Anybody looking for a New Start in life should try Belize.
And Belize needs you !
In particular Belize needs young people who will bring trade in to the country.
The advantages :-
- it is English-speaking
- the climate is fantastic and the Caribbean sea wonderful
- as long as you are providing a service that cannot be done by a Belizean and/or providing you employ Belizeans, getting a work permit is relatively straight forward.
- any trade in the tourist industry is actively encouraged
- there are lots of other English-speaking expats to turn to for help with this and that
- labour is cheap and plentiful
- nowadays you can get most things in Belize and the stores in the big towns (Belize City and Belmopan) are largely up-to-date
- there are lots of things to do on your days off – Mexico and Guatamala are just a few hours’ drive, there are Mayan ruins all over Belize, scuba-diving and snorkelling and any other water-hobby is excellent, there are wonderful underground cave systems, rock pools and jungle to explore, islands to visit, bird sanctuaries, animal sanctuaries (the zoo is great) … and so on
- there are lots of opportunities for charity work, especially in education where volunteers are needed all the time (no Jehovah witnesses please! The Belizeans got mighty fed-up with them!)
- the Belizean people are friendly and smiling and helpful
- there is a National Health system in place and several very good private clinics – check out with your insurance
- if for some reason you dislike the place there are lots of other places you can hop over to – all of the Caribbean islands, Mexico, Guatamala and all the rest of Central America. Or if you just need a break…
- once you become a resident (a year after your arrival) the banks are keen to loan you some money. Interest rates are high for both borrowing and saving (6%-12%)
- providing you don’t mind roughing it a bit, there are lots of small places to rent fairly cheaply
- it is easy to get to from the USA and from Europe there are cheap flight to Cancun (Mexico) and an inexpensive airport bus that brings you to Belize City
- you will be welcome
There are some disadvantages:-
- property is not cheap on the coast, and the coast is the best place to be, in particular the Garifuna village of Hopkins which is charming and just “ripe” for newcomers. There are bargains to be had, however, if you persevere, but keep off the beach if you want to spend less than £100 000 / 150 000 US$ … and that is just a plot of land! In Hopkins I have seen little run-down houses for sale for around £25 000/33 000 $, in the central area or on what they call “the back road”. The further you go inland, the cheaper it gets, of course.
- it can get terribly hot in June and July/August
- if you are a bit “fragile” with allergies to insects or a tendency for heat rash, Belize won’t suit you – though nor will any other hot climate
- keep away from Belize City at night, though I have never experienced or personally known of any violence, and I have been to Belize many times
Trades that spring to mind:-
- Belize has a very inefficient garbage/rubbish system. You know that old saying: where there’s muck, there’s money!
- a water-taxi service between the towns would be so good, especially Hopkins >> Dangriga, and also Dangriga >> Belize City. There are several water taxi services to the islands already.
- there is very little in the way of really nice stuff, and what little there is is produced by the Menonites (at Spanish Lookout), usually furniture, and is expensive. There is room for a shop of nice clothes, cushions, pictures, mirrors, lampshades and so on, aiming at the expats. Importing things is heavily taxed, but somebody clever who knows how to use local stuff could do well.
- again with expats in mind, there is almost nothing in the way of garden centres
That is just off the top of my head.
The main thing about Belize from the point of view of opportunity is that it wants to advance. Neighbouring Guatamala and Mexico already have systems in place and huge populations to see to, whereas Belize is small and has a strong consciousness of its own identity. It wants to be admired and to feel proud. It is ready to move forward.
Catherine Broughton is a novelist, a poet and an artist. Her books are available on Amazon and Kindle. For more about her, to include her blogs, stories and sketches from all over the world, go to http://www.turquoisemoon.co.uk