Close this search box.

The Boca Del Rio Area

The area of Boca del Rio never existed twenty five years ago. From present day Paradise Hotel to Boca del Rio it was all bush. We called the waterway Boca del Rio, but it is not a river. It is a canal believed to have been cut by a hurricane or dug by the Maya Indians who inhabited the island many hundreds of years ago. If you wanted to enter that area, you had to get into the bush just past Paradise Hotel and adventure the wildlife. There were all kinds of birds that nested in the bush as well as two small marshlands or small lagoons in the area of the high school and Seven Seas Hotel.

Children delighted in venturing into these areas to catch land turtles, which we kept as pets. The beach area was totally dirty with lots of seaweed and debris, which drifted from outer sea unto the beach. There were bottles, dolls, cans, bulbs, bamboo, buoys made of glass or plastic, sandals, shoes, and other odds and ends of things that were discarded from ships sailing through the Caribbean Sea. Children loved to practise target shooting by hurling stones at the bulbs and also wearing one sandal, which our parents told us was bad because of a superstition that your mother would die if you wear only one sandal. There is where I disproved superstitions for I wore lots of single sandals picked up along the beach. The seabed along this beach was infested with conch. If you paddled your dory along the beach you could load it with conch in an hour or so. The conch was collected mostly for home use, to make a scrumptious conch ceviche, or a delicious conch chowder.

There were some really smelly areas along the beach from Paradise to the Boca del Rio because there were patches of mangroves where the debris settled and a horrible stench was created. These dirty smelly areas discouraged anyone from living on those areas.

Now the entire area from Paradise Hotel to the river belonged to one Mr. Roger Reid, who was married to one of the Blake daughters, so I imagined he got that for free or very little money. When the village really needed land for expansion back in 1971, this was the area that the government of Mr. George Price decided to acquire to provide land for the villagers. The court settled on an acquisition price, which I recall was about 72 thousand dollars, and the local lands committee proceeded to issue land to those interested. Ironically, the entire area was to have been a residential area, but with no zone planning at the time and no forceful Housing and Planning Authority, the first developments after a few homes were some hotels too. People got their plots of land for something like four thousand dollars. Some villagers later on turned and sold their parcels for 75 thousand dollars, more than the price for the entire Boca Del Rio Area.

One of the first to build in the area was George Eiley and Mrs. Leonor Rosado. It was a challenge for there were no roads, lights, telephone etc. The high school broke grounds back in 1981, and up until then there were no amenities in the area. Yes, past students recall entering the jungle out there with shovels and machetes to clear the bush to start building the new school, and like them, many others who cleared their land to make the entire Boca Del Rio Area what it is today. All of this occurred more or less from 1980 to the present. The lovely houses along the beach of Boca Del Rio are a testimony of a hard working people who helped carve a part of our Isla Bonita. Twenty Five Years Ago salutes you.

Photo Caption:
1. Boca del Rio area before development.
2. Boca Del Rio area even has its own park now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *