Caye Caulker has a long history of trying to build beaches – only to have them reclaimed by the tides, or occupied by some developer. But, the island
called “Carinosa” continues to push for a beach, and a beach it has. The Belize Tourism Board sponsored a project which reclaimed
1,883 linear feet of the beach with widths varying from 70 to 118 feet. It runs between the Sobre las Olas restaurant to Rainbow Restaurant, and then
there are widths varying from 40 to 60 feet in areas between Blue Island pier to Len’s Guest House. The BTB reports that 22,000 cubic yards of material
were pumped unto the beach.
The project goes along with the establishment of an improved craft centre for local artisans in Caye Caulker.
The Ministry of Tourism and Culture along with the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) collaborated to rehabilitate a stretch of beach in Caye Caulker opened to the public on March 12 2016.
Minister of Tourism, Manuel Heredia, stated that the project took five months to be completed and aims to enhance the aesthetics of the island to make it more appealing for the tourists.
“As you know, tourists are like 75 percent of the island’s population and when they are on vacation they want to be in a beautiful place. So with this project, we want to make La Isla Carinosa more beautiful, and some day we can say it is more beautiful than La Isla bonita,” Heredia remarked.
The Minister also mentioned that the process of beach beautification was a difficult ordeal because of the environmental challenges the sea represented.
In all, Heredia thanked the BTB board and the Caye Caulker Village Council for their continuous support. He stated that the Ministry was able to balance the budget for the project, which comprised of around $500,000 for the project itself and advertise the new attraction.
He stated that the Ministry will engage in three other projects that they already have in mind to beautify the island.
Sun and beach are two principal attractions that lure visitors to Belize. In the case of Caye Caulker or La Isla Carinosa swimming, surfing, sailing or other water sports are favorite activities. This past weekend, a five-month initiative was completed to improve public beaches on the island as part of the National Sustainable Tourism Development Plan. A total of one thousand eight hundred linear feet of the beach was reclaimed in areas between Sobre las Olas to Rainbow Restaurant and between Blue Island Pier to Len’s Guest House. News Five’s Duane Moody was at the event and files the following report.
Duane Moody, Reporting
Over the past five months, the Belize Tourism Board embarked on the very expensive process of reclaiming beach on La Isla Cariñosa. The project came following the completion of an action plan for the sustainable tourism development of Caye Caulker back in September of 2015. In the process, several beaches were chosen for much needed infrastructural improvement. With half a million dollars from the B.T.B. coffers, the project has now become a reality.
Manuel Heredia Jr.
Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism
“The reason why this was able to be done is because of the prudent management of my director and her staff. Gone are the days when monies would be wasted in other things. She was able to save money and now we have monies for marketing and monies for small projects. This was one of those projects that was accomplished through that initiative. And it was in the tune of about half a million dollars that was invested in the beach reclamation and I can guarantee you that the value of the investment is here. It is very expensive to do beach reclamation and so the amount of beach that we have gotten for the money that we invested is well worth it.”
Kevin Gonzalez, Director for Special Projects, B.T.B.
“The company that did the filling of the beach; I’ll be honest and tell you they exceeded what we asked for. They went further—we accomplished almost two thousand feet of beach—and they went broader in terms of length from beach to sea. They exceeded what we wanted and that’s a good thing.”
Approximately twenty-two thousand cubic yards of material were pumped into the area by the contractor, Belize Marine Sand and Gravel. The location serves as the largest public swimming area and hosts many festivals, including the popularly known Lobster Festival in June. B.T.B.’s Kevin Gonzalez, who was the project coordinator, says that it complements the tourism master plan for the island.
“Sun and beach is one of the products that the Belize Tourism Board pushes and advertizes. It is one of the products stated clearly in the master plan. And you should also know that seventy-five percent of our visitors to Caye Caulker are Europeans coming for sun and beach. And if you don’t have the product to offer to our guests, you would certainly lose business. And today, this is what tourism is all about: making business work for you, making business work for the community, making business work for Caye Caulker and indirectly making economic benefits for our country.”
Traditionally, there was once a beach on Caye Caulker, just as in San Pedro. But due to erosion and other natural phenomenon, the beach washed away. With the new improvement, there is need for monitoring.
“The island did have a large beach…almost to where it was, probably a little more. There is erosion. It’s hard to tell how long the beach will last, but we calculate from past experience that it will stay for a while, particularly the way it is done. Coincidentally we have a study that will be conducted under IDB STPII program that will be looking at currents and erosion affects particularly Caye Caulker. So we hope to get that done in the next year or two. And that will tell us better if we should fill more south.”
Manuel Heredia Jr.
“And let us try to keep it as clean as possible. If we have something good, let us keep it as clean as possible. Let us encourage our kids and our people from Caye Caulker to take care of something good that has been done. I will be lobbying in the future to see if we can do an additional amount of beach for Caye Caulker.”