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Belize Retirement 101: How to Retire in Belize

Belize retirement — Retire in Belize and live your best life by the Caribbean Sea

If you’ve ever planned to retire in the Caribbean, you might want to consider Belize as your retirement destination. Named in the 52 places to go in 2017 by the New York Times, this country offers many reasons to retire safely in Central America, here’s some of those reasons:

Named #2 best retirement haven by International Living Magazine, Belize has gone to great lengths to attract foreign retirees, such as the Qualified Retirement program. This program has incentives that allow you to retire in Belize and import your household items and vehicles duty-free. A QRP also pays no tax on foreign-earned income. To qualify, one must simply be aged 45 years or older, have a monthly income of at least $2,000 US dollars and comply with several other minor requirements. Incredibly, you must also live in Belize for a minimum of one month out of the year.

The Qualified Retirement Program is classed as one of the best in the world for tax breaks, to qualify for the QRP you must: Be 45 years or older, you can also include your spouse and dependents under the age of 18 in the program. Submit an application along with:

  1. Birth certificate.
  2. Marriage certificate.
  3. A police record from your most recent place of residence, issued within a month prior to the application.
  4. A copy of each page (including blank ones) in your passport. Retain a notary public to certify the copy with his or her seal and mark how many pages are in the passport, the passport number, and your name.
  5. Proof of income. This can be in the form of a statement from a pension of an annuity company or from your bank. The statement must show that your income is at least $2,000 a month or the equivalent of at least $24,000 a year.
  6. Medical certificate stating that you are in good health and not HIV positive
  7. Color photos — four recent front-view and four side-view passport- size photographs of yourself and any dependents who are applying.
  8. You must also submit a non-refundable $100 application fee plus a “program fee” of $500 for yourself and $350 for each dependent. If you’re accepted into the program, you’ll owe an additional $100. Also figure on $2,500 to $5,000 to retain an attorney who can steer you through the application process.

Advantages of the QRP — Qualified Belize Retirement Program

Paying no Belizean tax on foreign earned income — you won’t be taxed twice on money you’re bringing into the country. As a QRP you can import your household goods tax-free up to a total exemption amount of $15,000. You can also bring in a vehicle tax-free, which can be a car, a light aircraft or a boat.

Every five years you can import a new vehicle tax-free as long as you sell the original vehicle outside of Belize.

In many countries you have to make a significant financial commitment in order to qualify for a program that provides financial incentives for living in the country. In Belize, you must simply prove an income of at least $2,000 a month.

Planning to retire in Belize and still have questions?

Since founding REMAX VIP, we have helped hundreds of clients safely complete their relocations to this beautiful Caribbean country.  If you too are ready to enjoy all the beauty and splendour Belize has to offer, call us and let us be your first friend in paradise.

Our path together extends well past the purchase of a property, to all aspects of investment and relocation, from financial structures to healthcare and even bringing in your family and pets!

Everything you need to know about Belize retirement is written on the 2024 Belize Relocation Guide by REMAX VIP

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Land at Local Prices: Cheap Land for sale in Belize

There are two real estate markets in Belize: the international market, and the local deals that never make it to the internet. Find cheap land for sale in Belize with the real estate experts. Contact us today.

There are two real estate markets in Belize – the international market for foreigners in tourist areas advertised on real estate websites… and there is the local market for cheap land in Belize.  Most older Belizeans at some point were lucky enough to be granted land under the condition that the land was productive. Others leased land from the government that they could title for a small fee.

From lush jungle to pristine beach, some property deals will never make it to the internet. Find cheap land for sale in Belize with the help of experts on the ground.
Looking for lush jungle or pristine beachfront? Some properties never make it to the online market!

Find Cheap Land for sale in Belize

Today, Belizeans can still apply for government land and receive it for pennies on the dollar.

Many locals need to sell and will sell cheap land in Belize, at prices far below the international market. Wow Belize has developed relationships with local brokers who can find these bargains and offer them to qualified clients. These deals NEVER MAKE IT TO THE INTERNET– as they are sold immediately.

While some of these lands are in uncharted regions, more due diligence is required, but some of these properties will be sold for PENNIES on the dollar. The best way to find cheap land in Belize, whether its jungle, riverfront, savannah or islands is to contact an agent with these local connections.

As every savvy investor knows, buying undervalued assets is the key to profits. Simply contact us to let us know what type and size acreage you are interested in and we will find it. You can also subscribe to our listing newsletter to see our best deals in your inbox, every week!

Browse our properties and find cheap land for sale in Belize.

If you are in the market for owning your first property in paradise, then look no further; Browse our website and learn more about Belize, whether you have specific questions, or just want to read more about the Caribbean lifestyle. Our team has also written, photographed, edited and published a relocation guide, which has been featured on several travel websites!

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If you are looking for affordable land in the Caribbean, look no further. Wow Belize Real Estate brings offers local land at affordable prices. Not all deals make it to the internet so let us know exactly what you are looking for!
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A list of the Best Beaches in Belize

What are the best beaches in Belize? Whether you enjoy fishing or kitesurfing, here is the definite answer.

One of the first things visitors notice about Belize is the clear turquoise shallow water at many beaches in the country. Given its proximity to the Belize Barrier reef, the water is not only crystal clear, but warm and calm year-round. During the past decade, many of our clients have been curious to know what are the best beaches in Belize. Our team has explored this diverse country and it’s wonderful beaches to bring an accurate answer to our readers and clients.

What are the best beaches in Belize?

The following is a list of beaches we have ranked for our readers with a brief description of every beach. This list is also advice to first time newcomers to the country. Anyone who comes to Belize to step on the cleanest and most exotic beaches of the Caribbean should skip Belize city and go straight to the beaches we’ve listed here.

Those who visit Belize exclusively for picture-perfect beaches should do as the expats do and take a boat to one of the islands surrounding the mainland.  With nearly 400 Caye’s stretching the entire coastline and still mostly uninhabited they are home to some of the finest beaches.

