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Old 27-08-2012, 10:13   #16
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Re: Best Places to Retire

You can moor up here in Puget Sound for that. Lots of places to explore, and lots going on. Unfortunately there's this thing called "winter" up here, and its grey skies from Nov-April. There is a spot on the Straight of Juan De Fuca called Sequim. It's a retirement community and gets about 300 days of sunshine a year! It's in the "rain shadow" of the Olympic Mountains and has a huge marina. Still cold in the winter though... Why not just retire in the Carribean? move when you want.... mostly just day hops to the next country!
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Old 27-08-2012, 10:25   #17
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Re: Best Places to Retire

Would like to know recommended marinas, cost of slips, electricity, labor rates for boat work, availability of boat parts. Things to look out for?
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Old 27-08-2012, 10:43   #18
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Re: Best Places to Retire

try to find out if water and electricity are included or extra--some so cal marinas have an additional charge for electricity--some can really hurt. also pumpout fees--some charge some do not. is same in mexico.
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Old 27-08-2012, 11:04   #19
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What are the taxes like in Belize? Both on income and on purchases
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Old 27-08-2012, 15:21   #20
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Re: Best Places to Retire

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Would like to know recommended marinas, cost of slips, electricity, labor rates for boat work, availability of boat parts. Things to look out for?

One caveat about Belize. While you can secure dockage there for under the originally posted $500US per month target, "cheap" is not generally one of the characteristics of Belize. It is a small country, which produces very little, import duties are very high and thus things tend to be expensive there.

Answers to posted questions embedded below:

Would like to know recommended marinas, cost of slips, electricity?

Regarding marinas in Belize -- don't believe everything you may find in a web search. While there are a few more marinas either in the works, rumored, partially operational, or places that call themselves "marinas" or even "Yacht Clubs" but really are not; there are really only two viable options for cruiser marinas: Cucumber Beach (Old Belize) near Belize City and Robert's Grove in Placencia.

Both are decent marinas with bar/resturant, fuel dock, WiFi (not necessarily at your boat), water, security, and electrical. Neither is particularly conveniently located to anything else, but fortunately they both have decent amenities on-site.

See their web sites for details including dockage and electrical rates (remember some prices may be quoted in BZ$ so don't pass out at first glance).

See Belize Marina

See Old Belize Adventure Cultural and Historical Center - Cucumber Beach - Marina

You may also be able to make dockage arrangements with private owners etc, but that is best done after you have gotten to know people.

Controlling depth to get into Roberts Grove is about 5.5 feet, although I do know of boats with deeper draft who have, with much planning and assistance gotten in there. You have to come up through the Placencia Lagoon to get there, its not hard really, but I suggest hiring local knowledge to bring you in the first time and laying down some way points.

The mouth of the jetties at Cucumber Beach tends to silt up. They do dredge it from time to time. Be sure and confirm with the marina the current controlling depth (the web site always says 6' -- ask.)



...labor rates for boat work, availability of boat parts.

Short answer: GO TO RIO DULCE, GUATEMELA. This is the most popular option for all of the above. This is what the entire charter fleet in Belize does too. And, that's my recommendation.

If you need to get a few small things done in Belize then you can find welders, mechanics, basic fiberglass work, painting, varnishing, canvas work (Placencia), alternator shop (Belize City), seals & bearings (Belize City), Yamaha outboard parts and some other marine supplies (Belize City and more limited inventory in Placencia).

Always, and only, ever work with someone who has been recommended to you by someone you trust. There are plenty of bone-heads in Belize who will try and pass themselves off as a mechanic or glass guy who don't really have a clue and you have no recourse once they have screwed up your boat.

There is a travel lift at Cucumber Beach marina but I have only ever seen a few "cruising" type boats being worked on there. And, the "boat yard" is not advertised on their web site....both red flags for me. There are two good, and very busy, yards in Rio Dulce.

Re boat parts. If you absolutely must get parts in Belize then be aware that Customs duties in Belize are very high (about 35 - 85% depending upon the item including shipping costs). Technically, under Belizean law parts for transient vessels are exempt, but in practice it don't work that way -- if you want your parts you are going to pay someone whether officially or not.


Things to look out for?

Belizeans tend to be opportunistic, but in an amicable sort of way...especially when some naive gringo is buying the beer!

- Petty theft is fairly common in more developed locations. If you leave valuables accessible then don't be surprised when they disappear.

- More serious crimes are a bigger issue in Belize City and, to a lesser degree, Ambergris Caye.

- Violent crime against tourists is relatively uncommon, but it does happen. There has only ever be one attack on a cruising yacht (actually a chartered boat) that I know of in Belize -- ever. Arrests were made, after they also attacked a local fishing boat, and there have not been any more problems...presumably they got the right guys.

- Navigation. Belizean waters are very complex. Pick up a copy of Freya Rauschers cruising guide -- this is by far the most accurate navigation information available on Belize.

