Articles Related to Retire to cayo


Here are other reasons we like Belize as much as we do:
  • It's a quick flight away from North America. It takes 2.5 hours to fly to Belize City from Miami or Houston...
  • The climate is subtropical. Temperatures range from 60 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the region...
  • Belizeans mind their own business but are also warm and welcoming to travelers and expats. This is a friendly country where it's easy to feel at home...
  • Belize is an easy place to establish yourself. You can show up and settle in. Seriously, it can be that simple. Renew your tourist visa every time it expires for a year, and you're a legal resident...
  • Belize, though, also offers a more formal residency program, called the Qualified Retirement Person (QRP) visa, that comes with tax and other benefits of the kind typical of pensionado visas throughout the region...
  • As the language is English, Belize can be an easy place to do business. Folks here speak English and write contracts in English, too...
  • Belize is an easy place to set up a corporation in the form of this country's tax-free International Business Corporation, or IBC...
  • No restrictions are placed on foreign ownership of property, the property purchase process is straightforward, and there are no squatter's rights...
  • You don't have to worry about exchange risk. The Belize dollar is pegged to the U.S. dollar at a fixed rate of 2:1, and U.S. dollars are interchangeable in the country. If you arrive with U.S. dollars in your pocket, you don't ever have to change money if you don't want to...

My favorite part of Belize has always been its interior Cayo region of rivers, rainforest, and Mayan ruins. However, I do also appreciate the quintessential and affordable Caribbean lifestyle on offer out on Ambergris Caye. This little white sand-fringed island is home to an established and growing expat population in San Pedro Town and has long been my favorite place to kick it in the Caribbean, as they say.

Infrastructure isn't Belize's strong suit; however, this country has figured out a great air system for crisscrossing it. You can get from the Cayo to Ambergris, from Placencia to Corozal, and from Belize City to anywhere with the help of frequent, quick, and affordable in-country flights. I guess they thought they had to do something given the limited options for getting around down on the ground.

I've often shown up at the airport and bought tickets on the spot for flights leaving within the next 20 or 30 minutes for wherever it was I wanted to go. I've even had the experience, more than once, of the airline holding a flight for me when I called to say I was on my way to the airport...almost there...please can you wait? It's not that I'm special. They do it for anyone if they can.

Belize's super-easy approach to traveling around it by flying over it has given me an idea. We've bought a piece of land in Cayo where we're planting trees and gardens and building a farmhouse. What if we coupled that with a little beachfront condo out on Ambergris? We could hop a flight from Cayo to the beach anytime the inclination struck...and rent the place out when we weren't using it ourselves. The rental market in San Pedro is active and expanding, and I like Belize in general as a place to park capital long term.

Lief and I are returning to Belize later this month to scout current options.

Kathleen Peddicord

P.S. Today we open registration for our 2015 Live and Invest in Belize Conference. In fact, our January 2015 conference will be two events—the same program offered back-to-back to allow us to accommodate more interested readers than ever. Our Belize conferences sell out every year.

We've doubled capacity this year; still, we expect the event (that is, both events) to sell out. For sure, by this time next week, all VIP places for both events will have been filled.

If you'd like to join us in Belize to see for yourself all that this unassuming little country has to offer, I urge you to reserve your place in the room now.

Full details of the program we're planning are here.

You can reach our conference team with your questions by phone, toll-free from the States at 1-888-627-8834...or internationally at +1-443-599-1221.

Continue Reading: Driving From The United States To Belize

Read more...
 


You don't mind...or, if you do, you're not happy. If you're interested in a lifestyle supported by the diversions and distractions of a big city, Cayo is definitely not for you. If you're delighted by the thought of wide-open spaces where life revolves around the land and where independence and self-sufficiency are prized above all else, then Cayo could be the paradise you seek.

At home in Cayo, the view outside your bedroom window and from your front porch would be of fields and pastures, trees and jungle, rivers and livestock. You'd see Mennonites driving horse-drawn carts and children walking home from school. Everyone going about his or her business, not much bothered by market values, fiscal cliffs, or the mounting deficit. Here, in this land of escape, where life is simple, those things don't seem to matter or even to register.

