Leo DiCaprio’s Belize Keeps the Vision for Sanctuary Belize
Four-time Oscar-nominee, Leonardo DiCaprio, is investing in Belize and championing some restorative initiatives along that country’s Central American coastline. But he is not the only one. Sanctuary Belize, a 14,000-acre real estate resort front on Belize’s southeast coast, is also working to preserve the country’s pristine jungles and delicate cayes for those who want to visit and live in Belize.
Sanctuary Belize is a 20-minute direct flight from Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City to a private airstrip at Kanantik, gateway to Sanctuary Belize. A country of only 332,000 people, Belize is considered more like Costa Rica of the 1990s or Hawaii of the 1960s — a pristine destination to visit and a fabulous place to live, whether for a few weeks of full time. Cities are never too large, crime is not common and the U.S. dollar there goes a long way.
While DiCaprio is working with luxury resort developers to create a 104-acre exclusive eco-resort, Sanctuary Belize is creating its own sustainable master-planned community of some 2,000 home sites as well as villas and condos. Both developments have been inspired by the unspoiled environment that Belize presents and are committed to keeping the land and shores as clean and pure as they have ever been.
“We are heartened by Mr. DiCaprio’s interest in Belize and excited by his vision. Similar to Mr. DiCaprio, our goal in creating Sanctuary Belize was to build something committed to environmental sustainability. We are creating a footprint that makes as much sense to the country and its people as it does to the people choosing to live and retire there,” says John Usher, Sanctuary Belize board chairman. “That means infusing best practices into all of our building and development plans and providing efficient infrastructure to manage these processes effectively.”
To comply with the strict commitment to environmental protection espoused by the government of Belize, a range of policies and practices are in place at Sanctuary Belize. These include: Recycling; Green energy solutions; Water saving and collection; Conservation; Appropriate disposal systems; Preservation of mangrove systems: Attention to native plants and vegetation; Organic farming and community sharing, among others.
Of the Sanctuary’s 14,000 acres, only 5,000 of those acres are scheduled for development, leaving the remaining area under protection and untouched. In addition, Sanctuary Belize adjoins a 110,000-acre jaguar and wildlife preserve that is also mandated to remain untouched.
DiCaprio’s efforts in Belize will be focused on Blackadore Caye, a 104-acre tropical private island the actor will be turning into an exclusive eco-luxury resort. DiCaprio’s intensive efforts at environmental restoration shall be put to good use and eventually create a private island paradise with posh villas, precious infinity pools and stunning sunset views.
Similarly, Sanctuary Belize has sugar sand beachfront and a perfectly preserved, albeit uninhabited, island just a few minutes away available for exclusive use by Sanctuary Belize’s guests and residents. While Phase One of Sanctuary Belize’s planned development is nearly sold, Phase Two goes into effect shortly and those plans include a resort hotel, a medical tourism hospital, an equestrian center and possibly a casino — all managed under ambitious sustainability policies initiated in the master plan. Sanctuary Belize offers high-end luxury in concept, but for those who want to experience that life and live it as a lifestyle, Sanctuary Belize offers affordable ways to access this life.
DiCaprio expects to see his concepts for Blackadore Caye come to fruition in 2018. Sanctuary Belize, meanwhile, is in motion with some 1,000 home sites sold, a 250-slip marina just nearing completion and new phases of development in the offing.
“We are not surprised Leo DiCaprio fell in love with Belize and wanted to do something wonderful here,” says Usher. “It is easy to fall in love with Belize.”
See also: Second Home Tax Benefits in Belize
Belize is the latest hot spot for Americans who want to retire south of the border. Their dollar goes a long way, English is the lingua franca, and British legal systems and practices make owning property in Belize a low-risk proposition.
The number of Americans collecting Social Security in Panama, Nicaragua and Belize jumped 65% between 2006 and 2011, the latest year for which there is available information. At Sanctuary Belize the demographic shows a wide-ranging appeal and attracts people in retirement or planning for retirement, or simply seeking the right spot and lifestyle for a vacation home. Lot prices range from $149,000 to $1 million for an acre overlooking the Caribbean.
“Many people come for the amazing resorts and beaches in Belize, and many of them want to stay. So we make that possible,” adds Usher.
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