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Chabil Mar Villas, Placencia, Belize
Chabil Mar Villas, Placencia, Belize
Chabil Mar Villas, Placencia, Belize

Any informed person you talk with about investing in Belize will tell you there have been real estate developments in the country over the years that were good and then there were others that were, well to be polite, not so good.

Those that have followed the real estate trends down in the western Caribbean country synonymous with jungle paradise and diving off the second largest barrier reef on the planet will admit that in the last decade real estate purchases in Belize have really taken off. Experienced travellers to Belize will also all agree that the shoreline of beach along the Placencia Peninsula is the best that Belize has to offer.

This writer too has had an opportunity to purchase oceanfront Placencia back in 1997. However, my failure to convince a handful of investors poolside one day in Charlotte, North Carolina, represents no doubt one of the more disappointing lost opportunities of my short life. And just like my own original concept back in the late 1990's, many of the developers with their grand plans had arrived to Belize with noble intentions, but in time they too were simply never able to bring their deals to fruition. To be honest, luxury complimented with the required amenities that truly define a great property, less a handful of the notable exceptions of properties scattered around Belize, has simply not arrived to the small country.

'Chabil Mar Villas' are deluxe villas located on Belize's best stretch of beach on the Placencia peninsula.
The pool at 'Chabil Mar Villas' overlooks the Caribbean waters.  
All that changed for Placencia on June 20, 2005, with the grand opening of Chabil Mar Villas, "Beautiful Sea Villas". Any potential investor looking for a quality villa for retiring or a return on their piece of paradise should not hesitate to contact the sales offices of Ms. Dianne Bulman at Sea View Properties. And with less than eight of the original twenty-two villas remaining available for purchase, I suggest you make the call sooner than later. For you certainly don't want to be sitting back years from now telling your friends over an evening conversation and a glass of wine, "You know, I could have had my piece of paradise, but..."

Touring Chabil Mar Villas with Ms. Bulman prior to the opening, I was completely taken back by the sheer attention to detail, to the obvious insight into the design envisioning where the market would be if and when an investor decided to roll over their investment down the road. Although at first there were some local Placencia residents that were apprehensive based primarily upon the beautiful pier that reaches out into the Caribbean, but these were unfounded acquisitions fuelled for the most part by Internet chatters. Permits had been granted directly by the Belize Government and there had been reportedly a pier in the same location that was destroyed years back by a hurricane. In time local villagers saw the beauty of the project, and seemingly everyone has come around with their support as the complex has risen to take the peninsula into the future. One visit with Ms. Bulman and the reasons are clear.

A former Canadian paralegal from Pinantan Lake, B. C., Dianne Bulman lost her dear husband in an ultralight plane accident in 2002. But as they say one must find hope in tragedy, and Ms. Bulman found the strength to do just that. What amazed me during my research, I found Ms. Bulman to be completely open. This is very unlike the portrayals offered by two of the Placencia residents that I contacted for this article that continue to try and keep the small village, well small minded. Overcoming the realities of life brought Dianne, a sculpture by nature, and her dreams, to Belize. And it is exactly those dreams and aspirations that have dictated the design of Chabil Mar Villas to the level.

As Ms. Bulman explained to me as we together walked about Chabil Mar Villas, "I always felt that those who would purchase one of the villas would be special people that had their own reason for wanting to buy in Belize. And you know what, that is what is happening...the project is completely my dream and my design and my artwork." And knowing personally myself from experience just how frustrating building in Belize can be for many 'expats', well Dianne still has not been swayed. She went on to say, "I still love Belize as much or even more than when I came, and I will always have my home here on this most beautiful stretch of beach. My life has been a difficult journey to now but I feel very peaceful here in Belize. I have met wonderful people and want the whole world to know how amazing the Belizeans are. They are very different than any other Caribbean people and I should know, for I have travelled to all the islands and therefore, I know the difference."

