It’s early afternoon and I’m flying 10,000 feet above the Caribbean. The other 12 passengers are a mixture of locals…and expats who came here for a few days and never left.
This is Belize—seductive, easy, friendly. Now that I’ve been here a few days, I’m wondering if a return flight is really necessary.
My little beach hut in Placencia is $80 a night, and could comfortably sleep a family of four. It has wireless Internet, TV, microwave, coffee machine. Although I don’t think I’ll get a chance to use any of it—too much beach to explore to watch TV…
…and about 60 seconds along the beach is a restaurant that serves great coffee and plays Fleetwood Mac. A few miles beyond that is the beach resort owed by Francis Ford Coppola—it’s $200 to $400 a night to stay there.
Belize—and Placencia in particular—is a fun, friendly, laid-back, easy place, that, for some reason, not many people seem to know about.
I took a two-hour flight from Houston to get here, but the big Borders bookstore at Houston airport didn’t have any guidebooks on Belize. Couldn’t find any in my local bookstore, either. In fact, the only place I found a guide to Belize was in Belize (belonging to the lady who owns the beach hut I’m staying in.)
It takes about 20 seconds to figure out things down here, everything’s familiar. The language is the same, the money is the same, even the electrical system is the same—you won’t need an adaptor for your ipod or cell phone or any of that stuff.
Everyone speaks English. Less than 30 years ago Belize was still run by the British, so it’s a relatively new independent state.
They still put the Queen of England on their money, the Belize dollar. They take U.S. Dollars; the exchange rate is very easy to figure out. You just divide all the prices by 2. So, if your breakfast costs 10 Belize dollars, you can just pay with a US$5 bill. Whether you pay with Belize dollars or U.S. dollars, you’ll get change in Belize dollars.
Everything is priced in Belize dollars. The exception is hotels and real estate—always priced in U.S. dollars.
Speaking of which, I’m off now to check out some cheap beachfront I’ve heard about—so more on that later.
Meantime, check out this view—it’s the view in front of the cheapest beach house I’ve found so far in Placencia: $175,000.
I’ll file my full report in an upcoming issue of International Living magazine.
P.S. Belize is just one of the destinations we’ll cover in detail at the Ultimate Event in February. We’ll also dig deep into specifics in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Uruguay, Panama, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, France, Italy, Argentina, Malaysia…and, as always, a few surprises. Get the full details here.