Hi there, fantastic community you have here...I've been lurking for the past couple weeks, almost since I booked my June AC trip...will be my first time in Belize.
The interesting thing is that once I started looking for a place to vacation and get away from it all for a week, that this trip became as much of an exploratory venture as it is a vacation. I'm fascinated now with the prospect of retiring early and leaving California for a more simple and relaxing existence. I've gone down this wormhole of online research, and on paper, I think I can do it. The final determination is still to come (do I think I can adjust to the environment, will things be the same when I retire, etc...), but I feel like I have one foot out the door already.
My situation is that I was looking at the prospect of working until I was 62-63 in order to have enough of a pension to comfortably support my current living situation in California. I'm going to turn 50 this year...so that's another dozen years in this poor air quality, paying through the nose for everything. But my calculations for retiring at 55 would leave me with a pension income of about $5800/mo before taxes, plus I'd still probably be pulling in another $1000-1500 a month in consulting income (which can be done remotely). Social Security would come into play 6 years later, but that would add another $2K+/mo at that point.
So with that income, I'm fairly confident that I could swing it financially and be fairly comfortable. My fantasy is to have a little place (either own or rent) on the water in either Placencia or northern AC, with a dock for my boat, to be my home base. I'm single, no children, in relative good health...and I'm already starting to downsize my personal footprint of "stuff" as a result of this exercise/epiphany.
So given the fact that I haven't even set foot in the country yet, is this a crazy dream, destined to fail? Or is it something I can realistically start working towards and planning for? Do you see anything changing dramatically in the next five years that might make me think twice about Belize?
Thanks for reading my rambling first post, and hope to hear some feedback from some of the knowledgeable veteran expats here!
Hi David. With that kinda monthly income you could do it quite easily. Get a good taxation specialist and reduce your tax way down. We lived on AC for 16 yrs, and they've put a road up north part way. A boat and boat dock would be almost an essential. but you would need to triple chain up everything and I mean everything. I would take a close look at Placencia, has more to offer now than the more expensive location of AC , also a better boating experience down there, less hazardous sand bars etc, I watched the marine patrol boat run onto a sand bar just off Boca del Rio and had to get local fishermen to pull them off, oh boy lot of egg on faces !!!. In truth, if you can find long term rentals at a reasonable price, don't buy, unless a real bargain comes along sometime in the future, so easy to buy so hard to sell in Belize. Good luck
you could be comfortable on $2,000 a month. The first determinate is your health, basic care is fine but fancy care like bypass doesnt exist. The next determinate is your own head. Can you let the local culture just roll off when they dont show up when they said they would?
Hi Katzgar, there are different degrees of comfort. $2000 usd worked for us on AC, but we owned our own bungalow and cart. You also got to take into account the difference in weather and humidity , very non Cal.
@bobbyveee, why do you say that, just curious...I do still want to have plenty of cushion for travel and miscellaneous expenses...plus if I needed to, I could move back to the states later in life, albeit to a much more affordable area than CA. I just want to simplify and be happy with my surroundings.
I could live like a king on 5K a month..or should I say Queen? If one is fairly frugal and owned his own place and vehicle, they could get by fine on 2k... Of course a Dr. bill or a vehicle repair could pop up. In Cor0zol, my cable and internet is 22.75 US a month. I pay Charter 165.00 a month..up here. If you own a Verizon flip phone and buy mins, depending on how long you , talk, maybe 100.00 US or less a month think it is a Blz. 1.00 a minute...I always buy time on double up and triple up days. If you take in a Galaxy, guard it with you r life. I'm thinking my water was about 25.00 US a month. I also spent about 12.00 on bottled water, even my Belizean friends haul in water. They will deliver it to your door... So, take all those expenses out and the things you could do with the rest are numerous. On 5K..you would be able to go to Tony's Inn on the Bay...50.00 US for a fabulous meal and freshly squeezed lime dacquiris. twice a week.You could afford a girl to come in daily and clean, do your laundry. and basically " mind" you as they say. You could afford a yard man every day to keep your yard manicured. You could even afford to catch the Thunderbolt Water Taxi down to the Cayes, and play down there a lot. The water taxi fare is 25.00. You could even hop Mayan Air if your back is bad and be in the Cayes in 25 mins. My next goal is to hang out up in the Cayo..I went once, and loved it... You could have a nice life down there...
