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#129441 - 04 May 02 9:03 pm - America/Chicago moving to Belize for dummies
Chuck54321 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04 May 02
Posts: 5
If only that book were real. I've wanted to move from Pennsylvania, USA to Belize for years. I just started seriously researching it. First of all can any of you give me some good book titles that might help me? My thing-resembling-a-plan is as follows, feel free to fill in the gaps.
1) get a passport
2) plan a vacation to check out the locations and housing
3) return home and select a final location
4) stock up on spare tires, fuel, food, and money and drive down to Belize (changing my oil 3 times lol)
5) extend my 'vacation' for 6 months
6) apply for a working permit
7) find a job and an apartment with the money taken with me
8) apply for citizenship

now my problems are somewhat basic and simple. where do you apply for a passport? this is a dumb question but how do they work, do i need an american passport only or on for belize? what order should i do all of this in? what kind of jobs are available down there? here i'm a computer repair guy/baker. roughly guessing, how long would it take to find a job of any type. I have many more questions but don't want to write a book on my first post =)
thanks

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#129442 - 05 May 02 7:24 am - America/Chicago Re: moving to Belize for dummies
Ron Offline


Registered: 23 May 99
Posts: 110
Loc: Scandinavia, WI USA point plac...
I would recomend a book by lan sluder called the adapter kitt it is online at amazon .com all you need is a us passport for belize you can get that through the mail after you apply for it..there is alot to learn and by visiting first that is the way to go..you might not like it belize isnt for everyone...good luck and DO YOUR HOMEWORK.....ron

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#129443 - 05 May 02 11:06 pm - America/Chicago Re: moving to Belize for dummies
JanetnSteve Offline
Member

Registered: 05 May 02
Posts: 36
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
Hi Chuck! Looks like we are doing the same thing...investigating Belize as a relocation possibility. Like you, we have never been to Belize so there is MUCH to learn before any decisions are made.

Ron suggested the very book we have been poring through and have found it brimming with useful information! An excellent book written in a relaxed style, you'll have a hard time putting it down! I will warn you though, Lan mentions Belize's crime rate in such a poor light that we were initially scared off.

Here's some stuff we've learned so far that might be helpful to you...we would love to hear what YOU have learned too! Here goes!

You may not know that for a country with such a small population, its crime rate is very high per capita. However, apparently most crimes occur in Belize City; some by rogue gangs swooping in from neighboring countries, and finally, a number are committed by people known by the victims. (hint: mutual respect rules in Belize...heck, that works for me. Here in San Francisco, there is about ZERO respect.)

Passport: your local post office will have information for you regarding details. You can get your photo taken at most photo and copy shops. As long as you have all of your paperwork available (birth certificate, ID, etc), it's just a matter of waiting. Get that in the works now so it's out of the way. A couple of years ago I was offered the chance to go to Australia, but didn't have a current passport. I got mine in about a WEEK, but that's because I paid through the nose to go through a passport service. It was worth it, but if you don't HAVE to throw money away, don't!! [img]http://www.belizeforum.com/ubb/biggrin.gif[/img]

You'll read it over and over: if you plan to move to Belize and get a job...well, good luck. Here's something to think about... Steve and I are professional designers (both web and print), he's also an IT pro and on top of it, is a scuba diving instructor so highly tauted that shops contact him begging him to teach. If we decide Belize is right for us, we don't plan to even bother investigating work possibilities. You'll read it a million times: Belize is for Belizeans. Not to be taken wrong, the fact is that the unemployment rate is atrocious and any jobs available will (and I believe, should) go to Belizeans before they go to an Expat. It is our feeling that if one was to move to Belize and hope to work, that the position should be WAITING FOR YOU, as in, you've already worked it out with a company there who want to hire an expat, not a Belizean. Think about it this way...if you get a job in Belize, you're affectively taking one away from someone who has a LOT MORE TO GAIN from that job than you do. Remember, the average salary is about US $15,000 or LESS. So...you may want to make your bucks in the US and not plan on working in Belize.

CREEPY CRAWLIES! Everyone knows about the mosquitos and low danger of various diseases such as malaria and dengue. But do you know what a BOTFLY is? If you move to Belize, you may very well find out what it's like to be a HOST! For a story to make you scream, visit this link:

http://ambergriscaye.com/pages/town/botfly.html

We in the US have so little to worry about in terms of dangerous flora and fauna, but there is MUCH to be aware of in Belize, from the ocean floor to the Maya Mountains. I cannot stand ticks...but if I'm around animals that get them regularly, I get used to the disgusting things. So...if we want to live in Belize, there are lots of new and exciting creepy crawlies to deal with.

