Updated 9 years ago

Recently I moved from the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize, to a small town called San Ignacio.  San Ignacio is actually part of what’s called the “twin cities” in the Cayo District, which is in the Western portion of Belize, only 18 miles from the Guatemala border.  The other twin city is Santa Elena, and you cross from there over a bridge and the Macal River into San Ignacio.  There’s a second and parallel bridge to get back to Santa Elena.

I choose this area because there is a large Spanish influence here, and I want to learn Spanish. Also because it is close to many rivers, the rain forest, and Maya ruins ' it is actually quite beautiful.

Compared to the island I had just come from, however, it is much less Americanized and there are fewer services available to an Expat to help them with their transition. One such service that seems to be distinctly lacking is any Property Managers.

I tried calling a well-known realtor my first day in town who had told me she specialized in rental houses, but alas never got a call back from her. And while there is a newspaper that comes out weekly with a few rental home ads in it, I did not have time to wait for the next publishing day.

Luckily I had help from some local friends of mine, so we set out to just drive neighborhoods. First I was trying to decide if I felt safe in the areas. I also wanted to be fairly close to downtown to make shopping and errands easier. I also really wanted a view of the beautiful mountains if possible.

In addition, I had a budget of $300-800 BZ a month. My preference was a two bedroom home, nothing fancy, because I did not move to Belize to recreate my U.S. lifestyle (big home, lots of possessions). I was going for simple.

After about two hours of driving around, being told a house was for rent only to find out it wasn't, eventually we happened upon an adorable pink and blue house that had a 'for rent' sign out front. It had a nice concrete fence and large, iron gate in the front, which was perfect for security, and the rest of the property had a chain link fence.

We called the owner and took a look, and I really liked what I saw. The whole house, inside and out, had been repainted, there was a nice tile floor, and the rooms were open and airy ' with a view!! It was a 2 bedroom one bath for $500 BZ a month. The only downside was there were absolutely no appliances in the kitchen, and a mid-size wardrobe in each of the two bedrooms (no closets like I'm accustomed to in the U.S.).

But compared to some of the other homes I had seen, this was by far the nicest. Procuring the rental was a snap. All I had to do was give first month's rent and a security deposit in the same amount, and it was mine. No leases or paperwork or background checks. Too easy!

So if you're moving to Belize, just be prepared you will probably have to do some leg work of your own, and it is helpful if you can find a local to help you.

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