OPINION

Retiring in Sanctuary Belize: Tarnished Dreams

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission shut down this project in November 2018, alleging that its operators had duped consumers into buying lots by falsely promising that the development would include luxury amenities and be completed soon, and that the value of the lots would rapidly appreciate.

As many of you know, I’ve been executing on a long-term dream of first creating a vacation home, then retiring in Belize.

I’ve been putting some rigor into the effort to make sure the perception of the dream doesn’t outpace reality. I’ve often been brought in on projects (like Zune) that should have been shut down early, largely because executive staff had lost track of reality. I don’t want to make the same mistake with this important project.

My wife and I just spent 10 days in different parts of Belize, and we asked a lot of questions. We did see some improvement, but there seems to be a recurring theme there of developments that fail, and the place we chose appears to be on a similar path.

Belize Promise

Belize Promise

So, we’re putting a temporary hold on our efforts there until and unless things improve. I’ll fill you in on that and close with my first product of the week for 2014.

Update 1-13-14: Retiring in Sanctuary Belize: Renewed Hope

Choosing a Place to Retire

One thing you need to consider is that you’ll become less mobile as you age, and you’ll need more medical attention. In addition, you’ll be on a fixed income and you’ll want to stretch your savings as far as possible. From an economic standpoint, Belize is still ideal with low or no taxes on income or property. Violent crime remains low — which is important because you become increasingly vulnerable — and labor is low, so you can hire the help you’ll increasingly need. All of these appear to be in place in Belize and haven’t changed. However, there are other areas that also need focus.

Ease of doing things — particularly making secure financial transactions — is important, because you’ll be increasingly easy to confuse. You’ll need to trust the people who are managing the place where you live, and you’ll need access to good medical care and cheap drugs as your body slowly breaks down. On this last, Belize is somewhat like Mexico, in that far more things are available over the counter and they are much more reasonably priced then in the U.S.

Where Belize Is Falling Short

We arrived during an unseasonable series of heavy rain storms, and it felt like we were suddenly in a war zone. There were crater-like potholes on most roads, and many were so deeply submerged we could no longer see the road bed. While the current was slow, hitting a deep pothole under the water was like an extreme off-road experience. This was true even on the Hummingbird Highway, the Belize equivalent of an interstate. One of the most lucrative businesses, based on the condition of the stores, seemed to be selling tires, suggesting that replacing them was very common.

Belize Reality

Belize Reality

While there aren’t many cars — rush hour might be five or six cars behind a slow-moving truck — a lot of folks drive at unsafe speeds, given the road conditions, and a slow-driving elderly person (who am I kidding, I’ll never drive slow) could easily become a speed bump. Speaking of speed bumps, on the best road we drove, there were more than 40, many poorly marked, and each large enough to launch you, as a ballistic object, at the moon. If I’m having trouble seeing them now, it will get much worse as I age, and a fast drive to the store could become a terminal event, assuming the roads are passable, which isn’t always the case, we found.

Connectivity on our latest trip was a problem. It alternated between going down and providing bandwidth that made a dial-up modem seem attractive. The Sanctuary lost connectivity for five days all together, which shouldn’t have happened and would be a deal killer for anyone trying to work there.

The big hospital and airport that were supposed to go in lost funding, along with a casino, because the Canadian government cried foul and stripped the funding. This appears to be a common occurrence in Belize and likely is keeping it from getting to critical mass as a major Central American state. As you drive across the country, you see a lot of ruins of recent business ventures that failed largely because they were long on promise and short on execution.

Finally, and this is true of much of Central America, crime and insect-borne diseases (currently there is an epidemic alert) appear to be on a sharp upswing. Neither problem appears to have hit Belize yet, but stories of gang killings continue, and we looked like pin cushions after our trip. We’ve been told the insect problem will diminish once the complex is finished, but we now have doubts that will ever happen.

This takes us to Sanctuary Belize.

