Belize Information ~ The Unbelizeable Truth

 

 

 

 

 

Belize Information.

Belize information starts with a map highlighting the districts and Cayes (island) of Belize

Belize information starts with a map highlighting the districts and Cayes (island) of Belize

Unbiased Belize information, or as I say, “the unbelizeable truth” can be hard to find for anyone thinking about moving, living, or retiring to Belize. Welcome to my website dedicated to provide the knowledge that you need to make an informed decision.

Here are some reasons that this Belize information might benefit you.

  • Maybe you are looking to combat the aches and pains of life by retiring to warmer (tropical) climate.
  • You have had enough of the “rat race” and crave a simpler and more laid back life style.
  • Maybe you want a lower cost of living to help your shrinking North American nest egg go a little farther.
  • You can appreciate the value of the life education that you and your children will receive living for a time in a third world country developing nation.

What ever your reasons might be, my first piece of advice to you and a common theme on this site will be, do your research. There is much Belize information to answer the questions you are already asking yourself, but I am willing to bet that there are many more things that we take for granted in other parts of the world that you might never even think to ask.

Questions You Will Want To Ask

  • How is the health care?
  • Is health care expensive?
  • Are medications I need readily available?
  • How far will the nearest hospital or clinic be?
  • How do the legal and education systems work?
  • What languages are spoken?
  • Do the Belizean people welcome foreigners and will I fit in?
  • What are the options and procedures to gain residency?
  • What is required to bring my furry family members to Belize?
  • Can I work if required?

and there are many, many more questions you will want to answer for yourself before making a final decision.

Don’t Become A Statistic

Statistics say that more than 55% of all the people that move to developing nations in Central America leave within a year, and even more by the end of year two. Why is that? There are several common reasons that I share in my post titled “People Leave Belize, Not Always Paradise”. The short answer in my opinion, is that people did not know the right personal questions to ask, or were not honest in their answers to themselves. So, don’t become a statistic. I am here to help you to do your research. I have nothing to sell and no agenda other than to help you make an informed decision and the choice that is right for you.

After going through the pages and posts please feel free to contact me with any additional questions or insights you might have. Let’s connect via the social media links provided, or by using one of the methods outlined on the “Contact Page“. I would love to chat, and hear about your interest in Belize.

I would Love to hear from you

It is important to me to present what you need and to answer all of your questions. Please help me to make this site your go to resource on Belize. Let me know what you think of this website, or ask your questions in the comment area at the bottom of the page. 

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  49 Responses to “Belize Information ~ The Unbelizeable Truth”

  1. Bill, how are you. Good friends of mine, Barry and Joy Kelly , moved to Plasencia, Belize and opened a bed and breakfast. They keep asking us to come down and visit and to even consider moving there. I plan on going down for a visit in March. However, in the meantime I’m trying to do as much research as I can about the place. Most everything I read and seems to be a reoccurring issue is the crime and corruption there. Maybe you can give me an unbiased view from your standpoint about crime, corruption, law enforcement, military, the government, both nationally and local and security in general. Thanks for any information you could shed on this.

    Thanks Bill,
    Scott Clemens

    • Scott;
      I am fine and enjoying life in Belize. I will start this reply by saying after a year and a half of retired life in San Pedro, Belize the move from Canada was a good choice for us.

      I know your concern is crime so I will concentrate on our experience with that. Petty crime is a way of life here in Belize, if you leave you stuff laying around it will go missing, it is not even considered a crime if it is left unsecured. This has happened to us once when after a few months we had our rain gear stolen off of our golf cart. I blame this on us for becoming complacent (or maybe lazy), after a few months without incident we relaxed and dropped our guard and began leaving it behind the seat of our golf cart. It wasn’t taken the first or even second time, but the third time it was. A reasonably inexpensive lesson on leaving your stuff unattended that was learned and remembered.

      IMHO, petty crime is far more prevalent than violent crime, and while the media has been certainly full of violent crime the past few months, and while bad things happen to good people sometimes everywhere in the world (and in my experience there is more to those stories too), most murders are committed among gangs and people in illegal businesses like drugs and prostitution. Again, doing your due diligence in protecting yourself is important. Gringos are always going to be targeted because we are all considered wealthy, so we must remain diligent to not be flashy (showing off our bling), it helps to become part of the community and get to know your neighbors and even be friends with the locals while keeping them at arms length (we don’t invite anyone into our home), we never give money to people that come to our door, we say we don’t have money in our home (which is normally true anyway). Our homes have all had burglar bars on the windows and doors, some people from Canada have said to me that they wouldn’t want to live like that (in a cage), but then I remind them of how they arm their $10,000 security system every night when they go to bed, “just in case”, not much difference I don’t think.