Ambergris Caye has miles of white sand beach that are postcard quality. Since the Cayes are coral based the beaches are made of coral dust which is nearly sugar white and always cool on the feet. The west side of Ambergris has similar quality beaches with calm waters, with sand bottom and beautiful sunsets popularized by Secret Beach.

To the south Ranguana Caye and the Snake Cayes have the widest beaches and the friendliest sea floor for wading through the water on a hot day.While not all islands have the same type of sand, our preference would definitely be the white coral sand beach, which is composed of finely crushed coral. This type of sand does not burn your feet and makes Belizean beaches look like no other in the world.

These are our top picks!

Visiting these islands should be on everyone’s travel goal list in the coming years. These zones are still not experiencing heavy tourist traffic, but this is expected to change in the next decade. As of today, you can still relax and enjoy the privacy of an entire island for you and your party. If you decide you want to live in an island, then why not buy one while they’re still affordable?

RemaxVIP recommends finding an experienced guide to get your party to an island safely.

Previous Caribbean sailing experience  is needed when sailing to the cayes and islands, as it is important to maneuver your ship through the sometimes shallow Belizean waters. Experienced local guides can steer you safely into your island of choice.

Within a day's boatride one can explore the best beaches in Belize!

The Best Beaches in Belize — the Mainland

If you’re not the biggest fan of floating land, then you should try Southern Belize — home to many beautiful beaches replenished by river sand that flows down from the mountains to the sea and gives the beaches a nice beige color. From Dangriga to Hopkins and through to Placencia lays one continuous beach where waters are calm and great for swimming. Monkey river deposits beautiful sand down its coastline to Punta Icacos to the south making it home to the widest beaches in Belize.

Placencia has a recently paved main road overlooking the beach, and just like Hopkins, these two villages are experiencing a tourism hike thanks to the cruise ships that come down to Belize and bring new beach lovers every day. Remember every beach in Belize is home to little reef systems that eventually merge into the Belize Barrier reef, giving visitors an amazing glance at local ecosystems full of lobsters and schools of fish.

It will be a long time until Placencia or Hopkins become anything like Cancun or Playa del Carmen. With all the efforts placed by the Belizean government to have a sustainable tourism sector, visitors should NOT worry about crowded beaches. 

P.S. — If your idea of a beach is a secluded rocky haven where you can jump into ice cold water, then there’s also a place for you in the little beaches found at river banks, such as the Swasey River— a place with large rocks that serve as diving platforms, with a nearby white sand bank.

P.S.S — San Pedro is a beautiful place, and one of my favorite places in Belize, but it did not make the list due to its abundance of seagrass, which removed it from the list of best beaches. My condolences, Isla Bonita.

We have created the definite list of best beaches in Belize. Read on and plan your next Belize Vacation!
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The Beautiful Caves of Belize

The Caves of Belize are an Underground Paradise Awaiting Beside Your New Home

Belize, a jewel nestled on the eastern coast of Central America, is a paradisiacal spot to lay down your roots and a world-renowned haven for some of the most breathtaking caves you could imagine. If the idea of having nature’s intricacies just a stone’s throw away from your home intrigues you, then exploring the mystic caves of Belize should be at the top of your to-do list.

The country’s extensive cave systems are not just geological marvels but are steeped in Mayan history and brimming with tales of ancient rituals and traditions. For prospective house buyers seeking adventure and tranquillity in equal measure, setting up a home in Belize presents an opportunity to immerse oneself in a living tapestry of natural wonders.

The Majestic Caverns Beckon

Picture this: waking up to the warm Belizean sun, you set out for a day of adventure. You drive through lush landscapes, arrive at a cave entrance, and step into the cool, subterranean world, where sparkling stalactites and impressive stalagmites craft a scene reminiscent of a fantasy novel. The Caves of Belize will not disappoint.

Why the Caves of Belize are a Homebuyer’s Hidden Perk

They say a home isn’t just about the structure you live in but the environment it resides in. For those living in North America, the appeal of purchasing property in Belize lies not only in the favorable climate and friendly communities but also in the extraordinary access to natural attractions like these caves. Here are a few reasons why a home in Belize can be your gateway to adventure:

  • Unmatched Natural Beauty: These remarkable caves in Be lay the canvas for experiences that turn a standard home into a retreat in paradise.
  • Rich Cultural Heritage: The Caves of Belize serve as conduits to the past, offering unique insights into the Mayan civilization that once called this land home.
  • Adventure at Your Doorstep: Kayaking, spelunking, and exploring — the caves of Belize offer endless thrills to satiate the most avid of explorers and nature enthusiasts.
  • A Slow-paced, Fulfilling Lifestyle: Belize’s serene beauty and awe-inspiring wilderness allow for an adventurous and peaceful lifestyle.

Caverns to Call Your Own

Imagine being a short trip from some of Belize’s most famous caves, where tours can take you back in time or challenge your spirit of adventure. With REMAX VIP, the best Belize realtor at your service, you can find the perfect abode conducive to relaxation and thrill-seeking — an investment in lifestyle elevation.

Luxuriate in Wonder Every Single Day

Settle down in Belize, and inherit a backdrop of unparalleled beauty. The caves are but a slice of the visual feast and experiential fortune that lies in wait. By choosing Belize as your home, you’re choosing to live life flanked by wonders that people flock from around the globe to witness.

Navigating Your Belizean Home Buying Journey with REMAX VIP

In search of a reliable partner to help you discover your ideal sanctuary amid these natural marvels? Look no further than REMAX VIP — acclaimed for its local expertise and dedication to pairing clients with stellar tropical properties far beyond four walls and a ceiling.

In Closing

Belize’s beautiful caves are a spectacle to behold, a playground for the adventurous, and a testament to the past. For those contemplating a life immersed in nature’s most magnificent creations, consider this: a home in Belize offers more than a roof over your head; it offers an invitation to a less ordinary life.

