I have been doing a series of articles this summer comparing living and working in Belize vs. where I live and work now, Mahahual, Mexico, on the Mexican Caribbean. This all started when someone here asked me if I would ever live in Belize again, and I thought about and said no, I much prefer Mahahual. So this got me thinking there are a lot of people who are considering living or retiring on the Caribbean, and maybe are considering Belize or the Mexican Caribbean as a place to look. I get a lot of emails and stuff from International Living and other expat websites, and they are always touting how great Belize is as a retirement destination. So I thought since I have lived in both I would do a series of posts on my experiences and thoughts, and compare living in Belize opposed to living in Mahahual.
So far I have covered medical and health care, cost of living, food and drink, English is spoken in both, crime and safety, and a couple other topics. What I did was I went to the website Belize.com and took their “10 reasons to live or retire in Belize” section, and so far I have broken down each reason for living in Belize in the article, and compared that with my thoughts and experiences that I had in both Belize and Mahahual. This week I will do number 7 on the reasons to retire or live in Belize, the friendly people and culture.
6. You Like Belizeans
As a general rule Belizeans like North Americans and Europeans and folks from all over the world. It is estimated that the equivalent of Belize’s entire population lives in North America. Because Belizeans speak English, hundreds of thousands live in the U.S.A. and Canada. Thus most any Belizean has a relative in North America.
Many Belizeans work and live in the North America then retire back home thus it will not be strange to run into a Belizean who lived and worked in your hometown for a few decades before moving up here just like you! Some locals refer to these returned Belizeans as BelAmers – short for Belizean Americans. Folks here are fun loving and like to party and celebrate. Belize has fifteen official holidays including the very long Easter Holiday that begins at midday on Holy Thursday and runs through Easter Monday – that’s a four day weekend holiday.
This I have to agree to. Belize has very friendly people, and I enjoyed my time there talking to the people. Every where you go in Belize you get a hello or greeting when you are walking around, and the locals are friendly on the streets. When I lived in Corozal there was a mixture of Chinese, Canadians, USA folks, Belizeans, Creole, and English, and were all very friendly. There is also a Mexican influence in Corozal, because it is so close to the border. All this leads to a very laid back lifestyle. There is a lot of Spanish speaking people in Corozal also, but they also speak English.
In all my experience with most Belizeans in Corozal was good,( and I also lived in Kich Pan Ha, a Mayan ruin and eco-resort near Orange Walk), and as whole Belize has very nice people. I am sitting here trying to come up with something that I could say negative, or shed some dark insight into the Belizean people and my experiences with them, but I can’t come up with much. Belize has some problem with people begging money from people on the streets, especially if you are a Gringo, but besides that not much.
The Belizean people love to party, and I can attest to that. In Corozal they loved parades, and had them all the time. You will never have a hard time in Belize finding a drinking buddy, Belizeans love to drink beer and talk. I lived next door to a little place that served beer and food, (taco stand really), and it was good to sit there and listen to all the conversations.
I also agree that Belizeans love North Americans, (people from USA and Canada), and they will always strike up a conversation with you. They have relatives everywhere in the USA.
A great time to be in Belize is the Independence Day celebration in September, and Christmas. There are a lot of other holidays in Belize, but these two they really go all out.
I am going to go ahead and put reason number 7 for retiring or living in Belize off of the Belize.com website on this post, and then I will pick up tomorrow and continue with my Mahahual comparison, and give my thoughts and experiences of the people in Mahahual and Costa Maya.
7. I Love Belize Time
Belize is on a different time clock – much more relaxed and easy going. Maybe not the most efficient but the idea is to take it easy. Government offices are supposed to be opened for business at 8 a.m. sharp but apart from the Post Office you will not get much attention until 8:30 – that is the essence of “Belize Time”.
Government workers arrive by public transport at the town of their employment, then wonder around catching breakfast or doing errands before reporting for work. This can be irritating for some used to precision and deadlines but don’t let your pressure go up. Adjust to a slower more leisurely lifestyle. Be prepared for promises the job will be finished by Monday 8 a.m. Belize Time really means the job will be delivered Monday evening if you are lucky or more likely Tuesday morning.
I try to not make my posts or articles too long on this blog, because I read some other blogs and they go on forever. This is a pretty in depth post I am writing today and can run long, so I will let the readers digest this, and then come back and continue tomorrow with the Mahahual side of reasons 6 and 7, and how Mahahual compares and stacks up.
Several people have asked for my email address lately, so I will post it here. Also if anyone reads this is interested in or has questions about Mahahual you can email me, call me, or call our office at Costa Maya Real Estate. I will add all this information now.
Facebook- Stewart Rogers, Mahahual. Mexico
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