New members of the Belize forum, introduce yourself here – 2016

Hi Sandy and Ben, we have not yet made the move so there is little advice that we can offer, however, we look forward learning from you and your experiences. We hear that Island is very nice and wish you all the very best with your move and everything in between. Smooth building and all.

I am so happy for you! My husband and I are thinking of retiring there. The way the island is growing you probably will not be as isolated as it is now. My husband and are are going there Sept. 1st. Who did you buy your property from. Real Estate Agency?

What is your first choice. Just out of curiosity. We are starting to look for property next month.

If a person lived on AC and wanted to go shopping in Belize , and took the ferry, once they land in Belize how would they get around? Are golf carts the main mode of transportation like I have been told it in on AC? an you take your golf cart on the ferry?

Welcome to the forum. You will find a lot of good information here, particularly in regards to specific issues-like what to bring and not bring, how to ship, etc. You will soon realize there are lots of opinions on a myriad of topics, but you alone are responsible for forming your own opinion, based on visiting Belize, and not from other sources. Come visit for a couple weeks several times, and in different areas. Do your own research and due diligence.
We bought some acreage just off the Hummingbird Hwy and will build in the next couple of years, and plan to relocate there permanently in 5 or less. We are 40 min from the coast and 40 min from Belmopan. We opted not to buy on a caye for some specific reasons, not relevant here.
Belize is a beautiful undeveloped country with lots of opportunity and great people. Good luck in your endeavor, wherever you end up.

The modes of transportation in Belize are varied, but golf-carts are not very common on the mainland- primarily on the cayes and in selected communities, like 'gated communities' where you don't have far to travel. The overall road condition in Belize is pretty poor. You would probably need to rent a vehicle or use the bus system in order to get around on the mainland, when  coming from AC.

New to the Forum from McKinney, TX (near Dallas). 
My wife and I just returned from 8 days on Turneffe and our intrigue in Belize is higher than ever.  After watching WAY too many episodes of Caribbean Life TV show, we want to move to the Caribbean when the last kid graduates high school in 4 years.  We won't be able to retire just yet so we're scouting employment/business opportunities, how to do so, taxes, insurance, etc etc.
I am an architect and construction manager and my wife is a personal trainer.
Our primary search criteria on BEACH.  White sandy beach - Caribbean side.  So that has led us to Ambergris, Caye Caulker and Placencia so far.  Maybe Hopkins too.  But must be toes in the sand, even if it's a little off the grid or a fixer upper.
Just joining so pouring through posts and info. 
Many thanks for all your posts and the time yall devote to the blog.

Yes , we used Josh at seaside realty . Very helpful . We watched online for quite awhile and knew what we wanted before we arrived .  Enjoy your search .

Working situation is complicated the need for a work permit, if you wish to start your own business I.E.possibly hand up your shingle for your  architect business, and possibly a personal training practice  for your wife.Working for an employer is much more complicated. The position has to be one that cannot be filled by a Belize citizen or legal resident. It can take 6 months or more to acquire the work permit to work for yourself and even longer to work for an employer. By as you looking  well ahead things may be very different either better or worse in a few years time.

Margewest, To go shopping in Belize city  from. San Pedro you can take the water taxi or fly with Maya Air or Tropic Air.
No golf cart is used in Belize city. It is a very busy city with a lot of cars and trucks.
The same water taxi, can bring you shopping from San Pedro to Chetumal in Mexico.
Hope the best for you

Hello All,
Thanks for the welcome!
My wife and I, and our 5 kids (home learners) have been discussing moving back to the Caribbean for years and we drove down from Canada to spend a spell to see how it feels, and where feels best, so we can carry on with the other plan to disconnect and live a simpler, more 'healthy' life. This is also leading to a slight increase in focus of my work with couples/families, offering courses to young adults and perspective couples etc..... with thoughts of a possible retreat center.

We've been leaning to the Cayo district and are in San Ignacio now.  For now we need to just find a working base from which to work the land/house plans.  Rent to own would be ideal as there seems to be a bit of gap in rental pricing and some of what we've seen is much higher than we expected, and for value it's causing us to hiccup quite a bit. Monthly rental budget was aimed at about 1000bz all in but....

Any home learners out there???
Any insights about a rental home or property for sale?

