Leo’s Belizean island bling fuels fantasy

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Many of you have asked, “Will you be living next door to Leonardo DiCaprio in Belize?”

To which I reply, “Ha. Ha.”

Surely everyone knows that Leo – may I call him Leo? – owns an island. To live next door would mean treading water for an awfully long time.

DiCaprio’s 104-acre  island is about two miles long and just off the coast of Belize City. Are private islands to become the new celebrity Belize bling? The new gated community? (Everyone knows paparazzi can’t swim.)

Well,  there are about 450 more cayes (pronounce it “keys”) out there and many are indeed for sale. So it seems inevitable that celebrities would start scooping them up like jewelry. Hey, wouldn’t you if you had millions of dollars at your disposal?

As a selling point, quite a few of them list their proximity to DiCaprio’s island, Blackadore Caye. Like this one, Rosewood Caye — 25 acres and yours for under $1.3 million. It claims unobstructed views of Leo’s island, a mere four miles away.

Not that you’ll spot Leo through your binoculars or be able to cruise over and invite him aboard for drinks. DiCaprio and a co-investor plan on developing the island as a Four Seasons eco-resort. What the future owners of Rosewood will see is a presumably lovely and extremely expensive resort that is at one with nature and American Express. Maybe. It has been nine years since the island was purchased.

Wee Wee Caye, yours for a little over a half-million dollars. But it is no where near Leonardo DiCaprio's caye.
Wee Wee Caye, yours for a little over a half-million dollars. But it is no where near Leonardo DiCaprio’s caye.

My current favorite Belizean island for sale is one sent to me by my son Ryan. We shares my fantasy streak, apparently. It is called Wee Wee Caye (Yes, wee wee key) and it comes with its own solar power, dock, boats, marine research facility and a list of universities that have leased it in the past. Less than an acre, the appropriately named Wee Wee is off the coast of central Belize, far from Leo’s domain.

In Belize, DiCaprio isn’t the first celebrity to come up with this idea, either. In 2001, director Francis Ford Coppola and his wife, Eleanor, bought Turtle Inn, a resort in Placencia. Hurricane Iris almost immediately obliterated the place leading Coppola to think, “My god, what am I doing? Living through “Apocalypse Now 2: The Resort”?

Coppola must have been toughened by the endless series of off-screen (well on-screen, too,  if you count Marlon Brando) disasters that accompanied the making of his masterpiece “Apocalypse Now.” The Coppolas set about rebuilding the resort in their own vision, which is today an award-winning combination of rustic and elegant.

Our budget teeters more toward the rustic, so if anything, Turtle Inn will be a drive-by glimpse in the mirror. Those $400-plus per-night off-season rates are too rich for me!

Placencia is really a slender, dangling peninsula, not a caye.  I get the impression that it is a less-developed version of the slender, dangling Ambergris Caye, which is an island and the country’s leading tourist destination.

But, hey, wait a moment. As the oceans continue to rise — thank you, climate change — you have to wonder how many of these islands will be around in 50 years or so.  Not that I’ll be around to shore up the shore.

Still, owning an island has got to be one of the all-time top day dreams. They all seem to come standard with white sand beaches (often imported to the islands), mangrove forests, palm trees, aquamarine blue waters and heavy, heavy fantasy potential.

Buying one would make for a great episode of “House Hunters International,” the HGTV series that can be ridiculously addictive.

I can hear the narrator, Andromeda Dunker, now: “Coming in at $1.2 million, Bob and Rose’s budget is going to provide some challenges. Finding an island close to Leonardo DiCaprio’s  that has a five-bedroom cabana with hot running water and flushing toilets, wet bar, pool, 9-hole golf course, WiFi and a deep-water dock won’t be easy ….”

Guy’s gotta have dreams, don’t he?

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