Feb 162015
 

Pineapples on display at Maria's fruit and vegetable stand in San Pedro Belize. For more information on how to pick a pineapple to purchase, where the pineapple gets it's name, how to grow a pine apple and a tip for a juicier pineapple get more information at https://billdoesbelize.com/pineapples-maybe-more-than-you-wanted-to-know/Pineapples, Fruit or Vegetable?

Pineapples are strange, they don’t follow the rules normally used to determine if something is a fruit or a vegetable. Unlike most fruits by definition, it is developed from the flower of the plant, it does not grow on a tree and does not contain seeds. However it is classified as a fruit and when ripe will turn a golden orange like the pineapple on the top of the pile, at the left side of the table pictured.


How to pick pineapples to buy.

When you pick a pineapple, the first thing to determine is when you will want to eat the pineapple. If you will eat it that day you will want the golden orange one from the top left of the pile. The ones on the bottom of the pile in the center are from two days to a week away.

A little tip: For juicier pineapples, Turn them upside down for 24 hours before slicing.

Why are they called Pineapples?

As we have already discovered pineapples do not grow on a tree like a typical fruit (other than a berry), so it does not grow on a pine tree or on an apple tree. Where did it get it’s name? Well, when the Spanish first saw one it reminded them of a pine cone and they named it Pina, later the English added apple because of it’s sweet taste and the pineapples name stuck.

Where do pineapples come from?

“Pineapple have no seeds”, you may say, so where do they come from? In order to grow a pineapple, you need a pineapple. You will remove the top bushy part, plant in loose soil with aggregate to aid in draining, keep moist, not soaked (it will rot) for two weeks to help the rooting process, but then only add water when it gets dry. After about 18 months the plant should be about 4 ft. high and 4 ft. around with a flower in the center, the flower will become a pineapple over the next six months. Yes, if you do the math a pineapples take almost two years to grow.

Usually one pineapple will yield one pineapple (some people say a second is possible the next year, but never a third). Once you harvest your fruit you will start again with it’s top and can repeat this process up to nine times before the pineapples produced become bitter.

Pineapples are easy to grow.

Anyone can grow pineapples, and don’t worry about the shape the top is in, it will grow. Even in colder climates like that of Canada it will grow inside, just use a good size pot to avoid transplanting later. If you would like to try and grow your own, I have provided this video link.

Since moving to Belize I have eaten a lot of pineapples and love the tangy but sweet taste. I particularly enjoy pineapple pieces with banana slices, for me it’s an unbeatable combination. So grow your own and try it, then let me know how you made out.

Jan 242015
 
Dancing in the street during El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro. and painting up the town, have you ever wondered where that expression comes from?

Dancing in the street during El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro, and painting up the town, have you ever wondered where that expression comes from?

EL GRAN CARNAVAL de SAN PEDRO

“El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro” is a similar type celebration and event to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. This years theme is “La vida es un carnaval” or “Life is a carnival”. It felt like we just got past Christmas and several days of New Year celebrations here in San Pedro, when the town was already preparing for this annual event. It was held over a 11 days and began on Feb.07, 2015 with five ladies competing in “La Reina del Carnaval Pageant” or the “Carnival Queen Pageant”.


El Gran Carnaval Block Party

The following Friday the 13th (what could go wrong), the San Pedro Town Council hosted their annual El Gran Carnaval Block Party at the Central Park. The adjoining streets that were closed down to facilitate the event and there were culturally relevant music and dances held, as well as,  prizes for the best carnival inspired food, drinks, and souvenir booths.

El Gran Carnaval Masquerade Ball

On the 14th or Valentines Day the Masquerade Ball was held with the theme “be masked, be loved, be mine”. The admission is free and again there was music, free shots, and of course plenty of food and drink.

Traditional Comparsa and Painting in the Streets

From the 15th to the 17th there was traditional “comparsas”  (dancing) and painting in the downtown streets which were closed during these events as well. At first I thought that the painting was to spruce up the downtown area. However, I learned later that if you go there, you will get painted. Both children and adults parade through the downtown streets throwing eggs and painting anything not covered including each other. Also on the last evening the men dress as women and dance through the street in a display of role reversal.

El Gran Carnaval Finale

The festivities wrapped up at Central Park on last evening Ash Wednesday the 18th with the traditional burning of “Don Juan Carnaval” and reading of the Don Juan Carnaval Will.

Historical Origin of El Gran Carnaval

As I mentioned earlier, El Gran Carnaval reminded me of Mardi Gras, and although the history seems to be lost on most of the locals I asked, it appears to have arrived here with the settlement of the Spanish and the re-enactment of their celebration of the caraval of CadizThere is not much specific information about the origin of the individual customs on the internet or in local memory. In past times it was generally an opportunity for people to speak out against political and social injustice in a comedic way. The masks hid the identity of those speaking out tongue in cheek. The masks were later replaced with painted masks in Caribbean countries due to the heat, and the painting in the streets grew from there. It became a representation of lawlessness and things being opposite to the norm. Things being opposite to normal times is also represented by the men dancing in the streets dressed up in women’s clothes.

For an opportunity to experience this event for yourself, I have included one of my YouTube videos

 

 

Jan 232015
 

Every morning starts with a walk along this strip of the beach.

Morning walks on the beach

The beach starts another typical morning for us. We got up at 7:00 AM which is when the first flight left the Tropic Air Terminal and flew by our bedroom window as it does every morning. I make my “Bubba Cup” of coffee to go and after our showers, we take the golf cart to the beach for our walk. Now the beach is only a 10-15 minute walk for us, but with Phoebes’ short little legs, the heat some days, and the fact she not a young pup anymore, by the time she reaches the beach she is too tired to walk it. She gets up every morning and in her way lets us know that first thing, even before breakfast, we have to go for our walk on the beach.

The one exception

Tuesday morning is the only exception, that is when when we go to the docks where the Mennonite farmers arrive with fruits and vegetables for sale. If you don’t get there by 5:30 AM they will be sold out of many things and you will be disappointed. But once we get back it’s off to the beach for our walk.

The beach is our local social media.

We run into some of the same people everyday as well as meet new people. Monday it was a local guy we have seen many times on our travels, we would nod and wave to each other in passing, then on Monday we met him and talked a bit. We found he was a great guy who had lots of contacts and was very knowledgeable about a lot of things, from the in and outs of real estate here to good locally priced restaurants. We talked about why some businesses make it here and others fail.

The beach is our gringo gathering spot.

Yesterday we met Neil and Vera, a couple who live on the BC/Alberta border back in Canada (sorry guys forgot the name of your actual town), they bought a place here in Belize near Corozol that they come to each year for a few weeks and were here in San Pedro to visit for a few days. We talked to them for a good hour or so. We exchanged stories on how we ended up in Belize, our experiences to date which have all been good, their impressions of Corozol and our plans for the future. Unlike us they are not all in yet, they still live in Canada but want to retire here in the coming years when their families are grown and out on their own.
Today we met a lady from the New England area of the United States. She was here for a couple of weeks to vacation (visit).  During our conversations eventually people ask, “how long are you here for?” Once they hear we have moved here the questions start. I have found that there are several reasons people come to Belize, in some cases it is just for a vacation, some people are exploring future retirement destinations, some people wish to stretch their dwindling nest eggs or maybe crave the laid back lifestyle here. No matter what the reason their questions are usually similar to the ones that we had.

The beach is our school on Belize

We have learned from the local people and long term expats who are more than happy to answer our questions and share what they know, and, in the case of new expats and visitors, although we still learn new things on a regular basis, we enjoy passing on our experiences and the things that we have learned.For those reasons, as well as it is good exercise, except for the odd rain day our walk on the beach has become a daily ritual.

The beach is great. Right?

It’s natural to assume that a Caribbean country is lined with pristine sandy beaches. Unfortunately, Belize is not. Recently there has been a bombardment of the beaches throughout the Caribbean including Belize. Sargasso is unsightly and even a bit stinky if not taken care of right away. What is Sargasso and where does it come from? Check out this site on Sargasso.

