Southwest Airlines now flies to Belize!

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES NOW FLIES TO BELIZE!

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Southwest Airlines now flies to Belize!

Tourism in Belize is skyrocketing. September and October are historically the slowest two months of the year for this tiny Central American/Western Caribbean country, but the Belize Tourism Board announced yesterday that September saw a 19.3% increase in over night arrivals in September alone!!!!! As reported by www.ambergristoday.com: September alone saw a 19.3% increase in overnight tourism and the new flight is expected to further increase this number. Travelers to Belize on the airline are excited about the “Southwest Effect”, as James Ashworth, Managing Director of Customer Support and Services at Southwest Airlines describes that when the airline enters a market they bring fares down by approximately 30%, they have no bag fees, no change fees and they provide world-class customer service. It is a great product to a great market.

southwest1As the broker for Belize Shores Realty I can contest to the fact that our inquiries are skyrocketing along with these numbers. It used to be common to receive 1-3 inquiries on Commercial properties per week but for the last few months we have averaged 2-5 inquires per day! Whether the reason for this is that Americans are getting continuously more restless with the government situation or just that Belize is so close and so economical to own property remains to be seen but whatever the reason, it certainly is welcomed!

The arrival of the first Southwest flight is sparking new energy in to all businesses that rely on tourism, real estate included. The biggest single complaint that Belize has received was that it was just expensive to travel. Our historical tourism didn’t equate to low fares like Cancun did, but now, especially after receiving the award for Mexico & Central America’s Leading Destination 2015 is Ambergris Caye Belize deserves to be treated like the tourism and investment hot spot it is!

Check out our commercial properties for sale and see what we have to offer you.

 

Dog Care in Belize

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Belize is very devoted to its dogs, and animal care is a priority for the SAGA Humane Society. Katia Marin and Heather Beck are the directors of the SAGA HS and bring a wealth of training and experience to their positions.

Katia Marin owns Pampered Paws, a leading pet grooming facility in Belize. She trained as a groomer in Texas. But in 2003, after getting her Masters in Dog Training in New York, Katia and Pampered Paws was able to offer overnight care, daycare, and dog training.

Katia has gone to several conferences on animal welfare and this year came to the US to workshop with some of the country’s leading dog experts. She trained at the Cesar Millan’s Dog Psychology Center where she was a workshop volunteer and learned about things such as E collar training, animal behavior, dog herding, and pack walks.

Heather Beck is owner of Utah’s K-9 Lifeline, and gave a workshop on coping with difficult dogs, which was both lecture and hands on training.  With Heather, Katia learned many techniques including dealing with socializing dogs, difficult dogs, collar and leash training.

Katia and Heather have a great concern for the dogs on Ambergris Caye. This year they will offer to train an officer to be Ambergris Cay’s official dog catcher. They will also continue to attend seminars, lectures and workshops to increase their skills and knowledge, and improve their awareness. It is their great desire to be good advocates for the dogs on Ambergris Caye, to improve care and medical services, and to work to find “furever” homes for the homeless dogs on the island.

Check out the original Ambergris Today article here.

The Eclectic Music of Belize

music in belizeBelize may be a small country but it has had some big influences. From the impact of the Maya, to influences from both Europe and Africa, Belize has had many different styles of music over history, and integrated all of them into styles unique to Belize itself.

The musical influences of Europe and Africa were at odds, with European music being much more structured and not percussive like the African styles. The quadrilles, waltzes, and other more rigid forms of music and dance found in Europe were nothing like the free and more overt ones of Africa. The African influence encouraged musicians to take up instruments like the marimba, which is similar to the xylophone.

The four main styles of music in Belize now are Kriol, Metizo, Garifuna and Maya. These were the cultures of the greatest influence.

Kriol is the most common music to be heard in Belizean homes. It is the result of the coming together of African and Central American cultures, and is characterized by brukdown, which uses instruments such as guitars, accordions, steel drums, the jawbone of an ass, shells, and banjos.

The Metizo culture’s music is centered around the marimba a percussive instrument, which is known to have come from West Africa., and helps to provide the basis of the Metizo sound.

