I have gotten a lot of responses from my series on this blog comparing living and working in Mahahual, Mexico to Belize. I have learned from these comments and responses, that there are a lot of people unhappy with their decision to live or retire in Belize.
I was in Mahahual a couple of weeks ago when there were cruise ships in town, and I stopped by the Tropicante to meet up with some guys from Texas who were staying with me in Mahahual. I was sitting there talking to them, when a man walked up to me and asked me if I was Stewart, the guy that writes the blog aboiut life in Mahahual. I told him yes, and introduced myself, and we got to talking. He told me he lives in Corozal, Belize and he reads my blog. He said he wished he would have read my blog two years ago before he moved to Belize, it would have saved him a lot of time and money. I will not give his name because he would probably get grief from his Belizean friends. He told me where he lives, and I know exactly where he lives and the area. He told me Belize was not what is was cracked up to be, and so was all the hype surrounding Belize on the internet.
I told him I knew exactly where he was coming from, that I bought all the hype, and that is how I ended up in Belize originally. He told me now is really considering moving to Mahahual after reading my blog about life here. He has had problems with theft, government, banking, and many of the other problems I hear about Belize. This is not the first person I have met who has the same complaints about Belize.
I know a guy, Mike, who now lives in Caldaritas, right outside of Chetumal, who still owns a house he paid for in Corozal, Belize, but much prefers living in Mexico, so he lets his house stay empty in Belize, because he will not live there, and rents in Caldaritas. He loves it in Mexico and left 4 or 5 years ago, and only goes back to pay his taxes in Belize.
When I lived in Belize I got to know the expat crowd there pretty well, and went to a lot of functions and parties and stuff. I have come to find out now is that 4 or 5 expats that I knew in Belize have jumped the border and have moved to Chetumal behind the Plazas de las Americas mall. Also a know a lady who owned a business and who lived in Corozal, and was one of the first expats in Corozal, who sold her business and property and moved to Caldaritas also.
I ran into a woman I knew from Corozal, Belize in Playa del Carmen this summer. She and her family I met in Corozal at an expat function, and I always ran into her in several of the expat restaurants and bars in Corozal a lot. (Corozal really had a pretty active expat community when I was there, and had a lot of functions and activities). She left Corozal, and lived in Caldaritas for awhile, and now she has settled in Playa del Carmen, and she loves it. She said a big drawback was the education system in Belize, because she has a seven year old son, and schools in Mexico, especially Playa del Carmen were much better than Belize. I asked her to read the blog and give me her feedback, and to be honest about how she felt about my depiction of life in Belize. She had lived in Corozal when I did, and went through some of the experiences I did, and also jumped the border to Mexico like I did so I wanted her thoughts on my comparision.
I was kind of surprised when she told me she agreed with me 100%. She said she missed Belize and her friends in Belize, but she was happier in Mexico and glad she left Belize.
I also get a lot of comments and responses from readers on the blog about Belize, this is one I got the other day from someone concerning the QRP program I took intact from the Belizean government.
“There are a couple of inaccuracies , QRP need only to deposit their money in the bank. It can be put in on Mon. and withdrawn on tues. QRP does NOT pay exit fees. It only is done at Golden airport which is private, the money goes to the airport not the government. I have been in and out of Belize for six years , never was asked for a dime….. The one time payment for immigrating fee is lower than going for residence. They pay a fee and a monthly fee, it turns out to be much more. QRP can get a drivers license right away. Non QRP canNot bring in belongings free of duty and taxes nor can citizens . ….If QRP try to reverse their status they must go back and pay duty and taxes for everything they have brought in. ..And the biggest inconvenience is not being able to travel at will for a long time….Hope this helps.”
Another comment comparing groceries in Corozal to Chetumal fom expat in Belize.
“always good to know there are honest comparisons and useful information. I know that after a year< I long for some decent restaurants that do not cost an arm and a leg. I despise Heinz Salad Cream, the local potatoe salad and cole slaw disgust me. I see the many choices in the groceries in Chetumal and the lack of choices here in Corozal. I notice the Chinese monopoly on groceries and much hard goods, especially the inferior quality of goods. I notice the coastal area is largely bought up by Chinese. I did not realize that the local Chinese are originally from Taiwan, not mainland China.”
These are just some of the examples of the reactions I get concerning my series of articles comparing life in Mahahual and Belize on this blog. I never thought when I started comparing living in Belize to Mahahual on this blog that I would get the feedback I have, both positive and negative. In fact, I am scared to go to Belize again, they might not let me in, because of this blog. More later.
Thanks for reading.
Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina