I am thinking of retiring in Corozal area and was hoping to chat with expats' in the area about medical care, crime rate, and quality of life in general in the area. I have done quite a bit of research and I think I have a handle on most of it. So, I would like to start with medical. I know there is a community hospital in Corozal and 1 or 2 larger hospitals across the border in Chetumel. My question is on the quality of care. Any insight?
..we bought a house in Corozal and spend some of the winter there. Plan on spending the entire winter (except for a few weeks skiing of course) when the kids are older. We feel safe but are always cautious . Todd
I plan on living and eventually dying there if I end up buying down there. I’m retired military so I’m not real worried about culture clash or fitting in. I just worry about crime and medical in my later years
You asked about The medical scene in Belize . Well it is very Basic ,there are a few newer better equiped clinics with scanners and such like, opening in some bigger towns, But there is still very little cardiac and cancer care, Also there is a lack of high tech equipment. But for the basics and day to day care it is very good, and quite inexpensive. Belize is not the place to move to if you have most of the chronic medical conditions. If your mobility is impaired this country does not cater for easy access for wheelchairs as the majority of buildings both public and private are likely to be up at least a couple of steps. Streets and roads rarely have sidewalks, just occaisionaly perhaps a rough strip for pedestrians along side the road without delineation. in some of the towns or larger villages. Seems one of Corozal's biggest attractions is proximity to that Mexican Border.
Terrific’s medical description is essentially accurate. I worked in their health system for several years and maintain regular contact with a local internist and pharmacist. What she left out was how poor ER/trauma care is. Accidents happen and Belize does not have the medical teams or infrastructure to cope. I have a substantial collection of horror stories u dont read about. As for crime, home invasions and petty theft are national pastimes. Corozal is not immune. You need a large hostile dog and window bars. Maybe a wall with crushed glass. The proximity to the amenities, health care and commodities (esp cheap gas) of Mexico make Corozal attractive. Sams and Home Depot are popular expat hangouts
One Hospital in Corozal Town and one in Orange Walk. Numerous private doctors and clinics in Corozal Town. Polyclinic in Chunox Village near Copper Bank. Clinics are all over in Chetumal. (Carranza stands out) Personally I have used The Corozal Hospital and three doctors in Corozal for my family. We have also used The Northern Medical Center in Orange Walk. I have had no issues with any of them. I have been living in Belize since 2002.
belizenny’s post is correct as applies to basic family health care. However thats not what the discussion pertains to which is advanced care and ER care. No question being close to Chetumal offsets this somewhat. I also worked at Northern in Orange Walk. So I learned exactly what the limitations were-poor medical infrastructure, supply issues, periodic surgical and anesthetist availability esp in an emergency
Google has let you down. There is an ambulance service in Cayo district run by the Menonite community. Also within the area of Belmopan there is also an ambulance connected to the 911 emergency services.
The life expectancy of a Belizean is 70. Mexico is 77, Costa Rica is 79 as is the USA and Canada is 82. There are of course many reasons for this difference such as genetics and nutrition but death by accident and traumas are a factor. The problem is not the ambulances or 911 but what happens after. ER / trauma care is very grim at the hospital and recovery level. Belize suits u terrific as it does the extreme margins of the expat cohort. Its not for everyone, actually not for most. Health care is a major factor and property and violent crime are areas of concern. I share those sentiments but add to that the high cost of living and infrastructure issues. Oh and the absence of the Costco polish sausage, modelo, crispy wing special ( with fries) ;)
Sometime ago I asked myself what did Belize do to you for you to be badmouthing Belize I mean you talk about trauma and KHMH is recognized as one of the best in the region for GSW. Apart from that Doctors have joined together and have their own private clinics. If Dr Cervantes a top neurosurgeon even has an office in Chetumal and he is a Belizean what is that telling you. Belize has and will always attract people but if you are looking for mbers mark toilet tissue and polish sausage and Modelo then promote Merida but don't you think it is time that we get it . You could not survive in Belize or you were looking for something that Belize did not have but ease off BRO.
Triffic You have medicine and Alternative Medicine. So if you want to rely on just the alternative to Medicine it is your choice. To claim orthodox Medicine "does not work" is blatantly incorrect. Some traditional and culturally performed medical practices are actually quite dangerous. Others have been incorporated into modern practices and drugs, because they do work. But as I say your choice but it should not be foisted on those who can't say this is NOT working for me, i.e. small children. Disclaimer I have been in and around the medical profession all my adult life.