Living in Cayo, you'd have Internet but maybe not reliable high-speed service. Don't move here if you plan to day trade.

Who Should Retire To Medellin, Colombia?

Medellin is a pretty, tidy city with a near-perfect climate. It's also culturally and recreationally rich and diverse in a sophisticated, developed-world kind of way. On any given day, you could visit a museum or see a tango show. There's opera in season, shopping year-round, and dance clubs, nightclubs, and white-glove restaurants...plus interactive outdoor museum-parks, an aquarium, an amusement park, botanical gardens, a planetarium, a "Barefoot Park" with a Zen garden, and dozens of small, neighborhood parks and treed plazas.

Medellin is an economic and financial center for Colombia, as well as a literary and an artistic one. It's the base for newspapers, radio networks, publishing houses, an annual poetry festival, an international jazz festival, an international tango festival, and an annual book fair. Back in 1971, Medellin was even the venue for Colombia's answer to Woodstock, the Festival de Ancon.

Medellin is a place where things work--the Internet, the metro, street-cleaning, garbage-collection...you can count on these services day-to-day. Taxis are metered, shop-keepers are well-mannered, and the people you pass on the street are well-dressed.

Making this a good choice for someone who wants city life but who also enjoys the out-of-doors (as this is a city best enjoyed al fresco). Medellin is suited to the retiree who isn't interested in hot, humid, or tropical and who appreciates Euro-chic but doesn't want to travel all the way to Europe.

The expat and retiree communities in Medellin are fledgling, meaning that you'd have to assimilate into the local one. This would mean speaking Spanish. If you don't already speak Spanish and don't want to learn, Medellin is probably not your ideal retirement haven.

Who Should Retire To Cuenca, Ecuador?

Cuenca is a colonial city where the cost of living is low and the cost of buying a home of your own is near rock-bottom. The health care is high quality, honest, and super-affordable. As in Medellin, the weather is "spring-like" year-round. Unlike Medellin (which is an emerging retirement haven rather than an established one like Cuenca), the city is home to one of the world's largest and fastest-growing communities of foreign retirees.

On the other hand, you have to remember that, charming as it can be, Cuenca is located in a poor, developing country. In this regard (and many others, too) Cuenca is the yang to Medellin's yin. In Cuenca, as throughout Ecuador, the standards of maintenance for roads, buildings, sidewalks, etc., won't be what you're probably used to and the hassle factor associated with any administrative task will be big.

Expats we know who are happy living in Cuenca are able to consider these annoyances fair exchange for the simple, 1950's lifestyle the city offers. Walking around town (Cuenca is a place where you could live comfortably without owning a car), you'll get to know the shop owners and your neighbors, who will all get to know you, too.

Cuenca will appeal to the expat who wants city life but who also has a sense of adventure and who is up for (rather than intimidated by) culture shock.

Who Should Retire To Puerto Vallarta, Mexico?

Romantic. That might be the best single word to describe Puerto Vallarta. The city also offers shopping and fine dining, boating and golfing, country clubs and community, gourmet shops and designer boutiques...all alongside a beautiful stretch of the Pacific Ocean.

Puerto Vallarta could be called glamorous, but the cost of living and of buying real estate here aren't jet-set. This is one of Mexico's most sophisticated resort spots, with more cachet than Mazatlán and more chic than Cancún. Walking around Vallarta, you get that happy, vacation-time feel that successful beach resorts exude.

And that's the would-be retiree overseas who should consider Puerto Vallarta--the beach-loving soul who likes the idea of retirement as a perpetual, fully appointed vacation.

Who Should Retire To El Cangrejo, Panama?

El Cangrejo is the expat hub of Panama City and a top choice for a comfortable, affordable, downtown-city-living experience. In El Cangrejo, you're smack-dab in the middle of everything Panama City has to offer.

