Even after six years of living in this beautiful country, I still feel like a kid in a candy store. Between the jungle, wildlife, and ever-changing Corozal Bay, I never tire of taking my surroundings in.
Government, businesses, and infrastructure are always changing to keep it interesting. Every day is a new learning experience.
The Daily Grind In Corozal
Once or twice a week, I go to Corozal Town.
The open-air market brims with fresh fruits and vegetables, all locally grown, plus more foodstuffs brought in from Mexico. For BZ$1 (or 50 U.S. cents), you can get eight local bananas or six oranges. During lobster season I pay just BZ$25 (US$12.50) per pound of lobster tails.
From just across the border in Mexico, you can get button and portobello mushrooms, strawberries, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, plus much more. Everything is ripe and ready to eat.
Every so once in a while, I go back to the States to see my girlfriend. When I’m there, I find that non-locally grown fruits have no taste. In Belize, you’re spoiled for choice with all the fresh, exotic fruits and vegetables grown here.
Due the influx of North Americans, grocery stores stock a lot of U.S. items, as well as other essentials. Corozal has a new store called One Mall where you can get all the groceries you could need, plus household items, paint, some repair parts, and even gasoline.
Lots of businesses are upgrading and becoming more gringo-friendly. Almost all grocery stores are run by people of East Asian descent. Six years ago, you seldom heard a “thank you” when you bought; today, it’s commonplace.
Now, besides the post office, several shippers bring packages to Belize, a process that takes about a month. My preferred shipper has packages sent to a Los Angeles address. These are packed into a container, which is forwarded here when full.
I can get anything I want or need either locally or through U.S. delivery. Just 12 miles away in Chetumal, Mexico, there are many U.S. stores. I am on the computer a lot, and the internet is plenty good. I don’t watch TV but it’s widely available, too.
A View Like You’ve Never Seen Before…
Nature is awesome here. Flowers are such brilliant hues, they’ll shock you the first time you see them (have a look at the aptly named flamboyant tree below for an example). Iguanas come through my backyard daily…
Originally, I planned to buy a boat and fish in the bay, so I had a boat slip added when my house was built. My priorities changed, so I never got the boat, but now I have a canal that hooks up to the Caribbean Sea…
I can sit in a sling chair and fish for hours, watching puffy white clouds go by. Two barracudas—one is 18 inches, the other is 5 feet—hang out around my boat slip. I catch several different types of fish, crab, and even turtles, when fishing in my canal.
Back when I lived in the States, my family moved to the Colorado mountains. Our first three years there, we were just existing. It wasn’t until the fourth year that we really started to enjoy ourselves… Somehow, we failed to notice the beauty and grandness of the mountains our first three years there.
Now that I’m in Corozal Bay, I don’t take where I live for granted. Corozal Bay is breathtaking and changes day by day. Seeing locals and visitors alike enjoying themselves in the bay is wonderful.
My home is just off the main road that goes to the village of Sarteneja by the Caribbean coast… Word on the street is that the Taiwanese government bought thousands of acres of land out toward the coast and in several months will start building a paved road with bridges in conjunction with the Belize government. Belize has a lot of interaction with foreign governments.
The weather is warm all year… no more snow shovel for me. The daytime temps are almost always between 80°F and 90°F. Nighttime temps in summer are in the high 70s and can drop into the low 70s in the winter. Six years ago, pea-size hail came down, and construction workers ran out and threw the hail around while playing, as most of them had never seen it before.
It’s easy to make both gringo and Belizean friends in Corozal. Walking down the street, the locals say good morning faster than I can. When a car is stuck or breaks down, Belizeans show up eager to help. You’ll hear about how dangerous it’s in Belize… That’s not my reality in Corozal. Most crime that happens takes place in select circles of Belize City.
Of course, you have to take normal, common-sense precautions here… Don’t set yourself up as an easy target by flashing a bankroll, showing off jewelry, or going around talking about how much you have.
The Hammock Life
You may have heard of Belize’s Qualified Retired Persons program. It’s still a good program, but the government keeps adding more user restrictions to it, so I opted to be a full-time resident and citizen instead.
With residency under my belt, in just over a year, I can file for citizenship. QRP has some good short-term benefits, but technically, you’re always going to be a visitor under that program. I’m here for the long haul…
There’s no perfect place on Earth, but Corozal, Belize, comes pretty close for me.