Are you aware that Belize is poised on economic collapse? Did you know that the oft-written BZ$2 to US$1 is only fairly stable in the tourist industry and that in some places in Belize, the rate can be as much as US$1 = BZ$2.40? Some shops give discounts for US$ and basically, the faith in the BZ dollar is faltering. What does this mean to you and me? Well. Wait and see.

Did you know that presently, Belize's telephone and internet service is run by a monopoly, namely the Belize govt? Thankfully this will end in 2003, but in its wake will be a crazy situation of companies setting up shop to take the pieces of the pie, uncertain service, etc. It will likely be another wait and see.

Anyway, that's some of the valuable information we've found so far. We'd love to hear what you have found out too, and I invite one and all to make comments and set me straight on any mis-information! Steve and I are Belize Info Sponge!

Janet and Steve
San Francisco

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#129444 - 05 May 02 11:47 pm - America/Chicago Re: moving to Belize for dummies
bubblebreaker Offline

*

Registered: 03 April 02
Posts: 5979
Loc: Carcassonne,France
depends on why you look to move.what you have found so far can be found anywhere.i wouldnt want to move to the usa because everyone has guns and half the states took governor bushs law about hiding it too.then i would think the economy is on the edge since most of these corporate run places are like enron.Where you gouge the customer to much ,play shell games to avoid paying taxes,have people shot and make it look like suicide,give giant bonuses just before the ship sinks.No, not a place i would move to.And to top it all off.you can pick up your free training video, for women on how to protect yourself from being robbed at the shopping mall...............
_________________________
Had Cain only helped his brother Abel, there would be no need for God, and that would be a job well done.

Even superstition has faith in it, but far better to drink the water instead of just look at it...

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#129445 - 06 May 02 2:22 am - America/Chicago Re: moving to Belize for dummies
Greg Offline

**

Registered: 11 January 01
Posts: 3713
Loc: Connecticut
It looks like Janet and Steve did some excellent research and have made several good points. Lan's book is probably the single best source for this kind of information. The main thing is, not to even consider a move until you spend a good six months in Belize on your own dime. Then, if you still like it, return home and make enough money to stay for a year. Then if you still like it, season after season, and are willing to put up with the many pitfalls, you can retire there. Don't plan on making a living wage in Belize.

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#129446 - 06 May 02 12:08 pm - America/Chicago Re: moving to Belize for dummies
bubblebreaker Offline

*

Registered: 03 April 02
Posts: 5979
Loc: Carcassonne,France
i think its basically a few ways.One is you are spontanous or want to be.Two, is you have the idea of living in a cabin in the woods and have never done it.Or retire where its nice.The first one allows you to do everything and anything you want without restiction or limits.IF you really want to travel;If you really want to live closer to the day and moment.Or you have money ,and it doesnt matter.
_________________________
Had Cain only helped his brother Abel, there would be no need for God, and that would be a job well done.

Even superstition has faith in it, but far better to drink the water instead of just look at it...

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#129447 - 06 May 02 4:04 pm - America/Chicago Re: moving to Belize for dummies
JanetnSteve Offline
Member

Registered: 05 May 02
Posts: 36
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
Bubblebreaker, remember that it's a bad idea to talk authoratatively about something you know nothing about. I don't live in Belize and have never been there. Thus, I don't have a position to speak factually about anything in Belize. I have, instead, pointed out useful information that I have found so far among REAMS of USELESS information, for a fellow American looking at Belize as a possible new home....

You, on the other hand, discuss why you would never move to the US, based on information which is actually far from the truth. We don't have guns. Our friends don't have guns. Be careful of blanket statements. Judging from your post, it seem as if you feel ALL people in the US are corrupt and evil. That is unfair, close-minded, disrespectful and naive. Corporations run the country? Welcome to Planet Earth. I expect that the US and BZ are similar in their problems of big companies throwing their weight around. On a personal level, so what? It's a fact of life. It's the same everywhere in the world.

US is so dangerous? You know what? No matter where you go, you will find danger. Steve and I live in San Francisco. Have you ever thought of San Francisco as being dangerous? Think again. There are *plenty* of places in this city where we would get killed or be in extreme danger just walking down the street. The same sort of places can be found in Belize. Reality check: per capita, Belize is BY FAR AND AWAY more dangerous than the US. I'm talking about the ratio of crime to square mileage of country. The point is that danger exists everywhere. It's up to all of us to be street savvy to avoid harm. Don't make yourself a victim, learn where it's safe, and if you go to a place that has a crime problem, behave accordingly. We read about Belize City and upon further investigation, have found that it's a very culturally rich, interesting town with much to see and do. Perfectly safe as long as you are AWARE of the bad areas of the city.

You are correct about asking yourself the question: "WHY do I/we want to move to a place like Belize, SO FAR REMOVED from the comforts, ease, convenience, and high paying jobs of the US." Everyone's gonna have a different answer. The answer will help determine if Belize (or anywhere else, for that matter) is the right place.