Chill Ken I had lunch with Dr Cervantes back in the day. He is a very fine spinal surgeon. He could not do much of that as KHMH lacked the support structure. The place has supply and equipment issues and physical structural problems. Also mice. I dont know for sure but they probably stock Roses brand toilet tissue ;)
It is easy to say "enough already" about the same topics that come up. If the site was only about the few that post regularly then I agree. We all know how the other regulars feel about Belize. This site is about helping those less informed. The Doc and Bobby V have one side and I truly think all believe what they say but either are in too deep to retreat, stubborn stuck or have something to gain like promoting a property. International Living does not talk smack about Belize because it is not in their best interests. But it is important to hear what others think the truth is then make up their own minds. They opened my eyes and now I live in Mexico. Belize is spiraling down the drain and those there with something to sell don't want the secret out. IMHO
To Sunglasses, I live in Placencia and have had no trouble. Construction everywhere. Of course, I would not go to the Village sidewalk alone at night, nor to the ATM, but that is true everywhere you may live. The police here are a presence.
"Would also want to know what is meant by Belize spiraling down the drain!! Please give specifics as I’m about to move there (Placencia)"
Have you read this board at all? That question indicates you have not, and are therefore ignorant of the choice you are about to make. You are the kind of people who become statistics. Btw, I lived in Placencia for a decade and bailed when it became too dicey.
Wow, that response was quite tactless and you sound like an angry guy. If you no longer live here, why respond? I’m new to this blog, and hope you are happier where you live now!! I asked for specifics..... You sound as if you already went down that drain!!!
One translation for the ex- expats who say they bailed because it "changed for the worse" "spiralling down". They liked it when they were there and it was hardly known in the outside world, but then once others wanted to share their lifestyle it lost its cache. Now they have to denigrate at every chance. Many many people have agreed many times Myself included, that Belize is not paradise Nowhere is, it has many problems but just Listing them all, time after time gets a bit tedious. If you no longer live there how do you know it is spirlling down, you are not there to enjoy the many improvements on so many fronts over the last few years boing enjoyed by present day expats. If it is so bad why bother about anyone else, It is not an act of Altruism and being helpful it is just trying to put off others. mostly sounding mean spirited.
GM terrific, Good points Except you engage in generalizations. Its might be helpful to newbies to specify the improvements u see. You say “many problems” but what are they? You already know my issues... health care, infrastructure, poverty, relative high cost of living, and crime. The Atlantic bank failed recently. No small thing esp since its involvement in corruption and the loss of savings for many. ( sanctuary Belize).It is doubtful that the deposits are insured. In any event this might deter foreign investment. Perhaps this is part of the “downward spiral”.
The US banking industry is breaking ties with Belize partially because of the ability to hide income...aka offshore banking. Violent crime is ramping up enough that some are moving out. That was enough for me to look elsewhere. Placencia is nice to look at but prices are stupid high and far away from decent services like medical and even grocery shopping. IMHO. Lots better choices to live away from 'The States.' I do think most get interested in Belize initially because it is English speaking.
Things being on the table in Belize is probably like watching a glacier move. You need a stake in the ground so you can measure it's progress...close to none. We all know government is corrupt. Belize is so small when the countries fathers steal from the coffers they get it all. At least in larger countries they leave some.