      As far as corruption goes, well…………. yes there appears to be lots of that at all levels of government and with enforcement officials. My observation is that there are lots of laws that are not enforced until something happens and someone needs to be blamed. Also many procedures are completed quicker based on who you know and with the greasing of palms, that might be a bit of hear-say on my part because we are retired we have never had to deal much with the procedures of being in business.

      Law enforcement is not what we are used to either, the basic technologies that we take for granted are not in place, officers especially in more remote areas are not well trained in investigation so if the the offender is known it is often hard for law enforcement to prove guilt, and then once guilt is proven those with connections and/or money either get very light sentences or even just go free. So often when people drop their guard and get burned in a deal they find that the main difference here is that you have no recourse other than to move on.

      So let me conclude by saying we have never felt unsafe, we are usually home in the evenings but do not hesitate to go out after dark to attend festivals and events. We remain vigilant by not associating with “the wrong people”, keeping somewhat to ourselves at home, we don’t act like we have anything to steal, we are friends with neighbors (mostly locals), we show respect to everyone, and so far other then having our rain gear stolen or permanently borrowed as I have heard that called we have had no issues.

      I hope this helps. If I can be of further assistance in the future please don’t hesitate to contact me.

      Regards Bill

      • Two years ago I was at the Palaypa bar north of San Pedro. I left a shot glass wrapped in a small plastic bag on the golf cart. When I got back the shot glass was still there and the bag was gone.

        • Hey Jerry,
          Thanks for following and taking the time to comment, I appreciate that.
          I’m chuckling a bit at that one, but it just goes to show that “every little thing” actually has value to someone here. Pop/beer bottles are currency, and you will get strange looks if you are seen throwing one in the garbage, even an empty water cooler jug has value, the BZ$15.00 deposit is a half a days pay for many workers or 45 tacos for an unemployed guy.

          Oh, by the way, in case you haven’t heard, the Palapa Bar recently moved south to town, it’s now on the beach near the round about where Caye Mart is located.

          • Hi Bill,
            I was there in November so it must have been a very recent move. Glad to know that because I plan on being back sometime this fall. Liked that place. Beer cold and the food was good. I assume you mean the Mart just south of the split.

          • Yes that’s right, south of the bridge and just north of the police/fire stations. I can’t remember exactly when they moved (I lose track of time here), but probably late Feb. or early March.

      • Must have moved into the Willies BBG place. When I was there Willies had closed. Hard to keep track of all the moves that happen. Liked where they were at because of being up and out on the water. But will take what comes. Will be back in October but the stay will be short and in Corozal and then move on to Panama and see the canal. Plan on seeing Consego Shores one more time and then make a decision on moving. Love San Pedro but need a little more space. Will be there to visit as long as the health holds out.

        • San Pedro is growing fast. I understand about space, it gets very busy (conjested) during High season. I hope you have a great visit to Corozal in October. And good luck with the health, hopefully you will be visiting for many years to come.

      • I was wondering we were looking in the San Ignacio area and wondering can you build a house fairly easy or is there a lot of red tape? We drove from the Maya Mountain lodge road to the Pine Forest and there is a area on that road that is really pretty, but have not been too successful in finding any property there, it was called San Antonio. It looks like Hawaii. Is it better to live in the city or in the outskirts as a gringo? We prefer outskirts because San Ignacio proper seems really congested. We only want like an acre, and like higher up than the flat lands so we won’t flood during a hurricane hopefully. We stayed for about a week in August. We are going to come back for a month next summer, rent a house in the area and wondered do you know if you can rent a vehicle for a month? We are going to try and live like the locals that visit.

        • Hi KIm,
          Thank you for your comment and for subscribing to my site. I appreciate it.

          Yes San Antonio is a beautiful area. Finding properties can be a challenge as most are not advertised but rather spread by word of mouth. Those that are advertised are usually overpriced (value of course being relative) with hopes that one of us gringos take the bait. We moved to Bullet Tree which is just outside of San Ignacio as well but the other way. There are properties, but finding a deal depends on how patient one can be while meeting, talking to, and befriending locals.

          We prefer to live in the villages or the outskirts to avoid the congestion as you mentioned (but everyone’s reality is different). We do not own a car but only pay BZ$2.00 each to go to San Ignacio (about 16 miles away). Building homes is apparently (we are hoping to do that over the next year) easier outside of the major centers as there are fewer inspections if any that can slow the process down. The building process is however something we could talk about at great length. It is not like we are used to at home. I would recommend being here for the process or having a project manager that you can trust to look after your interests.

