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Moving to Belize

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WilliamBrown
2/7/2018 10:17 EST

My wife and I are contemplating move or winter living to Belize either rental or ownership. Looking for advice from those who have already made the move. American, mid-60's professional retired couple. Planning exploratory trip in March. Any help much appreciated!

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BarryK
2/7/2018 11:19 EST

I am also mid-60's, retired professional, and have been living in Belize full-time for 4 years. The area you would live depends on what suits your needs. I wanted to be on or near the water, so the 2 obvious choices are Ambergris Caye (big island off northeastern coast) or the Placencia peninsula. I live in the village of Placencia surrounded by ocean beaches on one side, and the lagoon (ocean between the peninsula and the mainland) on the other. Ambergris is way to busy and noisy for me, and all the water sports and access to the ocean are still available in Placencia. Also, I can drive onto the mainland for excursions to other parts of the country. Must fly or ferry from Ambergris. If you prefer inland living, then you will want to look at San Ignacio/Santa Elena (Cayo District) area. Rolling hills, small mountains, not as hot as coastal or island areas. If you can swing the time, best thing to do is several exploratory trips. Take 3 weeks at least for first trip. Spend a week on Ambergris. Spend a week in Placencia. Use the third week to take day trips to Hopkins (another coastal community on the mainland), Punta Gorda (southernmost large town), and the aforementioned San Ignacio Cayo District areas. That leaves Northern Belize. If you can do a fourth week, go there. Corozal and the surrounding area has a lot of expats. It is very close to the Mexican city of Chetumal, so if you must have access to big box stores, fast food, and/or specialized medical services, that is where a lot of folks end up. It all depends on your life style desires. Active, snorkeling, scuba, fishing, nightlife, then Ambergris (most expensive place) or Placencia (2nd most expensive). Active, hiking, exploring, farming, Mayan ruins, jungles, etc., then San Ignacio. Low key, access to medical and U.S./Canada-style shopping, then Corozal. Best thing to do is to research each area before coming. Ask on this forum for responses from expats that live in each area on each area of interest. What to do, what to see, daily life-style, access to services, etc. Then make a trip to see your top 3 choices. You can always do short visits to check out the other areas outside your top 3. Pare your choices down to a top pick, and schedule a stay of several months there. Try to pick a time when that crosses over low and high season. This is especially important in the areas of Ambergris and Placencia, that get heavy tourist and snow bird traffic. There is a big difference in the number of people and business openings in the different seasons. Do not go off half cocked and try to buy property right away until you have spent significant time here. Engage with the locals and expats. Get the feel of the place, and seriously ask yourself if you could live there indefinitely. If you have specific questions about Placencia, private message me.

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bobbyveee
2/7/2018 11:28 EST

Excellent advice, but finally its your eyes and ears that will find the 'right' place and never buy property for atleast the first year, its very easy to buy, but very difficult to sell.

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belizelenny
2/7/2018 11:56 EST

Made the move in 2002..Had places in San Pedro, San Ignacio, Ranchito Village, Corozal Town. Made my full time home at Cerros Sands.

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5allan1
2/7/2018 14:39 EST

I did a research study back in the day correlating personality type with different areas of relocation in Belize. (Dedicated to terrific)
I will summarize by stating that Ambergris attracts extroverted bourgeois denizens with bottomless bank accounts who enjoy granite countertops and inebriated parties and dining daily at Estels
Placencia is Ambergris Lite
Cayo and Toledo are for hardy back to the land tree huggers who enjoy raising mushrooms and ducks.
Corozal is for sensible stable middle class retirees who like the idea of being close to decent medical care, Home Depot, and affordable vintage wines,
Belize City is for criminology buffs.
Nobody bothers with Orange Walk

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belizelenny
2/7/2018 18:05 EST

LOL. But pretty much right on..

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mgammo
2/7/2018 19:07 EST

Well Allan, that is an interesting perspective. I know some pretty interesting Gringos in Corozal whom I would not classify as sensible. I know some that I would call sensible. There are some watering holes there as well that can be full on a given afternoon. I think it takes a certain personality type to function at a high degree in a third world country. I found that most people I met fell into that category. It is not for every body that is a fact.....Personally, I like it there. I do like being able to get back to the US for my hair products..: )

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toddwinston
2/7/2018 20:42 EST

...our place is in Corozal town. It is super laid back and quiet with plenty of expats/retirees to socialize with (if you want). The islands ambergris and cay caulker are totally not our style. It is a steady stream of tourists, I can not speak to any other areas as I have not stayed long enough to comment.

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mgammo
2/8/2018 09:26 EST

My place is in Corozal as well. I feel like I am in a pin ball machine riding in a golf cart when I am in San Pedro. A few days of the frenetic energy is about all I can take. The Cayo is a pretty area, I have only been a couple of times. Corozal is a sleepy bayside town and it is that vibe that I prefer. The expats there seem to have a fairly tight knit community. They have a garden club, and kind of a darts club that meet weekly I believe. I know some who run across the border to Chetumal to shop and go to movies. I know some who run up to those casinos. My favorite past time in Corozal is to either sit in the park and people watch, or walk along the bay. I guess it just depends on what appeals to you and what you think will meet your needs....

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slidebar
2/8/2018 15:36 EST

Thanks for that Allan. I'm not sure even a legit Myers-Briggs would have pegged me any better. I've raised both ducks and mushrooms in the States and am working on my move to Cayo later this year. Chuckles to you!!

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terrific
2/8/2018 17:07 EST

For Slidwbar
As Allan will attest if you can grow decent mushrooms there is likely a fair market in Belize. I toyed with the idea but my only previous experience was one with the bale packs grown in the spare room. I was not sure I could do it on the right scale for marketing. Presently they are a 'sometimes available' commodity fresh imported from Mexico or its just canned varieties not so nice.
Still like the idea though just need someone else to do the " heavy lifting" for me.

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slidebar
2/8/2018 19:26 EST

For Terriffic -- Based on what I learned during my mushroom growing experiment (they're are picky about the conditions they choose to grow in), once was enough. Takes more gear/facilities, passion and persnickity effort than I'd be willing to try again. Unless growing commercially would be easier in Cayo than in the PNW. Dunno.

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slidebar
2/8/2018 19:30 EST

For Terriffic -- Forgot to ask about the "heavy lifting" you mentioned. You talking about Arnold Schwartznegger scale heavy lifting? ;-)

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terrific
2/8/2018 23:15 EST

Its not reallythe physical aspect ( I have adult sons for that) i just want someone else to do all that research of where to get reliable spores and the correct medium suited to Belize climate to grow them in.
I went so far as to checking out the plans and costs of how to set up a growing shed. But they were from Africa so not exactly same environment. I would do it happily if it was set up and all I have to do is harvest and package and collect the cash.

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5allan1
2/9/2018 06:04 EST

The mushroom situation in Belize had not improved as of my last visit. In Corozal my taximan homie brought me in several boxes under his car seat now and then from Chedraui in Chetumal. Of course on the bi weekly Consejo smuggle runs I brought in more. Nobody should be forced to eat canned referred to as Casa de Rana by locals. Another reason to settle in Corozal. Its a pragmatic and sensible choice.

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Kenubelizeit
2/9/2018 06:42 EST

There was some Chinese growing mushrooms in Corozal for awhile. They were doing great recommend checking with the Mennonites in Springfield off the hummingbird highway they might know a thing or two about mushrooms.

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