Sanctuary Belize

Sanctuary Belize has always had a bit of a “too good to be true” aspect, but initially it appeared they could get it done, and I still think that with the right effort it could be saved. However, there has been a heavy emphasis on getting buyers and too little attention to getting the place to a point where people would build.

Since we bought property, Sanctuary Belize has starting calling its sales reps “investment consultants,” and most of the buyers we spoke with on our prior trip didn’t want to build at all. Most concerning was that the firm has been selling lots that don’t even have roads to them yet, and some of the houses that are actually built or being built don’t yet have water or power, with no real date as to when that will change.

One of the model homes is actually being occupied by one of the principals’ kids, so it no longer can be shown. The prices to build the model homes appear to be twice what you would pay in the states, and they don’t come with the land, according to what we were told during this trip. So these aren’t selling either. There were also troubling stories that one of the Belize staff, a disbarred attorney, is taking advantage of folks who live or have built there.

As for progress, the site now looks like it was managed by someone with attention deficit disorder. The marina docks are in, but water, power and facilities haven’t been completed. The recreation center is in, but the swim-up bar has been cemented over, because the architect thought swim up bars were pass.

The tent resort has several tent rooms done and partially furnished, but progress stopped more than a year ago, and instead of finishing it, the owners instead bought another resort some distance from Sanctuary Belize and plan to shift resources to develop it — even though Sanctuary Belize is far from finished.

The “investment consultants” tend to point out how much property has appreciated in the complex, but until recently, there was no good way for a buyer to sell a lot. Sanctuary Belize recently brought in Coldwell Banker, but we tried to contact it about a property we were interested in someplace else in Belize, and never received a call back, suggesting this could be mostly smoke as well.

Finally, the builders appear to be second- or third-class citizens at the complex. It feels like they are kept around to create the appearance that people will build there. While I’m still certain this didn’t start out to be a scam, it is looking more and more like one as time goes on, and if you take the gestalt of the lack of progress, the shifting focus, the emphasis on sales, and especially the amount of self-dealing and dishonesty, this is starting to look like a project that will end very badly.

Wrapping Up: Things May Get Better or Not

Some of the folks currently building in the complex still have hope. They’ve been told of a major reorganization in the new year, shifting emphasis from sales and shifting responsibilities from some of the least-trustworthy folks to people who actually do what they say they will. There are a number of very wealthy investors, and many of the folks working for the project are U.S. citizens who likely can be held both civilly and criminally liable if promises made aren’t kept and this drops into litigation, which you’d think would ensure performance.

The big problem, as I see it, is there is no one playing the true roles of CEO and CFO, and keeping a focus on completing the project. This is likely because of the funding model used: The lot buyers are effectively the investors, but instead of stock they are getting land — and no real voice in what is done with their money. In short, Sanctuary Belize is selling securities masquerading as deeds to property whose value is based on promises that increasingly appear to be false.

This is a creative model, but it is leading to behavior that could be catastrophic for the development. So, until we see some major changes, our plans to build and retire in Belize are on hold — perhaps indefinitely.

Product of the Week: Office 365

Product of the Week

I was looking back at the end of the year at the products and games I most used and enjoyed, and it is often difficult to see that which you use the most. I mostly live in Office 365 these days, and it has been a huge improvement over the hosted Exchange service I used to have.

Office 365

I get Office on the machines we use, and setting up a new system has improved significantly — and it is less expensive. While I can’t wait until the next big upgrade, when they actually embrace Windows 8 and I don’t have to jump between two interfaces, the amount of time, money and aggravation I’ve saved over the last year, thanks to this one offering, far overshadows anything else I use as a tool.

Although Steve Ballmer’s failures are often in the spotlight, he has had a number of rather significant successes, and Office 365 joins Azure and Xbox as one of his three greatest. I couldn’t do what I do without Office 365, and as a way of saying a belated thanks, Office 365 is my product of the week.

