Archive for July 29th, 2009

International Living Postcards—your daily escape
Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Moving and living abroad for any reason is a big decision. Even if you’re only thinking about a part-time move, the list of challenges can be long. But Belize is one politically stable little Central American country that strikes a couple of those big challenges right off the list. Especially for anyone from the U.S., Canada, or the U.K., it’s probably one of the easiest places on earth to relocate. And the fact that it’s beautiful and affordable only sweetens the deal.

Formerly British Honduras, Belize is a true Caribbean paradise. And it offers several important pluses for anybody looking to ease into a move abroad. First, English is the national language. You’ll be talking to store keepers, real estate agents, taxi drivers, bank tellers, and waiters in a language you already understand. Even more importantly, any contract you enter into will be written in English. Strike off your to-do list the challenges of learning a new language and needing multiple versions official documents.
Second, the Belize dollar is pegged to the U.S. dollar at two-to-one, and the U.S. dollar is commonly accepted in Belize. Strike tricky currency conversions, anxiously watching exc hange rates, and constant trips to the casa de cambio off the list.
Third, the tax situation in Belize is easy to manage. No taxes on foreign-derived income. No capital gains tax. No corporate tax. No inheritance tax. That’s easy, isn’t it? Strike convoluted foreign tax rules off the list.
Fourth, the population of Belize is a little over 300,000. That’s not the population of the largest city in Belize… that’s the entire country. And Belize is only 180 miles long and 68 miles wide. So it’s easy to find the people, offices and resources you need to get things done. Strike getting lost in the crowd off the list.
Fifth, Belize has the Qualified Retirement Program, and you don’t have to be retired to take advantage of it. If you’re at least 45 years old and have a monthly income of at least $2,000 from a pension or annuity (including Social Security), you can qualify. This allows you to bring all your personal goods to Belize tax-free. Strike from the list the maze of customs and duty regulations that exist in most other Central and South American countries.
Last but not least, it’s easy to enjoy yourself in Belize. With miles of tropical coastline, the second-longest barrier reef on earth, some of the best diving and snorkeling on the planet, lush forests and mountains, immense natural preserves, vast river and cave systems, and a wealth of important Maya archeological sites, there is always something to do in Belize.
Add it all up, and Belize makes it easier than almost any other country on earth for you to make your move abroad. Stay happy and healthy,

Dan PrescherPublisher, International Living
P.S. The best way to find out if Belize is right for you…is to take a trip to check it out first-hand. A “Chill Weekend” is a benefit of an International Living subscription—discounted trips to a small group of exotic destinations. On the next chill weekend to Belize, you’ll get all of your questions answered about living on Ambergris Caye (the Caribbean island off the coast of Belize), buying property, and the business culture here. All your food and accommodation…even a cocktail party…is included. Normally a trip like this would be expensive…but look out later today for details of how you can get a trip like this at a big discount.

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 Sea turtles have captured the attention of humans each time they come into contact with them. In Belize, sea turtles are fully protected under law. It is illegal to have in your possession any marine turtles, their eggs, or articles made from their shell. There are three species of sea turtles found in Belize: Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate); Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta); and Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas).

Green Sea Turtle at Hol Chan

Green Sea Turtle at Hol Chan

The northern beaches of Ambergris Caye inside the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve have been known for nesting of sea turtles. They visit this nesting beach between May to August to lay their eggs. Eggs take around 56 days to hatch from the time they were laid. The nesting beach is currently being monitored by the Hol Chan and Bacalar Chico staff. They keep track of the number of nests that are laid and monitor hatching success after the eggs have hatched.

In Belize sea turtles are protected by law
In Belize sea turtles are protected by law

Stranded sea turtles sometimes wash up on the beaches. A stranding is an animal that is helpless, usually because it is injured, weak, or cannot cope in its present situation. What to do if you find a stranded marine turtle: **Keep people away from the stranding; **Take photos if possible……

Observe the animal and be able to provide the following information: 1.) The number of stranded animals; 2) The approximate size of the stranded animals; 3) The condition of the stranding (dead or alive; trapped in a structure or material) 4) Know the precise location of the stranding; 5) Do not feed a live stranding. 6) Do not have domestic animals near the stranding. Take photos if possible. Keep people away from the stranding. Spearheaded by the Northern Marine Reserve Management unit, the initiative of the newsletter is to  provide an effective means of communicating activities and accomplishments of our northern Marine Reserves.

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