Once you’ve made the decision to move to Belize, you’ll find life takes a turn for the sweeter side of things. Though it’s an English speaking country, you might need some time to get used to a few things, so here’s a rundown of insider tips to help you with your transition:
- You are on ‘Island Time’ now, so relax. Sure, you like to keep to a schedule and a routine, but sometimes you’re just going to have to cut yourself a break. There is little sense of urgency here, so best thing to do is to go with it. For some, this may take a little getting used to, but in the long run, it’s better to submit than to subject yourself to frustration. The internet might be intermittent and a little slower than you’re used to, but hopefully you didn’t come here to plant yourself in front of your computer! Belize and chill!
- It’s really hot. Hotter than you might have imagined. You hate the winter, and that’s why you’re here, but you may not be prepared for how hot it is, pretty much all the time. You’ll feel it as soon as you get off the plane: the heat, the humidity … best thing to do is wear loose clothes, be sure to drink lots of water, and be resigned to the fact that you are going to sweat. The good news is: you will get used to it!
- The beaches aren’t like Hawaii or Florida. This is due in part to the barrier reef and the various ecosystems that support it. there are some white sandy beaches, but not all of them are like this. The exceptions are the beaches you’ll find at Placentia, Hopkins and some of the more remote cayes, like South Water Caye. The upshot is that the reef is amazing for diving and snorkeling, and provides great protection from hurricanes, making Belize different from many Caribbean countries. Additionally, you’ll often have a beach all to yourself, which is a great tradeoff no matter how you look at it!
- Local markets are awesome for getting fresh picked fruits and veggies. Ask about local market days close to where you are; you’ll love shopping this way as it’s really inexpensive and you can actually get to know the local farmers. Who doesn’t want to know exactly where their food is coming from? Market days are also a great way to meet other locals and ex-pats in the area.
- Imbiber alert! If you like beer and rum, you’re covered. Wine, however, is another issue entirely. Since the import taxes on liquor are quite high, there aren’t too many places to buy wine at a good price either at retail or in a restaurant. If you’re Canadian, this won’t be anything you’re not used to, but Americans may shriek in horror. There’s really no way to get around this, as even if you’re bringing your own wine into the country you will be subject to the same tax. Even in paradise, you might have to make some small sacrifices, but you can always treat yourself at Wine de Vine or the French Wine Counter on Ambergris Caye, both of which sell wine and offer regular wine tastings that are fun and affordable.
No matter how you spend your time, Belize is full of sights, sounds and flavors that are as unique as its people. Relax, unwind, take your time exploring your new digs. Guaranteed, you will find your paradise here.