Finally, It’s Time To Bug Out Of Belize City!
Finally…it’s time to get out of Belize City!
This city is poor, under-developed, and, in parts, unsafe.
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 and 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.
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…
Those attendees able to make the time are traveling among 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.
Image credit: Serge Melki