Interested in making Belize your new home and the caves your personal escape? Contact REMAX VIP, your portal to the best properties tailored to adventure enthusiasts and serenity seekers.

Whether you’re entranced by the ancient mysteries that lie beneath the earth’s surface or seeking solace in a home surrounded by beauty, Belize holds the key. Unlock your dream living experience today — explore your Belizean housing options with the assistance of the best Belizean realtor and begin your adventure in a home that promises more than just a dwelling but a doorway to the extraordinary.

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Dive Belize

Barrier Reef

Belize, a small Central American country nestled between Mexico and Guatemala, is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and rich biodiversity. One of the country’s most treasured assets is its incredible diving opportunities, drawing underwater enthusiasts from around the world to explore its pristine waters. With the Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, running along its coastline, Belize offers some of the most spectacular diving experiences on the planet.

Spanning over 190 miles, the Belize Barrier Reef is the second-largest barrier reef in the world, after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. This impressive natural wonder is a haven for marine life, with vibrant coral formations, crystal-clear waters, and abundant marine species. Divers flock to Belize to immerse themselves in this underwater paradise and witness the diverse ecosystems that thrive beneath the surface.

Blue Hole

One of Belize’s most famous diving spots is the Great Blue Hole, a massive underwater sinkhole measuring over 300 meters across and 125 meters deep. Located near the centre of the Lighthouse Reef, the Great Blue Hole is a mecca for experienced divers looking to explore its depths and encounter unique marine species such as Caribbean reef sharks, giant groupers, and colourful angelfish. The circular shape of the Blue Hole creates an otherworldly diving experience, with steep walls covered in corals plunging into the deep blue abyss.

Apart from the Great Blue Hole, Belize offers a plethora of other dive sites that cater to divers of all levels. Ambergris Caye, the largest island in Belize, boasts an array of dive sites suitable for beginners and advanced divers alike. Hol Chan Marine Reserve, located off the coast of Ambergris Caye, is a popular spot for snorkelling and diving, teeming with marine life such as nurse sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles. The shallow waters of Hol Chan make it an ideal site for novice divers to get their feet wet and explore Belize’s underwater wonders.

Incredible Biodiversity

For those seeking more adventurous diving experiences, Turneffe Atoll offers a remote and pristine environment for underwater exploration. As the largest coral atoll in Belize, Turneffe Atoll is home to diverse dive sites, from shallow coral gardens to dramatic wall dives. Divers can encounter eagle rays, barracudas, and even the elusive whale shark in these nutrient-rich waters, making Turneffe Atoll a must-visit destination for diving enthusiasts.

Belize’s southern coast is also a treasure trove of diving opportunities, with sites such as Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve offering encounters with massive schools of fish during the annual spawning of snappers and groupers. This natural spectacle, known as the “Great Blue Hole,” attracts divers and marine biologists alike to witness this underwater phenomenon.

In addition to its stunning marine life, Belize is also known for its unique underwater formations such as underwater caves and tunnels. The Caves Branch River, located inland near Belmopan, offers adventurous divers the chance to explore intricate cave systems adorned with stalactites and stalagmites. These cave dives provide a thrilling and otherworldly experience, allowing divers to venture into the heart of the earth and witness geological formations rarely seen elsewhere.

Protect and Preserve

Belize’s commitment to marine conservation and sustainable tourism practices has helped preserve its underwater ecosystems for future generations. The government has established marine protected areas and regulations to safeguard its pristine reefs and marine life, ensuring that divers can continue exploring Belize’s underwater wonders for years.

In conclusion, Belize stands out as a premier diving destination, offering diverse dive sites, marine life, and underwater experiences for enthusiasts of all levels. Whether you’re a novice diver looking to take your first plunge into the underwater world or an experienced diver seeking thrilling encounters with sharks and rays, Belize has something to offer everyone. With its crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and abundant marine species, Belize is truly a diver’s paradise waiting to be explored.

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Best Restaurants in Placencia

View of the frontage of Rumfish y Vino one of the best restaurants in Placencia

The Sidewalk

Let’s start at the famous “Sidewalk”. This is a must-do for visitors to this part of Belize. People wander along the brightly colored stalls, cafes and restaurants, stopping for refreshments and souvenirs.

We have chosen a few of the best restaurants in Placencia or places that are not too far away, as a guide for your trip to Belize when you come to inspect our properties. You’ll find many expats in Maya Beach and the Placencia Peninsula.

Breezeaway Restaurant & Pool Bar

Perfect for al fresco dining. Breezeaway rates as the #1 in Trip Advisor at the moment.

  • Location: Located right on the beach in the village of Placencia. It’s just a short walk south of the main town area.
  • Cuisine: Fresh seafood is the speciality here, focusing on local catches like red snapper, mahi mahi, shrimp and lobster. They also serve classic Belizean dishes and international fare.
  • Atmosphere: Casual and beachfront setting with tables right on the sand overlooking the Caribbean Sea. It’s very relaxed and family-friendly.
  • Popular Dishes: Coconut shrimp, whole fried red snapper, conch fritters, coconut rice and beans, lobster tacos. Their seafood platters are also highly recommended.
  • Drinks: Full bar serving cocktails, wines and local beers. Fresh fruit juices and smoothies too.
  • Service: Known for friendly, attentive service from the local staff.
  • Hours: Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Open air structure so hours may vary depending on weather.
  • Price: Moderate to high. Expect to pay around $15-30 per person without drinks.
  • Reviews: Consistently gets rave reviews for the fresh seafood, beachfront atmosphere and great service. Highly recommended by locals and travelers alike.

Breezeaway is considered one of the best restaurants in Placencia for its prime beachfront location and fresh, expertly prepared seafood dishes. It’s a great choice for a memorable meal.

Maya Beach Bistro

Located right on the beach in Placencia, this restaurant is known for its fresh seafood dishes like coconut shrimp and blackened mahi mahi. They also have great breakfast options.