As for the Garifuna, according to Lorenzo Gonzalez whose article for Belize Adventure was published in Culture and Heritage, Things to See and Do, “The Garinagu proudly showcase their culture and music is a very important part of it. Their most popular music is called Punta: an upbeat dance style tune that revolves around the beating of drums and the movement of your hips. One artist who has done a great deal for Belizean music in the international music scene is Andy Palacio…he tapped into the soulful side of Garifuna music and got people listening instead of only dancing.”

The Maya influence is also very rhythmic, and characterized by the use of the percussive marimba; but another traditional Maya instrument is the Maya harp, which is made using wood from the rainforest.

While other music, such as rap, hip-hop, rock, and metal can be heard in Belize, the more traditional influences are the most popular, even amongst the younger set.

Belizean music is full, rhythmic, and has a rich history. It is wonderful that the inhabitants of Belize have integrated all these various influences into its musical tapestry.

 

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The Cost of Living in Belize

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Moving to a new area in your home country is always a daunting task.  When you move to Belize you may be surprised to find out how affordable it is to live here.  In many ways it is actually much cheaper to live in Belize than it is to live in the United States.

Many of the costs in Belize are significantly lower than in the U.S. such as the cost of buying a house, insurance, taxes, and utility bills.  Depending on where you plan on settling in Belize, the average costs to maintain a lifestyle can vary, just like they do in the U.S.  If you live near Ambergris Caye or Placencia you should expect higher prices.  On the other hand in northern Belize near Corozal things are generally less expensive.

In the more expensive areas of the country, you could live comfortably on a monthly budget of $3,000.  In the less expensive areas you could maintain a lifestyle on $1,000.  The way to control costs is to live like the locals do.  Eat local and save.  For a sandwich and a coffee a meal may cost you $3, a medium quality bottle of red wine that is imported may run roughly $15.

There are plenty of places to live in Belize where you can live on a lower budget, walk to the beach, and still not give up some of your modern day amenities.  Belize is the perfect place to retire in, spend holidays, live part time or full time in.  The weather and the lifestyle are such alluring factors for this tropical paradise.

Tips for Moving to a New Country

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Do you feel the itch to get out and move to a different lifestyle, whether it be laid back in the mountains or at the beach, or the hustle and bustle of a new city? There are plenty of things to consider before making the move to a new country.  Follow the tips that we have outlined below to make an easy transition.

 

Think about where you would like to move – this is the most exciting part of the journey, consider spots that you have vacationed to in the past that you have fallen in love with, and can’t wait to go back to again and again.

 

Research The Employment Outlook – searching for jobs overseas can be just as complicated as looking for a job in your home town.  Sometimes there is a language barrier as well.  If you are thinking about opening up your own business, be sure that there is a market for your company in the new country as well.

 

Consider Schooling for your Children – if you still have school age children, you want to make sure that they have an easy transition as well.  Look into the schooling systems and even consider touring a few campuses before making a final decision on where to settle down.

 

Think about how to move your belongings over – it can be incredibly expensive to move cars and large furniture overseas.  You may be better off looking for a fully furnished home, or buying new furnishings once you are settled.  Hold a moving sale, hand off your larger furniture to family and friends, or consider donating your items to your favorite charity.

 

Prepare for the culture shock – not many places have that homey feel as soon as you land.  Do your best to recreate some elements that are important to you and your family when you move.  Whether it is having a backyard to BBQ, or buying a home close to the market so you can walk down every weekend.

 

There are so many things to consider and prepare for when moving to a new country, including what we stated above. Our best advice is do your best to research into the areas that you are considering moving to. Utilize travel books, online magazines, and films all about the country to get the most amount of information that you possibly can.

 

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The Rich History of Belize

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The first group of people that lived in what is now known as Belize was the Mayans. The Mayan Empire was one of the most sophisticated civilizations of the ancient Americas. They reached their peak in the 6th to 8th centuries AD. However the once great civilization declined in the 14th century. During the 16th century, the Spanish arrived and there was hardly any Mayan influence left.

Though the Spanish ruled Belize, it wasn’t a true ruling, because they mostly saw the area as being good mostly for cutting dye wood.

Belize’s roots, from the outset of colonization, have always been more of a British nature than Spanish. The British gained control over Belize in 1798 when they defeated the Spanish Armada. Great Britain declared Belize was the colony of the British Honduras, which went against the Monroe Doctrine.

