Belize... Full-Time or Part-Time?

 Should I Stay or Should I Go...?

As the days get warmer and the mosquito coast really starts to live up to it's name, the question of whether to stay in Belize year round or to take a summer sabbatical has been on my mind a lot lately. If you plan to relocate to this little corner of the world you may one day find yourself vacillating over the same question. In this post, I'll walk you through the process of making the decision. Ready? Be aware that whatever choice you make, part of you will likely long for the opposite at some point.

Reasons to Stay

1) Residency - If you plan to apply for residency you must stay in Belize for 12 consecutive months. You may only leave for 14 days during this time. If you already have residency then coming and going is not as much of an issue for you; carry on!

2) Cost & Travel Time - Depending on your budget, this may be a factor. Let's face it, Belize and the Cayes in particular are neither easy nor economical to get to. I have my days when I think "Hmm, spend thousands of dollars and countless hours dragging two kids and a mountain of luggage through airports and bus terminals to get home or just hang out here, suck it up and crank the air...?" Air wins every time!

3) Slow-Season - The bonus for full-time residents of the island is the bargains that can be found during the slower season. Tour operators and vendors are a little (sometimes a lot) more flexible in their pricing during this time and the best part is, you won't have to elbow and fight your way through a crowd.

4) Details - If you have secured a long-term rental, acquired or brought any amount of "stuff" with you then leaving for even a few months seems to generate a multitude of questions. Will you sublet? Is there a secure storage facility nearby to house all your swag? If not then who can I trust to look after my home and belongings? Oh, and of course, what about the dog? These seem like minor details... until you book the flight then find yourself scrambling and wondering what you were thinking. I mean, what's a little hurricane in the grand scheme of things?

5) It's Still Paradise - Even when I'm jumping around, swatting and cursing the bugs that bite my ankles and wishing the sun would come out to play I still recognize paradise when I see it. I have to admit that I still wake up each morning with a smile when I open my eyes to the sight of swaying palm leaves outside my bedroom windows. Whether they happen to be framed by the bright blue sky or serving as a landing pad for tropical raindrops, there's nothing like it!

Reasons To GO

1) Heat - Nelly's going to be on your mind here as spring turns into summer and humidity and temps rise to unbearable level. I love a tropical climate as much as the next guy but it's only April and there have already been days when I couldn't bear the heat... yes, me.

2) Bzzzz! - Again, it's only April and the number of mosquitoes in our yard has already quadrupled since last month. I can't even imagine what August will look like. I'm afraid they may be carrying us off by then.

3) "Slow Season" - If you are involved in any type of tourism related business you will find that between the weeks following Easter through to November or so, things are very slow and revenues will likely drop. If your business is such that you can pack it up and put it aside for a few months while you catch up on personal business back home, you might be wise to do so.

4) Oscar, Michael, Tony - I believe that is what we are calling the tropical storms and hurricanes of 2012 anyway, aren't we? Fall is typically the worst of the storm season in Belize and depending what your thoughts are on riding out tropical storms on a small island, you may want to keep yourself abreast via the local news back home. I know there are some folks who make the best of it and gather to share supplies and good times during the storms so who knows, some of you might even move this one to the former list...

5) Tony, Mikey, Jake - Yep, you guessed it! You may want to see your friends, as we would... especially during the summer and fall when everything in North America seems to come alive. No better time to visit!

Have I forgotten anything? Assuming I have not, first take a look at the above points and put yourself in each scenario. Is there anything that you simply cannot live with (or without?) If so, then it seems your decision is made. If after weighing the pros and cons you find that you are still feeling indecisive about the whole thing, why not just wait it out? That's right, just kick back, grab a cold beverage and hit the beach or your deck and use the wait and see approach. You might just find that the rains don't last as long as you thought, the storms aren't as deadly as you feared and perhaps you might be able to persuade a friend or two to visit you in this lovely, albeit hot, humid paradise. Oh, and as far as the bugs go, I think you'd look great in a full body mosquito net. Just sayin'...

So back to the original question... Should I stay or should I go? Stay tuned to find out.

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