  • Location: Right on the beach in the village of Placencia, just steps from the ocean.
  • Cuisine: Focused on fresh, local seafood with influences from Caribbean, Mayan and international cuisines.
  • Atmosphere: Casual and beachfront with dining tables directly on the sand or under thatched-roof shelters. Relaxed ambiance.
  • Popular Dishes: Coconut shrimp, blackened mahi mahi, conch fritters, lobster quesadillas, fish tacos. Daily seafood specials.
  • Price: Moderate to high. Average $15-30 per person without drinks.

Mangos

  • Location: It’s located on the mainland near the village of Independence, about a 15-20 minute drive north of Placencia.
  • Setting: Situated right on the shore of Placencia Lagoon, offering stunning views across to the peninsula.
  • Cuisine: Fresh seafood and tropical fruits are highlighted on the Creole/international menu. Known for its whole red snapper.
  • Popular Dishes: Coconut shrimp, lobster tails, conch ceviche, coconut curry chicken, mango chicken.
  • Drinks: Full bar and an excellent wine list to complement the dishes. Fresh juices too.
  • Atmosphere: Romantic, laidback vibe with outdoor dining right over the water.
  • Service: Exceptional and attentive service provided by a knowledgeable staff.
  • Hours: Dinner only, from 5 pm until around 9 pm or 10 pm.
  • Price: Considered a splurge but worth it. Average $30-50 per person without drinks.
  • Reviews: Repeatedly praised for its incredible setting, fresh ingredients and consistency. Often listed as the best restaurant in southern Belize.

Mango’s stellar waterfront location, creative menu and high-quality of food make it a real treat and one of the best restaurants in Placencia. It’s worth planning an evening trip from Placencia village. Reservations are essential.

Elvis Kitchen

  • Location: Situated on Barrier Reef Drive in the heart of San Pedro town.
  • Cuisine: Casual Belizean and Caribbean fare with an emphasis on fresh seafood.
  • Atmosphere: Laidback, beach shack-style setting. Outdoor seating under thatched roofs.
  • Popular Dishes: Conch ceviche, coconut shrimp, red snapper, lobster tacos, jerk chicken.
  • Drinks: Full bar serving cocktails, beers and wines. Fresh juices too.
  • Service: Friendly, local staff providing no-frills service.
  • Hours: Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Open 7 am-10 pm.
  • Price: Very reasonable. Most dishes are $10-20 BZD. Good value for San Pedro.
  • Reviews: Highly rated for the tasty, authentic food at affordable prices. A popular local favorite.

Elvis Kitchen offers a casual, no-nonsense dining experience focusing on well-prepared Belizean and seafood dishes. It’s an excellent budget-friendly option in San Pedro town and very popular with locals and tourists alike. Cash only.

Rumfish y Vino

  • Location: Situated on the beach side of the main road, right on the waterfront in Placencia village.
  • Cuisine: Fresh seafood and international dishes with a Caribbean influence, using local ingredients.
  • Atmosphere: Romantic, beachfront setting with tables directly on the sand or under thatched roofs.
  • Popular Dishes: Coconut shrimp, rumfish, lobster mac and cheese, fish tacos, paella.
  • Drinks: Excellent wine list plus signature cocktails made with local rums and fruits.
  • Service: Professional yet casual staff known for good service and knowledge.
  • Hours: Dinner from 5 pm nightly, closed Sundays.
  • Price: Considered mid-range to high for Placencia at around $20-40 per person without drinks.
  • Reviews: Repeatedly praised for fresh ingredients, creative dishes and stunning beach setting. Consistently rated as a top Placencia restaurant.

Rumfish y Vino’s beachfront location, delicious food and great drinks make it a memorable dining experience. Reservations are recommended, especially for the prime beachfront tables. Highly rated as one of the best restaurants in Placencia.

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The latest news and images from Belize!!

Remaxvipbelize - Placencia

It was a very exciting couple weeks in the news for Belize!! There was a ton of positive attention all over different media – it started with Lonely Planet placing Belize as #10 on their list of top ten places to go in the world, in 2019… For a tiny country this is a HUGE accomplishment!!! See HERE

Then GQ, the knower of all things cool, proclaimed that BELIZE was the place to go – and to skip trendy, super-cool Tulum this year!! See HERE….

Then, the same week, Belize was announced the fastest-growing place in the Caribbean…

Caribbean Journal announced Belize is the fastest-growing Caribbean destination based on September’s tourism results!! See HERE
Belize and the Caribbean were labeled Zika-free – YAY! Read on HERE

Tropic Air announced a new direct flight from Belize City to Mexico!! Using the puddle jumpers makes getting around neighboring countries super easy and quick – the customs at the small private airports are a breeze and you feel like a VIP 🙂 In local exciting news – on the island of Ambergris Caye, Maya Island Air opened a swanky, new airport in San Pedro!!! It doesn’t even look like Belize – super posh….check out the pics HERE!

And continuing with the poshness that seems to be developing around Belize (but verrrrry slowly!) the amazing new swanky store, Mirab’s, in Belize City, opened up the first Ashley furniture in the country – Belize has VERY few chain stores – you can almost count them on one hand, int the whole country. So when a chain opens here, it is a mixture of – everyone feels upset because this goes against the grain – and also, relief that it makes it just a bit easier to live here and get things you’d like to have to live 🙂 Check out the store HERE!

And nothing talks about Belize like the pictures you can take here – the country is a paradise for photographers. Here are some of our favorites over the last couple weeks – a walk through Placencia Village, getting pretty for high season!!
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
And some San Pedro favorites…
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - San Pedro favorites
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
And finally a shot of the fabulous Mirab’s 🙂
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
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Best of Belize pictures from the last couple weeks….

