Celebrities Drawn to Belize
by Skip Knowles
(PLACENCIA, Belize) – As Belize becomes one of the biggest boom areas of the Caribbean, affluent visitors-and more and more celebrities-soon find themselves switching from the adventures of island-hopping to the pastime of island-shopping… at the same time provocative options on the mainland are taking off.
Whether fly fishing, diving or sailing, wealthy visitors soon hear that private islands and prime properties can be purchased in Belize from original owners for a fraction of what waterfront costs back in the U.S. and elsewhere in the Caribbean. Tiger Woods, Charlize Theron, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lennox Lewis, Harrison Ford and Francis Ford Coppola have all either visited or bought property in Belize, with Tiger going non-stop fly-fishing, snorkeling, kayaking and diving, according the San Pedro Sun.
Tiger is an avid diver, who has been all over the world underwater, plunged in the waters off San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker and Lighthouse reef. “These waters are incredible!” he told the Sun. “I have been diving in many places and Belize is definitely top notch. The Blue Hole is spectacular. The water was so clear everywhere we went. The diving near San Pedro was really impressive. Hol Chan is a very special place with the sharks and rays, and the people of San Pedro have done a great job taking care of it.”
After visiting Shark-Ray Alley he told the Sun, “I have never done anything like that in my life. It was awesome!” Tiger’s wife, Swedish model Elin Nordegren, accompanied him, and his close friends, Jerry and Danielle Change, had honeymooned at Cayo Espanto just prior to Woods’ visit. Tiger reportedly claimed himself “about a seven-handicapper” with the fly rod.
Ambergris Caye is also where Harrison Ford stayed while filming The Mosquito Coast years ago. He went on to become a writer and environmental advocate for Belize, fighting to stop the construction of a dam that would harm flood plains that lay undisturbed since the time of the Maya.
See also: 24 epic journeys to take across Belize
While the Bahamas has been a draw for the trendy island homes of many celebs in recent decades, Belize is quickly moving into the mix for its more consistent climate, warmer water and weather, affordability, incredible barrier reef and proximity to that which the Bahamas will never have: an astonishingly bio-diverse mainland replete with stunning waterfalls, ancient ruins, jaguar jungles, mountains and rushing whitewater rivers. Not to mention super-friendly tax laws and the fact that Belize is an English-speaking member of the British Commonwealth.