Rob Enderle is a TechNewsWorld columnist and the principal analyst for the Enderle Group, a consultancy that focuses on personal technology products and trends.

48 Comments

    • I’ve done extensive research on Belize. These places are, always have been, & always will be, a rip off!

      You can buy incredible properties that would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in the USA, for as little as 10% of that in Belize! You will likely want to spend 10 to 15,000 to update, but that also buys you as much as five times what it would stateside! Labor is incredibly cheap. Local materials are also inexpensive. Of course if you insist on importing US materials that will cost you dearly….the only thing you really must get from the US is the fixtures. Plumbing and lighting fixtures are either unavailable or of poor quality in general in Belize……

      I’m currently looking at two properties. One has hundreds of feet of private beach. The other is a twelve acre island. Both have nice older homes on them, as well as other AM enities. Both are less than two hundred thousand dollars!

      • IceRogue,

        My husband and I are looking to invest in Belize. We are interested in starting some sort of tourist business that would also attract locals. Any advice on reliable real estate agents? Or any other things that we should know at the beginning of the search? We have a conference call with an agent from buybelize.com tomorrow afternoon. We are not really interested, however, in investing in Sanctuary Belize (which is what the agent is pushing for. After reading how slowly Sanctuary Belize is developing (and the negative vibe that people have) we are almost positive this is not for us. Any help is greatly appreciated.

          • Hi mikesyl27,

            My husband and I were interested in going to check out the Kanatik project from the BuyBelize development next month but now after reading these comments and the post I AM feeling not to secure about it. I assume you did not invest? I would love to see some photos and video you took if you would still like to share and also wondering what your take is on the property and if the plan is a scam or not. Thank you kindly.

          • Hi, Katie,

            sorry, I saw your post only now.

            there are two Buy Belize Organizations in Belize.

            On is called Buy-Belize and they own the biggest car rental company, Crystal, in Belize. The owner is Ricki Perera and his wife, Eneyda Perera, does Real Estate (not licensed anywhere) 501-222-4190. The other company is BuyBelize,http://www.buybelize.com/contact.html Office: 949.528.9036 located in San Diego, CA. They are the Developers for Sanctuary Belize.

            FYI I AM a licensed realtor from New York and AM selling property on behalf of my Belizean clients.

            I spent a considerable AM ount of time in Belize talking to different local Realtors trying to find one I could work with. I found two or three companies who are ethical and kind of work according to the NAR (National Assoc. of Raltors) Code of Ethics. However, even these do not cooperate with each other but are in competition with each other.

            Depending where it is that you want to buy, I can recommend a realtor on Ambergris Caye as well as on the mainland to you. both have studied and are certified realtors with a good education and years of experience.

            I hope this helped.

          • Luke is the developer from Australia.

            333 Michelson Drive, Suite 500

            Irvine, CA, 92612

            800-745-147

            949-757-0949

            John Usher, Chairman,

            Sittee River Wildlife Reservation

            P.O. Box 130,

            Dangriga Town, Belize, CA

            501-533-7576,7565

          • NYRE

            I AM interested in Belize real estate. What can you share with me on companies that are legit and warn me on others that are not. Thanks for any information you may provide.

          • A relative of mine left me majority of a Belize property which is now deemed as a scam. Not that the property doesn’t exist but that the land owned is not deemed fit for the proposed golf super resort as promised 1995? when purchased. The said relative physically went and seen the property physically. Said reletive had 30 + years as top salesmen in realeastate in native Canadian city and surrounding area. 20 years later I AM left with what is deemed by estates executor as ( pain in the ass ) property.. still wondering about it as executor leaves me in the dark..is this it.. what lady Belize is pitching? Help!