Jan 222015
 

Phoebe needed a place that would board pets as we took a trip back to CanadaWhere can You Board Pets in San Pedro?

Need to board pets? As I have mentioned in the past pets can travel in and out of Belize fairly easily as long as you know and follow the rules. As I have also mentioned in the recent past Lorilee and I need to return to Canada  sometime in April. That started the debate weather Phoebe would come back with us or stay with someone here for the week. There are a few factors to be considered when taking her back. First there is the cost of the flights, then it can’t be good for her to go from extreme heat to extreme cold and then back again so quickly, then there are the medical documents and requirements to be met going in both directions, all that plus the fact that she gets quite stressed while travelling and for several days after. All that been said we decided she should stay. At this point I should mention we lived in Canada all our lives, for over 50 years and after all that time there were only two people Lorilee would leave her little girl with, that was her sister and her mother. Where would we find a qualified person in Belize after just a couple of months?

Yesterday we set out to find that person or organization. There are only four animal organizations that we know of that might board pets, I’m sure there are more but these are the ones that we have heard of  and decided to check out.

Scooby Doo Grooming & pet shop does not board pets but does a great job with Phobe's grooming“Scooby Doo Grooming and Pet Shop” was our first stop. That is where Phoebe gets her hair and nails done. She even got her picture posted on their Facebook site on Nov.20,2014 (she’s the one with the blue tag on her collar). Selini Reyes is the owner and groomer and does a great job with Phoebe every 4-5 weeks. Unfortunately they do not board pets but were happy to recommend “Pampered Paws”.

SAGA does great work with local animals in need. They do not board pets but were able to recommend Pampered PawsThe SAGA Humane Society – Was our next visit, the equivalent to the SPCA and ASPCA in Canada and the US. They have a great reputation in San Pedro for all the good work they do with injured, abused, or stray animals. They also have a not for profit, full service clinic with a full time veterinarian on site and a pharmacy with the most often needed veterinary medicines. I was quite sure that they didn’t board pets but, I figured they would  be able to recommend someone, and they did. “Pampered Paws”.

Pampered Paws was one of two recommended organization to board pets.Next was, you probably guessed it, “Pampered Paws”. They  have a service to groom and board pets in downtown San Pedro. They also have a great reputation for attention and service to animals. We obtained their rates and were assured the dogs are walked several times a day (to do their business, as the guy put it). We quite often see the young fellow that walks the dogs taking a golf cart load to or from their walk on the beach so we were fairly sure it does get done.

The San Pedro Animal Hospital we didn’t think they would board pets but it was on the way home so we decided to stop there for what we expected would be one last glowing reference on Pampered Paws.  The San Pedro Animal Hospital is where Phoebes’ Veterinarian is located. Her Vet is from Canada and is there for a year at which time she will be replaced by another Vet from Canada or the US. They also mentioned Pampered Paws but also told us they also groom and board pets and offer the same boarding service complete with several walks a day. It can even be on the beach for a small extra charge.

San Pedro Animal Hospital also has facilities to board pets. They beat out Pampered Paws only because with Phoebe's medical issues it made sense to board her at her vet.The San Pedro Animal Hospital was the Winner in the end and the organization we decided to go with. Pampered Paws is certainly more than qualified to board pets and even a few dollars a day cheaper for their service, but with Phoebe being on medication for her allergies, and also because she suffers from anxiety when we leave her behind with strangers we thought what better place to be if an emergency came up then with her Veterinarian. We provided them with her leash, toys, a familiar blanket to lie on, and of course her food, treats and medication. The cost was BZ$35.00 per day for a total cost of BZ$280.00 or US$140.00 for the 8 days we were away.

 

Jan 152015
 
A Visitor Visa allows you to stay in Belize.

A Visitor Visa allows you to stay in Belize until residency has been granted. This visa is issued for 30 days only and must be renewed monthly.

Visitor Visa vs. Entry Visa.

A visitor visa is issued to everyone that enters Belize. They are issued based on your expected visit time, but typically for a maximim of 30 days. The visitor visa should not be confused with the entry visa that is required by the citizens of some countries. Citizens of most countries do not require a visa to enter Belize. Click here to see which nationalities are required to obtain an entry visas. If your country of nationality is not listed, you need to apply for an Entry Visa before you arrive.

Requirement To Renew Your Visitor Visa.

Once you enter the country, you will be responsible to renew your visitor visa every month or portion of a month until you leave. Or, until you become enrolled in either the QRP Program or are issued your Permanent Residency status. The cost is BZ$50.00 per person for the first six months, and increases to BZ$100.00 per person after that.  This fee must be paid in Belize currency. Click here to get more information on the QRP and Permanent Residency programs.

People used to leave for 72 hours after the 6 month mark (maybe a few days in Mexico). They would pay their departure tax and be issued a new visa upon their retun. This would rest the 6 month clock and the fee would return to the initial lower price. I have heard that lately if the immigration officer suspects that your reason for leaving is solely to avoid paying the higher fee, then the new visa issued will expire at the same time as your previous stamp would have. Also that the 6 month clock does not reset. These rulings seem to be at the sole discretion of the the individual immigration officer.

Procedure To Renew Your Visitor Visa.

The process to renew your visitor visa is quite easy. You will attend your local “Immigration and Naturalization” office. At that point the officer will review your passport and determine how many renewals have already been issued. Based on that, you will be issued a fee. That fee must be paid in Belize dollars to the “Department of Revenue” and a recipt of payment received. You will then return to the immigration officer with your receipt of payment to have your passport stamped with the up-to-date visitor visa stamp as shown in the picture above.

The picture is hard to read so I will tell you what it says;

PERMITTED TO REMAIN ON CONDITION THAT
THE   HOLDER   DOES   NOT  ENTER   INTO
EMPLOYMENT PAID OR UNPAID.  DOES NOT
ENGAGE IN ANY BUSINESS OR PROFESSION
WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE DIRECTOR OF
IMMIGRATION AND DOES NOT REMAIN IN
BELIZE LONGER
THAN THE  ________________________________
DATE _______________RCR _______________
SIGNATURE ______________________________
IMMIGRATION OFFICE SAN PEDRO TOWN.

The blanks are filled in with a pen and you are on your way.

Be Prepared. The Process Is Easy, But Not Always Quick.

As I mentioned earlier, the process to renew your visitor visa,  is easy enough. But depending on which office you must visit, you may be required to pack enough patience to get you through the entire day.

In San Pedro, we never took longer than a ½ hour to visit the immigration officer and get our fee. Then to pay our fee to the “Department of Revenue” in a different office at the opposite end of the same building. And then finally to return to the original immigration officer to receive our stamp.

In Belmopan however, we must sign out a number.  I recommend that you arrive no later than 7:00AM to get one that will get you in the door before noon. Now in fairness, the process is just as quick, but the wait at some offices can be several hours before your number is called, and you make your first contact with the immigration officer.

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Jan 142015
 
The people of Belize celebrate Christmas similarly to the way holiday celebrations are held back in Canada. Christmas trees are decorated inside and lights adorn the outside of homes and businesses alike.

Homes and businesses alike are decked out in lights for Holiday Celebrations

Holiday celebrations for Christmas and New Years

Christmas was a quiet time for us this year with none of the typical holiday celebrations or commercialism that we felt obligated to engage in over the years back in Canada. The highlight for me was the call I received from my son and the longer than usual conversation that we had. I guess the old saying is true, “it’s not how much money you spend that determines the value of a gift”.

The people of Belize celebrate Christmas similarly to the way holiday celebrations are held back in Canada. Christmas trees are decorated inside and lights adorn the outside of homes and businesses alike. Like Canada it is a time for family to get together and eat, drink, and be merry. The children were out of school and could be seen playing on the streets and at the beach or tagging along with their parents to their jobs weather it be on construction sites, in the shops, or selling souvenirs on the beach.

Holiday Celebrations at New Years

Holiday celebrations at New Years lasted several days and it was a whole different affair. In Canada I recall typically we would go out after work on the evening of the 31st, count down to the new year at midnight and spend the 1st recovering and getting ready to go back to work on the 2nd. Well here in Belize the New Year holiday celebration began early on the morning of the 31st with the sounds of firecrackers going off all day and all over town. You know the ones that come in strings of 20-25 and fire off in rapid succession. It sounded like a revolution with automatic weapons had broken out and everyone was taking part in protecting their piece of paradise, this went on for several days at all hours of the days and nights.

New Year holiday celebrations at Central Park

On New Years Eve we went to the Central Park to see what was going on. As I mentioned in previous posts this is where people gather for holiday celebrations, important events, and most special occasions. There was a stage with different types of entertainment from traditional dance performances, a local DJ, and awards to people and organizations that had made a difference in the community over the past year. It appeared to me that while in Canada we would count down to the beginning of a new year that would hopefully bring the usual, you know, peace and prosperity. Here in Belize they count down to the end of the existing year giving thanks for the peace and prosperity enjoyed over the past year, and then cap it off with a fire works display second to none I have ever seen, even in Toronto or in New York on TV.

Holiday celebrations include this barge full of fireworks on News Years Eve.

Holiday celebrations include this barge full of fireworks on News Years Eve.

Fireworks end Holiday Celebrations

The people filled Central Park and the streets to take part in the holiday celebrations and wait for the barge loaded with the fireworks to cap of 2014 and usher 2015 in with a bang. I might add that at this time of year it is hard to say weather the island has more locals or more “visitors” as we are respectfully called. I think I would give the edge to the visitors. We left around 10:30 and did not stay for the fireworks, but we did not miss them either. We live about 1-1/2 miles south of the park and enjoyed them quite well from our back deck and avoided the chaos that we were sure would ensue when that many people left downtown all at one time. It was a good time and we enjoyed watching the entertainment, eating ice cream, watching the locals and visitors enjoying holiday celebrations together, and of course, the spectacular fire works display.

Updated to include New Year’s Eve 2015 Firework Video click here

Dec 222014
 

Thanks to our due diligence we were not surprised when plane started flying just over our houseDue Diligence Research is your Responsibility

Due diligence told us our alarm clock had a 30 minute snooze button. We don’t have a typical alarm clock. It has no face and does not tell time. The volume is always on the loud setting and cannot be adjusted, also it has no options like buzzer or radio to alert you when the alarm does sound to wake us up. (See the video below for an explanation)

Every morning at 6:30 AM our alarm goes off as the first airplane taxis down the Tropic Air runway, crosses the lagoon, and flies right by our bedroom window. As I lie in bed, most times I can look out the window and see the pilots face in the cock pit. That is the wake up call, at this point I know I have another 30 minutes in bed. At 7:00 AM is when the snooze goes off and all hell breaks loose, with as many as twenty flights departing or arriving over the next half hour. Departures are louder as they leave the runway and climb at full throttle to miss our house. Arrivals are not quite as bad, and although they are a bit lower they have already cut power to hit the runway that is less than 1000 feet away.

Fortunately we did our due diligence research so this was not a surprise to us. Also, we were warned when we rented the house, and experienced several flights when we viewed the house. Our experience living next to a train track back in Canada several years ago told us we would soon get used to it. And, we have. Even Phoebe our pet pooch, doesn’t even lift her head anymore. Now, had we visited at the right (or should I say wrong) time of the day during a really quiet time of the year. And had our landlords been more interested in renting than in our happiness with the house, or had we not done our due diligence, we may have arrived in Belize to a terrible surprise and a major disappointment.

