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Palapa Bar’s New Ownership Issues a Press Release About Upcoming Changes

Yesterday I posted about drama at the iconic Palapa Bar on Ambergris Caye.   I tried to stay neutral since, as I stated, only those directly involved know the truth.  I did have a little advice though…for what it’s worth…

palapa fade


And a bit about the proposed changes to the Palapa Bar property – the small condo unit just south of the dock bar.

bar pier

This morning, I received an email, a press release from Niall Gillett – whose website identifies him as a Leadership, Crisis and Reputation consultant located in Texas and Belize.

Here is what I received.

Good morning Media members,

After the elections, I believe this could be a great story idea concerning San Pedro – Sun and Sea – going into Easter.

I can arrange visits to the site or provide more details and great photos for an interesting holiday story.



For Immediate Release

March 2nd, 2015


San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. An iconic San Pedro landmark – the Palapa Bar and Grill property – is now under new ownership. The well-known, over the water tourist destination and its picturesque frontage property on the northern part of the island was purchased in January, 2015 by the “Palapa Palms Resort”.

The Palapa Bar and Grill property is well known, with extensive positive reviews (over 1,340 on Trip Advisor alone) in the international media such as Lonely Planet and Caribbean Living Magazine to name a few. Located at the end of a pier in the Tres Cocos area of San Pedro, the bar features a magnificent view of the Belize Barrier Reef from its upper deck, and cool inner tube seating right in the sea!

The new owners plan to re-develop the famous Palapa property, maintaining its character and charm while increasing the overall quality of the product. They are also in the design phase for the Palapa Palms Resort – a new, family friendly resort that will leverage green building and efficient energy management. The Resort owners say that “Our vision for the development of the property is to build on the great reputation of the Palapa Bar and Grill and create a unique boutique resort that will both compliment the Tres Cocos area and be a sought after destination location.”

They stress that no jobs will be lost under the purchase and the ten staff members currently employed by the Palapa Bar and Grill have already been informed that their professional services are valuable and will be retained should new operators take over. The current lessors of the bar are also secure under their existing contract until the end of 2015. The new owner is currently accepting new lease offers; and is currently in negotiations with several new entities.

The Palapa Palms Resort promises to be an exciting tourism addition to San Pedro’s spectacular North side, complementing the already successful Palapa Bar and Grill!



Niall Gillett

Gillett & Associates Ltd.

[email protected]

Cell: 610-5700

Office: 652-5700

USA : 832-447-3772


Best Regards,

Niall L. Gillett, J.P.

Public Relations, Reputation & Leadership Strategist

Gillett & Associates Ltd.

Corporate – Crisis – Conflict

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23 thoughts on “Palapa Bar’s New Ownership Issues a Press Release About Upcoming Changes

  1. mysteryboy

    Just heard a rumor that a certain well known SP resident may be interested in re-opening a bar on that location

    1. Belize Blog

      Re-opening that same bar? You mean taking over the lease? Well known good? Or well known bad?

    2. Marc Houde

      Guys..what can you tell me about the ABC bar next to Wild Willy’s? Do they do any significant business? It seems to be sandwiched between two competing establishments. Is this a good thing or bad?

      1. Belize Blog

        With anything business purchase (or potential), I’d certainly come down and stake it out for a while. See what is really going on…you’ll get a ton of opinions but…you really need to see it for yourself.

  2. rjhawkins

    This sounds just like the people who came in and wiped out the Lazy Lizard in Caye Caulker. Good lord, do they all use the same reputation flak when they go about their dirty business of tearing down landmarks for personal gain?

  3. Hightide01

    Does anyone else see the “whuuuut?” in this release? One paragraph cites the high ranking reviews, popularity, well known aspect, etc. then next paragraph basically says oh, but we’re going to change it all. Doesn’t make any sense to me. (But then, I didn’t go to the if-it-ain’t-broke-break-it school where evidently in addition to not teaching common sense business practices, they also don’t teach grammar, punctuation, capitalization, proofreading, etc.)

  4. Paradise

    If Scott decides to open a new bar elsewhere, this family, as well as the 20 or so friends that visit our Belize home will definitely follow him. It’s not always about the view, it’s about the people your around who make your trip to the island truly Magnificient.

  5. lifeagain

    I got no skin in the game one way or another BUT from What I see is the biggest crime the new group has committed so far is the murderr and ruin of the English language in their press release and for that alone I cringe over the transition. I hope someone is around to pick Robert Hawkins up offf the floor when he tries to read through that announcement.
    And that’s coming from me and my 7th grade educations.,..wink.wink

  6. Jim

    I’ve seen this many times in the USA and especially in San Pedro. New operators (if that is what happens) of the Palapa Bar usually means a whole new “feel” that isn’t quite the same. Scot and Jodie are a commodity that can not be bottled. Good luck, but I have my doubts. Scot and Jodie were not the first to operate this bar but they were the most successful.

  7. Concerned Citizen

    Can someone with knowledge of beach front access chime in? I believe that Belize has a law that 67 feet from water edge must be accesible to the public. Also can someone educate me on the ownership of piers and docks being that they are on water and not not leased land?

    1. Jim

      This subject has been discussed many times on the message board. Here is my understanding of this issue. It seems that you must allow access or “passage” is more like it. Someone can’t set up shop selling stuff on your beach front. They can’t come down with all their friends and decide to have a picnic.
      Docks……well to build a dock you must get a permit and show them just what you are going to build. They are trying to limit new dock construction. You would have a problem if you tried to duplicate what is now the Palapa Bar as they are not keen to structures where people will eat, live or anything like that. Most places like that were grandfathered in.
      The public may land at your dock for beach access but can not moor a boat there without your permission. The public may go out on the dock to get picked up by a boat. Access to the dock is limited basically to daylight hours and most docks don’t allow fishing and some have gate access which is closed and locked at night.

    2. octagonalsign

      The answer to this question lies in the 1886 Crown Lands Act which, in Section 37, states that any property which uses the sea or any other tidal body as its boundary shall use the line of the high water mark as its boundary. Further amplification is made in Rule 33 (3) which states that Reservations not exceeding 66 feet in width measured from the high water mark along all water frontages shall be reserved for the Government for public purposes.

      While I agree that someone cannot set up a business on the beach in front of your home, I would suggest that “public purposes” could easily include having a picnic with friends. If it were meant to be restricted to passage only they would have said “passage”.

  8. Dale

    All things Change I like San Pedro because they change slower than here in the US. Thank you Scott and Jodie for the memories you have given me and my friends. I wish you success in whatever you do.

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