Sanctuary Belize


I’ve never written about International real estate on my site before but it is something that has always been an interest of mine. I have previously owned in Costa Rica and have been looking for another opportunity. A friend of mine told me about a development in Belize called Sanctuary Belize that is doing some really cool things and the cost of getting involved wasn’t too high. I was intrigued.

I got in touch with Sanctuary Belize and was able to get on a 2 day property tour at their property and the surrounding area. I must say that it was an eye opening experience.

I had previously done a few day tours with time shares in different places that I have traveled to. I get invites all the time and once in a while I do it because they’ll give you free flights, hotel rooms, etc. but I have never taken it that seriously. This was different.

Sanctuary Belize is a 14,000 acre area in south central Belize. It piqued my interest because of the diversity of the products, meaning land lots that they offer. Their property consists of different types of lots from beachfront to river to equestrian to savannah and the most interesting thing to me is that they are building the largest marina in all of Belize.

It will be a 250 slip, full-service marina with a yacht club, restaurant, shops and the whole nine yards. The current construction of the marina is actually mind blowing to see in person. It is quite an undertaking and it is the centerpiece of their development plan.

The savannah terrain is gorgeous inland from the marina with a beautiful river flowing through the property. Wildlife and mangroves surround you and you almost think you’re in the Serengeti and are anticipating elephants and lions to jump out at you. It feels like another world. But that’s only one reason why Belize is attractive to buy real estate.

Another reason is the native language in Belize is English. While I speak Spanish, I remember the hassles in dealing with my property in Costa Rica given the legal contracts and the complicated wording. In English, it’s easy to understand and you don’t have to rely so much on a lawyer. The other obvious advantage is that you can communicate better with everyone in Belize and still get the tropical climate that you crave.

The reason why Sanctuary Belize is an attractive place to invest is that aside from having an awesome product with over 350 lots already sold; they have no debt. This is very important. Trust me, I used to work in corporate finance. They self finance everything and have enough working capital to continue to grow the property and develop it properly.

Many developers will try and raise the capital and then start building and developing. This is often a recipe for disaster. Sanctuary Belize has good monthly cash flow; which gives them the ability to really deliver on what they’re trying to accomplish.

I spoke with several land owners on site and they all raved about how much progress has been made in the last year or two. In fact they are planning a big marina flooding ceremony once they have finished putting up all the retention walls around the marina. I would love to see that in person because they will basically be knocking down a dam of earth to flood the massive marina from the adjoining bay.

Perhaps the biggest selling point to me was that there is a new International airport being built and nearly completed in Placencia; which is about 15 minutes from Sanctuary Belize. What this means is that it will be much more accessible to get to Southern Belize from anywhere in the world; especially Europe.

The new airport will be targeting European package tourists coming in direct from London, Germany etc. Currently, anyone coming in from Europe has to transit through the United States; which can be a hassle for some nationalities. This will certainly benefit the local economy; which will in turn make the value of the land around it more and more valuable. A similar thing happened a few years ago in Costa Rica, which really helped developments, hotels and land values.

The property, the new airport and the price were good selling points but what really sold me on the property was visiting their private island called Sanctuary Caye, only about 30-40 minutes away via boat or wave runner.

To say that it was just beautiful would be an insult to beautiful. It is a stunning island with the footprints to develop some hotel units, etc. that the owners will be free to use at any time. This is a huge factor in the decision to invest in property with Sanctuary Belize. In fact, on my group tour, several people signed their contracts right there on the island in these bamboo palapas you see.

The simple fact is that many people are scared to invest in International real estate because they don’t know the market or they get nervous about the developer or the government. Belize has a stable government. They speak English. Sanctuary Belize actually has a financial incentive package with the Belizean Government; which is very important. They also have an on site respected Belizean partner (and a really nice guy) to insure that everything is flowing smoothly on site and he maintains government relations.

The developer and their partners have achieved numerous accolades from around the world at real estate conferences (if you pay attention to stuff like that); and were voted the top land development in Belize last year.

I came into the tour curious but standoffish about making an investment. However, after going on the tour, meeting the staff, developers and most importantly the other people buying property I was sold. The beauty of the land mixed with the incredible island made me confident that this was a good investment.

The attractive financing options clinched the deal for me. Even if I never actually live at Sanctuary Belize, I can resell the property and I know that I will make a nice profit from it. I am very excited about my decision to invest at Sanctuary Belize and I look forward to watching the progress going forward.

Comments

  1. Looks like a beautiful property and I love the island pictures, good luck with it!

  2. You should move to Honduras ;-)

  3. Sounds like an interesting investment and I just checked out their website…my wife and I are looking at maybe buying in Nicaragua but maybe we will check into Belize. Thanks.