So far, we become more and more interested in Belize as we discover all there is to offer, from the countless wonderful qualities to understanding the realities of the most miserable. To us, Belize offers the chance to live in a beautiful, tropical, warm, culturally diverse environment where we can emmerse ourselve in its riches. In a country that is small enough that we have a realistic chance of actually getting to know each area, each unique group of people there, the area's culture and history, and of course, the awsome flora and fauna. The United States is too big to become familiar with its nooks and crannys. The US is too developed. Too fast-paced in metropolitan areas. Too racist in too many places. I know plenty of people who've NEVER GONE HIKING or CAMPING because they're AFRAID of being out in nature. Anyway...we have a several years of hard-core learning and investigating to do...I'd say that we've learned a lot in just a week...give me a couple of years, some trips to Belize, and then we'll actually KNOW if moving there is right for us.

Greg: Thank you for your comments and we agree completely. Our plan is to research intensely by book, internet, and email until we come for our vacation this winter. We are aiming for early November, just before peak season starts gearing up, and would like to stay 10-14 days, for a combination vacation/look around. If all goes well, we'll return to the States with a real understanding of where we'd like to be, digest information learned that we didn't know about, and begin planning for a six-month stay. If THAT goes well, we would find a suitable home to buy and move to Belize. A lot can happen to change things along the way. It's just an initial forcast, but it gives us a direction.

One of our biggest concerns is the logistics of bringing our beloved parrot with us. People mention bringing in cats, dogs, and horses, but what about birds? I have a great deal of knowledge about birds and we worry about her health and safety. It's one thing to be aware of human health risks, but what about birds? If anyone knows of someone who has brought birds from outside the country, I would very much like to know of their experiences. (Yes, parrots live in the wild in Belize...but think about it this way: a common cold to me here in San Francisco could make a person from another country very sick because they've not become immune to the bacterias that I'm used to. I exect that Steve and I will come down with some nasty colds if we get to the part where we live in Belize for 6 months. Pets deal with the same situation, but in a tropical area, the different bacterias are VAST. So, it's something to be concerned about.)

Bubblebreaker: I would be very interested to read a pearl or two of your Belizean wisdom in regards to the good, the bad, and the ugly of your beautiful country. Fill me in, I'd love to know!

Janet and Steve (and Pumpkin, our white belly Caique...whose ancestors hail from the south side of the Amazon River)

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#129448 - 06 May 02 9:39 pm - America/Chicago Re: moving to Belize for dummies
Chuck54321 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04 May 02
Posts: 5
I'm getting the book tomarrow and a passport some time this month. I'm aiming for a one week vacation in late october when it's not to dangerous and the rates are still fairly cheap.
I can understand the vast difference between how the crime rates look and what they are in reality. Right now i live 14 miles south of the country's two most rival gangs and 30-45 miles south of where the aryian nations are looking to set up a headquarters. The very town i live in is filled with corrupt police but when it comes right down to it you could leave your car unlocked with the keys in it and walk around at 3 a.m. all over town without a problem. The worst crimes we've had in the past 20 years are every halloween the house gets tic-tacked with dry corn kernals, one year someone cut our garden hose, and another our pumpkins were smashed. We once had someone shoot out our car window with a bb gun but it turned out to be a cat-hating neighbor with bad aim lol.
The only place on earth where you won't hear about someone getting shot every night is a place with no news channel, and that doesn't mean it's not happening. I have guns i shoot for sport, now if you're talking about unregistered guns then i can see your concern. Truth is America is so wired with surveillance cameras and a huge network of cops with all the information at their fingertips that the only way you can get away with anything is if you become homeless and vanish. That's one of my many reasons for wanting to come to Belize, the all seeing eye isn't such an overbearing influence on natural behavior.
I'm a bit dissipointed about the job market. I'm a nature person, I would be happy farming banana's and living in a shack. If/when I do move there I plan to sell just about everything electronic i have here and buy some scuba gear and basic building tools (axe, rope, hammer, etc.) One of the good things about being in touch with nature is that I don't need the 'necessities' most people do... oven, stove, cable tv, phone. So roughly how much would it cost for someone like me to live in belize for 1 year? Also what are the gas rates for cars? here it's about $1.75USD per gallon.
Yes I've seen those botflies before. I remember watching some discovery channel program about a sole survivor of a plane crash who was covered with them by the time she found someone. I have some fun theories on killing them based on how I removed ticks in the past. My favorite method involves 2 9volts, some wire, a piece of tin foil, and some sort of jel, nonexplosive of course. I basically made a tiny arc welder and zapped the thing to death, to me it felt like some strange pin pricks. I guess in retrospect what I made was a low voltage tazer. The other method is crude but effective, a red hot knife.
Since i don't intend to walk through swamps and jungles but rather spend most of my time underwater or there abouts what are the chances of really getting them? Statistics say that the average human digests 8 spiders in their sleep over the course of a lifetime, so what's the rate of botfly larva? To be honest the only animal down there that really scares me is the whaleshark, the harmless plankton eating giant. That's more of a primal fear, seeing a massive animal coming at you in low visibility and not being able to run.
Most of the useful I found came from here, the no-paper plumbing system for example. Right now I'm still researching basic information about locations. The one major flaw in my whole plan is that Belize faces east, so unless I choose an island I will be stuck with the sunrise and never the sunset.
As far as my past experiences, I've traveled by car all over the country. There are only 20 states or less that I haven't been in. I never lived in a cabin in the woods so to speak but that's because a cabin doesn't move lol. I have 'lived' in my car for months on end while cruising around the country. Does belize have traveling rest stops like the US? Basically I just ate from my cooler in the trunk and drove around until I found a rest stop with showers. Buick's may be ugly but they sure are comfortable, I've had the urge to go sleep in my car instead of my bed a few times.
The main reason I want to move to Belize is nature, like I said before. I would be happy with a shack, a simple labor job, and a weekly stockpile of fruits, mainly bananas

