When I first came down to Belize, I came with a three-day travel bag. Then, the second time I came down, I came down with two suitcases. In the beginning, I was going back and forth about three or four times a year and staying for a month to 6 weeks or 8 weeks at a time. So I took what I needed down in suitcases. For somebody who is making a formal move, it really depends on what they can part with. With these trips I bought down just about everything but my boat.
I still have a lot of mementos in California in a friend of mine’s office building in the basement. If you really have a lot of personal items, then of course you really have to inventory what you want to bring down and you are going to find that you are not really going to bring any furniture unless you are attached to it. If you are coming down on a retirement program, you probably want to bring stainless steel appliances with you only because, that way, you can get exactly the one you want. So you could bring appliances, the clothing you need, the mementos you want to keep. No winter clothes. I brought a hockey stick if anybody wants to hang out with me. I also have nets and smaller sticks now for some of the kids around as we are now playing sand hockey.
I have a carpenter shop now so I am building all my furniture out of solid Cedar. What would sell for probably US $10,000, here, I probably have $3,500 in cost in it. It is solid, beautiful, hand crafted Cedar. So beautiful furniture is readily available here in Belize. Mahogany is very popular here as well.
For electronics, between Mexico and Belize, we get Sanyo, Sony, etc., all the major brands. Belize does not manufacture anything in the way of electronics. The manufacturing here in Belize is more in the categories like babies, beer, pineapples, and sugarcane. As there are no companies in Belize that make TVs, for instance, so import duties can be a little higher on these items.
If you are in love with your cookware or your flatware, then bring them. But for most people, after their trip down to Belize, and they find what they can find, they come back and make a shorter list instead of a big large one.
I got down to Belize and looked at the water and the weather and of course the people and I said, “Oh my God…” and made the decision to live there as soon as possible. It was just so nice. That was off the boat, basically, without getting to know anybody.
It was not difficult at all to move to Belize. I did not experience any immigration challenges. If somebody wants to come on a Qualified Retirement Program (QRP), this allows you to bring all your personal stuff in duty free. That means a couple of cars, a boat, a plane, or really anything you own. Then you have to do the paperwork with BTB (Belize Tourism Bureau) and apply for the QRP. There is a little bit of work to go through that. I didn’t go through it. I didn’t need to bring anything else in. Just a boat, which is still in California. If my technician Alan sees this ... Get her ready! I paid a couple of dollars for duty on a few things, but not much at all.
Couples as well as singles come down to Belize looking around at property all the time. Most “realtors” here are not “realtors” as you would understand the term in North America or Europe. Many of the folks down there selling real estate are not realtors, and they do not belong to any international organization such as NAR (National Association of Realtors), which I do.
I recommend you come to Belize, but before you do, do tons of homework on the web, move around the country and compare the locations you have selected. Well these days, you pretty much know what you need. I would say make a list of your needs, with medical care somewhere on the top of the list, and you are going to find that everything else falls into place. Medical care is one thing that most people keep coming back to, and if so, they are going to probably wind up going north versus south, east, or west in Belize because you have to find healthcare, since it is not everywhere. But you can definitely try all the different locations and see what fits.
I have people who buy properties they haven’t seen. They looked at all the websites, they studied the weather, the breeze and the looked at transiting between Mexico and Belize. They looked up ownership of cars, insurance, and all the other questions. I recommend making a trip, and, because Belize is a small country (from here in Corozal, you can go to Placencia in one day by car if you want to), you can see how you respond to all the different factors, and then make your decision.
Playing horseshoes in front of Blackbeards Bar in Cerros Sands, Corozol, Belize
In back of Blackbeards Bar, Cerros Sands, Corozol, Belize.
Dog on the beach in the shade at Blackbeards Bar, Cerros Sands, Corozol, Belize