          • I ADVISE EVERYONE TO KEEP YOUR MONEY AND DON’T MOVE TO BELIZE. YOU ARE PAYING WAY TOO MUCH FOR PROPERTY. YOU GET THRID WORLD SERVICE. REALLY, RETIRE IN AMERICA—TRY MOBILE, AL. DON’T FORGET GEORGIA, ALABAMA, MISSISSIPPI, ETC. WAY BETTER! LADY BELIZE, YOU REMIND ME OF A CON. PEOPLE, DON’T TRUST A NAME. DON’T BELIEVE THE EAGER RESPONSES FROM ANYONE TRYING TO SELL YOU A PIECE OF PARADISE WHICH MAY END UP BEING THE MOST EXPENSE PIECE OF CRAP YOU EVER BOUGHT. ME? I ALREADY LIVE IN PARADISE, THE USA!

          • Lady Belize, have you ever heard of paragraphing ?

            Your comment is far too cumbersome and unappealing.

            Not one of my interested colleagues at our university reported reading your reply all the way through.

            Too bad your message failed.

          • My wife and I are researching our options as to where we are going to move. We are considering Panama and Belize. I would like more information about the development that you and your husband are putting together. Please send all information that you have alone with pictures. I look forward to making a decision within the next six months.

          • Please send me your info. We are a non profit and would love to incorporate our dream with yours.

            Thanks

            L. Steve Kennedy

            Kairos International

            843-254-0114

          • Hello, does anyone have any feedback on Sanctuary Belize after visiting? How are the plans coming? I AM looking into Bamboo Springs from the same developer and wanted to see how their first project went and if you recommend?

            Thank you!

          • Hello, I see that you are saying that Sanctuary Belize is moving along and not a scam. Did you personally buy in there? I AM looking into Bamboo Springs by ABM Development and wanted to see how their previous project Sanctuary Belize is doing before purchasing. Would love to hear your experience.

            Thank you!

          • Hello sir , I have been reading your comments on this site and we have similar concerns regarding property purchased in the beachfront area known as Stann Creek in the year of 1994 -1995 where as our relative who has passed away supposedly bought a lot in a seafront proposed resort and golf development but we are unable to locate the owners for contact as paperwork was supposed to be forthcoming over twenty years ago and as a family member we would surely be grateful for more info from you if our circumstances seem similar but we do not know who, where this purchase was made through or to whom . It appears as a scam but gramps swore it was real but no proof as of yet . Can you help please ? OLE

          • I just got back from Sanctuary. The beach club was AM azing and great group of people were hanging out there having drinks on Friday night. Went back on Sunday and had another AM azing time. For sure, the prettiest beach club/pool I have seen in Belize. General store was open and packed with a great selection of items. I hear the gym and juice bar are opening soon too!

          • Do your research THOROUGHLY!! Join the ‘Belize Expat’ group on Facebook and look at what’s going on at SB.

          • I own at the Reserve as it is now called. One half mile from beach. Lovely place. My house is on a canal which will open to beach. In the last two years there has been lots of work done.

          • Do you still feel the same today? How much did you buy it for? PM or email me jenniferbaboolal

            at gmail. Thanks

          • Heading out in a few weeks to see the dog and pony show myself. I AM interested in buying even if far off before building. Sent me your lot info and mybe I can bail you ou. Billmaxwells [at] yahoo.com

          • Hello lied to. Any chance we can communicate about your issue with foreclosure. We are in a similar situation and would like to prepared for the issues.

          • Hello Jennifer: Yes, I still feel the same. There is absolutely no chances that I will ever build there. I only hope I can get my money back, someday. When I bought a few years ago, their prices were $200,000 US per acres. I don’t know how much they go for now though.

          • Lied to, first Rvwillis is from The Reserve trying to do damage control which they are having to do all over.

