Today is Easter, so as an Easter gift for everyone who has ever thought of living or retiring in Belize, I am going to share an article I came across the other day. This may save you a lot of time and trouble.
According to the magazine, “International Living”, Belize is paradise on earth. They describe Belize as the best place on Earth for Americans and Canadians to retire. This is simply not true. The reason I know is I spent two years in Belize, and where I live now Mahahual, Mexico beats it hands down.
I, like a lot of other expats bought the whole “Belize is Paradise” concept by reading stuff on the internet. I even went to Belize to live after being sold how great it is on the internet. I have written a series of articles in the past comparing Belize to where I live now, Mahahual, Mexico. It was a seven part series, and I broke down all the reasons given why Belize is a great place to live or retire by “International Living”, and compared them with my experiences here in Mahahual. And Mahahual won hands down in each category except having English as the country’s main
I myself never would have thought ten years ago that I would be living in Mexico and thriving, I also thought Belize was going to be my place in paradise, but I was dead wrong. I had heard all the negatives about living in and visiting Mexico. The only thing I really knew about Mexico was what I saw from old western movies and crime films. I always thought people escaped to Mexico to get away from the law or hide out for awhile. I knew about Cancun and other places but that was about it.
So I bought the “Belize is Paradise” idea, and I tried living and working there, and I even started a blog, http://www.oasisresortbelize.wordpress.com, while I was living there, and you can read of my experiences there.
I came across this article I am going to share below, and it hits the nail on the head in my opinion. I find his point of view interesting because he is a MD, and his views fit almost perfectly with mine. I have also been in contact with numerous people in Belize who share my view of living there, and I am helping several now find a way to relocate to Mahahual. I also know of several people who have moved from Corozal, Belize to Chetumal, Mexico right across the border, for a better life here in Mexico. I know more are to follow. One guy has opened a night club here, after trying the expat life in Corozal, Belize.
So I hope you enjoy this article today I am sharing, because on this blog I like to share other viewpoints and opinions, besides just mine.
Boomer Part 4: Belize Ex Pat Relocation
Posted by Allan Seltzer MD on Apr 2nd, 2015
The ex pats who relocate to Belize (above) are characterologically “abnormal” by definition on a standard distribution curve. By which I mean eccentric. Many come there with stars in their eyes as if this is the perfect tropical paradise. It is not, and there are harsh realities to life there. When the honeymoon wears off many retreat to the safety and predictability of civilization. For some it is the bugs, others the oppressive heat and rain, the unexpected costs, the sheer poverty all around you, or the lack of high-tech medical care and availability of pharmaceuticals. The list is endless. You really have to live there for 6 months to a year to experience life in the developing world and then make the decision.
Climate: it is in a word daunting. It is not unusual to need 2-3 showers a day and wear an equal number of t shirts.The humidity and heat are truly an experience. One does acclimate after a variable time. AC at bedtime however, is not a luxury item. Do not buy the refreshing breezes off the sea International Living propaganda. Buying anti-fungal cream is mandatory.
Costs: Belize is not cheap unless you are DIY sort and live like a local and/or off grid. You can in theory only, eat for a 15$/day with no luxuries. Electricity is the most expensive in the region. There are frequent outages (above). Internet is also expensive and slow. Only 25% of locals have access.
Education: There are some foolish souls who bring their children along for a cross cultural jungle experience. This is a mistake. The locals are perplexed as they would sell a kidney to have their kids educated up north. The local system is substandard and mostly run by the RC church (above). Homeschooling is a personal choice but with clear caveats ….
Safety: Belize is statistically a very dangerous place: #3 on the global homicide hit parade. I never felt unsafe there or threatened in any way, though the ex pat adage is “You are safe here until you aren’t.” Petty crime is endemic.The police and judiciary are corrupt and ineffective.
Commodities: There is palpable tension and envy towards Asians by the locals. They truly nearly own every grocery store in some areas and a variety of other establishments. They work hard and do not integrate. They feed, water, hardware and bike everyone. You can buy nearly anything imaginable at the local hardware outlets. Ironically nearly everything sold is cheap Chinese and of appallingly poor quality.
Commodity acquisition and available variety is inferior to Costa Rica or Panama and heavily taxed. If you are a beer or wine aficionado, relocate to France or the Czech Republic.
Health: Basic private primary care is in my opinion superior to el Norte. Efficient, cheap and unrushed. Anything beyond that is problematic at best and lethal at worst. Dental care is affordable and dentists are well-trained.
Sand fleas are everywhere along the coast…and on occasion lead to cutaneous leishmaniasis…(ok perhaps not this severe).
A pharmacy review of 5 stores revealed shortages of some common drugs like nasal spray and steroid creams, prices are generally 20% less.
The roads especially after heavy rains are truly an experience….Miscellaneous observations: sickly, starving dogs are ubiquitous, so are beggars, drunks, crackheads and solicitors of everything from moms operation to church reconstruction. Overall though…….Belizeans are funny, entertaining and decent empathic people. They are the most gracious and grateful patients I have treated anywhere.They like LOUD music ALL the time. They have the misfortune of living under a corrupt plutocracy. Hopefully that will change one day and this may then ring untrue..
“IF the world had any ends,” Aldous Huxley wrote in 1934, Belize — then known as British Honduras— “this would certainly be one of them.”
Until that time remember the mantra BNFE : Belize is not for everyone.
Thanks for reading,
Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina