Belize Expat Forum

Santa Familia?

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dwindhorst
10/4/2017 18:18 EST

Found this article. Expat location #4 is Santa Familia, Belize. Anyone with experience there, or knowledge of Santa Familia? Comments regarding expat community, cost of living, crime rate, internet quality, etc? Thanks! Here is the link: http://www3.forbes.com/lifestyle/quit-your-job-and-live-abroad-8-places-so-cheap-you-might-not-need-to-work/6/

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bobbyveee
10/4/2017 19:05 EST

Just read the cheapest and best places on the planet issued by Forbes and Belize doesn't get a mention, Mexico twice and Portugal 3 times.

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5allan1
10/5/2017 06:33 EST

Belize is the most expensive country in the region by a range of 20-30%. Violent crime is mostly in Belize City. Property crime is ubiquitous however and is a national hobby. Internet quality fluctuates depending on location and time of day.

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CayeCaulker4Me
10/5/2017 18:07 EST

Broken record, broken record, broken record, broken record,broken record, broken record, broken record .......

So one magazine doesn't include Belize and that makes it an authority. LOL

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bradinbelize
10/9/2017 18:17 EST

DWINDHORST

I clicked on the link and the picture they are showing looks like San Ignacio, which would be a common thing for an article to pull a "in-stock" photo from their Belize file. Sant aFamilia is mostly farmland - I don't think that there is much of a village even there. It is probably about a 20+ minute drive outside of San Ignacio. Eyes and feet on the ground are the only way to know for yourself, but I'm pretty confident the "village picture" they used is San Ignacio (I've personally been there about a dozen times)

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katzgar
10/10/2017 08:05 EST

Have never been there but gmaps shows the village with about 1,600 people. I see no indication of bus service to the village but the village appears to be about a mile and a half from San Ignacio so walking or taxis seem reasonable. You might also look at Bullet Tree Falls. Similar in size to SF and similar in distance from SI but with more commercial activity.

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Conmurphy
10/10/2017 11:52 EST

Hi,
I lived and worked in Santa Familia for a couple of years and know this article mentions the Village because of Carmelita Gardens, and offgrid eco development in the village.
Im not ;living there anymore but I know day traders, graphic designers and other online operators who make a living from there, with high-speed internet connections, modern full cable packages (including all sports and movies) for $23 per month! and very small town village life, just across the river from San Ignacio (In fact there is a small boat that takes you across to the San Ignacio side for $1BZ now that the foot bridge got washed away. Failing that it is 7 miles from both San Ignacio and Spanish Lookout, the Industrial capital of Belize.
C

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katzgar
10/10/2017 13:27 EST

Good catch on the Footbridge that of course is something that gmaps doesn't show

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flyingriki
10/10/2017 21:31 EST

Definitely San Ignacio. Had lunch down on the left one day. It was so hot I couldn't wait to leave. Went back to BC, dropped off the rental and headed out to C Caulker.
Have to admit the countryside out that way couldn't be much lovlier!

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dwindhorst
10/17/2017 08:26 EST

Thanks! I mentioned Santa Familia only because of its mention and description in the article, and because the photo looked inviting. We're really interested in something closer to the coast and close to some lifelines (Costco, restaurants, etc). --Dana

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dwindhorst
10/17/2017 08:28 EST

That sounds interesting, maybe worth a visit. Thanks! --Dana

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dwindhorst
10/17/2017 08:43 EST

Looks like, from Bing Maps, that one could drive between Santa Familia and San Ignacio, via Iguana Junction -- isn't there a vehicle bridge there?

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bradinbelize
10/18/2017 08:34 EST

Dana,

There is no such thing as COSTCO (nor anything close), no SAmS ClUB, no McD’s - NOTHING you are used to in the US at all. This is the beauty of Belize. There are some places here but think US in 1950-1970 range and you will get a more clear picture. If you want a mall or Sams Club or Target, Belize ain’t the place for you.

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katzgar
10/18/2017 10:01 EST

Looking at Belize and needing things like Costco suggest you're not understanding the third world nature of the country

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dwindhorst
10/18/2017 16:18 EST

I had read somewhere that Costco was in Belize. That is clearly incorrect. I don't *need* a Costco, but was working on the incorrect impression that it was there, and was therefore interested in what areas were accessible to it. If there's not one, fine. I'm retired military and have thrived in 3rd world areas where there were no such things. You all are a tough audience.

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jlydia
10/18/2017 18:36 EST

In my opiinion, it is good that Belize was not listed. U know what typically happens when a city/country makes it on a list. Let Belize develop on its own slowly. I would like to see G. Britian help Belize grow their infrastructure; maybe they do; i have not checked on this.

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bradinbelize
10/18/2017 20:01 EST

Great Britain does do some infrastructure and financial support and the US does a ton of financial support, US Army Corps of engineers work and the European Union sponsors things to. Belize gets a lot of assistance from all developed countries.

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bradinbelize
10/18/2017 20:01 EST

Great Britain does do some infrastructure and financial support and the US does a ton of financial support, US Army Corps of engineers work and the European Union sponsors things to. Belize gets a lot of assistance from all developed countries.