Thanks to those of you who do such fine work in welcoming and sharing - it's milk to these new babes :)

I look forward to crossing paths with as many as possible!

Welcome! My husband and I live in Monkey River Town. We have three of our four kids here (18 yo is in the US all growed up and stuff) - all learning at home for the time being. We only pay $200 a month in rent, but we live in a very traditional one room house in an incredibly remote village. When we lived in PG, we had a three bedroom house partially furnished for, I think, 1200 or 1300 a month. It was nice, but way more than I wanted to spend.

We are basically unschoolers. Perhaps you already know, there are no real rules about home schooling here. Technically education is compulsory from 5 to 14, but we never even heard this until we went to apply for permanent residency for our 14 yo, and they told us we'd have to have a letter from the Education Ministry. Haven't really felt like tackling that beast, but I'm gonna have to soon. Our 14 yo is an artist and a baker. She sells paintings online and bakes amazing yums for us. We're hoping to apprentice her with a baker in the near future so she can learn traditional Belizean baking and also get more decorating experience. Our other two are 4 and 2, so mostly they make messes, try to injure themselves, play with cars and action figures and barbies, and watch way too much Peppa Pig and Bubble Guppies. My husband works online, and we are also home brewers in the process of getting my work permit to sell home brew supplies and eventually start a micro brew. If you head down south, hit us up. We're always happy for company. And rent is definitely cheaper down this way. I think you could easily live, even in Placencia, for under $1000 a month.

Be well.

Thanks Monkey Town!
I did quite a bit of home wine making in Canada.  We're in Hopkins now and inquiring about rentals...who knows, monkeytown isn't too too far :)
Cheers for now,

Hello Everyone!
My name is Monique!  My husband, Kris, and myself are moving to Belize by January 2018.  We have one son, Presley, who is currently 15 months old, and another son on the way for late November/early December.  We are originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, but have been living in Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada for the last year.

We opened our own business here helping people with breathing and health issues through air purification, but find every day that something is just missing in our lives.  We don't like living in the city with all the stress we deal with daily.  We find no matter how hard you work here (we used to work 18 hour days with our son in tow from 3-8 months until we found him a daycare without a waiting list!), it's not satisfying because everything goes to overhead, bills, and at the end of the day you don't move forward or enjoy time together because of the stress.

We saw an episode of Island Hunters on HGTV and fell in love with what we saw.  We have since done VERY extensive research and are buying a condo there to live in for the first year (already in negotiations), and have scouted out land plots to build our home, as well as space to start our new business within the first year after being there.  We are really excited and already love how helpful and friendly everyone we have spoken to has been.

We can't wait to be away from the snow!!!

Welcome to the forum.

As a Canadian, I can relate to what you say about the stressful lifestyle. Oh, and of course my usual winter aches didn't follow me to Belize either.

I am not sure what "VERY extensive research" means, but I hope it included a few trips to Belize and is not just based on the information perpetuated by Resort, Real Estate, and tourist industry articles that are often found on the net. I'm sure that is not the case.

I am sure that you also realize that most of us also recommend that people rent for a year before buying or building anything. Experience the location in both "Rain" and "Dry" season. The real estate markets are not like what we are used to back in Canada. It is very easy to buy property, condos, and homes here, but if you wish to sell.............. well usually not so much.

Anyway, welcome again and good luck with your move. Like many others here, I'm happy to share my experiences in an effort to answer any questions that you might have.

I am looking for short term rental in or near Belize city to scout where I may eventually relocate to.

Hello all,

Planing on making my first trip to Belize June/July 2017 to spend some time and see how it feels. I am a long way from retiring but know I will not be staying in the States. Thinking holidaying in certain locals to see what they are like will help me decide where I want to end up but Belize is my first choice and hope to make some acquaintances along the way/ Peace to all

Hi my name is Shawn H. I am planning a trip to Belize February of 2017 and glad that they have this forum I am not very forum familiar but would like to get any and all helpful information that would help me learn more on how to make contacts and receiving the details on how to make a informed decision on the correct purchase to make

Thank-you very much for the warm welcome Bill!  No, our "extensive research" was not limited to what we looked up on travel sites and the like.  We have spoken to quite a few people and were sure to dig into the nitty gritty also haha.

