Building our Dream Home in Belize, the Good, Bad and Horrible

When you finally make that decision to build, buy and move to Belize.


For months now I have been helping you follow the progress of our new home build here on the Placencia Peninsula, Stann Creek, Belize, Central America. I’m going to take a break from that to actually go back a bit and talk about what we did when we first made a decision to look at buying, building and moving to Belize. These are steps that everyone should make before making that all-important decision.


Sure! Staying at Luxury Resorts is fun, but is it really living in Belize? Really?

So many times and way too often, people do their research, pack bags and drag loved ones down to Belize to experience this country and discover if its where they want to move to. They book a room in a hotel or resort on Ambergris Caye, on the Placencia Peninsula, Corozal, god forbid Belize City or somewhere. They may even book a week in one then another, and sometimes come back to Belize a second time, and book into a hotel or resort again.

And then they think they know everything about Belize, that they can live here no problem, and they purchase land, condo or house somewhere.


Shopping locally and cooking for you and your family is an important experience.

I will tell you this is a recipe for disaster, in my opinion, as well as most Expats living here, or those who did this, and moved back to the states or Canada within a year.


Lou’s rental house on the beach in Placencia, where we fell in love with Placencia.

What I suggest is what Marsha and I did, because after all, we are experts…right? We visited many area’s of Belize, stayed in hotels, resorts multiple times, and realized Belize was for us. Then we made the correct decision, to rent a house and actually live for weeks or months as close to a Belizean as possible. Shop for food, cook your meals, shop for day to day things you are used to back home. Find out what you can and can’t find, or better yet, what you can live without. Test the waters, the community, see if you can walk your streets after dark. Get to know other Expats and locals and pick their brains.


View from the porch of Lou’s Beach House.

We rented homes twice, once in downtown Placencia and again in Maya Beach, which sealed our decision to build and move there.


Ted’s Cabana / Caribbean front House on in Maya Beach

The 1st house we rented was at the very end, the Northside of the Placencia Sidewalk. The owner Lou was an elderly lady, living in her trailer behind the beautiful beachfront wood house, built back in the 60’s. Lou was there to greet us and welcome us to her house, and there if we needed her for anything, but staying out of our way. Lou and her husband now passed, were the 1st whites to move to Placencia back n the 1960’s. They were touring Central America in their van, and just ended up here, deciding this was a great place to settle.


 The view of the “Toucan House” we rented in Maya Beach.

Living for weeks in that house helped us make the decision to move to Belize, and that we loved living on our private beach. We were walking distance to everything we would need or want in Placencia. We could walk to the stores and shop for groceries and supplies, like Rum, or choose to hit the Barefoot or Tipsy if that was our desire. The decision to rent that house on the ocean, solidified our eventual decision to do just that ourselves, years later.


Living and full kitchen in Ted’s rental house on the beach.

A couple years later we again rented a beachfront house/cabana on the Caribbean, this time in Maya Beach, Placencia Peninsula, Belize. Maya Beach is about 20 minutes from the “village” or downtown Placencia, yet smaller and not as busy. It is being called the “Florida Key” of Belize, and very popular with all visitors to Belize. Again we can walk to five awesome restaurants, a store that has just about anything we might need, a hardware/ lumber store, a Police Station, and friendly wonderful locals and Expats.

This stay in the home on the beach in Maya Beach solidified our decision that Maya Beach was the perfect place for us. We knew that we would have to live without some things, and some we could get in the weirdest ways, which you would never learn just living in a hotel room. Like for instance, a refrigerated truck that makes deliveries once a week to my house, with fresh organic fruit and vegetables from Spanish Lookout. A refrigerated truck that comes to my house twice a week, with frozen chickens and pork for sale.


Although having not a care in this world is nice, we should always be aware of surroundings.

And then there is the issue I would never learn about if I only stayed in fancy resorts. We learned from the owners and neighbors of those houses we rented, that “surprise”, there is crime throughout Belize, even on the Placencia Peninsula!  Go figure, why had i not heard about this before? Now granted, I had known that like any vacation destination in the world, you have pick pockets and petty thieves. But how many of you readers know that almost weekly, someone in Belize is “chopped” by a machete? How many know of the homes being broken into? You won’t learn that from your resort staff or managers, because that would hurt the tourist industry.

So the correct answer is, rent a house or two, meet the neighbors, and really live like a local before you spend that retirement fund.

On that note, Cheers all 😉

Gary….the Pirate

About storiesbygary

I am a Freelance Writer / Photographer, writing travel related articles for international magazines, blogs and websites and my own published books.
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