Saturday, April 30, 2011

Getting Married in Belize

Prince William and Kate Middleton were married on Friday at Westminster Abbey. Kate followed the Old Wedding traditions of wearing "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue", meant to bring good luck to the blushing bride.  Today, many brides are looking for ways to put a modern twist on this dated custom.

With Belize's natural beauty getting married in Belize is an idea place for a destination wedding and your marriage in Belize is legal everywhere in the world. 

Legal Requirements for a Non-Resident Marriage.
1. Fully completed marriage license application-notarized by a Justice of the Peace.
2. Copy of your passport with picture and date of arrival in Belize.
3. One of the parties must be in Belize 3 days prior to getting married and filing the license.

Photo: Magnus D

Friday, April 29, 2011

"Belizean Betty" Friday - Easter Egg Hunting

Betty did some Easter egg hunting in her backyard last Sunday. She pulled out her favorite heels for the occasion.

About 80% of the Belizean population is Christian and Easter is celebrated with a four day holiday. Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, each day having its own traditions and events.

Holy Saturday is best known for the Annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Classic, a 140 mile bike race where cyclists start in Belize City and then head west to San Ignacio where the riders then turn around and bike back to Belize City. Cycling is very popular in Belize. The Cross Country Classic started back in 1928.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Belize Travel Information

Getting to Belize
Belize City is approximately a 2 hour flight to Houston, Texas. Many international airlines service Belize on a daily basis and fly into Phillip SW Goldson International Airport (BZE) located 9 miles outside of the city. Most airlines in the United States connect through Miami, Dallas, Houston and Los Angeles.
Tropic Air and Maya Air are the main local carriers and offer connecting flights almost every hour to most of Belize's major towns and resorts. Keep in mind that they do not fly at night.

Entry Requirements to Belize
Adults and children require a valid passport for at least 3 months after the date of arrival and a return ticket to enter Belize. US citizens do not require visas if they have a passport and return ticket. You can stay in Belize as a visitor up to one month and must get an extension after 30 days.

Time in Belize
Belize is in the Central Standard time zone the same as the United States. Belize does not observe Daylight Savings time.

Belize Currency
The Belizean dollar is the country's official currency but most US visitors use US dollars which are fixed to the Belizean dollar at a rate of approximately BZ$2 to US$1. Most tourist areas accept major credit cards, just note that the transactions fees can be expensive. You will find ATM's throughout the city but most are for the local banks. U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere in Belize.

Departure Taxes and Fees
Departure taxes that use to be collected at the airport are now included in the cost of most airline tickets. 
If you are departing the country through land borders you will be required to pay a border exit fee of US$18 per person. There is a standard 9% hotel tax. A 9% sales tax is charged on most goods and services in the country.

Belize Weather
The hurricane season normally runs from June to November.

Prohibited ExportsPre-Columbian articles, marine products, unprocessed coral or turtle shells.

Safety Tips
According to you should follow certain basic safety tips.
  • Keep your travel plans, including accommodation details, to yourself.
  • Only make reservations with tour operators who are licensed. Ask them for a direct contact in cases of emergency.
  • Don't hitch hike.
  • Try not to travel at night.
  • Avoid quieter areas of the cities you visit, especially at night.
  • Ask your hotel manager for advice on 'safe' versus 'unsafe' local areas.
  • As a general rule, city streets that include children and women suggest the area is safe for families.
  • Carry with you at all times the contact details of your home country embassy click here for embassy listing in Belize. If your country doesn't have local embassy, find out which other country's embassy is available to help you, such as the British or US embassy.
  • Keep a photocopy of your passport and all other important documents in a safe place.
  • Use ATMs during the day, when there are people around.
  • Try to rely more on credit cards and travelers checks than cash.
  • If you are mugged, don't fight back. It is better to lose a few dollars and a wristwatch than get injured.
  • Avoid incidents such as fights, riots or civil disturbances at all times.
  • Report all incidents to the Belize police department nearest to you.

Friday, April 22, 2011

"Belizean Betty" Friday - One Tough Cookie

Betty is one tough cookie, you should see what the other kid looks like.  No not really, she slipped and fell this week and her face met with the windowsill. She has a real beauty of a bruise now.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Photo of the Week - "For Sale"

Well after many many months of cleaning out the closets and going through everything...well most everything, we put our house up for sale today. It feels kind of strange because we really love our house, especially now since everything is nice and clean and painted. But we are ready to move on to the next stage of our life.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Speaking Belizean Kriol

English is the official language of Belize, but Creole English or Kriol serves as the main spoken tongue among and between groups. You will find quite a bit of Spanish spoken throughout Belize due to the immigrates from Central America. 

To speak Kriol, listen to the spoken language. If you can't understand what they are saying, ask the person to slow down and explain the phrases to you. You may find that writing the words or phrases down and repeating them over and over is the best way to learn some of the language. 

It would probably be a good idea to learn a few words or phases in Kriol, just for kicks and giggles. Also, it's a great way to make new friends in Belize. 

Here are a few words and phrases to get you started:
"Right Now" means "Just a moment"
Aarait - Fine, thanks you.
Haul your rass! - Get the hell out of here!
Stap u rass! - Shut your mouth; stop your foolishness.
Kohn ya! - Come here!
Weh yu nayhn? - What is your name?
Ah nayhn - My name is
Gud maanin - Good morning.
Weh taim yu gat? - What time is it?
Shuck your corn. - Have sex with, as in "I wan shuck your corn." Synonym: " Flip your gizzard."
How much pikni yu got? - How many children do you have?
Mutha fry check. - Idiot.
Jook. - To have sex.
Dat okay. - It's okay.