          • Hello Billmaxwells: Unfortunately, SB took my lot back and kept my money because I had to stop making my payments since the Central Bank of Belize threaten me to a $5,000 US fine for each payments made outside of Belize towards my lot! (I know of at least 35 other owners in the same situation as mine!). After begging GPA to make arrangements to accept our payments in Belize and being refused, they illegally foreclosed me! Then, almost one year later, they sent me a bogus "Newletter" apparently sent to all owners dated in December 2016 (they foreclosed on me in Jan 2017) stating that we could make our payments in Belize! Well, I kept all the documentations sent by them, and have written proof that up to March 2017 when I was trying to keep my lot, their responses to me and the other owners, was to pay in California, not Belize! As for getting legal help in Belize, apparently the law can be bought there, since all our cases have loss in court! Looking back, I’m wondering if the whole thing was orchestrated with someone within the Central Bank of Belize and SB to take back a bunch of lots, keep the money from the previous owners, and resell them to new innocent victims! So, be aware that this is a major scam, and these people know what they are doing! Over $100 millions has been made with SB and now they are saying to the owners that they don’t have enough money to finish the project and that’s why they need owners to pay HOA fees! However, in the sale presentation, they assured us that the development was completely cover financially, and would be completed in 2014! BTW, if you don’t like SB, these people have at least 3 other developments going! Oh, and btw, that Best Development International Award, research it, it’s nothing but an expensive marketing scheme! So, thanks for the offer to bail me out, but it’s too late for me!

          • As an owner, I can confidently say that if someone has experienced foreclosure with SB then they weren’t making their payments. SB communicated several times to the owners about the need to begin making payments through Belize, with very specific instructions for us to follow. It wasn’t complicated and they were a simple phone call away for questions.

            As far as the development is concerned, things move slowly in Central America. That said, there’s been a big spike in the number of homes being built, the developers send regular updates with photos of the progress, and the community is really beginning to take shape. When my husband and I bought, we knew that we weren’t in a hurry and didn’t mind waiting for the development to mature. Those who were closer to retirement probably made a mistake in buying in a slowly developing country and they’re frustrated with the pace of development. I’m thrilled with my choice. It’s absolutely gorgeous and a special place that cares not just about building, but building in an environmentally friendly way that is worth waiting for.

          • Noted your positive comments concerning Sanctuary Belize. There has been a great deal of improvement in the project. Unfortunately,many individuals expected a lot to happen in a short time and became disenchanted.

            I have purchased 2 lots years ago and will not be building and looking for an honest realtor to deal with to sell the lots. Should you be aware of such a person or interested party, please contact me via reply and will followup with you. Good luck with your new home. We are returning shortly to Belize for several months. Thanks

          • Does anyone have any knowledge as to how Sanctuary Belize is handling the tours of their facility. Are they ongoing ??

  • Scam. I wish I could sell that piece of dirt I spent my lifesaving on! A lot of people would love to sell, but it’s worthless. No AM enities, no financial statements, no money to finish the project, being charged HOA with the development not even 10% completed! They’re even in Currency Violation my getting the purchasers to send their payments to the US instead of Belize! All the millions we were promised was there to finish the project is no where to be found! I don’t even know how many lawsuits are in the process right now! I’m looking for a lawyer in Canada in case you know one, please message me!

  • Recently toured Sanctuary Belize and understand many of the concerns echoed in this posting as well as others following.

    HOWEVER, if you checked recently, think you’ll find most things have changed. There are a number of people now building, roads are in, power is in to much of the site along with water. The marina will have power and fuel very shortly. Soon, a market will be on site, eliminating having to drive to Hoskins or Dangriga.

    Do NOT see this as a scam, but things do take some time to happen in this part of the world.

    There is medical care available in Dangriga, and a major medical center doing advanced care will probably be adjacent to Sanctuary Belize within a few years.

    Do think one would need a four-wheel drive during some parts of the year.

    Costs of parcels are up there, but several financing options may be attractive.

    There are some strictures on building there:

    Minimum 1200 sq. ft. Designs must be approved by the local committee.

    Some are living completely off-grid there. Water cachements from metal roofs, power from solar arrays.

