MAKING YOUR DECISION:
Even if you march to your own beat, it doesn’t hurt to consider sound advice…
Many well-known publications and travelers have extolled the virtues and benefits of Corozal. Publications such as International Living, AARP and Escape Artist have written glowing reports on life in our community, even listing Corozal as one of the top 10 retirement destinations. They are not reporting fantasy. Life here is joyful, productive and relaxing. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why…
If it is your desire to live in shorts and tank tops, you’ve just hit the mother lode. Dressing up may mean long pants and a sun dress but that’s about as fussy as we get. Days may begin with a coffee on the veranda, porch or patio. Fresh fruit from your yard or the local market. Days filled with sun and trade wind breezes. You may choose to take a day trip to Mexico for shopping or hop the Thunderbolt to San Pedro for diving/snorkeling or maybe the hammock is calling you. Whatever you wish for is available – you just have to decide, when, where and how much.
If it’s your desire to become involved in the community there are lots of things to do here as well. There are groups that are involved in culture, gardening, sailing, arts, education, animal protection and faith. Your interests can be channeled into projects that benefit both the expat and indigenous population. It is a true win-win for all involved.
If travel beyond Belize is important the international airport is in Belize City, about 2 hours south. Or you can fly out of Chetumal into Mexico City to make your connections there. Also there are terrific (and cheaper) connections out of Cancun to both U.S. and International destinations. It is about 5 hours north by car or about 6 hours by excellent bus service provided by ADO, with pick up at the Corozal station, or in Chetumal. And no, there are no chickens on board, these are state of the art Mercedes Benz busses that provide an easy, air-conditioned ride. Once arriving in Cancun you can make non-stop departures for many European cities, via airlines such as British Air, Lufthansa, Air France and others. Also easy connections to South America and the U.S. via United, American, U.S. Air, Delta and Spirit, among others.
There is adequate medical support here. However if you happen to have a need for first tier medical services, they are available in Chetumal and for specialty needs about 5/6hours north is the university city of Merida. It is not only a wonderful place to visit, but the university teaching hospital has every tool known in the U.S. Interpreters are readily available for those non Spanish speakers. Dental care is excellent and provided at at prices not seen stateside since the 50’s. Most medications are available here or in Chetumal. Many folks who are on a prescription regime have their items shipped down by family or friends, however, it is less costly here (by A LOT) than in the states.
In terms of goods and services, the provider of power is Belize Electricity LTD. This will probably be your most expensive monthly consideration since the price per kilowatt hour here is substantially higher than in the states. Some of these costs can be mitigated by instituting minor changes in how you live. There is satellite TV available here and reliable internet service. This will reflect your next in line cost factor. Land line and cell phone service is provided by Belize Telemedia LTD (also the provider for the most reliable internet – although there are others)
Groceries, we all need them. You will find a reasonable, but not extensive, supply of American products well known to you. These have a tendency to be pricier because of the import tax levied. But for those of us with American/Canadian taste buds, it’s worth the extra that it costs to get those Duncan Hines Brownies. One of the things that you will learn as you go along is that, from time to time, we experience a “drought” in a particular product (or line of products). You will learn that if you see it and know that you’re going to use it – buy it (and usually more than just one).
Meat products here are generally speaking good, chicken is widely available and is a bargain. Pork products are tasty and easily available. Beef is a commodity that requires further explanation. Beef here is not grain fed, so those cuts that you might love, like New York Strip or Rib-eye are questionable (they take a lot of effort, but can be made more palatable by marinating) but roasts, ground beef/steak, stew beef and such are tasty even if they require more time in the pot. For those of you with pets, Purina products are available here, along with Pedigree and Friskies for cats. If your pet has special requirements there are options (more to come later under immigration)
Saks Fifth Avenue does not live here. But bargain hunters will find a wealth of resources for clothing (it may be last seasons’) that is brought in a distributed thru various re-sale shops at ridiculously low prices from manufacturers such as Tommy Hilfger, Lands End, DNKY and others. If you’re looking for current style, Liverpool store in the mall in Chetumal is roughly equivalent to Macy’s or Dillards. Very nice things there in every department from home goods to baby shoes, you will, however, have to pay the duty and when you cross the border.