Remember the Bze $ is half the US $ your budget will cover everything and you'll still have a lot of change left over. for $2500 bze you can rent something really nice. In Belmopan my day to day running costs seem lower than some of those illustrated but I do use Rain catchment water and have solar as well as mains electric. my electricity bills run at about $15 per month for Mains and a bottle of distilled water for the solar. Yes i do use bottled water for drinking and teeth cleaning. Its $2.50 for 5 gallons so cheap enough. I have the Dongle for internet and load up as needed, using double and triple up days is a big help. Not exactly fast but reasonably consistent.
I been in Placecia 5+ years and once in a while the Internet goes down for a few hours and there has always been 'fast' Internet (10mps+) available, at least is fast enough for 99.99% of people, I would think, who do not mind waiting another nano-second for a page to load.
If you buy a mifi you can put it in your pocket and use it anywhere and its pretty good a $100bz used to last about 2 months , sometimes nearly 3 . And not sure what you've put $150 aside for health. What are you expecting to spend it on?
I agree, for that rate one should be able to secure a very nice place..If I were staying in Belize I would have rigged up a Rotoplast cistern, I think that is a good idea. The tap water can ruin one's hair..I got rain water for washing my hair...In Corozol, when the internet blips out they usually got it up and running with in a reasonable stretch of time...Seems like inclement weather was usually the culprit....
Hi....I know it sounds vain, but I color my hair or paint it as they say in Belize. LOL...The water is heavily chlorinated, it wreaks havoc on colored hair. Now that I think about it, I took it some frosting kits I got for about 5.00 up here. I pay about 120.00 up here. My girl in Corozol used the kit and it looked as good as the way I have it done up here. I take a few kits in if I am staying a while. I also take in my own hair products. You can buy things there, but not what I use. It's a girl thing I guess and it's a vanity thing, but if you do your hair you may want to take note...
If you do your nails take in a good supply of polish. I always take a boatload of gel polish to my friends. You can survive with out it, but if you are into such frivolities our products are superior...
You are most welcome.. They knew this Gringa did her own thing.LOL..I would haul as they say rain water to the beauty shop and a guy with dread locks to his waist would wash it.... That water will make your hair like cotton candy if you have any color on it....
Here's another question...if I lived there and had a boat, would I be able to do my own day trips to hang out on the various uninhabited/undeveloped cayes? How would one know which cayes are private or off limits?
Hi....I am NOT a sailor, but I do know one has to really know what they are doing to navigate those waters. I'm pretty sure there are all kinds of reefs, sand bars, shallows. and any thing else one could possibly imagine one could encounter. I just picked up on this from hearing others talk and my own observation. If I had a boat, I personally would link up with a local who knew the waters like the back of his hand. I would not just zoom out on a grand, exploratory adventure unless I were with a person in the know regarding the potential perils in those waters....
Hi. You cant just buy a boat and go sailing, you have to pass a practical boating test and get a licence. and yes the waters inside the reef are full of sand bars and shallows and they are changing, so GPS not a lot of good. I gather further south the sea is a little deeper, im sure Fred knows, he lives in Placencia and goes boating to uninhabited cayes .
@katzgar, wow they really don't make it easy for a "foreigner" to operate a boat down there. I wonder if "retired resident" means those that have been accepted into the QRP...if so, that's a likely option for me.
Bobby, I just walked in and bought both the license and the insurance. Though I did have to go back to the traffic department, because I just walked out with my receipt, not having gone to the next stage of getting the sticker for my window!
Same here. I bought a house and a vehicle in Corozol and nobody asked if I were a resident either. I just procured the insurance and took care of the car sticker and plate at the office in Corozol. If you buy a car from a Belizean, make sure you have a JP Justice of the Peace, notary sign off on it. One of my friends in Corozol is a JP if you ever need the service of one. They can have the power of a judge sometimes.
