simple life in belize :)

Hello everyone!!
    We are a young couple with a 13month old daughter looking to relocate to Belize from Colorado. We are in search for a good cheap piece of land in hopes to build an Earth bag structure for our home... does anyone know of anybody who has built those kinds of homes and has any advice about it... like where to get materials, how it holds up ect. Also just looking for any advice and input and hoping to make some new friends along the way. Thanks a bunch :)

Contact Tobias Sengfelder in Belize. The company name in Belize is Go Green Ltd. I know he has done natural building. I am not sure that it is called earth bag structure, but it certainly uses soil.

We too are on the same general path of seeking a more simple life. We have two children, 3yrs and 1 month! Hope to meet you down there someday!

Thanks! i checked out his website.. def someone I would want to ask questions.

teamheisler im excited about this new adventure and to get the hell out of the states.. When do you plan on moving and what is your game plan if you dont mind me asking. Also do you plan on building an earthen home as well? I really hope we do meet up sometime :)

btw congrats on your new baby!

what are your plans as far as educating your children, as I want to move there also, but I have 2 boys 6 & 9, and I'm not much into homeschooling?

Me and my fiancé are also interested in making the move to somewhere like Belize and are looking for like minded individuals to discuss such a move. Hope you find what you are seeking and look forward to discussing the possibilities with y'all :)

luckydane My daughter is still young.. I was thinking of homeschooling thats what we said we would always do but now im not sure. The best thing i guess to do is check the schools in the area you will be living and then decide whats best. There is a forum on the belize forum with lots of input if . you want to check that out.

A&D INC Thanks :) im looking forward to dicussing the possibilities as well. Have been to belize and hows your planning coming along.

We plan on getting out of the states ASAP . Probably within 6 to 8 months from now. Our ideal plan is to be self sustaining ie small veggie farm, etc. we are homeschooling our kids, and are trying to figure out work. We are not trying to strike it rich, in fact just about the opposite. Western civilization wants us to believe that the more money we make the happier we are which is simply a falicy. Therefore, we want to do work down there that is worthwhile and meaningful, helping the community .

No we haven't been to visit yet.  We are almost ready to just take our chances and come on down... How hard is getting 2 dogs in? We are in Texas, so thinking about driving down through Mexico... Are we nuts? :)

You can have 2 dogs in, BUT you need a few things. One you must have filled in the forms for Belize for the dogs, and have a certificate from a USA vet that they have all their shots and are in good health.

I expect that living in Texas you are familiar with dealing with ticks.

Thanks to flyaway...  Yes we are familiar with ticks and recently had quite a battle with fleas,, lol. We have found a lot of great info hear and seems that most are pretty positive. It's really nice to see so many people living their dreams and escaping the rat race that we have let our native countries become. We dream of a laid back life on the beach surrounded by fun loving, kind, positive, carefree, and encouraging people. Needless to say we are pretty fed up with life in the USA, sad to say. I was born and raised in east Dallas and really need a change cause this way of life just isn't for us and the rug is slowly being pulled out from under us. My main concern is finding work and an affordable place to live as we are not independently wealthy and have no savings. We would literally be heading down with maybe $5,000. I am an electrician at present with about 20 years experience in the construction industry and my fiancé has a background in real estate and is presently working as an apartment locator. Any info anyone may have on employment or communities that are supportive and willing to trade a place to lay our heads for labor is greatly appreciated. Somewhere close to the beach is our only must as we are true beach bums at heart :) .

To those who wish to relocate here---   Please ask yourselves why Belize would want you as a resident....   What contribution can you make here to the land, the wild life & the people?

Belize is the the most expensive of the Central American countries.  rent is cheap.  wages are low.  all else is expensive.

Their gun control laws are strict and ridgedly enforced.  Relative to the USA, rents are cheap and utilities are HIgh.  Wages are very low.  a master electrician who has worked for me generally will be paid as little as $35 US a day.  Unemployment is high.  Work permits are hard to get and take at least 6 months.

most roads are deeply pot-holed and rutted.  the suspension on any vehicle will require requent replacement and adjustment.  The constant shaking and banging is hard on electrical systems.  The high humidity shortens the life of electrical appliances.

The residents here are shades of brown and do not take kindly to the racism that is so prevalent in the USA.  English is the official language.  Spanish is what is really spoken here.  The ticks here carry deadly disease to dogs.  Humans are subject to several types of parasitic dysentary.  Chagas disease is ugly.  see wikipedia to learn about this.

I love it here.  I live in a Belizean neighborhood, nOT with like minded expats.  I was raised on a working farm, so I know how to grow my own vegetables and raise chickens.  We are medical people so we can treat our own minor illnesses.  We have lived in the Carribean area previously so we knew some of the culture and issues before we came.  We have a stable income.  We came with savings. 

I do not wish to discourage people from relocating here.  I am hoping to inspire people to come visit and see if this is really the best place for you.  If it is your place, you will be warmly welcomed by all.  People are generally kind and tolerant of diversity here.  The pace of life is slow.

Well stated. You are just saying the way many things are. It is not a human paradise as such. It is not Maui. I like though how you end off your post - saying why the two of you like it in Belize - why it fits for you.

