History of Ambergris Caye and Ramon's Village Resort
Knowing a little of the rich history of Ramon’s Village Resort helps one appreciate its rare and rustic beauty.
On September 13, 1869, the British Honduras Courts saw fit to put Ambergris Caye on the public auction block. As the highest bidder, James Hume Blake bought Ambergris Caye with his wife’s gold for $625.00. Mr. Blake then registered Ambergris Caye in the name of his two stepdaughters, Maria Exaltacion Andrade and Romana Andrade. Romana died of influenza and Maria inherited all of Ambergris Caye.
Maria settled on Ambergris Caye with many of the families that had been with her as she fled from the Icaiche Indians on the mainland. She chose a section of land for the village, which she named San Pedro. Then she distributed her lands amongst the families that came with her. She told the head of each family, “Walk from this spot for five minutes and plant your stake. That will be your land.”
Eighty-three families that came with her became owners of the Ambergris Caye lands from Boca Chica to the South to Bacalar Chico to the North. The property where Ramon’s Village Resort sits today was named Esmeralda.
The 83 property owners immediately began developing their plantations by planting coconut trees. Within 5 years, the trees were bearing fruit and the coconut industry did very well. However, in 1942 a devastating hurricane hit the island reeking havoc on the houses and flattening many of the coconut plantations, forcing many laborers and plantation owners to seek new professions. Many resorted to the logical choice of fishing, which has proved to be a very wise decision.
In 1961, Ambergris Caye’s first hotel was built on this very site, where Ramon’s Village stands today, by Vernon and Terry Hammon. It was a beautiful place named Reef Colony Club, which consisted of 6 to 8 luxury, individual units with bedrooms, kitchens, private lawns, gardens and access to the beach.
However, the hotel was destroyed by category 5 Hurricane Hattie the night after its completion. It sat in ruin for 20 years until a group of investors from Meridian, Mississippi bought the property.
The investors were frequent visitors to Ambergris Caye, who enjoyed the wonderful fishing. Each time they came, Ramon Nunez was their fishing guide.
One day, Ramon told the group about the property with the ruins of Reef Colony. They purchased it under one condition: Ramon would run their new hotel. He said, “Yes,” and they named the property Ramon’s Reef Resort. They dug the sand out of the original Reef Colony pool, which was the first pool on the island, opened the restaurant, built ten cabanas and opened for business. Ramon ran everything himself, with the help of his wife, Micky, who did the cooking.
An additional five cabanas were built in 1982 and Ramon’s Reef Resort remained virtually unchanged until Richard Headrick, a businessman from Laurel, Mississippi, stopped by one evening to spend the night while en route to Honduras. He was greeted by Ramon who, with arms opened wide, said, “Welcome to the land-of-make-Belize, mi amigo!” Richard knew immediately that this little place was to be his. He discovered that the owners lived only fifty miles from his home in the States. After a year of negotiations, a deal was struck at midnight on March 10, 1987, whereas Richard Headrick became the new owner on April 21, 1987, and is still the owner today. Richard had the same conditions as the previous owners: Ramon had to stay on as manager. He said, “Ramon, all I want you to do is hug the ladies and make everyone else feel good!” And, as the legendary host that he is, Ramon has done a great job at that! Soon after, the name was changed to Ramon’s Village Resort.
Richard moved to Ambergris Caye in 1987, bringing the island’s first fax machine with him. The original renovations and additions to the property began in phases, which would ultimately take years to complete. Ongoing renovations continue to this day, however, it is our intent to keep Ramon’s tropically rustic and captivatingly quaint.
In the summer of 2000, construction began on Steve and Becky’s Cute Little Hotel, a British Colonial style property across the street from Ramon’s Village Resort built to handle overflow guests. At the same time another extensive upgrade to Ramon’s was underway. However, a few weeks from the completion, Hurricane Keith sidetracked our efforts. Steve and Becky’s was put on hold and Ramon’s was closed for the better part of 3 months to repair the storm damage and complete the renovation. Thanks to Keith, we were able to provide our newly remodeled rooms with all new furnishings! (If you would like to see what a category 4 storm can do, we have a few pictures in the hotel lobby.)
Steve & Becky’s Cute Little Hotel became so popular that the name was later changed to the Belizean Princess and is a charming retreat for budget-minded travelers.
Ramon’s Village Resort has seen a lot of changes over the years, the last ones being in late 2009 when Richard and Gina spent $1,000,000 USD to spruce the place up a bit. If you’ve been to Ramon’s before, you’ll appreciate what we’ve done. But one thing that remains constant is the staff. Several members of our staff have been with us over 20 years, and many more have been here 10 to 15. We are grateful to hear comments that Ramon’s has “the best location,” “the best beach,” “the most beautiful landscaping,” “the most unique accommodations,” etc. But without a doubt, the comment we hear the most and are most thankful for is, “Ramon’s has the best staff in the world!” We agree! We are blessed with wonderful people who make it their mission to make your experience at Ramon’s Village Resort the very best possible.
We hope your visit will be enjoyable and we all look forward to seeing you soon, in the land-of-make-Belize, mi amigo!