This is one of the few neighborhoods in this city that is walkable and where you could get by without a car. It's also the only neighborhood in this city I'd describe as "cool." Over the years, El Cangrejo residents I've known have included a Chilean artist, a corporate transplant from Canada, many young Panamanians bucking the tradition of living with their parents through their 20s, retired hippies from the States, an entrepreneur from Serbia, and an Irish writer.

Panama City is the region's melting pot, and El Cangrejo is where the most interesting of the many transplants to this town choose to settle.

It's also Panama City's red-light district, the center of its prostitution (legal in this country) and casino trades. El Cangrejo's streets are lined with nightclubs and cafes, restaurants and pubs, plus low- and mid-rise apartment buildings. This isn't flashy Panama City (you find that in the high-rises along Avenida Balboa and in Punta Pacifico) and it isn't power Panama City (that's in Altos de Golf). El Cangrejo could be called the soul of this city, a good choice for the retiree with an open mind...

Who doesn't mind heat and humidity, congestion and traffic, noise and litter. These things, too, are all a part of the scene here.

Kathleen Peddicord

 

Continue reading:

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader, 

Where is the best place in the world to retire?

That's a tricky question to answer, so I suggest coming at this from a different angle. Rather than trying to identify the world's top retirement haven, consider instead who's best suited to retire where.

A short list of top retirement options in the Americas right now would include:
  • Cayo, Belize
  • Medellin, Colombia
  • Cuenca, Ecuador
  • Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
  • El Cangrejo, Panama

Which one of these places is the best choice? It depends on who you are.

Who Should Retire To Cayo, Belize?

Belize is a retirement, a tax, and an offshore haven. This is a sunny country where the folks speak English and value their freedom and privacy. Belize is easy to get to from the States, and the people living here are welcoming and hospitable once you've arrived.

On the other hand, this is a small country where the infrastructure is most kindly described as "developing."

The cost of living can be affordable, even low, but not if you want to live a more developed-world lifestyle that would mean buying lots of things not produced locally. Anything imported comes at an inflated price.

My favorite part of Belize is its Cayo District. No infrastructure, limited services and amenities, and little market demand could be interpreted as negatives, but, in Cayo, these things are a big part of the appeal. Once you get to Cayo, you don't mind that there's no infrastructure. You don't mind that the culture is more concerned with country living than consumerism.

You don't mind...or, if you do, you're not happy. If you're interested in a lifestyle supported by the diversions and distractions of a big city, Cayo is definitely not for you. If you're delighted by the thought of wide-open spaces where life revolves around the land and where independence and self-sufficiency are prized above all else, then Cayo could be the paradise you seek.

At home in Cayo, the view outside your bedroom window and from your front porch would be of fields and pastures, trees and jungle, rivers and livestock. You'd see Mennonites driving horse-drawn carts and children walking home from school. Everyone going about his or her business, not much bothered by market values, fiscal cliffs, or the mounting deficit. Here, in this land of escape, where life is simple, those things don't seem to matter or even to register.

Living in Cayo, you'd have Internet but maybe not reliable high-speed service. Don't move here if you plan to day trade.

Who Should Retire To Medellin, Colombia?

Medellin is a pretty, tidy city with a near-perfect climate. It's also culturally and recreationally rich and diverse in a sophisticated, developed-world kind of way. On any given day, you could visit a museum or see a tango show. There's opera in season, shopping year-round, and dance clubs, nightclubs, and white-glove restaurants...plus interactive outdoor museum-parks, an aquarium, an amusement park, botanical gardens, a planetarium, a "Barefoot Park" with a Zen garden, and dozens of small, neighborhood parks and treed plazas.

Medellin is an economic and financial center for Colombia, as well as a literary and an artistic one. It's the base for newspapers, radio networks, publishing houses, an annual poetry festival, an international jazz festival, an international tango festival, and an annual book fair. Back in 1971, Medellin was even the venue for Colombia's answer to Woodstock, the Festival de Ancon.

Medellin is a place where things work--the Internet, the metro, street-cleaning, garbage-collection...you can count on these services day-to-day. Taxis are metered, shop-keepers are well-mannered, and the people you pass on the street are well-dressed.