    We are far from experts on this area, and these are general impressions. We are considering moving here from California.

  • Thank you, Rob, for your thorough due diligence and well-written, comprehensive article.

    Reminds me of the ’60s Florida land scams aimed at Canadians. One ex-teleprompter wrote of their office environment Hell — a huge hunk of a Sales Manager / Mafioso enforcer-type who walked around with a riding crop, to whip anyone not at work on their phone [ long distance calls to a prospect / sucker list] 10 hours a day.

    My wife and I were about to book a flight to Belize this winter [ from Busan, South Korea ] to spend a few weeks looking around.

    Many thanks for your eye-opener.

  • I think the developers have put in a lot of good faith effort to make this project work. In the end, there is too much uncertainty around Belize and the infrastructure of the project and relying on everyone else to build to make the project go. I ended up in Panama buying at an island project http://www.redfrogbeach.com that had a similar feel but just a bit further along with infrastructure and could rent my place as an investment (until I retire).

  • Be careful, there is a California based company "eco-futures" that is selling a development down in southern Belize. The founders of the development company have been convicted in the US as running Ponzi schemes. They do a dance with a bunch of shell companies, so it is hard to pin them down to a name. But their developments are "Sanctuary Belize" and "kanantik". also doing business as buybelize.com

    Steve Rhode did an excellant investigation and has this all laid out at: http://getoutofdebt.org/52655/sanctuary-belize-andis-pukke-todd-cook-peter-baker . He even includes the sources in his investigation.

  • Hi I AM a born and raised Belizean. I come from a family heavily involved with the forever ruling political party in Belize. I take to heart and really become sadden when foreigners have bad experience in my beautiful country that I love and hold dear to my heart. I live in California with my family as I AM married to an American. My heart aches as I watch people from the USA going to my country and selling land at such a high cost when they only paid as little as $1million for more than 20,000 acres of land; they are driving the cost of land up way above and pushing Belize into rapidly becoming like Honolulu. After viewing opinions and many painful comments about Belize I personally AM now on a mission to develop a part of my country that is really accommodating to all regardless of age and that you can realize some income flow now rather than 20 years later. Belize has many lovely area to live and that are also safe. Since I have lived in the USA and know a lot about real estate from working with my husband who do a lot of real estate investing the USA; I have embarked on a golf course development in Belize that will be great all around, no pie in the sky or over promising just reality. As I noted here a lot of you guys are buying or want to buy into Belize or are real estate agent I would love to make connection with you guys. I think it is best when you are hands on with the investment and dealing via locals of the land and the development rather than just buying from foreigners who are only raping the land away from its locals. The land I AM looking to develop is bordered by the Roaring Creek River within 5 miles of the US Embassy and University of Belize, within the city limits of the Capital Belmopan. The subdivision will host an assisted living home similar to Sunrise Assisted Living in America, private homes, condos, a resort hotel, restaurant, guard gated, 18 hole golf course, grocery store, fresh bakery, wine bar and cigar bar, outdoor water park and yes due to the location of this development you have immediate access to the international airport and travel in any direction to the cayes by air or water and your waterway will also lead out to other major waterways in Belize via the Belize River, we are also looking at concierge doctors to live on premises while we work on trying to put together a hospital onsite which will take a bit more work; but with our location we have immediate access to helicopter life flights from the Belmopan airport to Miami, Florida. I would really love to have some of you guys on board as investors for this project, we plan on keeping the pricing reasonable but we do not plan on selling just land we want to do the land and house all as a package deal. We own the land out right so we are offering our own in house financing on the entire project. To make it clear you will be financing land and house (you will chose from our portfolio of homes) and we will build. We are redesigning what was a half done golf course so roads and lights and water is already in, cable and phone all available for immediate hookup and you can also bring your magic jack voip or skyp with your computer and set it up in your home or condo allowing you to stay in touch with family and friends worldwide at no high cost of international phone call bills. If you are a developer, realtor, engineer or have any other special skills that would be a contributing factor to our development, please contact me and let me know how you can help and that you would like to be involved in this special project. I really invite you all to get in touch and join me on a project very dear to me and walk with me through the development of this wonderful Golf Course Resort from ground level. The more team players I can acquire from the US can help to shape the new investment minds of Belize in the Real Estate Arena. If you are a golfer or know a well known golfer that you can bring on board to help with the redesigning of the golf course I welcome you too.

