If Hollywood needs a set for a movie that takes place in an abandoned resort by the sea, Lighthouse Beach Resort is the place. It has a beautiful white sand beach, aquamarine water, extensive reefs and native wildlife — menacing iguanas and eight-inch land crabs. It even has an airstrip, making it the perfect location for a drug smuggling operation or a short story by Jimmy Buffett.
At one time the Belizean resort on Northern Cay, Lighthouse Reef, must have had some life in it. About ten pastel cottages line the beach, facing the northwest to capture spectacular sunsets. A two-story lodge built of cinder blocks sits opposite a ramshackle wooden building. A couple of satellite dishes stand at the feet of palm trees whose tops have been sheared off. In the third edition of her cruising guide, printed in 2007, Captain Freya Rauscher, the author of To Belize and Mexico’s Caribbean Coast, indicates that Lighthouse Beach Resort housed a thriving diving center where people the world over gathered to explore Belize’s famous reefs and the nearby Blue Hole.
Was it a hurricane that drove away the guests and the owners? All that remains is the caretaker, Lloyd Phillips, who spends 30 days at a stretch at the ghost resort to ward off thieves. Not only is there very little to steal, a desperate robber would have to travel 20 or 30 miles by boat from the nearest port to do the dirty work.
Lloyd says that someone recently bought the resort. Good luck with that. An investor would have to recoup her money in ten years or kiss it good-bye with the first hurricane for surely the cost of insurance would exceed the value of the property itself.