Making this a good choice for someone who wants city life but who also enjoys the out-of-doors (as this is a city best enjoyed al fresco). Medellin is suited to the retiree who isn't interested in hot, humid, or tropical and who appreciates Euro-chic but doesn't want to travel all the way to Europe.

The expat and retiree communities in Medellin are fledgling, meaning that you'd have to assimilate into the local one. This would mean speaking Spanish. If you don't already speak Spanish and don't want to learn, Medellin is probably not your ideal retirement haven.

Who Should Retire To Cuenca, Ecuador?

Cuenca is a colonial city where the cost of living is low and the cost of buying a home of your own is near rock-bottom. The health care is high quality, honest, and super-affordable. As in Medellin, the weather is "spring-like" year-round. Unlike Medellin (which is an emerging retirement haven rather than an established one like Cuenca), the city is home to one of the world's largest and fastest-growing communities of foreign retirees.

On the other hand, you have to remember that, charming as it can be, Cuenca is located in a poor, developing country. In this regard (and many others, too) Cuenca is the yang to Medellin's yin. In Cuenca, as throughout Ecuador, the standards of maintenance for roads, buildings, sidewalks, etc., won't be what you're probably used to and the hassle factor associated with any administrative task will be big.

Expats we know who are happy living in Cuenca are able to consider these annoyances fair exchange for the simple, 1950's lifestyle the city offers. Walking around town (Cuenca is a place where you could live comfortably without owning a car), you'll get to know the shop owners and your neighbors, who will all get to know you, too.

Cuenca will appeal to the expat who wants city life but who also has a sense of adventure and who is up for (rather than intimidated by) culture shock.

Who Should Retire To Puerto Vallarta, Mexico?

Romantic. That might be the best single word to describe Puerto Vallarta. The city also offers shopping and fine dining, boating and golfing, country clubs and community, gourmet shops and designer boutiques...all alongside a beautiful stretch of the Pacific Ocean.

Puerto Vallarta could be called glamorous, but the cost of living and of buying real estate here aren't jet-set. This is one of Mexico's most sophisticated resort spots, with more cachet than Mazatlán and more chic than Cancún. Walking around Vallarta, you get that happy, vacation-time feel that successful beach resorts exude.

And that's the would-be retiree overseas who should consider Puerto Vallarta--the beach-loving soul who likes the idea of retirement as a perpetual, fully appointed vacation.

Who Should Retire To El Cangrejo, Panama?

El Cangrejo is the expat hub of Panama City and a top choice for a comfortable, affordable, downtown-city-living experience. In El Cangrejo, you're smack-dab in the middle of everything Panama City has to offer.

This is one of the few neighborhoods in this city that is walkable and where you could get by without a car. It's also the only neighborhood in this city I'd describe as "cool." Over the years, El Cangrejo residents I've known have included a Chilean artist, a corporate transplant from Canada, many young Panamanians bucking the tradition of living with their parents through their 20s, retired hippies from the States, an entrepreneur from Serbia, and an Irish writer.

Panama City is the region's melting pot, and El Cangrejo is where the most interesting of the many transplants to this town choose to settle.

It's also Panama City's red-light district, the center of its prostitution (legal in this country) and casino trades. El Cangrejo's streets are lined with nightclubs and cafes, restaurants and pubs, plus low- and mid-rise apartment buildings. This isn't flashy Panama City (you find that in the high-rises along Avenida Balboa and in Punta Pacifico) and it isn't power Panama City (that's in Altos de Golf). El Cangrejo could be called the soul of this city, a good choice for the retiree with an open mind...

Who doesn't mind heat and humidity, congestion and traffic, noise and litter. These things, too, are all a part of the scene here.

Kathleen Peddicord
Read more...
 

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 two-and-a-half 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 readers in attendance at this week's event have, over the weekend, dispersed to Belize's four corners.

This is where the fun starts.

Where to Live in Belize

A large portion of these soon-to-be expats are taking a quick hop over to Ambergris Caye, home to the largest expat enclave in the country. 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. This is unadulterated, unpretentious Caribbean...the sea, sand, and sunshine of the Caymans or the Virgin Islands, but without the price tag.