Such was the case with many other countries, the economy of Belize declined after World War II. This is what led them to push for independence. Belize became self-governed in 1964, which allowed for the formation of democratic parties and parliamentary rule. Belize City had been destroyed in Hurricane Hattie in 1961 so the new capital had been moved to Belmopan. In 1981 Belize gained full independence and officially became known as Belize.

In recent years, the US government has also helped to stabilize Belize. Large amounts of money were invested in Belize to help with the economy. Due to civil wars in Honduras and El Salvador, Belize has increased in the number of refugees in the area and has increased in the number of native Spanish speakers in the country. Even still, Belize remains very peaceful and tolerance prevails.

Belize invites visitors to slow down, relax, and follow the rhythm of this tiny country.

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Ambergris Caye: Best Island in the World

Ambergris CayeThose who invest in Belize real estate and businesses keep an eye on popular “Best Of” lists that often highlight the beautiful country and display its wonders for the world to see. We’re proud to point out that Ambergris Caye, the most popular island in Belize, has once again put Belize at the top of a prestigious and competitive list. It recently won Trip Advisor’s 2014 Traveler’s Choice Award for Best Island in the World for the second year in a row.

With its turquoise, Caribbean waters and stunning views, there is no doubt visitors will find the caye to be a beautiful place to get away from the stresses of everyday life, to relax and refresh yourself, and to witness the spectacle of some very interesting antiquity.

Whether you are interested in fishing, sky diving (which is particularly popular during the winter months), snorkeling and deep sea diving, walking around San Pedro Town—the only town on the caye—or simply lounging, there is something for everyone on Ambergris Caye. The caye is especially known for its Belize Barrier Reef, one of the largest barrier reefs in the world – second only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – and for its pristine, white sandy beaches. There are  also a number of resorts and hotels on Ambergris Caye, some of which may be available for investment right here at Belize Shores Realty.

A community of Maya lived on Ambergris Caye in Pre-Columbian times, and they made highly polished red ceramics, some of which can still be found on the island. The Mayan civilization’s presence in Belize is of particular interest to historians, both professional and amateur, and there are relics to be seen here that will fascinate the most ardent enthusiast.

Ambergris Caye has a lot to offer, and if you can imagine watching a breathtaking sunset over the Caribbean while sipping a glass of wine, you can imagine the special beauty of Ambergris Caye. The people are always friendly and welcoming, there is always something close by to delight your senses.

For more information on Belize and opportunities to invest in the wildly popular tourist destination, visit Belize Shores Realty today.

 

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Romantic Belize: The Perfect Place for Couples and Honeymooners

Belize RomanticWith Valentine’s Day nearing, love is in the air. Of course, those who own property in the most romantic places in the world seize the opportunity to market their locations as ideal romantic getaways. Real estate and hotel owners in Belize have no problem explaining the lovely surroundings. Belize makes it easy!

Picture a pristine, sandy beach running into clear turquoise waters. Imagine beautiful and stunning Mayan ruins and a tropical forest that you can explore – just the two of you. Welcome to Belize, a magnificent journey into ancient times, soft sands, and charming inns nestled in the jungle.

Belize is a magical destination for couples and honeymooners. It boasts magnificent scenery, majestic views, and friendly people. You will be well cared for in Belize.  English is the official language, you can spend American dollars there, and all the services are provided in a very friendly and courteous manner.

And there is nowhere more romantic. Accommodations are often secluded and as private as you want or need them to be. It’s up to you how much socializing you do in Belize. Even though the temperatures can get up in to hundreds, there are cool sea breezes, and plenty of time to stay cool and luxuriate in one of the many beautiful pools attached to the inns, or one of the nearby rivers or the sea.

The dining is first-class as well. According to Lyn and Arthur Dobrin, wrting for About.com, “The beer lover amongst us declared the local brew – a Pilsner – as very good, particularly on tap. The fish lover feasted on shrimp, lobster, grouper and snapper.” And the service is first-rate. Your honeymoon will seem like the most special thing to all the staff, and you will be treated like royalty.