Remax Vip Belize: Best of Belize pictures
With our PUR team now in two locations….and lots of enthusiastic picture taking…..we are gathering an absolute TON of amazing images in different parts of Belize. There are almost too many to organize but so many of them are can’t miss — here are our favorites from the last couple weeks!!From the air over San Pedro…

Remaxvipbelize - enthusiastic picture
Remaxvipbelize - enthusiastic picture
Remaxvipbelize - enthusiastic picture
Remaxvipbelize - enthusiastic picture

From the islands near Placencia…

Remaxvipbelize - enthusiastic picture
Remaxvipbelize - enthusiastic picture
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village

From Placencia Village…

Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village

From downtown San Pedro….

Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village

From CBC and PUR!

Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
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Trip report — San Pedro & Placencia

Remaxvipbelize - Trip Report

Since we have opened our second hotel in Belize, in San Pedro, we have had a lot of questions about what a vacation might look or feel like to do both San Pedro AND Placencia in one trip! We have had a number of guests book the package deal and thus far we are getting rave reviews, because Placencia and San Pedro are VERY different – they are like different countries. Recently, we had a group of two single women come down and do both, and they offered to write a guest blog about their adventures here!

Two Cleveland Gals’ adventures in Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker and Placencia, Belize!

Day 1 – Arrive Ambergris Caye. Nelson from PUR picked us up at Maya Air in Ambergris Caye to take us to PUR with bottles of water and a cold towel, much appreciated after our flights. Nelson gave us a quick tour through the town and showed us some hot spots, where we could have a fun time. Then after a quick check in, we suited up and headed to Palapa Bar downtown on the beach. It was the perfect spot after traveling most of the morning. We stopped next door to Wayos. Nancy had a cheese quesadilla. They had great music and atmosphere. It was a perfect casual evening out.

Day 2 – We slept in on our first full day. Such a treat! It was so nice to walk out of our cabana and have a poolside breakfast right at PUR. The omelet was AMAZING. We relaxed in the pool for a few hours and had a slow easy morning. Headed up north in the golf cart. It was a Monday which is a pretty slow day on the island. We spent a few hours at Pacos. Then stopped in Coco Beach. We weren’t able to use the pool, but had a cocktail and enjoyed the scenery. We headed back to PUR to change and freshen up then birthday-eve dinner at RAIN. Went to dinner around 5 so we would see the sunset at 6:25. It was pretty cloudy, so not a great sunset, but FABULOUS views. The food was excellent – ceviche & garlic lobster tail & tuna. They have some great wine choices, including Kim Crawford. Probably best wine menu on the island and they offer a cheese plate. A must do! We stayed North of the bridge all day. We ended the day at the casino at Captain Morgans, had an amazing, fun time at this tiny casino, lost a little $ but the local free drinks made that better. It was great to have $5min US tables for blackjack. You really got to know the dealers and other players because  it was so intimate. It was great to drive a quick few minutes home to PUR!

Remaxvipbelize - Captain Morgans

Day 3 – Tuesday – Shannon work up early and walked down to the beach to enjoys the sunrise at around 5:45. After a slow walk up and down the beach, we had a quick breakfast at PUR before our excursion. We were picked up at PUR and headed downtown to snorkel Hol Chan & Shark Ray Alley. It was a ½ day excursion with plenty of time to snorkel. We saw amazing fish, sting ray, urchins, spikey things, tons of sharks, shells, beautiful coral and of course sharks. By 12:30, we were back at PUR and enjoyed a relaxing poolside lunch. Shannon had the taco bowl that was so good and could have fed two people. Shannon’s birthday celebration began with a clean room and a cute message from the staff. We were going out to dinner, so we had drinks at the pool at PUR and hung out with the outer guests staying there. It was a really fun afternoon. Then off to Nook for dinner downtown. We all indulged on espresso martini and enjoyed a singer on the patio during dinner. We were right on the water – everything was 5 stars, location, service, food and drinks! Off to the crab races at Crazy Canucks. We had to take the golf cart there from downtown, but we were right on the beach. Rob, a fellow Clevelander, owns the bar and has crab races on Tuesday night to raise money for local non-profits. For a few dollars each, we picked out crabs and named them. Rob did the announcing similar to a horserace. It was so fun and great energy. We won a $10 gift card to a local restaurant. They have given over $80,000 to local charities. After, we stopped back downtown at Melt for karaoke. Rashida and Kenny made us feel at home and Nancy sang a song before we left for home.

PUR pool fun
Remaxvipbelize - PUR pool fun
Remaxvipbelize - PUR pool fun

Day 4 – Wednesday – Shannon headed to Akbol for yoga. They were doing a special yoga practice that was almost 2 hours long. It was amazing. Very relaxing and as a beginner, I felt very comfortable. Kirsten walked around and made sure everyone was doing things right and was encouraging everyone to go at their own pace. After, they welcomed everyone to say and meditate. After 2 hours of yoga, I was good, but the offer was nice. Nancy had breakfast at Akbol and enjoyed relaxing on the hammocks. Then off to Secret Beach – it took about 40 minutes in the golf cart. It was a very scenic ride with a lot of undeveloped properties and waterways with mangroves, etc. There are a lot of bars right by the parking lot when you arrive, but we went the trail to the left to the Blue Bayou. They had picnic tables in the water with a server delivering your drinks. It was excellent service and scenery. We had tacos & chips and queso for lunch. Everything closes down around 6, so we headed back around 5 and stopped by Truck Stop. What a cool spot. Old shipping containers contained a pizza shop, taco shop, southeast asian cuisine, and ice cream. They also play movies on the lagoon, had a great pool, checkers, and other games. It was another full day north of the bridge day.