Another group of 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.

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 when you are considering where to live in Belize. Several master-planned communities are popping up here, catering to those with a higher budget. You'll find marinas and golf courses here alongside large homes within gated neighborhoods. That said, plenty of affordable and charming options exist outside of these higher-end options.

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...Placencia offers luxury...Carmelita and the Cayo are 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.

Kathleen Peddicord

Editor's Note: Now that the final speaker has left the stage, work has begun in earnest to edit the recordings from last 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 on the Live & Invest in Belize Home Conference Kit here.

  • Searching For The Best Place To Retire In Asia

Image credit: Serge Melki

Read more...
 

 

"Belize is like Key West back in the day..."

--A Live and Invest in Belize Conference attendee who grew up in Key West

"Forget the golf course! Put in a garden instead..."

--Belize developer Phil Hahn on the vision behind his Carmelita community

"This isn't a consumer culture. This is a conservation culture..."

--Expat Amma Carey on the experience of living in Belize

"Belize is an entire country that feels like a small town..."

--Belize expat Macarena Rose

"The motto of Belize is: 'Under the shade of the mahogany tree we flourish.' In my now long experience doing business in Belize, I've learned that, if ever I can't find a local business partner, it's a good bet that he's under the shade of a mahogany tree somewhere...flourishing..."

--Phil Hahn

"Go slow. We have two cemeteries and no hospital."

--Sign on Caye Caulker, Belize

"There are more than 600 Mayan ruin sites in Belize. It's the greatest density of sites in all the Mundo Maya. In some caves in some parts of the country, you walk past Mayan pottery...actual pots made and used and left behind by the Mayans themselves...just laying around on the ground. There's the chance that the Department of Anthropology will close these caves, but, for now, they're open. You can visit them anytime..."

--Belize expat Jim Hardesty

"In September 1798, the Spaniards had been trying to push the Belizean settlers out. Local lore here in Belize has it that the Belizeans, a rag-tag band of pirates, slaves, and misfits, beat off the mighty Spanish Armada. That's not actually what happened. What actually happened is that the Belizeans annoyed the Spanish into leaving. Those pirates, slaves, and misfits swam out into the ocean and cut the lines of the Spanish ships...again and again. They moved the channel markers and generally irritated and confused the Spanish, who, eventually, gave up and went home.

"This Battle of St. George's Caye, as it's called, is a good lesson for life in Belize. Belize will do her best to annoy you...to drive you away. Don't let her. Life here is worth all the struggles and all the frustrations..."

--Phil Hahn

Kathleen Peddicord

P.S. What else this week?

  • I recognized the feeling when it hit. I've had it every time I've returned to this little corner of the world--the sensation of escape.

Escape from the obligations of the office back in Panama City...escape from the deadlines...escape from the grind...escape from concern over what's going on in the rest of the world, whatever that might be...

As we continued along the Western Highway, speeding toward the district of Belize known as Cayo, I was less and less distracted by the to-do list I'm forever reviewing in my mind...and more and more distracted by the view outside the truck window...

Fields and pastures, trees and jungle, rivers and livestock. Here and there a small house of concrete block or timber, in the distance the outline of the Maya Mountains. The land in Cayo is fertile. Farmers grow corn and sugarcane, watermelons and citrus.

We passed Mennonites driving horse-drawn carts and children walking home from school. Everyone going about his or her business, not much bothered, I'd bet, by sequesters, fiscal cliffs, or the mounting deficit. Here, in this land of escape, where life is simple, those things don't seem to matter or even to register. Life here revolves around the land and values independence above all else.

To be truly independent in today's world, you need to be energy-independent. That's part of what Cayo offers, too--a chance to take yourself off the grid. This doesn't have to mean living a backward or burdened existence. Thanks to 21st-century technology, the self-sufficient life can also be comfortable, even fully appointed. This was what we made the trip out yesterday to see--progress at the riverfront development called "Carmelita," where developer Phil Hahn is building a community of like-minded folks interested in being, as he puts it, "independent together" and completely self-reliant...

