The Aguada Restaurant sits on an Ancient Mayan watering hole where the people of Santa Elena would take their horses to bathe. For generations, the pond has been a meeting place within the town, a place of community and culture.
Founder, Mr. Bill Butcher, aspired to honor that piece of culture and create a space where the community could continue to gather and share an authentic Belizean experience.
From the first time Mr. Bill Butcher visited Belize, he felt a strong connection to the landscape and the people and in 1992, without so much as a plan, he and his Belizean-American wife followed their hearts and moved “home.”
They settled in the Cayo District and opened the Aguada, a process which left him swindled for over $40K in the first year, but his passion for Belize and the ambition to create something that would offer security for his family led him to continue moving forward.
When Br. Bill first opened their business, they started humbly, with one hotel room and a restaurant in the middle of a field… the road was over four blocks away!
Little by little, room by room, he developed the Aguada. His first customers were the construction workers who were pushing the roads in the small Central American town. They would stop by his restaurant and start their days with an ice cold Stout, before they ventured out to grow the town.
Just down the road was another hotel that had already found success. A natural entrepreneur, Mr. Bill took note. “Model success, don’t reinvent the wheel.” He says. “They got a pool, I got a pool,” and for over twenty years, people have been gathering at the Aguada to embrace the authentic Belizean experience that he and his family have created.
Fast forward to August of 2021, the Butcher family handed the keys to the Aguada to mother-daughter hoteliers, Donna and Hailey Powell.
Handing over a family business requires trust and confidence and when Mr. Butcher and Donna met, it was like they had known one another for years. With so many parallels in their life adventures, including both of them moving their families to Belize when their daughters were twenty-three, they connected instantly.
“I was mesmerized by his light and the happiness that he radiated.” Donna recalls. “The Butchers are an amazing family, full of light.”
From rural Oklahoma, Donna and Hailey grew up far from the Caribbean, but Donna, a serial entrepreneur, sought a place where she and her daughter could start a business in a safe and positive environment… she prayed for it, and she found it in Belize where the mother-daughter team owns Drift Inn San Pedro, the Aguada, Drift Inn Cayo, and is developing a third property on the Sittee River.
Together, Donna and Hailey have vowed to honor the legacy that the Butcher family created, and will continue to provide the community with all the soul and love that they poured into their food, their landscape, and the warm and vibrant memories they created, so many more generations can gather round the pond and share authentic Belizean experiences.