Updated 9 years ago

My husband and I recently moved to the island of Ambergris Caye and to the town of San Pedro. Prior to arriving, we had arranged for a two week rental of an apartment at a local hotel since we wanted to be able to save money on eating out, and we wanted slightly larger accomodations than a hotel room could provide.

Our first priority, however, was finding a long-term rental of some kind. We had an open mind at first as to what we wanted. We weren't quite sure exactly where we wanted to live though. In San Pedro, there are three parts of town - North, South, and downtown. We did know we wanted a washer and dryer, air conditioning, secure golf cart parking, a dishwasher if possible, and at least 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.

The first place we looked at was an apartment complex in the South part of town from a referral of a restaurant owner who's establishment we had frequented our first night there. It had about 12 units, a pool, and some of the units were on the ocean. Unfortunately, this one was not. It was a 2 bedroom, 2 bath, but very small, maybe 650 square feet. And the washer and dryer had been pulled out to put in another unit, and the manager indicated there probably wouldn't be another one put in, at least any time soon. They only wanted $650, but since we had a budget of $1200 a month, we decided to pass.

Next we looked at a flat, in the South as well. It was the middle of 3 flats, with the owner upstairs and the property manager downstairs. It only had one bathroom, no dishwasher, and the laundry was one flight down, but we would have to buy the washer & dryer ourselves. We priced that to be at least $400 USD. The outdoor verandah was huge and the ocean views across the street wonderful, but for $1100 USD, we just felt like it was too much for too little.

So we were starting to get a better feel for what we did and didn't want, and we decided that a stand alone home would be best for us. Next we looked at a 2 bedroom, 2 bath home with a fully upgraded kitchen, again in the South. It was on the small side with hardly any closet space. It did have a nice backyard verandah, but that's where the washer an dryer was, and the airport!! Dozens and dozens of planes take off and land every day at that airstrip. Even though they only wanted $700, we just couldn't see living by that noise since we've been there done that once before in our lives.

Everywhere we went we looked for rental signs, calling on several, only to find out they didn't have one or another of our criteria. We also started dropping in on real estate offices to see what they had, but apparently the realtors here don't do much property management because they had no good leads for us. The local newspaper only comes out on Thursday's, but the classified section seemed to be geared towards the lower end neighborhoods.

There are only five property managers on the island, so we found their names and numbers on the internet and begin calling them. One strange trend we found is that you may see a house online for rent, but when you call be told it's not available for another three or four months. Finally we did find a great property manager, Keith Newton, owner of B-Lease. He showed us two rental homes, and we really liked one.

It was up North, by the Tres Cocos area, which is fabulous - lots of beach and cute restaurants and bars. It was a 1600 square foot home, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, washer and dryer, fabulous deck area, and it backed to the lagoon. The ocean was a short jaunt across the street. It didn't have a dishwasher, but at $1000 a month we felt it was a great choice for us.

We're glad we picked. We do love it here. Finding a rental house requires knowing what you want, where you want to live, what your budget is, what you're willing to compromise on, networking, tenacity, and a lot of time. Good luck on your search!!

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