Do your Due Diligence is the moral of the story, and my point again. Spend time in the area you think you might like to live. Especially in a new country, there can be many things you haven’t even thought of that can turn your dream home into a nightmare. Most of the due diligence research I have done has told me, rent for at least one year before you buy, that way you get to know the area and the people. Experience all of the different seasons, here in Belize there are only two seasons, the rain season and the dry season. However, both seasons can bring there own unique problems ranging from flooding due to rain or exceptionally high tides, to unbearable heat and humidity, just to mention a couple. And of course, some things like the planes that do not bother us, might drive you completely bonkers.

“Don’t believe anything you hear, and only half of what you see”.

In conclusion, be vigilant. Don’t let anyone else sell you on their vision of your “piece of paradise“. Ask your questions to more than one person. When doing your due diligence research use more than one unbiased source. In both cases keep asking yourself, “what does this person or source have to gain?

 

 

Dec 092014
 

Shopping in Belize.

Shopping in San Pedro is not the same as back in Canada. Being an island everything arrives by boat or plane, larger items like vehicles (golf carts) or containers holding merchandise for hardware and housewares’ stores arrive by barge, this extra shipping of course means you pay a premium for just about everything.

Gringo Pricing is a Real Thing.

There are two price lists used by merchants. The one for “the locals” and the one for “the visitors”. As new residents we find that every time we go shopping at a new store, or have to deal with a different employee at one of our regular stops, they have to ask a boss what the price is (or more correctly, what  is the price for us), even if they sold that same item to two different local people before us. The only way we found to get around the visitor price (gringo pricing) is time, and of course getting to know and patronizing the same vendors and merchants again and again. It also helps to always casually find a way to let them know that we live here and are not visitors.

Be aware of "gringo pricing" when shopping in Belize.

This is exactly the same as the golf cart we were shopping for to rent.

A perfect example of this, was the day I was shopping around to rent a golf cart for a couple of hours. After a short discussion, the man behind the desk said “the price will be BZ$110.00”.  I replied, and being honest in my reply, ” Oh OK, Thank you for your time but that is more than I wanted to spend”. Then he asked “what resort are you staying at?” to which I replied, “I just moved here, I live in the San Pablo Area”, at that point he reached into his desk drawer and pulled out a second laminated price list that looked just like the first one to me and said, “I can give it to you for BZ$ 60.00”. I replied “Thank you, I’ll take it”. That was my first realization of the disparity between local and visitor prices when shopping and that it was important to blend in and become a local.

Shopping Smart.

Shopping smarter is important too, if you just walk into a local supermarket and buy your weeks groceries in one convenient stop you will pay a higher price. Buy your fish at the docks fresh from the fisherman, buy your fruits and vegetables at the local roadside stands or on Tuesday mornings we go to the docks where the fruits and vegetables arrive for the local markets, and buy direct from the Mennonite farmers there.

Avoid buying the convenience packages and brand names we are used to in Canada and the US. You will pay between two and four times the amount that they are back home. I will try and do some cost comparisons in a future post.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining, I’m just saying these are some of the differences I’ve noticed, and of course after just a month we receive 10% off at two grocery stores that we frequent.

The cost of living is still far less than it was back in Canada, and of course just as important as the price is the fact that the fruits and vegetables are going from the gardens to our table without the added hormones, insecticides, and preservatives.

Dec 082014
 
This is the place we rent. It is one of the modern Belizean houses and well equipped.

This is the place we rent. It is one of the modern Belizean houses and well equipped.

Our Search of Belizean Houses.

This is a picture of the house that we rented when we first arrived in Belize.  Located in the San Pablo Area of San Pedro Town, it was one of more than 20 different Belizean houses, condos, and apartments both on the main land and here on the island, The house pictured here was the one we fell in love with. It was spacious and very clean. It had great outdoor space and being right on the lagoon had a great view of the water. There were also some incredible sunset photo opportunities from the back deck. I have taken full advantage of this and have posted a few in the Photo Gallery section of this website for your enjoyment.

Due Diligence Research.

