on the island, could optimistically have been described as two-star. Amenities included clean towels in the bathroom (most days), a telephone at the front desk (that worked sometimes), and a frontline position on the Caribbean Sea.
It was the beachfront situation, of course, that people, including myself, came for.
My first several visits, I toured up and down the coast of this little island by boat, which was the only way to get anywhere beyond San Pedro.
I was young and inexperienced, but even I could recognize the allure of this place. The beaches of Ambergris compete with the best the Caribbean has to offer, and, back then, more than 30 years ago now, they were utterly undeveloped. If you didn’t bring it with you from the mainland, you likely were going to go without it on Ambergris Caye. I remember a couple of beachfront bars and grills and a small shop where you could buy cold Cokes and toilet paper.
Three-plus decades later, Ambergris Caye has come of age. The original three town roads are paved… and a number of others have been carved out. A central island roadway continues nearly from end to end, meaning that, now, you don’t have to travel by boat to see the length of the island. You can go by golf cart, the preferred means of transportation.
Indeed, San Pedro’s now paved streets are so crowded these days with tourists, bicycles, and golf carts that traffic jams and fender benders are frequent events.
Along these thoroughfares are hotels, resorts, condo communities, restaurants, art galleries, supermarkets, delis, wine shops, golf cart rental agencies…
This town has grown up to become home to one of the biggest expat communities in the world. This one-time Caribbean outpost today hosts folks from across the globe working together to create the life they all came in search of. They’re opening businesses, indulging artistic interests, planning community events, inviting each other over for beach barbecues…
It’s a welcoming, comfortable, fully appointed, and well-serviced place to be.
But it’s also crowded… and that’s not for everyone.
On Ambergris Caye today, if you want peace and quiet, you need to travel north from San Pedro.
On this part of this island are the empty beaches and real escape that most who make their way to the Caribbean are seeking.
In addition, early 2020, on this northern Ambergris coast you’ll also find the newest Margaritaville Resort, a destination property with three restaurants, a gym, a spa featuring Belizean botanicals, volleyball and bocce ball courts, paddleboards and kayaks, and an oceanside bar where it’ll be permanently 5 o’clock.
A half-mile offshore is the world’s second-largest coral reef, and a short boat ride away are the Great Blue Hole, Turneffe Islands, Lighthouse Reef, and Mexico Rocks, all excellent diving spots.
Likewise, San Pedro Town, with its dining, nightlife, and social whirl, is a quick taxi boat ride away (shuttle service will be available complimentary).
The developer behind this Margaritaville undertaking is a well-known Belizean family with the means to pull it off. They’re able to deliver so quickly because they’ve purchased a bank-owned resort to refurbish.
This is the best opportunity I’ve known to make your home—full- or part-time—on an island I’ve loved and looked forward to returning to as often as possible for decades.
A resort residence at Margaritaville Ambergris Caye is a turn-key chance—fully managed and expertly maintained—to enjoy Caribbean escape at regular intervals while earning passive income from nightly bookings when you’re elsewhere.
This isn’t a budget option but a luxury one. Prices start at US$350,000 for a one-bedroom. Financing is available for up to 60% loan to value.
Maybe I’ll run into you one day there. I’m thinking of investing myself…