Bruce Foerster & Jaguar Reef Lodge
In 1994, a young adventurous Bruce Foerster, a citizen of Canada, ventured off beyond the beaten path into southern Belize and immediately fell in love with the unspoiled coastline of the southern region of Belize with its majestic views to the Great Belize Barrier Reef and to the Maya Mountains.
Bruce Foerster becomes the first hospitality pioneer to develop and manage a resort in Hopkins Village, Belize
To develop and manage a resort in the US and Canada can be challenging. To do so, in an undeveloped country like Belize, in 1994 was just crazy. No electricity, no internet and not even phones, no water, no roads just Jungle & Beach. The Wild South of Belize, at that time.
Bruce Foerster managed to build the lodge and operated it for the last 20 years successfully. The lodge got induced into the Hall of Fame by TripAdvisor in 2015.
But it was not his brave tourism pioneer spirit that would make the young Canadian, Bruce Foerster famous. It was his continuous support for the Sea Shepherd Whale Protection Project. Bruce Foerster is a long time member of this project and environmentalist. He got honored in 2006, by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) for his outstanding performance to protect whales from the senseless Japanese whale killing.
Read the full article published by the Sea Shepherd about Bruce’s heroic achievement: The Power of One Can End the Killing of the Whales
Today, Bruce Foerster enjoys his retirement in his home country Canada, but comes back to Jaguar Reef Lodge & Spa multiple times during the year.
Ian Anderson & Caves Branch Jungle Lodge
In 1995, several villagers of the Armenia Village reported to David Hayles that a young American had trespassed on his land and was camping around the Caves Branch River. After several reports, David decided that it was time to approach the trespasser.
David Hayles and Ian Anderson struck up a conversation. Ian, a young American, driven by his untamed sense of adventure, shared his vision and enthusiasm of building a rustic Jungle River Camp with outhouses and bathing in the river. David, having the resources and knowledge to develop the idea, agreed to make the dream a reality. Ian, being the spirited adventurer he is, took on the exciting challenge of managing the resort and bringing his novel idea... "Ian Anderson Caves Branch Jungle Lodge" to life. A successful partnership was formed.
Ian Anderson has spent the last 20 years, as an active member of the Tourism Industry in Belize. He is a respected pioneer in the industry, and is credited as being the tour operator that first established cave tubing in the country. Ian has received many awards, the last in 2015 from the Belize Tourism Board for "Tour Company of the Year." The lodge has grown over the years and many amenities such as additional rooms, tree houses, a pool, a restaurant, the botanical gardens etc etc were added. Ian Anderson Caves Branch is today- "The Premier Jungle Lodge" in Belize.
In addition to building a number of successful businesses in Belize, Ian has continuously worked to give back to his adopted home, Belize. Ian along with wife Ella and Caves Branch have supported, founded, sponsored and coordinated multiple efforts to create positive experiences and opportunities for Belizean youths as well as provide emergency aid for Belizeans and tourists alike. The Belize National Youth Foundation, Packed for a Purpose, Belize Disaster and Rescue Response Team and the Youth at Learning Risk Projects in Belize, are some of the programs Ian and Ella Anderson have developed over the years.
Ian Anderson and his wife Ella, are still active managing the Lodge onsite and they mingle with the Lodge guests on a daily basis.
David Hayles & ViVA BELiZE Hotel Group & Adventure Company
David Hayles, "The Visionary" and owner of ViVA BELiZE Hotel Group & Adventure Company, visited Belize for the first time in 1989. It was a different Belize than what it is today, but David fell in love with it. The Canadian entrepreneur came in and out of the Country for the first couple of years and invested in land. 1994, he started his first farm producing citrus.
David Hayles is today one of the largest citrus producers in Belize and it was more by chance that the Canadian got involved in the tourism industry. First, the partnership with Ian Anderson in 1995, later the partnership with Bruce Foerster in 2004, was just the start to a long journey of becoming the leading Hotel Group & Adventure Company in Belize.
David Hayles is a gifted architect and developer. His newest products, Sleeping Giant Lodge and Villa Margarita are a clear statement of the direction of his future developments. High quality resort developments, environmentally friendly and sustainable designs combined with professional Full Service Hotel Management. The ViVA BELiZE Hotel Group and Adventure Company has received numerous Tourism awards over the last years. This at the end of the day, is reflecting the professional and consistent leadership of David Hayles.
David and his wife Patty Hayles, live in Belmopan, the Capital City of Belize, where the headquarter of ViVA BELiZE is located. They are both very passionate about the diverse businesses they operate and are both seen on a regular basis at the resorts.
The Hayles support since many years, The Marla House of Hope, a children home in Belmopan. Not only did the couple adopted their two beautiful girls from the home, but their support for the project goes above and beyond what one would expect. Marla's House of Hope provides safe, loving, nurturing care for God's Children who have been removed from an abusive environment.