  • "What in the world am I gonna' do with her?"

That was Mick Flemming's first impression of me, he admitted years later, as I climbed down from the four-wheel-drive jeep in my linen suit and beige pumps.

I was 23-years-old, a just-starting-out travel writer, in Belize for the first time...

  • "Many folks come to Belize for the beach life," explained full-time Belize expat Jim Hardesty to the crowd gathered with us in Belize City for this week's Live and Invest in Belize Conference today. "That's why it's worth pointing out that the entire community of Orchid Bay, where I live, is directly on the water...right on the sand."

Belize is known for sandy beaches; however, those out on Ambergris Caye get most of the attention. The beaches on this country's mainland coast are less recognized but no less quintessentially Caribbean. Because they get so much less attention than the beaches out on the cayes, they can also be much more affordable. This is the case with Orchid Bay.

Another big advantage of Orchid Bay is that it's built. Buy (that is, pay for) what you see, we remind you often. At Orchid Bay, the infrastructure is in, amenities (a dock, a restaurant, a dockside bar, an equestrian center) have been built, and houses have full-time residents.

Now, don't misunderstand. Orchid Bay isn't about flash. When I say that the infrastructure is in, I'm not suggesting that these sandy shores are now backed by parking lots of asphalt, high-rise condo towers, or souvenir shops. The "clubhouse" has a thatched roof. No structure is higher than three stories. Residents get around most often using their own two feet or on horseback...

  • I heard last week for the first time of NORCs: Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities.

The example I heard about was a NORC in Fairfax County, Virginia. House prices in this area have skyrocketed over the past few decades (the downturn of housing markets across the country notwithstanding). The current average cost for a home in Fairfax County is US$700,000; few newcomers can afford to move in.

Meanwhile those who live there, mostly government employees with fat salaries or fat pensions, need or want to stay. Voila. With few people moving in, and few moving out, the community ages naturally. It becomes a NORC.

In my experience, you'll find nothing NORC-like in expat communities. In most cases around the world, you'll find nothing like traditional retirement communities, either. Instead, overseas retirement communities are mobile, young and vital.

Why?...

PLUS--From resident global real estate investing expert Lief Simon:

In Belize this week for the Live and Invest in Belize Conference, Kathleen and I took a day to travel out to the Cayo District to visit some development projects that I'm involved in. One is Maya Spring Estates. The idea here is privacy and elbow room. The developer has allowed for just 20 lots, each one big enough to serve as a base for a fully self-sufficient lifestyle. Lot sizes range from two-and-a-half acres up to more than nine-and-a-half acres, meaning you have enough room to build a house and have a large garden or even a small farm. The land in Cayo is very fertile, and this is one of the best places on earth to grow things. That's the attraction for me.

Creating a destination where we could be fully self-sufficient has been a goal of mine for the last couple of years. Self-sufficiency is a growing agenda for many people, and Belize is one place you can easily organize a fully self-sufficient life using solar power to run your house, growing your own food, keeping some animals, and, if you have the inclination, even building your own furniture out of local hardwoods.

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 care 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 and Invest in Belize Conference. As soon as the recordings (all 32 of them!) have been edited, we'll bundle them with our "Live and Invest in Belize" manual and other key Belize resources to create our new Live and 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.

***

Kathleen Peddicord's New Book "How To Buy Real Estate Overseas" Available Now Pre-Release!

Kathleen Peddicord's latest book, published by Wiley & Sons, hits bookstores April 8. Starting now, though, you can buy a copy pre-release and save 36% off the release price!

Go here now to place your order!


Read more...
 

Living In Belize

Fields and pastures, trees and jungle, rivers and livestock. Here and there a small house of concrete block or timber, in the distance the outline of the Maya Mountains. The land in Cayo is fertile. Farmers grow corn and sugarcane, watermelons and citrus.