Sunrise walking to Akbol from PUR
Remaxvipbelize - Sunrise walking to Akbol from PUR
Tables in the water at Secret Beach
Remaxvipbelize - water at Secret Beach

Day 5 – Thursday – We walked about to have breakfast at Marbucks (turn left out of the property – about an 8 minute walk). We had the quiche and bagel sandwich. Definitely try this one morning. It’s a small spot with just a few tables, and a good vibe on the sand road at the back of the PUR. We turned back to PUR for a few hours in the pool before heading to Caye Caulker. That morning we met up with friends at Dive Bar (also north of the bridge). It was a great spot…we didn’t stay long but had hammocks, lounge chairs and great beach. We then took a 25-minute boat ride to Caye Caulker with a quick stop at Koko King – must do. (They have a free water taxi from Koko King to Caye Caulker). Walked around, had lunch at the Split. While at Caye Caulker the rain came in (we were there during rainy season). It poured rain for about 10 minutes but after, besides a few puddles, you wouldn’t have known it rained. We took a quick ferry back to Ambergris Caye and headed straight to the chicken drop at Wahoo’s. What an experience. We were there early to purchase our tickets. They had about 6 “drops” a night. After everyone purchases their tickets, the winner is chosen by where the chicken “drops”  (poops) on the board. What a trip! We had lucky 35 and won! We were back at PUR around 11, yes it was a late night, and the security officer on the resort showed Nancy an anteater in the tree. We (quietly) relaxed by the pool for a bit, unwinding before bed.

Chicken Drop
Remaxvipbelize - Chicken Drop

Day 6 – Friday – We were off to Placencia. Nelson took us back to the airport, with a drive on the beach, one last time, and we relaxed in the air-conditioned lounge for 30 minutes before boarding our flight. After a quick stop at the municipal airport, we were picked up by Mr. Dave in Placencia. CBC was just reopening after construction. Many updates happened to the cabanas, casita and the villas. They now have amazing beach beds and everything was freshly restained/painted. From CBC we took a quick walk down the sidewalk to Barefoot Bar and had a delicious lunch with frozen fresh fruit mojitos and margaritas. We returned to CBC for a late afternoon swim in the pool. It was such a relaxing chill day. We ended our evening back at Barefoot Bar for a light dinner. Barefoot will pull you back in again and again during you trip, it really feels like the heart of town and is always warm and welcoming. Placencia in low season is a bit hit and miss with what’s open but there was plenty to do every night – we enjoyed being able to meet and talk to more people since the atmosphere was more intimate – we felt special because there weren’t THAT many tourists in the village, never crowds, and the beach to ourselves most days! It was such a great change from San Pedro, where it was pretty crowded and crazy, and we felt so tanquil and relaxed during our time in Placencia. I recommend people doing San Pedro first if you can so you can rejuvenate in Placencia before you head home.

Day 7 – More adventures! We headed up north to the Waterfalls at Maya King. We stopped on the way at Maya Bistro. The food is fantastic and they have espresso martinis ☺ They have a pool on-site and being right on the water it is picturesque. They are not in the village, but a fun place to visit for a meal. Took a drive up to the waterfalls. For about $10 US we were able to drive up the mountain and explore. There were bathrooms on site and the paths were clear and easy to navigate. The pictures sell it. On the way back, we popped into a few resorts for cocktails and snacks in the Maya Beach area (this is about a 20 minute ride from the village). Belize Ocean Club, Naia and Turtle Inn (this is closer to the village). With the exception of Turtle Inn, we were able to enjoy the amenities of each resort as long as purchased had food and/or drink. That evening we walked into the village for some live music at Cha Chi’s. Shannon had ceviche (again), but Nancy and our friends all had pizza. It was very good New York style pizza, sold by the slice or the whole pie. This is a new place in the village and worth the stop.

Maya King Waterfalls
Remaxvipbelize - Maya King Waterfalls
Naia
Remaxvipbelize - Naia
Cha Chi’s
Remaxvipbelize - Cha Chi's

Day 8 – RELAXING! We walked down for breakfast at Cozy Corner (because De tatch…Shannon’s favorite, was closed for low season). Had a very relaxing breakfast. It’s always best to not be in a hurry because service can be slow. Then we walked the entire village stopping into souvenir shops, jewelry stores, and art galleries. We finished our day relaxing by the pool at CBC and had a wonderful cookout with friends. There is a gas grill onsite for guests use. The grocery store nearby has everything you need for a beachside BBQ. The pool at CBC is perfect for a boutique hotel, it is really welcoming and comfortable, just big enough and the right temperature to hang out for hours. You can hang under a huge palapa roof in the shade or in the pool on stools.

Cozy Corner
Remaxvipbelize - Cozy Corner

Day 9 – Last full day in Belize. We walked through the village to the pier to have breakfast at the Shak. This is also a must visit. They have a great variety and it fun to people watch at the pier. We were back at CBC before noon and just relaxed and laid out. In the afternoon we shared a bottle (or two) of wine we had picked up from the duty-free shop at the airport. Man, that was really living. We walked to Rumfish for dinner (best dinner per Shannon)! Shannon had a filet, lobster tail, brussell sprouts and potatoes for $55 BZ ($27.50 US). This dinner in Cleveland could cost nothing less than $60US and it was wonderful. We stopped by Barefoot Bar for a night cap and ran into some friends we made in Ambergris. It really is a small country. It was a great way to end the trip.

Shak
Remaxvipbelize - Shak

Day 10 – Travel ☹ Mr. Dave dropped us off at the Placencia airport and we took the trek home.

**Note that in Placencia, we could have done any number of excursions, but I really just wanted to relax. I wanted to stay on my cushioned veranda, lay out, look at the sea, get in the pool a bit, maybe paddleboard or kayak a bit from CBC’s beach. I have been to Placencia before and have done Cockscomb, Monkey River, and Laughingbird Caye. These were all amazing, and I highly recommend people that haven’t been hee before take at least an excursion or two. We also wanted to do Ranguana Caye this trip, but we weren’t able to because they weren’t going the days we were there – next time!!
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Who is Belize NOT for? 8 things to know before you move or come to Belize….

