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Pros & Cons of Living in Benque Viejo del Carmen

Planning a potential move to Benque Viejo del Carmen? Delve into this comprehensive article, which delves into the various pros and cons of calling Benque Viejo del Carmen home.
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Thinking about moving to Benque Viejo del Carmen? Below we highlight some of the pros and cons of living in Benque Viejo del Carmen.

Benque Viejo del Carmen, often simply referred to as Benque, is a charming town nestled in the westernmost part of Belize. It’s a place where the pace of life is slow, the people are friendly, and the natural beauty is breathtaking. But like any place, living in Benque Viejo del Carmen has its pros and cons. In this article, we will delve into the advantages and disadvantages of making this Belizean town your home.

Pros of Living in Benque Viejo del Carmen

One of the most significant advantages of living in Benque Viejo del Carmen is the access to stunning natural beauty. The town is located near the Mopan River, providing residents with opportunities for swimming, fishing, and boating. The nearby Maya Mountains and the vast Chiquibul Forest Reserve offer hiking, bird watching, and exploration of ancient Mayan ruins. For example, the Xunantunich Mayan Ruins, one of Belize’s most impressive archaeological sites, is just a short drive away.

Another pro of living in Benque is the cost of living. Compared to many other places in the world, Belize is relatively affordable. Housing, in particular, is significantly cheaper than in North America or Europe. For instance, you can rent a comfortable, fully furnished two-bedroom house for as little as $500 a month. Groceries, utilities, and other everyday expenses are also reasonably priced.

Benque Viejo del Carmen is also a culturally rich town with a strong sense of community. The town is known for its traditional festivals and celebrations, such as the annual Fiesta de la Cruz in May, which blends Mayan and Christian traditions in a unique cultural event. The local community center often hosts events and activities, providing a great way to get involved and meet locals.

For those interested in volunteering, there are several opportunities in Benque. The Cornerstone Foundation is a local non-profit organization that works on various community projects, including education, health, and environmental conservation. Volunteering with such an organization can be a rewarding way to contribute to the community and immerse yourself in the local culture.

Finally, the climate in Benque is another significant advantage. Belize enjoys a tropical climate with warm temperatures year-round. While there is a rainy season, it typically only lasts from June to November, and even then, the showers are usually brief and followed by sunshine.

Cons of Living in Benque Viejo del Carmen, Belize

While there are many advantages to living in Benque Viejo del Carmen, there are also some downsides to consider. One of the main cons is the town’s remoteness. While this can be a pro for those seeking peace and tranquility, it can also be a disadvantage for those who crave the amenities and conveniences of a larger city. For example, while there are local shops and markets in Benque, the selection can be limited, and for more specialized items, you may need to travel to a larger city like Belize City or even cross the border into Guatemala.

Another potential downside is the language barrier. While English is the official language of Belize, Spanish is widely spoken in Benque, and not everyone speaks English. This can make communication challenging if you don’t speak Spanish, although many locals are patient and willing to help you learn.

While the cost of living is generally low in Benque, income opportunities can be limited, especially for expats. The local economy is primarily based on agriculture, and while there are some opportunities in tourism and teaching English, these can be competitive. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have a source of income or savings before moving to Benque.

Healthcare is another area where Benque falls short compared to larger cities. While there is a local hospital, it is small and may not have the facilities to deal with more serious health issues. For more specialized care, residents often have to travel to Belize City or even abroad.

Lastly, while the tropical climate can be a draw for many, it also comes with its challenges. The heat and humidity can be intense, especially during the summer months. Additionally, Belize is prone to hurricanes, and while Benque is somewhat sheltered due to its inland location, it can still be affected by heavy rains and winds.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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