Friday, October 23, 2009

Belize is the Only Caribbean Destination You Should Consider

International Living Postcards—your daily escape
Friday, Oct. 23, 2009

Dear International Living Reader,

"The 'right' Caribbean island." That's how Ronan McMahon describes Ambergris Caye off the coast of Belize.

On Bermuda and St. John, you'll pay $600,000 to $800,000 for an average condo. That's just wrong—especially when you can buy a home on Ambergris for less than $100,000.

This is picture postcard Caribbean. Divers and snorkelers explore its 176-mile barrier reef. (The largest coral reef in the Western Hemisphere.) Sport fishermen are equally happy. They reel in snapper, grouper, barracuda, bonito, tuna, kingfish, sailfish, marlin…

But I think the real reason that our property guru likes Belize so much is the Guinness-drinking taxi drivers.

Below, Ronan shares the spoils of his last "research" trip to Belize.

Len Galvin
Managing Editor, IL Postcards

P.S. We've created a brand new report on this country called Belize: Live the Caribbean Dream…For Less. If you're interested in a place in the Caribbean sun…but you don't want to pay typical Caribbean prices…you need to read this report.

Four Reasons Why Belize is the Best Buy in the Caribbean
By Ronan McMahon

On my last trip to Belize, after a long day, my driver invited me to join him and his neighbors in their local bar. Bottled Guinness was the drink of choice. The group warmly shared stories of their heritage: A slave, a pirate, and even a pirate of Irish ancestry. (I believed the story of his ancestry from the fondness he showed for the black stuff). This little group had quickly welcomed me into their world as a new friend. The driver wasn’t looking for a bigger tip. In fact, he wouldn’t accept any tip and insisted on buying me a drink.


That's just one story. I have dozens. This is part of why I love Belize. The people are amazing. If you're looking for a Caribbean hideaway, this is just the first reason why Belize should be on your radar.

Belize is a melting pot of the descendants of pirates, slaves, and conquistadores. There’s a quirkiness and edge to the people. They draw on diverse ancestry for unique traditions of music and storytelling. In Belize, you won’t be looking in on these traditions from the outside. You will be invited in.

To truly experience a local culture you need to speak the language. The most successful and happiest expats immerse themselves in the local community. As a former British colony Belize is English speaking. There is no language barrier. You can hit the ground running when you move to your new home and make friends quickly.

Belize is a country of amazing natural beauty. From its Caribbean shores to its jungle interior, Belize is a paradise for nature lovers. The Belizean barrier reef is second only in size to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. On the mainland, unspoiled coast is backed by lush tropical forests and Mayan ruins. All this in a country of less than 9,000 square miles and 320,000 inhabitants. As with the people the landscape has an edge (sometimes rough) to it. This isn’t sterile like the posh parts of the Caribbean. Belize feels real…the type of place you would come for more than a one-week all-inclusive vacation.

The best real estate values in the Caribbean are in Belize. For example, you can buy a casita in Orchid Bay (a high-end master planned waterfront community on the mainland) for $159,000. On Ambergris, you can buy a condo for less than $100,000.

For the next seven weeks (until Dec. 13), the developer at Orchid Bay has agreed to offer IL readers a $10,000 voucher toward a casita at Orchid Bay. This brings the price of one of these little homes down from $159,000 to $149,000.Request your voucher here.

Editor's note: We sent veteran writer (and bulldog bargain real estate hunter) Don Ediger to Belize to sniff out the best places in the country where you can still live the Caribbean dream without spending a fortune. Take a look at his full report here.

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