    Thank You and hope to hear from you.

  • Hello,

    I AM so glad to have found this blog by people who appear educated and do their due diligence when investing in real estate in another country.

    I AM a New York State Licensed Realtor and have developed land (110 lots) and an Island to sell on behalf of my clients.

    Since I AM looking for developers in Belize I have been trying to call a certain number in California. Every telephone number is answered by an answering service and no telephone calls or e-mails are ever answered.

    Has anyone ever heard of a Luke Chawick or gpa developers?

    Can anyone help me out with names and telephone numbers?

    Any information will be helpful.

    Thank you so much and good luck to all of you who are looking to invest or retire in Belize.

    P.S. By the way, I AM NAR (Association of Realtors)accredited CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist) and I AM in contact with Belize Realtors who abide by the same Code of NAR Ethics as I do. I do have insider information from these realtors which I will be glad to share with any of you on a one to one basis if you so desire.

  • Hi, I AM 21 and bought a 1.3 acre lot in January 2014. In my opinion because they finance the lots, this is a good investment for someone around my age. By the time I can make money off this, which could be around or up until 20 years from now, that is still a good time frame to enjoy from its benefits. Plus, where I live costs next to nothing to fly business class to Belize. Everyone has their speculations of what is too good to be true, but there’s also faith and that’s what I believe.

  • Thank you for the first real truth about "sanctuary Belize"it read as "to good to be true" and now we are finding the REAL truth about this place.

  • The visit to Sanctuary Belize was quite interesting. Not knowing what we were getting into was tough and would have been made much easier if more information were available up front. One of the questions we had was the cost of homes but we could not get that information until we actually had a tour. Once we understood the cost of homes we could actually see what the real investment was.

    They have a long way to go to get the infrastructure in place where the area is at least liveable. They did state they could get a home built and occupied in 6 months but the builder did not seem to be very optimistic on that timeframe. Right now it may be a good investment to flip the property and make some quick money. I have several pictures and video from our trip if you would like to see the conditions while we were there in November.

    Once things really get moving there, will see how investments pan out.

  • The Sanctuary Belize development was tainted from the beginning and started with $40 million stolen from a mutual fund managed by one of the original principals. At one time it was seized by IRS and then somehow resurfaced with a new investor group (I doubt it). Meanwhile I sat in the Belize Airport and watched all the folks getting their free trip go excitedly through there.

    Meanwhile I bought a waterfront lot on the Placencia Peninsula from a local agent (not an American con artist), hired a local Mennonite Builder and now have a thriving vacation rental (www.CasaLagunaVista.com). Moral of the story is they have to pay for those expensive trips someway. Always do a little LOCAL research and get the real skinny on things before you buy.

  • There are valid developments in Belize; many nice places to live; but sometimes to get what you want you need to build. I recommend prospective real estate purchasers come down for an extended stay, rent, look around, learn what is reasonable and reliable, then buy. Unfortunately clients sometimes don’t follow my advice. Belize is a third (really second) world country and has lots to offer. Like other countries there are pros and cons. We retired here and we love it. But, as you discovered, it isn’t for everyone.

  • If you want to live in Belize, there are a lot of way better priced pieces of bush to build a house on. I’ve been in that place (my husband’s company was doing some fill and gravel work there) and i can’t believe what those lots are going for, let alone the houses (of the few that are built). Plus, it is so isolated! I mean there are prettier, cheaper places to buy and build on that there.

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