Prior to me making the decision to buy in Belize, I did a lot of research on the occurrence of hurricanes and I learned that there weren’t that many hurricanes of any significant nature that went through Belize; there were only around 4 or 5 major hurricanes ever. There have been, since the 9 years I've owned a house here, I guess maybe somewhere around 4 or 5 hurricanes that have hit the country. They've all been minimal hurricanes, meaning Category 1. The people who were on the front when it landed had some major problems, but as far as the country is concerned, they were no significant hurricanes. The last large one that I know of hit Placencia in 2001. That was a Category 5 hurricane that caused major damages to Placencia.
With regard to earthquakes in Placencia, since I've been here, Belize has felt the effects of an earthquake that actually was centered I believe in Nicaragua. We had a little bit of shaking going on in Placencia, but nothing more significant than a few rattled dishes falling off the shelves. I am not aware of earthquakes being that much of a concern in Belize.
At certain times of the year, sometimes in Belize in general they get some extended days or evenings where it rains heavily night after night after night. Typically it rains at night and then clears up during the day. In my experience over the last 9 years, I am aware of some of the roads being washed out or bridges being washed out from rivers that overrun their banks periodically. In Placencia, that's not the case because we don't have rivers. We have a lagoon on one side and the Caribbean on the other. There is no freshwater that runs right through the area.
As for fire, we have no issues like that of California. A lot of times when I fly in, I see a little spots of fire disbursed all over the country. You fly into Belize City International, then you get on a little propeller plane and fly the rest of your way to Placencia. At times taking this flight I saw fire hotspots up the mountains. In Placencia, there hasn't been any at all since I've been there. The only one that I'm aware of was just before I bought. There was a house fire because they don't have the type of fire department that we have in the States. It's all volunteer for such a little village. They ended up having some houses destroyed in a circular area where the houses all happened to be adjacent to each other. Fire in Belize or in any country that has an infrastructure like they have, is a danger in the sense that if a house catches on fire, it could very easily spread to another house. But as far a natural fire disaster, I've not been aware of any in the Placencia area.
When it comes to the natural disaster things, my experience has been growing up around of the waters of Chesapeake Bay, being near the Atlantic ocean all my life and having hurricanes and things of that nature. in my experience, such things occur but they impact relatively small geographical areas. You can plan on when something like a hurricane is coming, and you can take precautions to make sure that you’re not in harm’s way for them. As far as my property in Belize was concerned, I thought, "Gee what are the real odds of that happening right here where I happened to own a property?" And I thought based on the statistics that I saw historically that the chance of where I happen to own a property being destroyed by a hurricane is not that great. So I discounted that relatively quickly from the hurricane side.
When it came to the fire side of it, I wanted to make sure that I had a property that is a bit more fire proof. I have that in Chabil Mar since my property here is a stone building, so it could not burn. I also made sure that I had a location where it was a secured property. I wouldn't worry about this much nowadays like I did back then when I didn't know a whole lot about the area and didn't know people, but it's very easy to find a very reputable person to take care of your home when you’re not there because there are a lot of caretakers around. It's easy to find someone who might take care of your house if you're not going to be there all the time or if you're gone. The people of Belize, for the most part, are very honest people and they take pride in what they do despite the fact that their income is extremely low.
I have found that the more I get to learn about Belizeans, the more I enjoy my decision to actually live there-- from both the natural disaster and from security perspective.
(From the luxury villas of Chabil Mar, a private veranda is provided to watch the weather systems come in from the Caribbean, pictured.)