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Cayo district off grid advice?

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Adrian93
4/13/2014 23:50 EST

Hi! Im 30 and want to move to the cayo district in belize. I want to live off the grid, and im willing to build my own structures. I have experience in off grid living. Anyone done this? Advice? Anecdotes, etc would be awesome!

SKeener
7/14/2015 14:46 EST

I meant to say that we only had to use the back generator once since understanding the system better.

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SKeener
7/14/2015 14:32 EST

We built at Carmelita Gardens and live here, and we love it! It is great being off the grid and independent.

As to water, we had to have a water truck come once this last March during the dry season, but that was because we were doing cement work which takes a lot of water. It was part of construction, but we probably didn't need it. Water has not been a problem and we even take showers twice a day if it is a hot, sticky day.

About solar power, we had a few glitches when we did not understand the system and ran it down using the air conditioner. We since only had to use the propane back up and that was a simple problem that was fixed by the company that put it in. Otherwise, we have not had any problems. We are conservative in how we live, but still have two air conditioners besides other appliances. Having been in San Ignacio when the power went off for 10 hours, I really like being independent.

I love watching the cows, and hadn't realized that the calves play like dogs do. There has not been a problem with smell, imho, and they fertilized my lawn a few times. Since there was a discussion with Daniel Silva about the cows, the folks in charge of them have done a much, much better job of keeping them contained or being around to keep them from our property. A few times, a newborn calf and mom have been in the corral next to our yard, and this city girl enjoys that. The horses are gorgeous, and we like sitting on our balcony watching them run full tilt in the pasture.

Living at Carmelita Gardens has been peaceful. We live sitting on the balcony with a drink in the evening. It is quieter than in town. We are putting in a garden now and are looking forward to eating the food we grow, and eating the fruit from our trees (bananas, mangoes, papaya, dragon fruit). A composting system was started and hopefully works out - but that is something we are responsible for and not the Carmelita Gardens.

We eat much better here - real food and not processed. It has been pleasant to have the time (being retired) to learn to make our food from scratch, though we can get most all of what we need at the Farmers Trade center in Spanish Lookout. We like getting our bread from the bakery, our vegetables and fruit from the farmer's market and our meat from Pete's meat market (grass fed). Recently I was in the US for 6 weeks staying with my mother, then one daughter and then the other, and by the end of that, felt sick. It is the processed food. We would go to a restaurant, and to me the food was....not so good. Eating real food does that.

The only thing I really can't find here and love is Chai tea. However, there are recipes online for chai tea latte mixes, and spices here are reasonable. I make my own chai tea latte mix.

Our house had its issues. Luckily, the one really bad contractor was wooed away to build another house (and is now banned here) and a wonderful group came in a fixed up any problems and finished the house. The developer, who has been maligned in this thread,, has made every effort to fix any problems.

I expect that in time, the amenities will all be here. In the meantime, I enjoy it as it is.

Conmurphy
6/30/2015 17:26 EST

Social Media is so easily abused, and there are a lot of people talking about Carmelita Gardens who either don’t have the facts, or are intentionally obfuscating them.

While being a friend of the Developer I have never worked for Carmelita Gardens.

Here are the facts as I know them.

The Developer has never built any houses in Carmelita Gardens.

He founded a company which built four very high quality homes in Carmelita Gardens and hired managers to run it.
Some of these homes had issues with cost and timeline over-runs, but he sucked it up and made it right out of his own pocket, but never was quality of the finished product an issue.

Three other houses have been built in Carmelita Gardens, in which the Developer used independent contractors.

One by Gutierrez and Associates, owned by the Founding President of the Architects Association of Belize, who did a sterling job until the homeowner requested that the cabinet maker take over. Due to unethical business practices and significant time over-runs that cabinet maker / “builder” is now banned from Carmelita Gardens.

One o f the houses completed was built to impeccable standards by Cayo Custom Homes, a company that the Developer founded, vetted the foremen and workers, and then handed over to the current owners, so he would not have a conflict of interest that being involved in both building and developing brought.

The owners and crew of Cayo Custom Homes deserve much credit for the well managed cottage they completed.

The 3rd / other house completed in Carmelita Gardens was built by Maya Vista Partners. This was the Caims house, which had some issues in its construction.
Some of the issue was that the Caims went onto the job site most days and countermanded the directions that had been given by the contractor, changed details without consulting an engineer and then blamed someone else when something went wrong.

For example, they paid for B grade panelling inside and out of the house as they were going to paint the entire house, then ordered it varnished inside and complained when the wood filler putty on the B grade lumber showed.

Regarding the Crew that is building the Caims new house in Santa Familia.
The best of the Developers Crew were retained by Cayo Custom Homes and continue to build in Carmelita Gardens; and the rest went to Linda Hunters New Hope/Artisan Woodworks who is now building for the Caims.

To illustrate how cantankerous the Caims are; when it became obvious that they were never going to be satisfied, and were only interested in complaining, the developer arranged for the house to be bought from them in “AS IS” condition, for the money they had into it at the time.
They refused, only to sell the cottage to someone else months later for nearly US$20,000 LESS than they had been previously offered, they seem to epitomize biting off their nose to spite their own face.

So, when the Developer had sorted out the construction issues in Carmelita Gardens, and arranged for the malcontents to be bought out a 2nd time, to ensure smooth running in the future, the developer brought in 2 great contractors, Cayo Custom Homes, as mentioned earlier, and Better Homes – Belize, which is owned by a builder with experience on 2 continents and he is also the Treasurer of the Rotary Club in San Ignacio.

These are facts as I know them, and the only vested interest I have is in telling the truth, when so many people seem to want to spread unfounded gossip.

My email address is if anyone wants to speak to me about this or any other matter,

Con Murphy

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