You can own a car in Belize even without residency or QRP. if you can convince the dmv you are down for the long term you can get a diving license too. my son still waiting on his residency has done both with no problems.
You can own a car in Belize even without residency or QRP. if you can convince the dmv you are down for the long term you can get a driving license too. my son still waiting on his residency has done both with no problems.
I think BobbyVee was referring to San Pedro. Residency (permanent, QRP) is going to be needed to get a permit to import the vehicle/cart to the island. And a vehicle is probably not going to happen unless you line some pockets. A cart for personal use is allowed and you can get the permit fairly easy once you meet the list of qualifications. I will say this, I've had a few friends who moved to San Pedro with a long term plan and had success talking to the Mayor directly, explaining their situation and him granting them a cart permit w/o residency.
If you want to license a boat, you either need residency or own land (at least that's the rule on Ambergris Caye). The captains license test can be passed by anyone that can read and remember a few specific details about Beilze Ports. A captains license in San Pedro is good for all of Belize so keep in mind you will have to answer questions about the entire of Belize and it's various ports, not just your local area. You can buy a study booklet from Port Authority for a few bucks, read it and test the next day. If you go right before lunch to take the test, chances are they won't even make you take the practical driving test if you're a familiar face.
Your start is good but further down the road as popularity grows so prices increases especially now that Leornardo Di Carpio and other developers have already started to build and at the same time Norwegian Cruise Line is heading South very close to Placencia so prices and demand for land will increase even more so u might to just jumpstart on your exploratory or scouting trip.
David: I get the impression you are primarily interested in either AC or Placencia, so when get into Placencia call me and I will give you the scoop on boating in southern Belize and who to see. Nothing is that tricky in Belize IF one doesn't make it so. A simple 23ft Pagan with a nice 60hp-100hp Yamaha all is needed to open a whole new life of adventure.
Running a boat in the reef-dotted Caribbean is all the same, learn how to read water (color actually) and learn any new area slowly. Use a GPS Garmin and load Google maps as the base background which shows every reef and shoal from a topographical point of view. God with a local or a local ex-pat and you will soon be in business.
From a fishing and exciting point of view, I am no fan of the waters north, they are a bit dull and easily murky. Southern Belize has endless places and uninhabited islands to explore. And always crystal-clear waters.
You are starting early in your preparations, very smart of you.
This sounds about par for the way things are handled. Slicking the palm tends to get good results in a variety of scenarios. There are many ways to skin a cat and I have found this one to be most effective........
FOR SURE!..... I took the police chief in Corozol out to lunch. It was a very saavy move. I have done some shopping up in the states for some, that is always a good plan too. BVEE is spot on about the grease on the wheels....
Thanks guys, this is really valuable insight...very much appreciate your thoughts! FredAr, I'm in AC in a few weeks, but plan to be in Placencia in the October-November timeframe, It'd be great to connect with you and get some additional tips on the area.
Who one knows is the same all over the world. This reminds me of back in the states. We needed to cut this old Douglas Fir which had a crooked point and surely would fall on the house sooner or later. I wasted 2 months trying to getting permission to cut it. , Finally, I called my friend, who called 'Mike' his fishing buddy, and local Superintendent of Public Works, and he asked him if he wanted the wood from it for his new house. He brought a chain saw. A real granola neighbor came screaming over when she saw the commotion, and told me you can't cut that tree, and if I tried, will call the Superintendent! I told her to go and talk to the guy with the chain saw.
I would be currying his favor for sure if I were interested in boating. A set of decent sheets is sometimes a good gift......Something that can't be found there....Getting hooked in locally is the smartest way to go. I have found getting chummy with the locals who are cousins and friends with the top dogs is effective. I hate to fess up on this one, but I did a dumb thing and got roooked on a land deal via a corrupt Land's Office official. Well, being chummy with the locals enabled me to retain Dickie Bradley as my atty. He is my caretaker's brother's neighbor. You can't exercise the " who you know" clause if you don't know any body. It is a small place, and the locals are in the know..I really learned a hard lesson on that one!! LOL...It's all good....If I had had a JP sign off for me it all could have been avoided...Live and learn. D. Bradley is a great guy...
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