Walks in the jungle, a tour of the ancient and majestic Mayan ruins, and your time in Belize is complete. The gorgeous wildlife – the national bird is the Toucan – and the breathtaking scenery and views, as seen from just about anywhere, are more than romantic. They are sumptuous. And so is Belize. Fine food and drink, welcoming people, a stunning setting. That is Belize, where romance thrives.

If you’re looking for a romantic place to retire to, or to seize the opportunity to capitalize on a wonderful honeymoon vacation spot, contact Belize Shores Realty for commercial Real Estate in Belize.

 

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For Part-Time Retirement, Belize Beats Florida

Retiring Part Time in BelizeIt used to be that most Americans who retired part-time had their eye on Florida. These days, Florida has become known more for traffic jams, pollution and too many people. What once was paradise has been paved over and turned into endless strip malls and fast food joints.

Belize offers a better alternative for Americans looking for a “part-time” retirement getaway.

Located in Central America, Belize is an ideal foreign country to spend half your year in, providing retirees with the same contrast in weather as Florida. We outlined the beautiful weather in a post last week. In Belize, temperatures in the 80s are the norm. But unlike in the United States, foreign countries like Belize offer the benefits of a beautiful climate without the stress and hassle of overcrowding and the development that comes with it.

Rather than making a full-time move to Belize, why not do as the Florida snowbirds do? From the Northeast United States, you’re only looking at a four to five hour flight each way. You can still enjoy time with your friends and family “at home” in America for many months each year, while you spend a couple months at your tropical getaway when you don’t want to shovel snow.

Ideally, you should make a trip to Belize first, and spend some time there to see what you think of the place. Consider renting a home or apartment and settling in as if the move is permanent. Belize is known for its mountains, rivers, rainforests, caves and ancient ruins. The opportunity to fish, snorkel and scuba dive off the coast can also give your life a renewed sense of adventure at your new “home away from home.”

If it suits you after an extended visit, consider investing in a part-time retirement home there. Real estate is quite affordable and property taxes are low in Belize. The country is safe, and there are many people from other countries—fellow retirees—who live there, as well, so it wouldn’t be like you’re the only Americans in town. Best of all, English is the official language.

Logistically, retiring in Belize makes as much, or more, sense than it does to retire in Florida. The real estate is cheaper, and you can rent out each of your homes while you’re away to cut costs even more. You only need to be 45 years old, and to be eligible for the Qualified Retired Persons program, which extends additional benefits to retirees, you need only to spend a total of 30 days in Belize each year.

Florida is passé for retirees. Belize is where it’s at! For more information on what makes Belize such a great place to live, retire, and invest, or to learn about available properties, stick to Belize Shores Realty.

 

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Belize Weather: A Traveler’s Paradise

Belize WeatherPart of the great adventure of travel is experiencing different climates, eco-systems, and geographies. And if you normally reside in an area where you live through harsh winters and four quite distinct seasons, Belize may provide the perfect change for you. It remains hot and humid most of the year, which should be idyllic for many seeking respite from snow and freezing temperatures, with tropical coastal breezes by the shorelines.

The temperature in Belize can sometimes reach as high as 95 degrees Fahrenheit, while during the winters it can get as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The interior of the country is warmer owing to the fact that it does not receive off-shore winds, and temperatures can be between 5 and 10 degrees higher there.

Humidity is not terribly variable and stays around 85 percent all the year. This can be an issue for visitors who want to tour the magnificent rainforests where it is much warmer, but if you make sure to bring plenty of water or sports drinks and keep yourself hydrated, you should be fine. Keep in mind that it would be wise to engage in serious activity during the cooler parts of the day and not at the midday hours.

The rainy season in Belize is from June until December, with the most rainfall occurring in late June and early July, and the dry season is from February until May. There may be some rain during the dry season but it is usually just brief showers that are not particularly heavy. Most often, storms come in the form of squalls that bring high winds, rain and a slight drop in temperature for only a few minutes, making way for the sun to return.

Belize is the perfect getaway for vacationers who wish to experience a true tropical environment. It boasts magnificent scenery, stunning ecosystems and ruins, and beautiful beaches. At Belize Shores Realty we’ve found that many visitors fall in love with our beautiful weather, and make it their mission to invest in property or spend their retirement right here in Belize.

 

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