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katzgar
10/19/2017 08:55 EST

I am a hard audience because estimates are that 40 to 60% of expats move back home for various reasons. I am long past the gee Belize is cool because it has great diving phase. Expats with heart, cancer or diabetes need to locate in northern Belize for access to medical care in Mexico. Many issues just wont wait for the USS Comfort to port in Belize and the local health care doesnt cut it for fancy stuff. Playa del Carmen in Mexico has Costco and Home Depot so again N. Belize provides better access. Belize is very protectionist with high duties on anything imported including food. Can you survive with local foods? Belize first enacted a building code in 2003 if memory serves but that only means so much so can you judge the structure and systems of a building or do you have the money or skills to repair deficiencies? Belize can be a great place to live but best to understand the vagaries going in.

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katzgar
10/19/2017 09:03 EST

One example is the Belize Coast Guard which was established by the US Coast Guard in 2005
https://www.facebook.com/belizecoastguardofficialpage/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belize_Coast_Guard_Service

officers attend training in either the US or the UK

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dwindhorst
10/19/2017 11:13 EST

Thanks for the thoughtful response. The Northern Belize access to some things not available in Belize might be what I was reading elsewhere was referring to (I can't even remember now where I read it). I also understand there are a lot of limitations. People getting up in age need to soul-search whether they want immediate life/brain/heart-saving procedures if/when they have a stroke or heart attack. That can mean the difference between life and death, or between minimal and major permanent disability. It's a real risk, to be included in the risk/benefit calculations of calling Belize home.

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terrific
10/19/2017 11:15 EST

Just a mention the US military only has forces in Belize when they are using the British jungle training facilities or with a nato mixed force exercise, outside of that it has no connection or commitment to Belize. There would be no reason for the USS Comfort ever to be in Belize. Most external military and coastguard training is done in the UK. Isn't it great to think 40-60% of expats remain in Belize and love it.

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5allan1
10/19/2017 12:56 EST

There are no reliable stats on how many leave or stay. But 50% is likely and not insignificant.
Barely a day goes by without reports of government ineptitude, armed robbery, murder or a fatal MVA. Most of the latter are a combination of impaired or dangerous driving, poor or no policing, and badly designed high crown roads leading to rollovers. Combine this with poor infrastructure and non existent trauma or advanced medical care and no Cosco or Home Depot and its hard to see why Belize could be considered a jewel or paradise. If you have a nostalgic affinity for 1958 maybe, but without drive in cinema

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katzgar
10/19/2017 13:56 EST

It's very easy to Google USS Comforts visits to Belize

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katzgar
10/19/2017 16:54 EST

Here is a summary of the US military's work in Belize... http://www.southcom.mil/MEDIA/NEWS-ARTICLES/Tag/74505/

Here is an article about the comfort... https://www.ambergristoday.com/content/stories/2015/april/07/us-naval-hospital-ship-visit-provide-medical-services-belize

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dwindhorst
10/19/2017 19:43 EST

On the other hand, most people speak English. There's that. :-)

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bobbyveee
10/19/2017 21:36 EST

yep, they understand im dying from a heart attack or stroke, just dont know where to send you.

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dwindhorst
10/19/2017 23:47 EST

Thanks. It doesn't say, but I would expect that first-world citizens who happen to live there would be in line behind Belize citizens. The latter is why the hospital ship is there. Just a guess, I could be wrong.

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katzgar
10/20/2017 07:11 EST

about EMS in Belize... http://www.emsworld.com/article/12109900/ems-education-in-belize-an-adventure-of-a-lifetime

about BERT... https://www.facebook.com/bert.belize/

more about BERT... http://www.bertbelize.org/

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katzgar
10/20/2017 08:15 EST

"Thanks. It doesn't say, but I would expect that first-world citizens who happen to live there would be in line behind Belize citizens. The latter is why the hospital ship is there. Just a guess, I could be wrong."

The Comfort addresses medical issues an expat would have had addressed long before going to Belize.

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5allan1
10/20/2017 10:17 EST

About BERT EMS in Belize..
It was organized a number of years back with a donated ambulance (used) and in the recent years has been largely ineffective in its purpose.
They never arrive at an accident scene in a timely manner, if at all, and the accident has to be close to the city.
Academic in any case, as there are no trauma surgeons in Bz or properly equipped ICU's

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Conmurphy
10/20/2017 12:31 EST

Thats not true 5 allan.

KHMH has a state of the art ICU, its the envy of the region.

There is a dedicated trauma team of on hand specialists and a trauma nurse for every bed in there.

This is admittedly in stark contrast with the other wards in KHMH, which are indeed terrible, and you would be better off at the vet.
There are ICU's in the private hospitals aswell, but not as good as the KHMH one,
Con

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katzgar
10/20/2017 13:53 EST

Actually BERT has three ambulances which can be observed in the link if someone cared to look at it. I think it's pretty obvious the distance between the patient and the ambulance is a factor

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katzgar
10/21/2017 10:28 EST

just saw this on the talkin picture box. dont need to speak the local language anymore just get this earbud when it is available. https://www.facebook.com/mymanuofficial/

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