          You are on the right track IMHO. Come for extended stays away from the comforts of the resorts to get a feel for Belize. Life for us has been everything we had hoped for, but sometimes processes can be a bit daunting if you haven’t geared back and settled into the “go slow” attitude and way of life.

          You can rent cars either in San Ignacio or at the airport when you arrive. Car rentals and fuel are expensive compared to the US. Daily car rentals run about US$100.00/day and are discounted to around $55.-60.00 per day if rented for a month.

          I hope this helps. Let me know when you decide to come back, it would be a pleasure to meet up and show you around San Ignacio and/or Belize if you like. Also feel free to make contact (maybe a video chat) if you have more questions in the mean time.

          • Two things I have learned building in Belize.
            * If you set your expectations low enough you will never be disappointed.
            * The farther south you get the longer it takes to get to manana.
            I would not trade the experience. I love the place.

          • Thanks for your comment Mr. Dave. Belize has been a wonderful experience for us as well. I agree success here is often based on ones ability to curb expectations. I would love to get together sometime and hear about your building adventure.

  2. Glad I found your blog!

    • Hi Cynthia;
      I am happy that you found my blog as well. Any suggestions to make it better are always welcome. If I can be of any assistance with your Belize research please just let me know.

  3. Just wanna comment on few general things, The website design is perfect, the subject matter is real
    great :D.

  4. Hi Bill
    We are moving from the US to Dangriga or Placencia at the end of January. We have 1 house dog and 1 house decclawed cat. Is it going to be hard to find a place to rent that allows pets. We need 2 bedroom 2 bath is that going to be hard to find? Can you tell me a site that will tell me about either of these places. I have been researching every site I can find. We do want to be within walking distance of beach. Any info you could give me would be appreciated. I have been to ambergris case but it is to expensive to live there. Is it hard to get a land line phone? I have read cell phone coverage is expensive but I have to have a phone for my businress it does not matter which one I have.
    Thanks
    Ruby

    • Hi Ruby;

      Thank you for reading my site and for your questions.
      Typically smaller house pets are not too much of an issue, sometimes an extra deposit is required.

      A two bedroom with two baths is a tough one. Often in Belize one must compromise and settle for the second choice. That is not to say it will be impossible but you may have to look around for a while and wait for the opportunity to come up.

      Walking to the beach is easy in Placencia and Dangriga. You might find Placencia is only marginally less expensive than Ambergris Caye, and have you ever been to Dangriga? Just saying it wasn’t for us but everyones reality is different. I would recommend taking a look at Hopkins as well.

      Landlines are available but might take a few weeks to be installed, assuming that the infastructure is where you choose to live. Cell phones work in most areas but as you say are more expensive than in the US. Something else to consider when house hunting.

      The trouble with house hunting in Belize is that often things are not advertised but spread by word of mouth. You have to hit the street when you are ready, talk to people, and it is always benificial to search with a local. One site I find useful is https://www.facebook.com/groups/expatsbelize/ again it would most likely be too soon to ask there, but it wouldn’t hurt either. Be specific in what you need though.

      I hope this helps. If I can be of further assisstance or if you need help come search time, please free to email me at billdoesbelize@gmail.com.

  5. Looking to come to amber caye in January for 2 months looking to rent golf cart and good reasonable places to eat any other suggestions appreciated also looking to go to Mexico for some dental work and how do you handle medical cost yours blog is most helpful

    • Hi Jim;
      Thanks for your comment. I really appreciate hearing that you find this site helpful. I do not to promote individual businesses in Belize, but rather look to provide honest information to those that would like to make a permanent move. To help those people make informed decisions based on the “unbelizeable truth” with regards to the differences between living in Belize compared to Canada, the USA (in our case Canada), and other parts of the world.

      I can tell you that there are many golf cart rental locations in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. I did rent a cart when we first moved for six months and got a good deal (I think) of US$500.00/month. Shorter term is usually about US$1200.00/month. January and February will be high season here in Belize, most places will be low on stock and probably not that willing to reduce their prices much, so you will have to shop around. The restaurants are pretty competitively priced to each other. The food vendors in Central Park offer mostly Belizean dishes for about a third of the price of the restaurants.

