Thursday, January 31, 2013


Belize requires visitors to register every month with the Immigration Office.  Happily, there is a branch in Corozal, not far from where we're staying.  We decided today was a nice, cool day (26C, feels like 32C) so we strolled over from 8th Avenue to 5th Avenue, found the office and presented our passports.  The friendly lady behind the counter filled out a form for us and told us to take it to the Finance Office downtown.

The Finance Office is located next to the Post Office and Market on the Main Square.  Off we went.  After only opening a few wrong doors (one of which was a court that was in session), we found the office, lined up behind some Americans who were there for the same purpose and eventually forked over $50B each for yet another piece of paper.

Following a quick visit to the nearby market for fresh fruits and veggies, we trudged back to the Immigration Office where we submitted the new piece of paper and the friendly lady entered our particulars by hand into a large ledger.  We were good for another month.  The method behind this particular piece of bureaucracy is that if you can do this for one year, you become a resident of Belize.  During that year, you mustn't leave the country for more than 14 days in total.  A certain degree of commitment is required.

Taxes are so low here that once established, a budget of about $500/month will allow two North Americans to live very well in their own house on a beachfront acre.  Unless you import a car.  Import duty on a car can be 70%.  In spite of that the American Expat community here abounds in vehicles, including one shiny new pickup truck made in China!  The brand?  Great Wall, of course.

The bulk of local transport is by foot or bicycle.  Buses are also available.  A taxi ride across town is $5B.

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