Photo: Gracey,

Monday, April 18, 2011

Where to Live in Belize? Punta Gorda and Southern Belize

This week on "Where to Live in Belize?", we are looking at Punta Gorda and the Toledo District.  I know you have heard stories about Punta Gorda being the end of the earth, but PG does have some hidden gems to be discovered. 

Punta Gorda, known locally as PG, is the town of the Toledo District in southern Belize. PG is a colorful and friendly town with a population of about 6,000 people. Although Punta Gorda is a Spanish name, its inhabitants are mostly Kriol/English speaking, primarily of Garifuna, East Indian, and Kriol descent.
Punta Gorda is 210 Miles by road from Belize City. The road into town follows the shoreline. There are five streets that run parallel inland. Fruit trees line the streets. Most small homes are made of wood on stilts.

Punta Gorda is putting the Toledo area on the map as the "Unforgettable" corner of Belize, rather then the "Forgotten" corner. The majority of Toledo District's attractions are found in the form of remote villages, caves, waterfalls and offshore cayes. Looking for something off the beaten path, then this area is worth checking out.

PG has a small airport which serves domestic flights from Maya Island Air and Tropic Air. James Bus line is based in Punta Gorda and offers a regular service to Independence, Dangriga, Belmopan, and Belize City. Water taxis offer daily service to Livingston, Puerto Barrios, and Guatemala. Punta Gorda is a gateway to and from Guatemala with immigration and customs office located near the town dock.

Wednesdays and Saturdays are the biggest market days. Mayan vendors sell wild coriander, yellow or white corn, chili peppers, tamales wrapped in banana leaves, star fruit, mangoes and much more. The woman and children bring handmade crafts to sell at market.

Reasons to Live in Punta Gorda and Southern Belize

1. Diverse mix of Maya, Garifuna and other cultures.
2. Excellent Fishing.
3. Beautiful, lush tropical areas.
4. Increasing interest in area for tourism due to completion of Southern Highway.
5. Land is reasonable priced.
6. Close to Guatemala.
7.  Seeking a quiet area in Belize to live.

Friday, April 15, 2011

"Belizean Betty" Friday - Musical Duet

Belizean music is heavily influenced by the rhythm beats of Africa combined with the modern sounds found throughout Latin America, the Caribbean and North America.

The most popular Belizean music is the Punta, a mix of traditional Garifuna rhythms and modern electric instruments.

Belizeans not only listen to music, they have to move to it. It is not uncommon to find Belizeans dancing in the streets outside shops where music is blasting. 

"Brukdown" or (Bruckdong) a distinctive, original Belizean Kriol music began in the timber camps in the 1800's. The workers in the camps would be isolated from civiliation for months at a time; they let off steam by drinking bottles of rum and then beating on the bottles. Music is a key element of Belizean life.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Where to Live in Belize? Dangriga and Hopkins Area


Dangriga is off the coast approximately 36 miles from Belize City and is the hub of this area.  Shopping and medical facilities are located in Dangriga, Hopkins has only a few small shops. 

Dangriga is not as popular with the expats as the Hopkins area which is slowly attracting more expats seeking beachfront property.

Hopkins does not have an airstrip, but you can fly into Dangriga.  There is also bus service available between Dangriga and Hopkins.  Dangriga is about 15 miles from the Hopkins area down the Southern Highway.  Expats will probably want to have a car living in this area.

Reasons to live in the Dangriga/Hopkins Area

1.  Friendly, funky, small village
2.  You still have close access to the barrier reef.  It is only about 12 to 15 miles off the shore.
3.  Water sports available such as fishing, boating, snorkeling and diving.
4.  Hopkins has real beaches.
5.  Considered the most exotic area of Belize.
6.  Lower prices for beachfront property.
7.  Fascinating history of the Garifuna (pronounced Gah-RIF-oo-na) people.
8.  Easy access to Cockscomb Jaguar Preserve and other natural areas of Belize.
9.  Only a short drive to the Maya ruins at Mayflower.
10. Cockscomb Basin Reserve, a real rain forest jungle.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Belize Weather in April

April temperatures in Belize average around 79.7 degrees. You can expect  the early morning temps to be around 74.6 degrees with the temps rising throughout the day to about 85 degrees.  Temperatures will be approximately 5 to 10 degrees higher in the interior of the country, afternoon showers known as "Iguana Rains" dot the coast and northern parts of Belize.

Friday, April 8, 2011

"Belizean Betty" Friday - Merry Go Round

The Austin rodeo and fair was in town and Betty got to ride the Merry Go Round.  She loves the rides and going really fast.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Pet Care in Tropical Climates

We plan on moving with our three beautiful huskies to Belize when we retire. While they are use to the hot humid weather in Mississippi, we will be more concerned making sure they do not develop heartworms in Belize.

Hot tropical climates have lots of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes carry heartworms from dog to dog or cat to cat.  Tiny offspring of the heartworm live in an animal's blood.  This is how the mosquito passes the heartworm from one pet to the next.  Pets, especially dogs are very likely to develop heartworm disease if they are not regularly given medication to prevent the disease. 

Heartworms is a serious problem for dogs. If left untreated, heartworms will kill a dog that is infected by causing heart failure or clots in the lungs.

Even the healthiest pets can suffer from heat stroke, dehydration and sunburn if they are overexposed to the hot tropical heat.  Give your pets plenty of water when spending extended periods of time outdoors.  Make sure they have a shady place to get out of the sun and be careful not to over-exercise them.  You may even need to keep them indoors on extra hot days.

Friday, April 1, 2011

"Belizean Betty" Friday - Swinging High

Betty loves swinging on her backyard swing and she had to break out the winter hat one more time for the spring cold snap.