      As far as medical goes we are reasonably healthty so only minor issues have come up. We see the doctors here and pay as we go. visits are usually about BZ$35.00-40.00. I don’t have personal experience with dental here, but I understand from others that it is quite good in Belize. Basic medical in my experience has been good. Due to lack of quality diagnostic equipment in Belize, for more serious issues, yes, most expats fly to Merida in Mexico where equipment, treatments, and Doctors are up to date for about 20% of the cost of simular procedures in the US.

  6. From San Pedro can Tropic Air or Maya Air take you to Mirada Mexico for health care?

    • Hi Margaret;
      Yes you can take Tropoc Air for sure. I’m sure that they have direct flights or daily flights from San Pedro, but you can leave San Pedro and fly to Mirida with a stop at the international airport (I assume some sort of customs procedures for international flights). Things are changeing and improving all of the time as demand increases. Here is a link to Tropic’s scheduller that you could play with. It will show where they fly from and to. https://www.tropicair.com/en/destinations/#

  7. Just starting to look around in Central America. Enjoyed your blog.

  8. Hi Bill!

    I am currently a college student in Arkansas, USA. I am doing a project on Belize, with a focus on the norms and leisure activities there. Could you maybe help me out by telling me about those two topics?

  9. Awesome site enjoyed all the reading,Iwill have a lot to ask I am sure.Want to move from Calgary this year.

    • Regan;
      Thanks Regan I’m glad you enjoyed it. Feel free to ask away. I will answer what I can based on my experiences. You can ask in the comments here. or in an email, or when you get your question list together, email me at billdoesbelize@gmail.com and we can set up a video chat if you like.

  10. Thank you for your blog. My husband and I and our 4 year old are beginning our process to seek the best Central American Country to move to from the US. Belize seems like a great fit due to proximity to the US, english language and relative stable economy. Deciding on a location is of course the first step. I will continue to work my Telecommute job for as long as i have to until i can maybe work in a clinic or something else. I am an NP in the US but work for the Government doing a telecommute job, i make 95K so that hopefully will be enough to get us on our feet. my husband is a teacher and football coach, he is hispanic and does speak spanish.
    I have parents that will be joining us soon also they have their retirement. We have a decent chunk of equity in our home to get us settled.
    Any suggestions on a good location to get started, near medical facilities, beach, schools, i can homeschool if needed but i would like some kind of socialization with other kids.

    Thank you again, so helpful.

    • RN4KU;
      I am glad you found my blog and are finding it useful. Thank you for saying so, I appreciate it.

      We also looked at several countries in Central America and ultimately choose Belize for the same reasons that you listed. It’s proximity to the US (Canada in our case), English language and relative stable economy.

      With regards to working in Belize, there are not a lot of options for expats. Belize protects jobs for their own citizens and do not issue work permits for any job that can be filled by a local. That would include nurses and teachers. Even volunteering requires a permit in many cases. That been said, your telecommute job is the ideal situation for an expat to work. On line businesses do not take employment from the local economy, it is best to be paid into your US account and then bring your money into Belize as you need it. Also, if you apply for Permanent Residency, once granted you can work at any job in Belize. However, this process can take up to three years to be approved. Also be aware that most jobs pay very little compared to the US. I believe most teachers make about BZ$20k per year.

      As far as budget goes, your US$95K would be BZ$190K and is substantially more than you would require to live even a very lavish life here. In our case we spend about BZ25K and live comfortably with all expenses in.

      Location is a personal choice that you would have to make for yourself. Belize has several landscapes from the Cayes (islands) by the sea, to jungle settings or more farm time areas on the mainland. The Cayes are at least twice as expensive but your online job would allow you to settle anywhere. One piece of advice I give to everyone is to go slow. Check out all of the areas before purchasing anything. When you have found an area that suits you, rent for one year and experience wet and dry season in that location, both seasons have their potential problems. Buying property in Belize is very easy, but if you don’t like an area after a few months, for any of a number of reasons, selling that property can take a very long time.

      Based on your requirements of “near medical facilities, beach, schools”, I guess I would recommend San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. It has all of those, but is a tourist area and can be quite busy during the high season (again busy being a relative term). It is important to note though that while medical is inexpensive here, and doctors are often trained abroad and quite capable, equipment is still third world and for serious issues most expats return to the US for more serious treatments, or go to modern facilities in Merida, Mexico. So again depending on existing family medical conditions, further consideration would have to be given to location.

      There is a wide selection of schools for your daughter. There are public, private, and denominational schools such as Catholic schools. Many people do home school as well, but I believe as you mentioned, that the socialization and immersion in the local culture is also a valuable educational experience. I can’t speak to the quality of education as we don’t have children in Belize. I can tell you that many students after high school, go to college or university in Canada and the US, and return with degrees, so I presume the quality of education must be to a standard that allows them to keep up.