We passed Mennonites driving horse-drawn carts and children walking home from school. Everyone going about his or her business, not much bothered, I’d bet, by sequesters, fiscal cliffs, or the mounting deficit. Here, in this land of escape, where life is simple, those things don’t seem to matter or even to register. Life here revolves around the land and values independence above all else.

To be truly independent in today’s world, you need to be energy-independent. That’s part of what Cayo offers, too--a chance to take yourself off the grid. Living in Belize doesn’t have to mean living a backward or burdened existence. Thanks to 21st-century technology, the self-sufficient life can also be comfortable, even fully appointed. This was what we made the trip out yesterday to see--progress at the riverfront development called “Carmelita Gardens,” where developer Phil Hahn is building a community of like-minded folks interested in being, as he puts it, “independent together” and completely self-reliant.

The first couple of houses have been built at Carmelita, and they’re charming. Modeled after Tennessee Williams’ home in Key West, these timber structures feature floors and ceilings of exotic hardwoods, long breezy porches, and an impressive attention to detail. They’re completely self-sufficient, with cisterns to catch water and solar panels to generate power...but also, again, comfortable, with washing machines, dryers, air conditioners, and dishwashers, if you want them.

These Carmelita homes are also affordable; you could own one, fully furnished and outfitted, starting for as little as US$100,000.

When Carmelita is fully built out, it will feature a “village green,” at the heart of the community, with space for retail and gatherings. Down at the river will be a small clubhouse and pool. And, all around, will be the wide-open spaces of Cayo.

After we’d toured Carmelita, Phil took us to see two other Belize builing developments he’s involved with--Mahogany Park and Maya Spring Estates. Phil’s vision for Mahogany Park centers around a business opportunity. His idea is to create a riverside restaurant and bar where tourists can rent rafting tubes, canoes, and other gear for river fun. “I think it could be an ideal situation for someone who wants to retire down here but who needs to supplement his or her retirement nest egg a little.” If the idea piques your interest, Phil would love to hear from you.

Maya Spring Estates is for people looking for a little more personal elbow room. The lots in this community are 3 to 9 acres. Many feature creek frontage, and the bigger lots are suitable for hobby farms or keeping a horse or two.

Lief and I hiked around...crossed the creek...considered the views from different vantage points...watched the sun begin its descent for the day...

“It’s getting late,” Lief said finally. “If we’re going to make our dinner meeting back in Belize City, we’d better get going.”

“Yes, yes, ok,” I said reluctantly.

Back in the truck, headed back in the direction of Belize City, I tried to refocus. I reviewed the agenda for our dinner meeting...thought over my opening remarks for attendees at this week’s Live and Invest in Belize Conference, which we kicked off this morning...remembered deadlines I was at risk of missing...

But, all the while, Cayo nipped at the edges of my thinking, teasing me, tempting me, calling me back...

Kathleen Peddicord

P.S. I think Cayo was nipping away at the edges of Lief’s thinking, too...

“What would you think,” he asked me after we’d returned from our day out in Cayo yesterday, “of telling Phil that we’d like to invest in Lot 3 at Maya Spring Estates? I keep thinking how nice it would be to try our hands at farming out there. Lot 3 is about 9 acres. We could build a little house...plant some fruit trees...grow some vegetables...maybe even build a small stable and keep a horse for Kaitlin and Jackson. It’d give us a reason to return to Cayo more often...”

“You read my mind,” I replied.Continue Reading:

Image credit: drterdal

Read more...
 
Start
Prev
1
Powered by Tags for Joomla
Enter Your E-Mail:

Readers Say

"I have to say that you seem to dig deeper into the feel of a particular place and to do comparative analysis between alternative places. Your approach is more sophisticated and thoughtful and therefore more useful than that of other information sources covering these same subjects."

— John W., United States

Search

"Just great. Very welcoming and supplied answers to all questions very well. I'll see you again soon."

Charles M., United States

Kathleen Peddicord

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.

Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.

Read more here.

SIGN UP TO OUR FREE E-LETTER

Sign up for the Overseas Opportunity Letter

Receive our editor's latest research reports...absolutely FREE!

letters The Best Places For Living And
Investing in the World for 2014