You're correct though...I am BRIMMING with questions!  I'll post them all below if you are able to answer any I would greatly appreciate it!  Also, thanks for all of your info on your website.  It has been very useful to us:)

We are moving onto Ambergris Caye.  My questions are as follows:

1) What do people do for garbage/recycling on the island, both in off-the-grid areas and in more accessible areas?

2) In Canada, we leave our fruits/veggies on the counter.  If we do that there, are we in danger of being overrun with ants/other vermin?

3) We have cats.  Now...we may not be bringing them with us as the change in climate will not be very fair to them, but if we DO bring them, does cat food attract bugs into the house?

4) Are permits required for indoor only cats?

5) Someone told me if we leave windows open, the salt air will corrode our electronics.  Is this true, and to what extent?

6) Is it difficult to move funds from a Canadian bank to one in Belize once you've opened an account there? (I watched your video on this for documentation.  It was awesome!)

7) I understand there are no more cars being permitted on the island, which is honestly great (haha), but we will be moving with a 6-9 month old and a 2 year old.  We have looked into and want to invest in a quad from Belize City.  Will it be allowed onto the island if we haven't been there a year, and do people put car seats on quads for safety?  Our kids will be too small to just be strapped in. OH! and helmets aren't required, right?

8) If we take a day trip to the mainland, where do we park our quad/boat so it's safe or do most people just take a cab into town?

9) What all employee deductions and taxes are involved there?  We are opening up a small business and can't find very much information on this.

10) How reliable is the mail system?

11) Which cell phone providers work on the island?

12) How good does the internet on the island work?  We have an online business and need to stay in touch with people/suppliers.

13) Do people fumigate their homes, and if so, how often should be expect to do so?

14) We have a fairly lengthy list of things to bring because the boys will be so young (ie...clothes, diapers, wipes, shoes, hats...the list goes on).  Are there people who would be willing to help us with all of our baggage from the airport to the plane/boat, and then once on the island to get all of our luggage and our little ones safely to where we are renting?

15) After a year, I know we can get our residency.  Are we able to pay for the whole year for the family when we first get there so we don't have to keep going back to Belize City once a month to do so?  Also, bringing personal belongings in after the year...are the pods brought in by weight or size, how are duty fees calculated, and which company should be store our things with here prior to arranging shipping there for the most stress free transition?

Sorry there are so many!  I'm sure there will be more!  Thanks in advance:)

Thank you for your questions and your kind words on my website. I appreciate hearing that people find value in the information, or how I can inprove it to be a more valuable resource.

Let me tackle the questions one at a time;

1) There are a few options on Ambergris Caye for garbage disposal. In and close town itself there is garbage pick up. Ours was picked up at least once a week and sometimes twice. There was no regular day or time. Our garbage barrel was out side of the gate to be picked up whenever the truck showed up on any day at any time of the day or night. For out of town locations, garbage can be brought to the transfer station located south on the road that leads out of DFC area, that opened about a year and a half ago. There is no home recycling system per say, but apparently recyleables are sorted out at the transfer station before being shipped to the mainland for disposal. Many people burn yard waste and burnable garbage as well.

2) Our experience is yes fruit and vegetables will attract bugs. We typically store in plastic containers or in the fridge.

3) We inherited a cat at our new place (left behind by previous tenant I believe). Pet foods does attract bugs and it is important to be careful the bags are not full of bugs at the time of purchase. We typically buy the sealed clear plastic bulk bags and store in containers like used coffee bottles and such.

4) Import permits are required (from BAHA) for all animals that are imported into Belize. Not sure about a licence for your cat once it is here. It maybe required but I doubt it would be enforced.

5) The humidity in general will cause corrosion, the salt air does accellerate the process. I brought equipment from Canada to our first house, some items lasted only a few weeks unprotected. Keeping the air circulating with fans will help a lot. I have not had any problems since I started storing all electronics in my office area with constant running fan. in addition I turn on the AC on for an hour or so every day. 

6) Thanks again for the kind words on my "Opening A Bank Account" video. We have not had to transfer large amounts of money so far so I can't speak to the ease or to the time it takes to move large amounts. It has been easy to take money from our Canadian bank account with ATM cards. I would recommend that you visit your local Canadian bank and have all daily and weekly withdrawal limits raised to the max. as well as, be sure your ATM cards are good to be used for withdrawals in Belize. Not all are, it should have a Visa logo on it.