Remaxvipbelize - honest and non-marketing post

While this can be considered a controversial blog – after 5 years of reading countless reviews, blogs, commentary, and posts about Belize – and who is a great fit and who doesn’t like it – there has come a clear picture that I felt might be helpful to share – for those looking to vacation or move to Belize, as you can’t get a real feel for a place until you visit. It is helpful to read an honest and non-marketing post about this topic – because it is a lose-lose if someone comes to Belize and it is not for them. There is no place in the world that is a great fit for everyone, but when you find the right place, it is heaven – and many find that is true for them in Belize. I’d love to hear feedback from others to add to this list!

1.) Belize is not for people who are very sensitive to heat and bugs; Belize is a tropical climate and it is HOT year round – some people love this and pick Belize for this reason – there are days where there can be little wind, which can bring out the bugs – and a person who is a good fit for Belize heads for an over the water bar/restaurant (where there is always a breeze and no bugs), takes a dip, goes to Secret Beach or a local pool, or finds shade and a hammock. I have seen others staggering around downtown forcing a shopping trip or something else, instead of being flexible to what the weather brings, and then complaining about the heat. Also – you may find you confront a cockroach, scorpion, mosquitos, or other things that bite during your time here. The tropics kind of come with that – and you DO get desensitized over time, I should know with my initial heebie jeebie-ness with bugs, but you just get over it, spray some deet, find some breeze, and deal. If you feel this is something you could not ever deal with, you may not be happy in your time here; most people find ways to manage.

Remaxvipbelize - know before you move or come to Beliz

2.) Belize is not for people who are rigid about schedules and systems, or are sensitive to last minute changes or unexpected turns of events. Belize is a developing country – and systems are not always perfect. By a long shot. I am personally amazed by the level of services available in remote areas and islands in this developing country – and am grateful to be able to live in a tropical climate with what I see as few inconveniences when it comes to infrastructure like electricity, water, or wifi. In the last 5 years I can count a few times where I was “inconvenienced” by something going out at a bad time, but never has it been a hideously remarkable deal. I remember one morning the water went out right before I was to get on a plane. No shower – I still had options – the pool 🙂 or grab some baby wipes and make do! On the other hand, I have seen more times than I can shake a stick at – reviews and complaints about the wifi, water, electricity – and I have to be honest – if it would really upset you to lose one of these services for a couple hours or even a day, and it would ruin your trip – I would stick to first world places – even there this can happen, but realistically it is going to be more of an issue in the developing world. Yes – the ATM machine is going to not work sometimes – but isn’t it amazing how many places take credit cards? Yes – the wifi might be slow right now, but isn’t it amazing that we have it on an island in the middle of the Caribbean in a developing country, as well as it works? If you come to Belize, you’ll be happier if you have some ability to have a contingency plan or a flexible, easygoing spirit. The business owners and locals work hard to make a nice experience for guests and can’t control everything – but everyone tries very hard to create an unforgettably warm and welcoming experience.

**Edited to note – this goes for issues like Sargassum as well. Many people ask why the villages don’t do more to tackle seaweed – there are MANY reasons but most of all, because they do the best they can with what they have to work with…it’s a long topic that has been covered in other posts.

Remaxvipbelize - Belize is not for people

3.) Belize is not for people sensitive to food/food allergies/needs for specific foods – Because this is a developing country, there are not culinary schools or really strict regulations. A cutting board MAY be used for shellfish and then veggies. Probably less of a problem at higher end restaurants and resorts. But part of the remarkable food scene here is the food trucks, stands, stalls, and people walking around with their goodies. There is no CISCO trucks delivering processed pre-made bags of broccoli cheese soup in Belize – everything down to the tortillas is made from scratch – and it tastes like it. You know how you can tell the difference between a dinner at Applebee’s and a food truck meal in the US – the homemade quality? That is Belize food and it is amazing. BUT – many times you are going to have your heart set on guacamole, lionfish, mangoes, whatever – and the place is going to say we are out. It happens, and it is common – there is often one road into a village and limited deliveries – and small freezers and such to store things. If you want vegan or vegetarian foods – at some places you are really going to have to spell out what that means – those are not typical meal plans/lifestyles in Belize. On some cayes, food comes a loooooong way over on a boat – and sometimes the food isn’t the freshest by the time you get it home, if you buy it from the stores. It is helpful to roll with this, and learn to buy food that is as local as possible and be flexible with the inconsistent nature of the imported goods. For those that find the food terribly expensive – please note that the learning curve is a bit high here – many that live here have learned to eat for cheaper and healthier than they could in the US – but it requires flexibility and willingness to change habits (cooking from scratch, using local food etc.) Those that find this unsettling may not be happy here. Oh – there is only the tiniest selection of beer and the imported alcohol is really expensive – if you don’t like Belikin or the local liquors, but you like to drink, you probably won’t like it here.

Remaxvipbelize - Belize is not for people

4.) Belize is not for people who need external regulations and rules/need to be told the appropriate level of risk to take – One of the most exhilarating, freeing, yet scary things about Belize, is the choose-your-own-level-of-risk nature about it. There ARE laws and these laws can be implemented at any time – but enforcement is inconsistent. You will see people driving their golf carts drinking, smoking marijuana in public….you will see people jumping off boats, swimming with sharks and rays (no liability to sign!), you’ll see clearly unregulated businesses all over the place, loud music, barking dogs, you’ll see building going on where you can be pretty sure there are no permits, and you’ll hear ALL manner of things that if you find the right person – you can get it done. If you are nice to and bring donuts to the right people, it is amazing what you can accomplish. The rules just aren’t like the US where our culture is pretty rigid about toeing the line, and many people do not care for this fuzzy-regulations culture. We are a guest in the country and whether we find it right or wrong, or think it should be changed or better – it was like this before we got here and it is a young country. This is hard for some to stomach when you come from a culture where you are told things like a small passionate group can change the world. You will find groups of expats living here on opposite ends of this spectrum – and it is helpful to understand where both sides are coming from; most people’s intentions are in the right place, but outside intervention/opinions are not always welcomed.