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#129449 - 06 May 02 10:42 pm - America/Chicago Re: moving to Belize for dummies
JanetnSteve Offline
Member

Registered: 05 May 02
Posts: 36
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
Hi Chuck, it's great to hear from you, I loved your post! You sound like a very nice guy...and it sounds like you are planning to go to Belize about the same time Steve and I would like to go. Perhaps if things work out right, we can plan to meet up in Belize during our trip?

Are you an avid scuba diver? As I mentioned in an earlier post, Steve is a scuba instructor, and has been fortunate enough to dive extensively in the Phillpines, Cozumel, the Channel Islands, and of course, Monterey, California, where I was certified, and where he takes his students for the ocean portion of their scuba certification. I get cold easily, so I was taught to dive in a drysuit! I've never been warm-water diving and frankly... :} ...I'm really a wee-bit tired of Steve telling me how wonderful-great-fantastic-amazing it is! [img]http://www.belizeforum.com/ubb/biggrin.gif[/img] Diving off the coast of California can be breathtakingly beautiful though...I have been diving in Monterey and the Channel Islands, and have seen some of the most beautiful sights in my life on those dives. But it's cold. The weather is unpredictable and even on nice days, the surge can make a miserable dive. The best vis I've experienced has been about 80 feet in the Channel Islands and once off a boat in Monterey. It's truly astonishing down there when the vis is high. The colors become so vibrant! So MUCH to see!!

If you would like to look at some of Steve's amazing underwater photography, click on over to this link!

http://www.sfscuba.com/~steve/port_uwphoto.html

Both of us love animals, nature, and all things that make a living from photosynthesis! Scuba diving is a whole new universe for me to explore and both of us are very macro-oriented...we love nothing better than to find a life-encrusted boulder and hang out for the whole dive looking at every tiny, wonderful lifeforms. I look forward to warm-water diving...I cannot imagine what it must be like to have 100-200 feet vis. And so many fish...it must be an unforgettable experience! Some dives I've been on have been spectacular for seeing fishies close up too...they are so lovely.

Anyway, I digress. Steve and I have the same feelings as you do...we too, want a simple life with lots of time to enrich our lives with our vast interest in nature, diving, exploring, hiking, and getting to know the history and culture of Belize, and its fascinating, people. We don't want or need a fancy lifestyle. We would like to live in a place where days go by slowly and there is time to get to know the people around you. We would like to be in a place where mutual respect is the rule, not the extreme exception, as it is in the San Francisco Bay Area and so many other places in the States. Time to see, enjoy, and learn about flora and fauna we've only seen in pictures, behind bars, or sold with a high price tag. Time to do the things we never had a chance to because life here is so high speed, freeze-dried, and force-fed that you look up and a year has pass you by and you hardly know what happened except for working.

I shall have to investigate the no-paper plumbing system. So much to learn! But it's very interesting and fun. If that's ok with you, let's keep trading information here! It's nice to meet you, Chuck!

Janet and Steve

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#129450 - 07 May 02 4:40 am - America/Chicago Re: moving to Belize for dummies
Greg Offline

**

Registered: 11 January 01
Posts: 3713
Loc: Connecticut
This is a really good discussion! It exemplifies what this forum is intended to be. Janet and Steve, you are the the most knowledgeable people, whom have never been to Belize, that I have ever seen post on this board! I have been there about 8 times, have friends there, and I think that I have a good grasp on the good and the bad. I try to remain objective, but I obviously have my bias and preferences. I would welcome any questions or comments from you or anyone at glbanks@yahoo.com. Have Fun! Greg

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