This was worded very nicely.  We are moving to Corozal Belize in 6/2014.  We came for our visit last March and loved the Corozal area.  If I may ask what type of car do you drive.  We are having a hard time deciding which will be best to bring a car or purchase a car in Belize.  I have read a lot blogs on this...
Thanks Linda

Thax for the info. Yea from my research I have found some concerns. We like the idea of Belize because it is such a young country with little government wich means more freedom and more possibilities. Also like that it is in the Caribbean with a much more laid back and slow pace of life. The fact that the belizean gov doesn't trust it's people to have guns in order to protect themselves from the less desirable elements of society is a great concern (yes I am a gun totin Texan ;) lol). We are looking for a more sustainable way of life and we are interested in ecotourism and permaculture as well as self sustainability. Income is not a great concern to me as long as I can afford the basics, shelter, food, and drink and still have time to pursue our passions and interests. We are pretty adaptable folks who know this will be a very big change. I am very handy and could build a house from the ground up if supplied with the proper tools and some good help. We are interested in possibly starting a property management company as it would fit both of our skills. Maybe even open a market to sell vegtibles and livestock and other goods that I could make. I just wonder if there are communities/people who will trade services for shelter and food until the proper work permits can be required. Is this type of trade considered "work"? What are the penalties for working without a permit and is this really enforced???

From my research it seems the best vehicle would be a small light duty 4x4 like a 4runner or small pickumuptruck due to high petro prices and rough roads. If I may ask what is it that you liked about the corozal area? It seems to be a favorite of lots of expats but haven't really heard why? Is it close to the beach? Are the people friendly?

A&D check out scottemmert's forum he was asking the same thing as you about trading work for a place to sleep and got some feed back on it..  also PM me we can talk more

We figured out our plan! We will be purchasing land in cayo district and have decided to have
build our first home 680 sq ft until we save enough money to build our dream home earth bag structure! Does anyone have advice on where we would purchase solar panels? Or should we bring them from the states with us? We want to to be completely off grid
Silvan does excellent work and has a great reputation.

I will check that forum out samg. Thax! That's awesome news about your plan coming together! Excited and happy for you. We are also interested in off the grid living. We found a website that might be of assistance to those seeking shelter and food in exchange for work. The website is called Unfortunately it costs about 40 for a 2yeAr membership but some of the possibilities are priceless for those wishing to travel and see the world on the cheap. There are several host families in Belize. I hope our plan takes shape soon :) thanks again samg.

Thanks A&D  and thanks Brigitte B!!!! Il DEF check that out

I'm stoked for you and your family! Count us in as trying to be off the grid while down there! Hope the transition goes well!

Thanks Bridget on the reference for the solar power. We as well want to be able to be off the grid too. I knew there were solar power people in Belize, I had not looked any up.  :D

Samg and A&D  -
kristinanadreau has made some extremely valid points. It's a very realistic perspective on life here.
Other issues to consider in your immigration is the cost of life here -  the import duties and taxes - import of your vehicle can be as high as 57% of the value that the broker assesses it at. Land - a small lot anywhere by the beach will cost over $75k. in most of the popular areas. Look at the on-line real estate listings.

Besides the monthly visitor's fee of $50BZ for the first 6 months and $100 BZ after that, there is the cost of the work permits @ $US1100 each. You also cannot apply a work permit for 6 months.
Then there is the cost of Permanent Residence. There is a cost to bringing in your dog. When you go for your monthly renewal you need to show that you have sufficient funds to stay in the country - ie bank statements.
You will also not get a work permit for a job that a Belizean can do.

It may not be the most expensive place to live, but will have to be able to cover your initial setup costs. If you rent - they usually ask for 1st month, last month and a security deposit - that equals 3 months rent - up front. You may be able to negotiate that, but probably only on your second rental, once you get to know people.

Also be prepared for driving through Mexico - which was a great trip but took longer and cost much more than planned.
Just make sure that you are prepared financially. Research the taxes, duties and fees that are required along the way. Plan carefully. I don't want to discourage you, but I would also hate to see your plans fail because of lack of funds. 
Corozal is a great place. It is different from other areas of the country, but then every area is unique.  Corozal is unpretentious. While Corozal is on the water, there are no sandy beaches here. It's more about the people than the buildings. There is a great community of people here, both Expat and Locals. Though it may be temping and easy,  try not to isolate yourself in an exclusively expat community. has a page on Retirement home construction - earth bag construction that you might find interesting. He includes some cost estimates in there.
Hope it all works out for all of you. ;-)

Thanks Nichi i am def prepared i wrote my entire budget out and im all set:) i have been saving up for a long time'  i cant wait to get to belize!! Thanks a bunch for the advice

Thax nichi for the good solid advice. Sounds like thers a lot more hoops to jump through than I was hoping.  Guess it's goona take a little longer than hoped. Hopefully can have enougb funds to at least come and visit for a time and see what we think.  Are there serious penalties for going under the radar and not having the proper documents?  Thax again :)

If you don't have the proper documents good luck?


I am a solar property owner in the Cayo.  Our little Serifina works as a rental for us until we are ready to retire completely....sort of.  Our property is eco-pure.  We have solar with a generator backup, allowing for 25 marine-grade batteries for power storage.  Our roof drains water into a cistern below our porch and is pumped into the house on demand, and through numerous filters.  We have propane tanks ( 3 tubes) on the place that provides for the fridge and stove.  No power lines, no gas lines and water from heaven.  In the dry season water may or may not have to be delivered.  Our agent reports "not so far.". Our place is in Carmelita Gardens outside of San Ignacio about 8-9 miles.

I think everyone here is building in an eco-pure manner.  The community is planned for a measureable amount of shared responsibility and benefit from communal gardens, a small business area, etc., so solar is used.  If you want to get contact infor from the builder/manager just let me know.  I will be proud to pass it on.


Thanks for the info! We are just across the river from you. We are well on the way with our building. We have 12,000 gallons of water storage. With this and the roof surface we should have enough water for the dry season. We are still building but hope to be moved in, in March. The rain this's fall / winter slowed things down. We are installing solar as well, but plan on being hooked up to the Grid for use when there is more rain than shine. We are living here and it is good to get advice from those with more experience than us. Hope your retirement plans work out well and soon.

Take care.

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