Remaxvipbelize - Belize is not for people

5.) Belize is not for people that are sensitive to political correctness – the political correctness on every level is different here. You will see some uncared for animals and parenting choices that would get a hard time in the US. You will notice and experience that the prices you are charged as a “gringo” are not what the locals are charged. You will see a hierarchy in the ethnic classes here, inequality between men and women, or unchecked signs of poverty. You will see outsiders come in, build, and leave things half finished to rot, and you will see areas where prices are pushed up to the point where locals can’t afford to live in their own towns. You will see people from all over the world who come here with less than good intentions, and leave it worse than they found it, and give outsiders a bad name. It can be very frustrating and Belize is a very, very young country – a lot of kinks to work out – and if it sounds exhausting to be at the foundational level of this change in a country – it may not be for you. This also allows for the good to come out – many, many good people come here with the best intentions and do leave Belize better than they found it, and are humble, flexible, and helpful, and are an asset to their communities (in my opinion these outweigh the bad by far!)

Remaxvipbelize - Belize is not for people that are sensitive to political correctness

6.) Belize is not for people who are freaked out by the crime rate – it is no secret that Belize has a high crime rate, but the areas where tourists go are about the same as anywhere in the world – if anytime a crime comes out in the news, it is going to traumatize you – it might be too stressful to be in Belize. Belize is a tiny population and there is crime – but the chances of something major happening to you here are statistically small. Belize’s largest city, Belize City, accounts for a little over half the major crimes, and this is generally personal, drug or organized crime related. Most major crimes in other parts of Belize are of a personal nature. Belize does not have a large “suburban” population to absorb the crime of Belize City, so the per capita rate looks bad. There have been crimes committed against outsiders here, where it appears to be random, and while it is VERY hard to come up with hard numbers – there are a million visitors to Belize every year. There are about 20(?) significant crimes against outsiders per year (we are talking major stuff, not petty theft) – this is about a .00002 chance of you being randomly severely injured in Belize. If you do things like leave your common sense at home – which is seen here plenty – leaving phones out of tables, leaving bags unsecured, leaving doors unlocked – petty theft is pretty common – but if you stay grounded with where you are and take an extra moment to be careful – you severely limit your problems. Again it is a young country and there is not exactly a forensic crimes unit in every town – and there is no ADT home security. But criminals don’t have access to the degree of weapons like in the US, so you aren’t bringing a knife to a gun fight. Securing your stuff (burglar bars, good locks) is pretty basic and easy to do. And, there is no random mass shootings here!

Remaxvipbelize - Belize is not for people who are freaked out by the crime rate

7.) Belize is not for travelers who need to shop, spa, golf, and be pampered – Belize is a rustic, developing place, and while there are some amazing spas and resorts where you don’t have to leave the confines of the place – this is not the point of Belize. Belize is not meant for the all-inclusive crowd – there is very little shopping, the spas are rustically awesome but also not like LA, there is a lot of open-air, non a/c dining and walking, there are almost NO chains with predictable options for your comfort, there aren’t escalators, elevators, shade and misters everywhere. It is kind of do-it-yourself; many people are very comfortable here, but it takes a flexible spirit to figure it out. This is an outdoor culture, if you are in indoor person, you will struggle. If you are really comfortable at Disney, Myrtle Beach, or Palm Springs, you are going to find this is the opposite end of the spectrum. There is no predictable, regulated, scrubbed clean tourist areas – the beauty of coming to Belize is to interact with the village/town culture and get a little challenged. This is NOT a materialistic culture – fancy shoes, bags, cars etc look very out of place here. Everyone here hangs out at the same places for the most part. Those that breathe a sigh of relief to wear $2 flip flops and their wet hair in a bun, with a bathing suit on under their gym-looking clothes will love it here. Again – set-apart resorts with first world amenities do exist where you do not interact with local culture – but you can do that anywhere and this is not the crowd Belize has historically attracted. In fairness – Belize is in a transition right now, with many new high end resorts, hotels, chains, and condos coming – but it is slooooooooow.

Remaxvipbelize - Belize is not for travelers who need to shop, spa, golf, and be pampered

8.) And finally, to be honest here, Belize is not for people with health problems or disabilities – being a young country, there are not regulations or supports in place for most health problems or even things like wheelchair access. I met a great individual in a wheelchair who recently moved here, and he was making a go of it – so it can be done – but he said the few ramps there are – are the wrong degree and are quite difficult. He appeared to have a lot of grit and I would say you would need to have that quality. There are few health care resources here for chronic problems, or emergency services, and while there are clinics that do a GREAT job with what they have to work with – this is a developing country issue and Belize as a whole is not there yet. There are also few counseling or mental health services, even social security and social programs are in their infancy.

Remaxvipbelize - Belize is not for people with health problems or disabilities

While this list comes across perhaps a bit harsh…it is the reality of living or traveling to a developing country. Why would people want to come here? I have about 50 blogs on this topic. I feel like Belize is on a cusp of many wonderful changes, many growing pains right now – but to be part of the experience of a young country that has been welcoming and warm to me and dozens of friends and family I brought here numerous times, who come again and again, and have fallen in love with it too, not to mention the thousands of happy/too-many-to-count repeat guests we have the honor of hosting at our hotels in Belize…to experience the refreshing way of life here in so many ways, to rethink what makes you happy and what is important, to stop trying to keep up with the neighbors and materialism, to experience the staggering degree of nature experiences here – waterfalls, mountains, jungle, the reef, the prettiest water, beaches, palm trees, to stay in a thatched-roof cabana and eat the most simple and delicious food, to hear local drumming and music, to have the opportunity to live where people come from all over the world to relax and dive, feels like a privilege!

Who is Belize not for? While this can be considered a controversial blog - after 5 years of reading countless reviews, blogs, commentary, and posts about Belize - and who is a great fit and who doesn't like it - there has come a clear picture that I felt might be helpful to share - for those looking to vacation or move to Belize, as you can't get a real feel for a place until you visit.