  4. How much did you pay for your lot?

  5. Beautiful pictures of the water and those huts over the water.

  6. I like the island!

  7. Thanks lee, will keep this place in mind. I am only 22 but am very interested in buying a place as an investment in Central America or the Caribbean. My dad does International RE and has bought and sold down there for years. I emailed him the website as well although he’s already retired-that island looks sick! Safe travels and I love your new site.

  8. Congratulations Lee! The island looks amazing, I would like to come and visit there.

  9. Barry Silver says:

    Hi Lee, interesting article, not your usual. It just happens that I just bought a place in Costa Rica last year and had two questions…where did you buy in Costa Rica and other than Belize, did you look at other Central American countries. We haven’t built our house yet, we just bought the lot up in Guanacaste and I have been having many problems with the process as you mentioned because it’s all in Spanish. Thanks.
    Barry

  10. Congrats! Looks stunning Lee…

  11. That savannah/tundra pic does look like the Serengeti or Kruger Park

  12. If I ever get some $$ I will buy there too, looks amazing!

  13. Hi Lee, I recently bought in Mexico not far from Merida…do you know anything about real estate there. We got a great deal and it is an up and coming area. Belize was intriguing to me. I checked into a few places but didn’t seem like the right fit for us. My wife is also Mexican so that ended up being the deciding factor to be honest! Are you married? Probably not but if you are then you know what I mean, especially a Latina woman!

  14. Thanks a lot guys for the comments…sorry I haven’t responded earlier but I was out all day yesterday and the wifi at the hotel isn’t working. Barry, I didn’t look much into other Central American countries specifically but have always kept and eye and ear open to deals, developments, trends, etc. I owned 10 years ago in CR near Playa Jaco.

    Sean, if you or your dad have any questions, let me know, good luck to you and good for you for starting early!

    Ken, I am not married, you are correct. But I do know that you should probably listen to your wife, especially if she’s Latina! No I don’t know much about real estate in Merida but I have heard people are buying there as an alternative to the Riviera Maya if they want to stay in Mexico but that’s all I got.

    Thanks again everyone.

  15. Sounds like a great opportunity. So are you going to end up designing the house you bought yourself? How many homes do they plan to build. Hopefully it doesnt get over run by too many people once completed.

  16. Lee, Looks AMAZING! WOW! Cannot wait for Spring Break–we leave for HAWAII in 2 days! Yahoo! Lisa

  17. Hi Lee…

    Great to see you bought with us. Yes, Sanctuary, Belize is a great place and is very well organized. As the development progresses it just gets better. The clincher for my wife and I was that Belize is not just English, but also British Common Law so it is a familiar legal system whereas the rest of Central America and Mexico is Napoleonic Law – If you don’t understand it, get a lawyer.. at least with BCL there is a familiarity for most folks.

    Congratulations on your purchase. Looking forward to seeing you more often down here.

    John & Lucy

  18. Thanks guys, Dave I haven’t gotten that far but will likely use the designer Chris they use down there, I actually met him and he was a nice guy and I saw some of his work.

  19. Steve & Jill Minor says:

    Hi Lee,

    We enjoyed sharing the Sanctuary experience with and you our conversations. The guy that travels the world and sees the vision to purchase in this development is refreshing and a confidence builder.
    Jill and I are excited about our purchase and can’t wait to see the progress continue. Sanctuary will be the best development in all of Belize and we walked away feeling really good about our decision. Hope to see you again at the Marina Flooding Party and wish you the best in your future sailing journey.

    Cheers!

    Steve & Jill

  20. What are the prices and financing options Lee?

  21. Hey Lee, I’m actually heading to Belize to look at property, but up in the jungle, not near the coast. How far are you along in developing your property. Any plans to get to Belize in 2014 or are you planning on renting it out? Thanks

  22. Hi Lee, my wife and I are about to go down and check out Sanctuary Belize and I’m wondering now that you’ve owned there for awhile, how have you’re impressions of the development changed over time? Would you still recommend it?

    Thanks,

    Manny

  23. Yma Sautbine says:

    Hi there. We are a family looking to move down to Belize. My husband has been in the construction business for 20 years, and can do everything in construction from digging a foundation (obviously not too pertinent in Belize) to pounding the roof on. He has plumbing and electrical skills, and is the best worker in the world. I was a tour guide until I married him, and have a strong desire to start a tour company in the most beautiful place in the world: Belize. I lived around the Cayo district and on Caye Caulker for a while, and have wanted to return since the day I left (and I will not spend any more soul-sucking winters in Minnesota). What I’m wondering is if there’s any developers (perhaps yourself?) down there looking for a person like my husband to hire.

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