Unique designs define 'Chabil Mar Villas'.
  Attention to detail and creative artwork compliment the tropical setting of the villas.
Amazingly what motivates Ms. Dianne Bulman the most is not the profits from sales of the villas but the happiness and new relationships with the investors that have decided to make Chabil Mar Villas their home. She also finds relief from the stresses of such a development from a little deaf girl named Jamie. For in Jamie Ms. Bulman finds a way to reflect, "Always remember hope and love, that we all have pain in life, but you must be strong to overcome the challenges of this life." The young girl is the daughter of a man that will be a part of the new management group that Ms. Bulman has assembled to take the operation into the future.

Favourable support in Placencia is easy to locate. I talked with Mr. Charles Leslie Junior who manages the official website for the village of Placencia ( as well as all bookings for his dad, infamous fishing guide and long term Placencia resident Charlie Leslie Senior of Tarpon Caye Lodge who hails from just across the lagoon in the village of Independence. 'Junior' told me that the village is definitely behind Ms. Bulman and the development. To quote the legendary fishing guides son, "Ms. Bulman, I believe came to Placencia, Belize, with good intentions at heart. When she first started her project, people in the village were a bit reluctant and defensive by what she was doing; I believe that is a natural human instinct. I believe that Ms. Bulman was a bit to 'rock-steady' in the way she was approaching the resistance she was getting from the villagers, but as soon as she realized that people in different countries react differently to things, she started to blend in and people were eventually in acceptance of her and her project; which by the way has added a spectacular skyline to the Placencia Village area, in my opinion."

To compliment the operation, the owners of the villas that have to date been purchased went to Ms. Bulman sharing their ideas as to what they wanted in terms of a management firm. That led them to introduce Ms. Bulman to Mr. Mark Howells from the Lamanai Outpost Lodge in northern Belize. According to Ms. Bulman, Mr. Howells has been brought in as 'managing director'. She went on to say, "Mark loved the project and the concept and has worked with me to help make my dreams be realized and also to expand upon what was already a high end villa project and is now a very high end resort. Mark will carry it to that level. All the owners but three have so far placed their units in the rental resort with Mark at its helm. Most of the owners have children in school and can only be down for Christmas and Easter and summers. They have purchased with a view to using this as their future retirement spot but for now, they understand that it is a sound investment in the rental pool."

"Chabil Mar Villas abounds with a combination of quality, individuality and artistic flare at a level which is arguably new to Belize."

As to why Mark Howells decided to take over the management of Chabil Mar Villas, he explained to me recently, "Watching the sun rise over the Caribbean from one of our luxury beach front villas will give you an appreciation why we use the word 'exquisite' when describing Chabil Mar Villas; the property abounds with a combination of quality, individuality and artistic flare at a level which is arguably new to Belize, and most definitely new to Placencia. As Belize begins to make its mark in the international tourism arena it is properties such as Chabil Mar Villas, risk takers like Dianne Bulman and a multitude of Belizeans - both of birth and of the heart - who will help put us on the map and keep us there. To say that Dianne and the many local artists and craftsmen who worked with her have succeeded, would be putting it mildly. "

Blanca Manzanilla, the General Manager of Lamanai Outpost Lodge and co-owner with Mark of the destination management company Belize Expeditions will, according to Mr. Howells, be "heavily involved with the management of Chabil Mar Villas". Ms. Manzanilla is a Belizean, she studied as a biologist both in Belize and the United States. She started at the Lamanai Outpost Lodge in 1997 as a naturalist tour guide and has since worked her way up to the position of General Manager and now has taken a serious ownership position.

As of this writing, there are only seven villas of the twenty-two available for purchase at Chabil Mar Villas. Those villas are two bedroom units ranging from US$325,000.00 to US$345,000.00. In the end, Chabil Mar Villas can be summed up best in the words of the visionary artist from Canada that brought her dreams to Belize. Ms. Dianne Bulman will tell anyone that asks, "Chabil Mar Villas is part of my walk and my destiny to end up in Belize. Through that came what I believe is a beautiful, personal project full of love and colour and excitement and hope."

Spacious verandas of the luxury beach front villas 'Chabil Mar Villas' offer a spectacular view of the turquoise Caribbean waters of southern Belize.

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