As with most things in Belize, it is important not to assume that it will be like it is in Canada or the US. For example, not one of the Belizean houses we looked at had heating. You also cannot assume that there is electricity for  AC or hot water. Several places we viewed had electricity but no hot water. A few had hot water only in the shower via what is referred to as a “suicide shower “, this device is essentially a 220 Volt instant hot water heater hard wired to the shower head with wires and connectors fully exposed (hence the name I guess). We have a shower only, and of all the Belizean houses we looked at, only one had a bathtub.

Some Belizean houses come with water views.

The gorgeous view of the San Pedro Lagoon from our back deck.

Because there is no need for heating very few Belizean houses have central air conditioning, our place has one unit over the window in the bedroom. Most places collect rain water into cisterns to be used for daily needs like dish washing, laundry, and showers. We buy 5 gallon water cooler jugs that are available at most stores for BZ$5.00/US$ 2.50 for cooking and drinking. Glass windows and screens are also an option as many Belizean houses only had wood or metal shutters on the screen-less window openings.

 

In San Pedro units are rented either short term or long term. Long term is 6 months or longer and terms less than six months are subject to a 9% hotel tax.

The place we rent is one of the modern Belizean houses and well equipped. It has electricity, AC in the bedroom, CATV/telephone jacks, heat on demand tank less hot water system delivering to all sinks, laundry area and of course the indoor shower (note: some places have outdoor showers only). We use rain water that is collected into a cistern, but we also have a town water connection and meter that can be unlocked if required should the cistern run dry during the dry season. We have sliding glass windows and screens to help keep the bugs out, although every couple of days a small salamander (harmless of course) will breach the perimeter and have to be herded out the door with the broom or captured with our minnow net and removed to a new location outdoors (so far no salamander has been harmed by this process).

Some Belizean houses come with great sunsets.

This is just one of the many spectacular sunsets we have seen from our back deck.

Should I Rent or Buy?

The last recommendation I have for anyone from Canada or the US looking to purchase Belizean houses or property, or houses in any other location in Central America, is that you first RENT, DO NOT BUY (for at least six months to a year). Be very sure that the location you have chosen does not present any surprises later. Things like flooding due to excessive water during the rain season, or maybe you are at the end of a road that washes out every year. Remember that it is extremely easy to buy Belizean houses and properties, but if you need to, it may not be not so easy to resell in a short time.

Due diligence is your responsibility, and will be a recurring theme in my posts and on this site. Do not take anything for granted and if possible, always have someone that knows the ropes help you to realize and ask the right questions.

 

I would Love to hear from you,
let me know if you enjoyed this post.

Leave a comment or ask your questions to help
me to make this site your go to resource on Belize.

And
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Dec 072014
 

Participant in the 2014 Lighted Boat Parade in San PedroSan Pedro’s Lighted Boat Parade.

One of the events that marks the beginning of the Christmas season here in San Pedro is the “Lighted Boat Parade”. Last years event was cancelled due to low participation, so as we attended last night we were thankful for the opportunity to witness what we expect is the return of this visually stunning “annual” event.

It was a beautiful evening with a full moon and clear skies. Many people gathered at the Central Park in downtown to view several the boats that were decorated and lit up to participate in the Lighted Boat Parade. All entries were well done and were a beautiful contrast of color against the black background of sea and sky. My favorite is pictured here and was the depiction of Santa Claus in his little flippers riding a bull shark.

At the 2014 Lighted Boat Parade, Santa Clause was also on hand at the Central Park in San Pedro.Central Park, the place to be.

Central Park is the hub for activities during special events. The Lighted Boat Parade was no exception featuring a local DJ with event specific music (last night of course was Christmas carols). Also during these times of gathering local groups share a look at their rich history and culture with displays of local dance and other relevant presentations. Last night also saw the Jolly Old Elf  himself, Santa Claus stopped by to watch The Lighted Boat Parade and to pose for photos with both families and children.

Central Park is also occupied every day and evening with the kiosks of several local artisans showing and selling their wares. These might include beautiful hand made jewelry, colorful tapestries, exquisite wood carvings, and of course some of the best tasting local Belizean food dishes you can imagine.

This post has been updated to include this short video by “iTravel Belize“. To see some of the 2015 Lighted Boat Parade click here.