      I hope this helps. Good luck with your research. If you have additional questions I am certainly happy to connect and share our experiences.

      • Well that is wonderful to hear that definitely eases my mind. Well some teachers in the US don’t seem to get paid much more!! JK they get about 40-50K per year. Yes my salary is good where i work and I should be able to work in Belize. We live in South Texas now so its very close proximity if i have to return for work. I have family coming eventually but they will be retired so they will have social security and their retirement, but we will need a good sized home to accommodate us all!! I was not sure if there is any issues with just living there and not applying for permanent residency. Not sure if you can buy a home and all of that not being a permanent resident. But eventually I do not want to work my current job because despite the money and telecommute part i don’t enjoy it. But its great for benefits and retirement.
        I will have to do more research on the little random stuff in my head such as our insurance that we have thru my work and if i should keep it incase we need to return to the US for care. I hope the Ex-Pat medical community will develop more and I can eventually work Lots of little details i have to plan out, so my husband is OK with it ALL.

        • I am talking to my mom and we are discussing are there benefits to actually applying for residency or would it be best and easiest just to keep everything in the US. I will keep my Telecommute job and US insurance, but my parents have retirement and will have Medicare in 4 years. Their money and my salary will provide us a much better slower paced happy lifestyle compared to the US. I read also that we can apply for Foreign Tax exemption up to some amount but not sure how all that works, so much to figure out!! Mainly just wondering if they will keep all of their retirement and SS in the US and I will keep my account in the US obviously because I am still working my US job.
          Basically is there a benefit in applying for residency?

          • Yes there are great advantages see my link in the previous comment. Actually here it is again https://billdoesbelize.com/residency-options-in-belize/ In addition to not paying the monthly fee, there are advantages to both programs and as a group you could probably benefit from both programs. In other words those that may want to work in the future apply for PR, and those that wish to just retire apply for QRP if they qualify. As I mentioned in my previous comment, at some point you will be forced to either apply for some type of residency status or leave for a certain amount of time (not sure of the time requirement). I would definitely keep SS in the US, have it direct deposited to your US account and just use ATM’s here to bring in what you need as required. For QRP their is a requirement to show proof of income and to bring in US$2000./Mo. After a certain amount of time out of the US, although still US Citizens, depending on real property in the US and other factors, you will at some point be considered non residents anyway, and having residency here will not change entitlement to SS or affect your US citizenship.

          • Read your post with interest. My daughter is also an NP. Your US insurance will not work in Belize. Neither will Medicare, There is a company based just north of Indianapolis called Seven Corners that provides insurance for expats. You would have your choice of going back to Texas or paying as you go. But the Seven Corners deal would take care of you wherever you might go. Actually fairly cheap for no pre-existing conditions. On the social security end, you can have a check deposited directly to a Belize bank. Not sure about your retirement. Corozal town is a place you might want to look at. They have updated the hospital there, added 2 ambulance units, and have gotten new equipment. Consejo Shores is about 7 miles from town but is an expat community. Also you would only be 20 miles from the Mexican border. In Chetumal they have several clinics and most speak English. I would think it best for you to keep your job and volunteer at the hospital in down time. Your husband should be able to get a job in Chetumal teaching English. Just get ready to not be in a hurry about anything. I am moving also and have been there many times. From what I have been told by the locals Belize is trying to become a medical tourism country. Doctors in Chetumal Mexico have told me the same, With your level of education, you should be able to get a job teaching at the university in Belmopan. I’ve been told they have a wonderful nursing program. I think you can make it all happen. As for the residency go for the permanent. Get more options, less time consuming, and would serve both you and your husband better. Hope all this helps.

        • RN4KU;
          Yes you can purchase property and homes without an official residency status. Visitor visas are issued for one month at a time and cost BZ50./Mo. per person for the first six months and is increased to BZ100./Mo. after that. After a certain amount of time (usually, 1 year), immigration will insist that you enroll in one of the two programs. Either “Permanent Residency” (PR) or the “Qualified Retirees Program” (QRP). Both have advantages and disadvantages depending on what your plans are. If you or your husband wish to work a local job, then PR may be your only option, but after approved will allow you to take any job in Belize. FYI, here is the link to my article that outlines both. https://billdoesbelize.com/residency-options-in-belize/

  11. I think you site and blog are just grand . You have given me a lot of good info . My husband and I are from Nova Scotia and we are heading to Hopkins for 2 weeks in March . I retire in February and want to start the hunt for a retirement place . I know it is best to rent for a while but what about renting full time ? Are there places that are inexpensive to rent in Hopkins ? My husband would like to know about the gun laws ? What would be the things that a person should check out if they are trying to descide to move ? I mean like if we were to move to hopkins what would be the questions we ask when renting ? any advise would be nice . Thank you and keep up the good work .

