Many of us dream about a better life, less stress, more cost effective especially venturing into our retirement years, and without the day to day same old bullshit when we turn on the TV. As a matter of a fact, even though I’m addicted to TV, well actually only certain programs, like Deadliest Catch, Duck Commander and Sons of Anarchy, I dream of my escape without that TV.
We are seeing advertisements for life in Belize where the dollar is stable, oh what a novel idea, cost of living is lower than the U.S. and Canada, and the environment is healthy. But before you pack your bags and jump on a plane with a one way ticket, there are some things you need to know, at least I believe it so.
I arrived on the small “crop duster” plane from the International Airport in Belize City to the San Pedro Airport in the middle of the Hurricane Season, just when I wanted to be there. My idea was I needed to see the island at the worse time of the year, because I knew the best time of year would be delightful. Actually it wasn’t so bad in September when I arrived, with temp;s in the high 70’s and sunny.
Boarding the water taxi for my short journey up the coast to my home for the next two weeks, the X’ta Nah Waterfront Resort my excitement began to gain momentum. I had chosen the X’ta Nah because it had excellent ratings on Trip Advisor, and the resort had responded to my many pre-visit questions. It also was well known to have the best beach on the island, and hell, I was there to enjoy the water as well as investigate the island for relocation, right?
My pre-visit research found that although it would be much easier to investigate San Pedro if I was staying in San Pedro, it could get busy there, and it was a quick commute via the water taxi’s from my resort. So, on with my discoveries.
The first thing I will tell you is that San Pedro is like a quaint little cobblestone road village that almost solely exists for the tourist trade. Its not a luxury resort town, far from it, with its main drag filled with shops and small restaurants, hole in the wall pharmacies and of course, the “souvenir shops” which BTW are all owned by the same person.
The second thing I will tell you is unlike many other 3rd world countries I have visited, San Pedro and in fact all of Belize that I encountered, doesn’t smell of sewerage. It has a clean smell, many times co-mingled with aromas of something wonderful being cooked in a passageway or on the street. You will find no shortage of food on the island, either in town or in one of the many restaurants and bars on the waterfront.
I spent my first few days roaming the streets, visiting with all the shopkeepers, restaurants, grocery stores, markets and bars of course. Looking at San Pedro from the “living full time” view, I was mostly interested in what was available for food. Let me tell you that there is an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, seafood, and chicken, what all in Belize live on, oh ya..also beans :-). One thin lacking from diets in Belize is green salads, lettuce you know, not really a feature item here. I was mostly excited at the availability throughout the year of either the spiny lobster or conch.
I will also tell you that you can find Cheerios, Corn Flakes, and Boston Baked Beens, but they will cost you. Living in Belize you will need to eat like the locals, or spend a small fortune, if and rarely, you can find U.S. products here. I did find a really sweet wine store in San Pedro, well stocked with U.S. wines, and quite excellent choices I might add as a wine consultant. However, be ready to spend some big bucks for wine here, and between the warm weather, and the Belize beer and rum, why bother.
All in all if you’re looking to live casual like, on the down low, you can do it very well here within most retirement budgets in my opinion. More on the cost of living, where to live, medical care and getting around, in the next blog post.
Till then I leave you and head to the kitchen to mix myself a nice Belize Rum and Coke, well..Diet Coke in fact.