just one question I have refrained from asking Why should any expats expect any other country to have the products and services common to their native land for their own pleasure, Then expect it to be a low cost place to live. I was asked to say what I mean saying there are problems here are some. Things from your home land need to be imported i.e. added costs of transportation and duties rolled into the price you pay. If your sole aim is to live in another country on the cheap while living in the exact same manner you are accustomed to, it is never going to work out. I have lived ( I suppose EXPATED) in nine countries and not one of them have I been able to or expected it to have the same comforts and availability of the goods produced as my native land. Belize has poor roads ( the new part of the western highway finished is great) in the majority of the country still very poor. Gas is at the same price levels in Europe but not those in northern America. There is a lack of high end tech medicine, but basic care and dentistry is massively less expensive then in the USA. Stores stock much less choice of any items, but really is only a choice of 10 to 20 breakfast cereals that much of a hardship than choosing among the dazzling hundred or so choices you are used to. Fruit and vegetables surprisingly are seasonal, if you want them out of season they can cost a lot. Some of what we think of as 'common' fruits do not even grow in Belize like Apples and Pears and most stone fruits so they will cost more. With such a small population there is not the Bulk buying opportunities that even small supermarket chains have access to in the US. Remember the local population have to pay the same prices also. The climate is hot and humid all year round with added large amounts of rain for half the year. As to violence it is not as Common. The vast majority crime is what in the US is virtually ignored, as Inner city gang crime. And happens in Belize city. I do not believe Expats are considered targets. I have made many friends in Belize of many ethnicities and nationalities, over the last 20 plus years. Many of the people are poor but it is not the homeess grinding poverty of inner city USA. I have more problems with the panhandlers in Los Angeles, than just not buying carvings from the peddlars in Belmopan. I can also choose to buy imported toilet paper from the US and complain about the cost or I can buy the local product. and survive OK
@ terrific: These are useful observations. However as for poverty you havent done house calls in villages where lighting is from a bare bulb from electricity “borrowed” from a utility pole and where water is hand drawn from a well and the floor is a mix of soil and concrete. Probablity is low you will find this in L.A. I think the vast majority of expats like the idea of N.A.commodities, and amenities combined with a tropical lifestyle. Thats why there are many more in Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica than Belize. The only draw there is the linguistic one and that boils down to choice. There are places with better climate, health care and infrastructure and lower overall cost of living.
CLK We agree on that. But if the decision was to stay home I do not understand the usefulness of spending so much time researching the country you decided not to go to, and then passing on this second hand knowledge when posters ask for advice from those who are actually in country. On the medical side of things I was in St.Lukes hospital in Belmopan ( not as a patient as a visitor) today,It is fully moved into the nice new Hospital building, I had never had reason to check out the old building I was favourably impressed. Pleasant staff and a good OR, LAB , Pharmacy and ancillary departments, including MRI and other advanced radiology Machines, They can do most of the regular scheduled screenings expats usually undertake. Unfortunately still no cardiac specialists on staff. I think they have a website.
@terrific I am sure StLukes is fine. All the main hospitals are ok for acute care, (with some improvement in cardiac care), infectious diseases,diagnostics, and general surgery. They are not at all good at ER/trauma care and death and disability from accidents is appalling. They are poor at chronic care including cancer and most major chronic ailments partly due to lack of specialists like oncologists and endocrinologists. Just a consideration for wannabe expats. Just dont get seriously injured. Unless you are in BERT radius you will bleed out anyway
I agree. Being close to Chetumal is a huge plus. Apart from medical, its less expensive than AC or Placencia, has less rain than the rest of Belize, and you have ready access to all the amenities, commodities and conveniences of the 21st century. If you make friends with a customs officer, or his wife was a former patient and/or you have a taximan friend with a car designed for smuggling contraband even better. Good times. The only disadvantage to Corozal is that its in Belize ;)
I just got back from Corozal. Busy little town. Great people, nice Bay breeze. I plan to move by Sept 1. I Got lucky and made new friends. They will help as I move along in this journey. My guess is you will like it..Try Ruby's Ceviche. Great food!
Scrumpy..here is my 2 cents worth. I looked at Corozal and most of Belize for years. Probably vacationed there 20 times in 30 years. My deciding factor not to move there is the shaky gov, banking issues (not that I would need to have a bank there but banks are folding and having issues with the US) , increased violent crimes, medical quality and shopping. Not necessarily in that order. I figured that Corozal was the best place because it was close to Mexico and if Mexico was so good to be close to then maybe Mexico was my answer, so I started spending time in Mexico. Q.roo is too expensive, Yucatan has horrible water. The Gulf of Mexico looks like all dirty rivers I have ever seen. The little towns above Merida are full of expats but dirty. I finally found The Sonora Desert on the Sea of Cortez. It is everything Belize is not. Good prices, great people, great medical.....on and on and on. The one and only downside is hot and humid in a couple months in the summer. Only about 30% of the expats stay here during those months. I come from desert so I know I can handle it and if not I will go North for a bit. .... Money is more of a challenge. here you have to know how to divide by 20 instead of 2 and English is widely spoken but not the National language. I am taking classes currently but many expats don't even bother and get by just fine.....Unfortunately Belize is spiraling downward. Great place to vacation but not for me. This desert has so much to offer in the way of activities that the jungles of Belize do not. I have been here 5 months and not going to leave.
So basically you wanted to keep your north American life style in a warmer climate on the cheap. Understandable. Congratulations! Now you have found it,
So why continue to foist your own reasonings and opinions on to others as though it is the main prevailing logic.
Belize is not "spiralling downwards" in the opinion most expats living in Belize.
If living in Corozal is only because of its proximity to Mexico I agree you need to suss out Mexico. I am not in agreement that all Expats are targets for violent crime,Not in the areas I know well, but I do not know Corozal well, so maybe there they are.
The Banking system in Belize was great and simple 10 or 15 years ago but it all went to pot after the US decided to go after its own people for tax collection world wide and the possibility of money laundering. New rules were issued that US banks would have to put in place, and more requiring overseas banks to keep the US informed of any US citizens bank accounts overseas. These rules proved too onerous for the US banks, to take the risk of being fined if clients were proved to be laundering money. Dealing with small countries made too little profit,to take the those risks. So most US banks washed their hands of the small countries like Belize and Carribean islands.. These are the countries that actually did sign on to the FATCA to comply with rules the US issued, and as a result were punished/rewarded by the US Banking system. Some larger countries, i.e.Guatamala and Honduras and Mexico, in the region have refused to sign on to FATCA or to comply, and HEY they did not have their correspondence links yanked from them. Belize local Bank accounts are fine, but having to do all the time consuming FATCA checks for expat accounts is a pain for banks and clients alike, what 10 years ago was a 5 to 7 day wait to open an account became up to a 10 to 15 weeks wait Hence so many jumped for easier less cross checking rules at "International" banks that allow easy account opening, and now these are the banks with problems.
“So basically you wanted to keep your north American life style in a warmer climate on the cheap. Understandable.” Not sure I see a problem here. People choose Corozal because they want to function in the English language. At the same time being close to the superior health care and conveniences of Mexico is a big draw esp to older folks. Walk into Sams or Chedraui any day of the week and you will see a familiar face. Corozal also happens to be less costly than the rest of Belize with less rainfall. These are facts. If u r comfortable learning basic Spanish Belize offers zero advantages over Mexico, or Costa Rica or Panama etc
Allan I also do not see Belize families joining caravans, or sending un accompanied children, through Mexico to escape a life violence and grinding poverty in Belize. I funnily enough have done "House calls" in some of the villages in the far west, saw similar conditions as you describe. some without the nearby power pole to borrow electric from, but I never found people in despair at their conditions they had happy family life. Partly what you never had you never miss. Also why there is a problem for some expats they don't want to miss out on anything they have had before. If they do it is good be reason to blame a whole country and warn everyone else to stay away.
If one has an opinion about Belize it is probably either negative or positive. If you have no opinion about Belize then you probably are not on this site except to ask questions so you can obtain an opinion. Those not asking questions have a duty to tell those wanting to become informed what their thoughts are. Take the information and process it and make your own decision. No one is say you must or can not do anything, just voicing opinions so take it or leave it. I certainly would not want someone to take my words and decide their retirement years on it. But if you are asking questions then it is foolish to think the only remarks you will hear is what you hope to hear. If any place was perfect everyone would be there. But I so think there are more than just a couple posters on here that are stuck in Belize, with no reliable exit strategy, or have something to sell. The REAL difficulty is deciding who is selling what and why!
Gypsy110....I would be careful thinking you have heard any 'facts' on this site. Hard science has some facts and laws that don't change. Blogging on sites on the internet is just opinions that are disputed constantly. If you see it or hear it on the internet it might be true. My father said "don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you see!" I think a healthy process is to gather information, form an opinion, check it out thoroughly and only act when you are as sure as you can be. and ALWAYS have an exit strategy! Don't get locked in anywhere!
I have always advocated having an exit strategy anywhere I have lived. Moving permanently to Belize, or anywhere else, is not something to be done on a whim because it was visited on a cruise, or you have had a great vacation there. Moving for retirement full time living is not an extended vacation it is real life. Shopping, house work/upkeep, drying the laundry in the rainy season. How do you deal with bad weather, poor roads and noisy neighbours. All problems reported on this forum by expats. Not all expats posting here are STUCK here or selling stuff. I am not for one. But the opinions of folks in those cattegories have to be just as valid. Consideration has to be taken into the fact all the 6 districts of Belize are very different often with significantly different climates. If considering a permanent move, you should visit several of these areas at different times of the year. I see posts saying I am coming to "Corozal" when no experience of any other area and never even having visited Belize. Mainly because they see so many posters from that area on the forums and think it must be a bustling expat area, I don't know but it could be, or not. If you are looking for a cheap place to live the N A life style you are used to it is not likely to be found in Belize. The figure of $2k us a month given by the BTB for retirement is probably quite accurate in most areas but possibly a little low for the Cayes or Placencia if you do not own your own property. You cannot get a mortgage for property in Belize as a "Tourist" ( your designation for the couple of years before getting legal resident status, and still is even with QRP status) from Belize Banks. The now closed International Atlantic used to offer them at 50% down and around 10% for 10 to 15 years. I think Cayes Bank in San Pedro may still be offering some, at probably similar rates. I Agree with the standard advice come for an extended visit and rent, explore, and THEN decide if this is the retirement place for you. Suits me to the ground, but my sister likes it only as a vacation place. She ran a business in Cayo for a year or so before deciding full time life in Belize was not for her. She always Kept her exit plan, She did not sell her home and everything in the uk, She rented out the house, put much stuff in storage or with her adult kids, so she had a place to go back to, and pick up her life back home. As I say she loves her visits to Belize now as not having to work 6 days a week to make a living she can see all the parts of Belize she missed out on when living here. Still not selling anything, or In any way Stuck and having to make the best of it, I Love it here but I had 20 plus years of experience before taking the plunge, so not exactly on a whim.
Yes I have moved all over considerably with backup plans in place. I spent 10 days driving a rental all over Belize. I like the St Rita area of Corozal. Much more space and privacy. I want to keep things simple and rent first. I made a few Belizian friends while there. Just made touch and will check out some rental properties for me.
I'm a senior and know how life can change in an instant. I'm one to ask many questions before making decisions. I'm alone and have to be realistic and stay safe.
As with any location there are pros and cons. The States don't offer me a decent place to live comfortably. I saw what Belize had to offer that would improve my lifestyle.. It's been nothing but a stressful life here considering the gradual loss of a middle class. I'm hopeful for the future. I hope to meet expats who can provide some extra every day living advice for that area. A miracle isn't necessary. Just an improvement would be my intention. Change can often mean growth if I do the homework. Thanks.
Me a liar? Im not the one pretending to know about living in Belize, you are.
How long have you lived in Belize for?
I have been a Permanent Resident of Belize since Feb 2007.
You spend your days in your moms basement googling Belize and trolling anyone who will listen.
Why do you bother? You never lived in Belize...but you spend your time trying to pass yourself off as an authority on Belize..... Is that Honest? No
Is it the sign of a stable person? Not really.
Come on Norman Bates...
"truth about Belize is something he doesn't want out. "
How would you know what the truth about Belize is?
Once again you came to Belize once, years ago , maybe for a few days......you know nothing about Belize but spend your time calling those who live in Belize and try and give their honest opinion about the pros and cons of living in Belize liars....
Every thing about your presence here on this forum is dishonest...and delusional.
Now.....Quick! Back into your cage before Mom finds out you got out.
"the median Luisiana property tax is $750 per year"
How nice to know if I ever wanted to live in a Luisiana bye water. I'm pretty sure those prices are for areas with little of the amenities of and proximity to New Orleans, or other big towns and cities. Probably similar to the rural villages of Belize.
My Property tax in Belize for 42 acres of river side property within 10 minutes of the capital city, is around $300 Bze. so that $750US a year is still high.
Being in Business in Belize is not a bad thing It enables current information on the commercial aspects of LIVING IN Belize, often asked about by new forum members. Information you will never personally be able to give. as you do not have experience of LIVING IN Belize.
Has Con ever used this forum to advertise anything, if so I have missed that post. Your original post did not actually make sense as read ' owns fly overs' Funny Con sees you as a trouble making youngster.I see you as a bitter disappointed old man ( took a couple of years to discover you were a male as you had never previously revealed that and till then I thought you were a bitter disappointed old woman)
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