    • Hi Margaret,
      Thank you for your kind words on my site and for following. I am glad you are finding the information of value. My apologies for the delayed response, your email went to a file I usually don’t check so I only saw it today. I have corrected the problem so you should be able to expect a more timely response in the future.

      It is nice to meet a fellow “bluenoser”. I was born in Sydney and raised just outside of Port Hawksbury on Cape Breton Island but left for the west after high school in the late 70’s. Small world.

      I agree that renting is the best option for at least the first year. We will be purchasing property and building soon as renting is expensive. It is almost half of our budget each month. I believe by building our own home with my construction experience we can pay off a house where we are in 6 – 8 years, and then cut our budget in half. There are some that say renting is a waste of money as rental prices are high compared to ownership. Others will argue that they prefer to rent and avoid the costs of maintenance that can be quite high as appliances don’t last as long in this environment, also the sun results in higher maintenance costs, and so on. Both are possible and it is a personal choice depending on your comfort level, budget, and personal preference.

      With respect to gun laws, I have no experience as we have never felt unsafe or the need for a weapon. My understanding is that for non-residents the permits are quite high and would only be approved if proof that a gun was to be used for protection of property. For example from wild animals if you had a farm. Again that is just my understanding based on hear say and not experience. Here is a link that someone else provided in the comments that may be of use. http://www.belizelaw.org/web/lawadmin/PDF%20files/cap143.pdf

      There are many things to be aware of when renting. Some are questions that we don’t think to ask based on assumptions we have from our experience in first world countries. For example we can’t assume that all homes have electricity or hot water. Other than resorts we have never seen a bathtub. Some homes have hot water only in the shower. Water is sometimes provided by a town water connection, but many homes have a cistern for collection of rain water and if not sized adequately can be emptied during dry season. You must consider wood construction vs. concrete construction for comfort and security. Does the home have burglar bars? What is available in the area for internet and TV? The type of appliances will determine the cost to carry a rental (electric vs, Gas). One must be more careful to consider noise and bugs in a particular area. Is there garbage collection and if not how will you dispose of it? Most burdens can be removed by negotiating things like yard maintenance and garbage removal up front, especially with a long term rental. The list goes on but the short answer is to assume nothing and that all questions need to be asked.

      I hope this helps to answer your questions. If I can be of further assistance please do not hesitate to ask or to contact me if I can be of help when you arrive. It would be my pleasure.

  12. Hi, I am planning to move to Ambergris Caye in 2017 and expect that I should first rent for 1-3 months till I find the right place for me. Do you have any recommendations for relatively inexpensive monthly rental not competing per se with the tourist trade? My goal is to establish my residency and achieve dual citizenship. I appreciate any help you could offer. Thanks.

    • Hi Mark;
      Thank you for your questions and for following billdoesbelize.

      I recommend that people go slow when purchasing property. Properties are easy to buy but not so easy to sell. I recommend people rent through at least the two seasons as each season can present different potential problems. Some of things that are problems for some people on Ambergris Caye are excessive bugs that may be more of a problem on a lagoon property. Noise from loud neighbors, barking dogs, or air traffic can be another. The island is reasonable flat so some areas experience flooding during rain season or unusually high tides just to mention a few.

      With regards to inexpensive monthly rentals, that is a moving target. Most vacancies are not listed anywhere and often don’t even have a sign out front. You must hit the street or local bars to find out what is available. Some people book accommodations for when they first arrive for a week or two to do that search. Our approach when we moved was to come a month and a half before to secure a place. We did find a place in one day. It was the same when we moved to the mainland it only took a day to find something we liked.

      With regards to residency and citizenship, they are two different processes. There are two options for residency. The Qualified Retirees Program (QRP) and Permanent Residency (PR). I have a post called “Residency Option In Belize” that will explain the advantages of both programs. Although it is a quicker process, I don’t think QRP would be an option if your end game is to receive citizenship because you would never qualify. To become a citizen you would first need to acquire PR. To apply for PR you must live here for 1 year and not leave for more than a total of 14 days per year during the process. After your application is made the approval process can take up to two years to be completed during which time you will be required to renew your visitor visa every month and continue to follow the 14 day rule. Once PR is approved you must then wait for 5 years to apply for citizenship. These are the normal cases, but of course their are shortcuts such as marring a Belizean.

