Belize is also a good place to be self-sufficient because Belizeans like to take care of themselves. They always have. Founded by pirates, the country prizes independence above everything else (despite having been independent from the U.K. for only about 30 years).
Carrying on in that tradition of independence, Maya Spring Estates will be a small community for self-sufficiency aficionados. The infrastructure will be basic, including roads and electricity (although I'm planning for my house to be off the grid). You could have your own well if you prefer, or you could go with a water catchment and storage system. Modern, efficient wastewater systems will be used for effluent.
Maya Spring Estates' location in the Cayo is near enough (15 minutes) to San Ignacio so that residents will be able to take advantage of the restaurants and shops there, but the property is very much out in the country, meaning privacy and quiet. The small village of Santa Familia is just a few minutes away and the Mennonite settlement of Spanish Lookout is only about 20 minutes away. Spanish Lookout is where you'd go for your farm supplies if farming is part of your plan.
Our plan is to build a house that we'll use for vacation and rental income in the short and medium term. However, as we're buying more than nine acres, we also intend to see if we can find a local farmer interested in leasing it from us to make it productive.
Even if we never grow a single tomato or ear of corn on the property, though, we'll have the foothold in Cayo that we've been wanting for some time. We like it here. Coming to Belize is a chance for escape. The rush of everyday life disappears as soon as you step off the plane. And at Maya Spring, we'll be able to sit on our porch and enjoy the peacefulness of both the location and of knowing that we could take cares of ourselves if we had to. If the world were, in fact, to go completely haywire, as some think it will, we'd be fine.
For more information about Maya Spring Estates, you can inquire here. The first three lot buyers get a US$5,000 discount. We've already taken the first lot so that leaves two more available with the discount.
Editor's Note: Now that the final speaker has left the stage, work has begun in earnest to edit the recordings from this week's Live & Invest in Belize Conference. As soon as the recordings (all 32 of them!) have been edited, we'll bundle them with our "Live & Invest in Belize" manual and other key Belize resources to create our new Live & Invest in Belize Home Conference Kit.
Meantime, this one-of-a-kind Belize resource in the making is available pre-release at a 50% discount. Details here.
Between trips, it wasn't unusual for the couple to work 20-hour days. Frik and his wife love business, but the life they were leading in Brussels was overwhelming them. Then one day, they pulled out their world map and noticed Belize. English-speaking, entrepreneur-friendly, and a tax-haven, Belize is also low-key and super low-stress. Maybe this was the place for them, a place where they could be in business but still enjoy life a little.
That insight inspired the De Meyeres to visit Belize several times. They started making investments in this country, diversifying their assets offshore and establishing themselves slowly. They looked at the local hospitals and schools. They interviewed resident expats, to learn from their experiences, including Boris Mannsfeld, another young entrepreneur who had opened a real estate company in Placencia.
Then the financial crisis hit in Europe. The De Meyeres went through tough times. Banks closed. Loans were cancelled. Their businesses suffered. Finally, the couple realized they needed to take action. They folded their business operations in a painful process that took more than two years to complete. Frik had to let all of his employees go.
About this time, the couple discovered they were expecting a baby. They didn't panic, as they might have, but turned to their escape plan. They decided to proceed full speed ahead with the alternate life in Belize they'd begun to build.
Frik remembered Boris Mannsfeld and got in touch. Long story short, today Frik is an associate for Mannsfeld & Associates. He participated in last week's Live and Invest in Belize Conference to represent the firm and to give a presentation about Placencia.
"It's much easier being in business here in Belize than it was in Europe," Frik says. "I was under constant stress in Belgium, where I spent 80% of my time on paperwork and only 20% on real business. Now that I'm in business in Belize, I spend 10% of my time on paperwork and 90% on business."
Frik and his wife are involved in setting up a school for young children in Placencia. Their son is 2-years-old, and they're thinking about his education.
"When we arrived in Placencia," Frik says, "we saw only a handful of foreign kids around the area. Now there are many more young couples like us living in Placencia, opening businesses. I'd say that now there are at least 50 or 60 expat kids around."
These are the kinds of people who do well in Belize. People who want to make their own way and create their own future. People who want to build something, who, when they see a need, they're eager to step up to fill it. The resilient sort.
And that describes Frik and his wife precisely.
Ann KuffnerLive and Invest in Belize Conference InsiderContinue Reading:
Image source: Craig Nagy
Feb. 24, 2011:
"Kathleen, recently you published some information on mail-forwarding/scanning services for people living outside the United States.
"Would you kindly provide the contact info for those companies again? I believe you said that you actually use one of them?"
--Tony C., United States
The service I've recommended is www.EarthClassMail.com. Yes, we and friends living outside the States have been using it with success.
"Kathleen, I would like to echo Fred C. from the United States, who wrote recently to ask about making friends in new countries.
"We just bought a lot in Los Islotes after attending their first Chill Weekend, and we can't wait to make our move to Panama. In the meantime, I would like to start communication with some expats who have already done it, as you have repeatedly suggested, both in this newsletter and in your book.
"I have tried googling key phrases but have not had any luck. I'm not a big technology girl, and my attention deficit disorder seems to kick in before I am able to get through all the onion layers.
"Any actual links or addresses you can provide for connecting with expats in Panama would be greatly appreciated."
--Peg F., United States
Here you go. Hope this is helpful:
Americans in Panama
Low Budget Panama
Panama Unclassified Ads
Viviendo en Panama
P.S. Congratulations on your purchase at Los Islotes!Continue Reading:
I don't mind the place. Beneath the gritty surface, I detect a long-faded charm. Or maybe I project one. Either way, I enjoy passing through.
However, I know that, for many, the best part about traveling to Belize City is leaving Belize City. We held this week's Live & Invest in Belize Conference here because it's the only place in the country with facilities big enough to accommodate us.
Finally, though, today, after three days in the meeting rooms of the Ft. George Hotel, our conference attendees are free to take off to see for themselves what we've been talking about. The more than 80 readers in attendance at this week's event are, as I write, dispersing to Belize's four corners.
This is where the fun starts.
Belize Correspondent Ann Kuffner, who has been my eyes and ears in the meeting rooms this week during the conference sessions, accompanied a group of 20 attendees for the quick hop over to Ambergris Caye, Ann's home of the past five years. These folks want Caribbean, and they're spending time on Ambergris now, Belize's most developed Caribbean island, trying to determine if this is the Caribbean outpost they seek.
Another 20-plus attendees headed in the opposite direction...and for the hills, the Cayo, where the appeal isn't sand and sea but wide-open spaces, a back-to-basics lifestyle, and really cheap land. Phil Hahn, the developer behind the forward-thinking sustainable community on the banks of the Belize River known as Carmelita, is introducing this group to his favorite part of this country.
The Carmelita plan calls for solar power and community gardens and orchards. The intent is a place where you could live completely independently if you wanted, reliant on no public services or third-party infrastructure.
The price point is the other appeal. Lots start at US$35,000 and come with financing. You can buy with US$10,000 down.
A third conference contingency has broken off now to head south to explore this country's mainland coast around Placencia. This is another version of the beachfront life on offer in Belize. The best product in this part of the country is Sanctuary Belize. This is a fully master-planned community in the making that will include both a marina and a golf course. Work on the marina is under way, and a central plantation house has already been built.
If you want full-service, full-amenities, Sanctuary could be the place. As at Carmelita, developer financing is available.
Finally, a fourth scouting party has headed north today, to see the northern mainland Belize coast, around Corozal. While Ambergris Caye is a fully fledged expat community with all the trappings...Sanctuary is a full-scale private development in the making...Carmelita is all about being off the grid and self-sustainable...Orchid Bay, the most developed of the handful of projects in this part of Belize, is about kickin' back and layin' low.
At Orchid Bay, you're minutes' walk away from the water in a low-density, low-impact setting where the biggest attraction for some is the uninterrupted peace and quiet. Meantime, Chetumal, Mexico, with its 17 hospitals and big-footprint shopping, is only 15 miles away.
Those attendees able to make the time are traveling among two or three or even all four of these spots, to get a better picture of the different lifestyle options Belize has to offer.
Each has its pluses and its minuses. Island living is always more expensive than life back on the mainland...meaning Ambergris is the most expensive lifestyle choice in the country. Most expensive and also most developed and turn-key.
Carmelita is being developed on a river. For some, river views don't substitute for ocean vistas. Others prefer them.
Corozal boasts easy access to Chetumal, which could be a big advantage in case of medical emergency. On the other hand, day-to-day, you'd likely feel secluded here. Maybe that's a plus for you...maybe a minus.
The northern coast around Corozal sees about 50 inches of rain a year. The southern coast, Placencia and south, can see three times that much rain or more each year. Maybe that bothers you...maybe it doesn't.
Big picture, of course, all four of these regions are in Belize...which means the people speak English, the government is typically nowhere to be noticed, and your annual tax bill can be highly controlled.
Editor's Note: Now that the final speaker has left the stage, work has begun in earnest to edit the recordings from this week's Live & Invest in Belize Conference. As soon as the recordings (all 28 of them!) have been edited, we'll bundle them with our "Live & Invest in Belize" manual and other key Belize resources to create our new Live & Invest in Belize Home Conference Kit.
Meantime, this one-of-a-kind Belize resource in the making is available pre-release at a 50% discount. Details here.Continue Reading:
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Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter.
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