7) You are right, I have read about additional "cars" not being allowed to be registered on the island, but the existing ones will remain. Just my opinion but a golf cart might be more practical for baby seats, that been said, I have seen some pretty innovative custom add-ons on both ATV's and golf carts, so I'm sure the answer is yes something could be made up. I know often people get around the one year rule by buying used, or going to one of the golf cart or ATV suppliers and have them buy it and bring it in and then transfer title to you. Yes helmets must be worn by the driver on a motor bike, not sure if an ATV falls under that category for sure.

8) We took a cab in those situations, especially if we were going over night, but there is ample parking and docking around San Pedro. Just lock it up good, and it's gas tank too.

9) I have no experience with employee deductions, but I am sure income tax must be remitted but beyond that I cannot say.

10) We have found the mail system in San Pedro to be reliable, we have received everything that we were expecting. You should count on 3 - 4 weeks for delivery from Canada though.

11) We got chips for our Canadian phones from BTL, and have had good luck with Digicell. I am sure there are other options but I stuck with what worked for us and can't speak to the other suppliers.

12) My experience is that internet is not as stable anywhere in Belize as we are used to in Canada. That been said, I can think of three options in San Pedro. BTL will supply internet but my experience (being in town, San Pablo Area) is that their infastructure is old and speed and delivery are affected by weather (rain). CCV (Coral Cable Vision) was in my experience a more stable network and delivered the speeds we paid for. I had friends that used MiFi hotspots which work over the cell network and were very happy. A larger intial layout for equipment, but might be worth the investment for a business.

13) We have never fumigated our home per say, I do spray the perimeter of the house and around the windows and doors usually monthly or so. We use common store bought products like "bugbegone" or "Bop" and that has worked for us. Occasional yard spraying every two or three months will help a lot too.

14) Yes, people are always willing to help out especially for a tip. Many of the taxi's on the island are vans so getting everything and everyone to the rental safely should not be a problem. The amount of baggage is obviously relevant here.

15) It is important to note that after living in Belize for one year (without leaving for more than a total of 14 days) you may apply for residency. The process to be approved is usually at least a year and many have been waiting for up to two years. So count on up to three years from your time of arrival. I understand that citizens from commonwealth countries are treated a bit better, but I don't know for sure if that is true. We are only 9 months since submitting our application but we had quick initial immigration and police interviews. We have jumped through some hoops along the way but I remain hopeful we are near the end.

I assume you are referring to renewal of visitor visa for a year. Visitor Visas are only issued for 1 month at a time, I am not sure of any exceptions that would apply to your scenario. From Ambergris Caye you do not need to go to Belize City. Visitor Visas can be renewed in the San Pedro Immigration office which is across from the airport above the Scotia Bank.

As far as bringing belongings, you don't have to wait a year (but we have). I don't have much personal experience with that. We came with four suitcases and a puppy. I can tell you that before we left Canada I looked into shipping containers from north of Toronto, it was about $8000.00 for a full container. It was about $6000.00 for a half of a container. I know at that time I was charged by size, there was a weight restriction but you would never hit it unless you filled the bin with cars and gold bullion. Duties are calculated with different percentages applied depending on the item (some as high as 80%), the customs official will determine value (usually based on Belize prices), and the cost of storage (at the shipping company) and shipping will be added to the value of shipped goods when duty is calculated. Sorry I cannot recommend a company, but it is best to shop around. All items will need to be valued and documented, having a bonded shipping company that knows the rules and proceedures to pack and document your items will be a huge asset later when dealing with customs officials in Belize.

If you are planning as you said, to wait for a year to ship, I would recommend getting a climate controlled self storage bin in Canada, this will cost far less than storage at a shipping company and the savings will probably pay the expenses of a trip back once you are sure what you will bring. While here you can research which stuff has the highest duties (I expect electronics would be one), you will also get a better understanding of what makes sense to ship, based on what will last in the enviroment, the available quality of products here, and what can be replaced here less expensively than paying high shipping and duty costs.

I hope this helps, and that others will weigh in with their personal experiences on all of these questions to give you additional insight.

Good luck with the process and feel free to ask more questions as they come up.

Again, thanks a million Bill!  That helped immensely!  We have already looked into four seater ATV's as well, and yes, they are able to accommodate for small children which is great!  Thanks again and I'm sure we'll be in touch!

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