  13. Hi again,

    You are wonderful. I have been rambling around on the internet looking at Panama, Costa Rica, Medellin, Colombia…yes, I am easily distracted! But has been fun. I need lower elevation, less population density. Want to be able to walk to the market. Want to take local transport. Will want to rent a small place, maybe living room/bedroom/kitchen/patio. Have no wish to buy property or to bring in a vehicle.
    I like the idea of coming and living on tourist visas of a few months. Much easier than doing everything here before I come. I am on SS and have no interest in working. You have given so much info — thank you. Hope to come late summer (U.S.).
    I have a cat and will want to bring her with me. Do you know anything about importing a cat? Smile. Are there used book stores and/or regular bookstores? I read a lot. Willing to go electronic. Is WiFi generally available?
    Right now I am thinking about coming for an exploratory trip late Spring. If possible I will rent a place and pay for the months between then and when I plan to arrive. Need to have a place for the cat when I arrive to stay. Can leave her here when I come to visit. Do you think two weeks is long enough to visit a couple of towns and make a decision? I know I do not want to be close to the water, afraid of hurricanes. Would prefer small town outside of larger town.
    OK Sent in for a new passport! Feels good to be getting more into the planning and learning.
    I lost you but now I have you bookmarked.

    • Hi Sandra;
      I am glad you found me again and thank you for your kind words on the site.

      I like your plan and it fits in with the “go slow’ attitude of Belize and immersing in the culture.

      Importing a cat is the same as a dog. You will need an import permit from Belize Agriculture and Health Authority (BAHA) and a medical certificate. You will find a post of our experience and some related links on the site at this link. https://billdoesbelize.com/pets-travelling-to-belize/

      There are used books stores. All sell, and some others trade read books for unread books. Selection may not be what you are used to so yes electronics may be a good choice to solve that problem. WiFi is fairly accessible throughout the country but is less reliable and more costly then in developed nations. I pay BZ$ 142.60/Mo. for 2Mb which includes TV.

      Two weeks is certainly a good amount of time to explore, especially if you rule out the Cayes and coast right off the bat. There are a lot of villages to explore and the important thing is to find a place to land initially where you can be comfortable. Then you can continue to explore and ultimately find your perfect place.

      Good luck with your research and let me know if I can be of assistance.

  14. Love your blog better than any I have run into. Good answers and lots of info. Thanks..
    Just beginning to investigate moving to Belize and enthralled already. If things work out will be moving with one of my sons and eventually the other one and then even my best friend. When trying to rent for a long trek before actually settling down, and you go talk to the “unlisted” places, do these places like to negotiate prices?
    May try to come in June, any fairly inexpensive places outside of San Pedro you would recommend?

    • Faleice Byer;
      I am so happy you have found my website and have found the information helpful. It is not my intention to either promote or criticize life in Belize, but rather to provide the “unbelizeable” truth and based on my experiences to share the cultural differences to help folks like yourself to make an informed decision on Belize.

      Thank you for subscribing and for your kind words, they let me know I am on the right track.

      With respect to rentals some negotiation is possible depending on the rental duration you are willing to commit to. Although price might be set in stone in a lot of cases, other factors may be negotiated, like the landlord maintaining the property as part of the price, or maybe including some utilities, or providing certain appliances or furniture as part of the price. Negotiating in low season is more likely than in high season for obvious reasons. As far as inexpensive places, well that is a relative term. It is important to realize that there are several factors to consider when renting and questions that we often don’t even know to ask based on our experience and expectations in first world nations. Usually hitting the street with the help of a trusted local person is the best way to find what you want. I do know of several places that are rented out around San Pedro, but I don’t have contact info as I usually try to meet people face to face in that situation.

      I know this answer is a little vague but that is the reality in Belize.

      I hope this helps. Good luck with your research, and please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

  15. Bill, we have been looking at land in Belize for 3 years on the internet. We need 10 acres with water for animals near a road with utilities. It is impossible to find. One such piece is right about 1 miles east of the bridge in Black Man Eddy on the highway. We are told that this is a bad place. The proximity to the bridge and the sm town will make our property an easy place to steal animals etc. We are planning electric 8 ft. fence and a Mennonite house.. What do you think about this general area. We are coming for our 5th visit in Sept. to get more info and possible land. We love farming and want to continue with goats and chickens. We are big garden people and grow almost everything we eat. Both type A workers and like to be busy. Neither of us could just come down and do nothing.

    • Hi Holly;
      Thanks for viewing my site and for your question.

      As you are probably aware, the perfect piece of property in Belize may be hard to find online. Most properties are not shared online but rather by word of mouth. The word of mouth connections are estabished as relationships are built in the area. With respect to the area you have asked about, I have no real experience except to drive through it. But I would say that the warnings you have received are probably relevant everywhere in Belize, and maybe more so on one of the countries most travelled highways (opportunity + convenience = crime). An 8′ electric fence will probably keep your animals in, but will do little to prevent someone desperate to feed their family or to make a buck from entering.

      It is always my advice to live here for up to a year before making any major purchase, especially if (and I mean no offense when I say) you are admitted type “A” attitudes. It is often said that “if you come with patience, you will soon lose it, and if you come with no patience, you will soon find it”. Proceedures and availability of certain supplies can often be a challenge until you learn the system and what to prepare for. Just as examples, I enjoy a Philley cigar (chocolate) with my morning coffee, about four months ago every store in the country ran out one by one, they have just gotten then back in the last week or so. Or, The only pet store we have ran out of our particular brand of cat food and flea treatments. We were told they would get stock in two weeks, that was almost three months ago and neither is available yet. These are small things, I can go without my Philleys, and we can buy a lesser quality flea treatment, but with livestock running out of certain things, I would imagine could have a more serious impact.

      It is also important to see how things like the two seasons affect the things that you need, for example, in September near the end of rain season the river or pond on your property that you are relying on to provide water for animals or garden irrigation may look great but then will dry up during the dry season. You must do your own due diligence and can’t necessarily take the word of the seller, his agents, or the neighbors. And, be aware that if things don’t go as you have planned, there is little recourse in law or otherwise, no matter how good a contract is written.

      Good luck with our research and game plan. And do not hesitate to let me know if I can help when you visit next.

      I hope this helps.

      Bill

  16. Bill,

    My name is “Ben”. First of all, this website is outstanding. You are doing something not many people do–offer quality, trustworthy advice without charging a fee. To be quite honest, after spending an hour on the website, I feel as though describing you as “trustworthy” may be an understatement. Excellent work.

    Currently, I reside in Colorado and own two small businesses. However, I have recently gone through a divorce and the county I live in is difficult to do business in. The local government is infested with corruption and though my businesses are not government reliant completely, they do require constant interaction. So I have decided to sell my property/businesses, pay off mortgages and take what I come out on top with, and relocate with myself, and my small dog. I cannot specify what business I am in, but I have gained some interest in Belize, spoke with the U.S. Embassy briefly and been told what I do could be of great interest, based on the needs of San Pedro. My question for you, is how would an American go about getting items to Belize that are essential for specialized business? For example, a work vehicle, specialized tools, etc.? Also, is there possibly an email address where I could ask you business questions that are better off done privately?

    • Hi Ben,
      Thank you for your kind words and great review of my site. Trustworthy is certainly a handle I can live with, I am glad you are finding what you need here.

      With regards to your question on getting a vehicle and specialized tools to Belize. There are really only two ways that I can think of. First you can load everything in the vehicle and ship it, or drive it to Belize.

      If shipping it will arrive in mainland Belize where import duties will be assessed and charged on the vehicle and its contents. The cost of shipping will also be added to determine the total value. It would then have to be shipped to the Caye where San Pedro is located by barge. Note that recently there was a regulation prohibiting any more vehicles being shipped to the island without special permission.

      If driving, you will save the shipping cost to Belize but import duties will still be charged on the vehicle and its contents and would still have to be shipped to the Caye.

      I am not sure if you aware but the preferred vehicle for most in San Pedro are golf carts. Many are customized to serve commercial purposes but without knowing what you do or need to carry I am not sure if that would be an option. This is a short answer to a question that has several reply options depending on your particular situation. We could certainly meet to discuss your options if you are so inclined.

      I would certainly welcome a conversation. billdoesbelize@gmail.com is my email and is listed on the “contact me” page of this site. My preferred method to communicate is in a video chat. If you have a computer or device with a camera and a mic I can send you a link to a private chat room, simply click the link and you would be brought right in. This method often saves the time it takes to email back and forth. As often answers to questions lead to more questions, several questions can be dealt with in one session and if you like can be recorded (optional) for your future reference. If you are interested send me an email and we can set up a time that is convenient for you. If that doesn’t work then certainly email away, my goal is to help folks to make an informed decision on a move to Belize, so whatever way works for you I will do my best to accommodate.

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