And a few things I should not tell you because they may deprive you of the full Belizean experience (and maybe get me flamed), but I will anyway:

- Dining Etique. Careful about inviting a Belizean to join you for dinner. Odds are good that he will show up with his entire extended family and expect you to pay the tab. ...I used to love to watch the expression on tourist's faces when the whole family walked in!

- Bar Etique. If you want to buy a Belizean a beer then go to the bartender, buy the beer, and hand it to him. If you tell the bartender to put it on your tab...then he, and all his buddies in the bar, will be drinking on your tab before you even notice.

- Price Estimates. Always confirm whether the price quoted you is in Belizean Dollars or US Dollars. A favorite little Belizean scam is to give you a price in "dollars", but not specify which type of "dollar". Then, when you go to pay....hand you an invoice in US$ (twice as much).

- WWFD -- "What Would a Fifteen Year Old Do"? Ask yourself this question before entrusting anything to a Belizean Male. Most Belizean males (not all, but most) reach an emotional maturity level of about 15 and never progress much further (the women in general are more responsible). So, your Belizean buddy wants to borrow your dingy...hmmm...WWFD?

- Problem Resolution. Almost any problem in Belize can be worked out with a little patience, beer (free beer, preferably an imported variety, that is), and money.

- Postal Service. Don't ship anything of value through the Belizean Postal Service -- they steal stuff. Even if it is worthless, but in a big box, it may disappear. The service is fine for flat stamped mail.

- Official Attitude. Most Belizean officials have a bit of an attitude. I think it is part of their training. They are usually grumpy and unhelpful, but will begrudgingly complete their task. Be patient and polite even when it is really hard to do so. Remember "Choose your battles carefully"...and this is NOT one you are going to win.

- Consistency. Many cruisers have gotten frustrated in recent years because the fees for clearing in and out of Belize change like the wind...sometimes as quick as between you and the next guy in line! Deal with it -- where the hell do you think you are -- this is Belize. See entries for "WWFD" and "Problem Resolution" above.

- Cultural Fun. If you want to have a little cross cultural fun then secretly learn to speak, or at least understand, the "Kriol" language. The local guys will lapse into Kriol, when BS'ing amongst themselves, and/or when they don't want you to understand them. While they are whooping it up, maybe at your expense, ask them a question...in Kriol. Frist time I did that you could hear a pin drop.

However, all that aside, Belize and Belizeans, can be be quite enjoyable....you just have to learn how things really work and adapt to that reality (hint: the stuff that's printed on paper -- that ain't how it really works). If you try to change it you will just make your self unhappy.


I may have just taken years off your Belizean learning curve...grateful? See "Beer & Money" above.
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Old 27-08-2012, 15:38   #21
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Re: Best Places to Retire

Thanks for that. This is exactly the type information I was looking for. If I get down your way, I'll buy a beer from the bartender for you
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Old 27-08-2012, 16:15   #22
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Re: Best Places to Retire

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What are the taxes like in Belize? Both on income and on purchases
The usual caveat: I am not an accountant (I can however recommend a good one in Belize) so consult your tax professional regarding your specific situation and current Belizean tax law.

In general however:

The two most significant taxes in Belize are GST and Customs Duties.

GST (General Sales Tax) 12.5% and added to many goods and services (exactly which are sometimes a point of confusion -- even for accountants). So, it gets you coming and going -- whether you are providing goods/services or paying for them.

Customs Duties. Wanna guess the #1 source of revenue in Belize? Tourism? Nope. It's Customs Duties which range from about 35-85% inclusive of the value of the item and shipping costs.

There is also Belizean Income tax ranging from about 10% - 25% which applies to Belizean companies and individuals (whether citizen, legal resident, or on a work permit).

Property taxes are very low.

The Belizean income tax code is relatively simple compared to the USA and of course their enforcement resources are less than the rather disturbing powers of the IRS.
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Old 27-08-2012, 16:17   #23
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Re: Best Places to Retire

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Thanks for that. This is exactly the type information I was looking for. If I get down your way, I'll buy a beer from the bartender for you
Damn! Knew I shouldn't have told you that!

You're welcome.
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Old 28-08-2012, 05:54   #24
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Thanks Belize sailor!
I had a job opportunity there once but passed and went elsewhere. Am wondering how realistic it is for an American couple to live aboard and work in the dive industry? I am extremely employable in that area as a very advanced instructor and photo pro he is a dive master who can drive and fix boats.
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Old 28-08-2012, 06:58   #25
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Re: Best Places to Retire

We live aboard our 32ft Colvic Watson 50/50 all year in Morlaix Brittany France. We cruise the coast of France and the Channel Islands between April and September. We have a small Renault Clio. With insurance for the car and the boat, summer mooring fees,fuel,and food for the year plus going out about once a month it cost a total of about 8000 a year. We are at the moment in a little port called Binic they have a lovely market on Thursdays and many great resturants. A typical 2 course meal with coffee will cost you about 50 euros. Hope this is if some help to you.
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Old 28-08-2012, 08:27   #26
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Re: Best Places to Retire

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Thanks Belize sailor!
I had a job opportunity there once but passed and went elsewhere. Am wondering how realistic it is for an American couple to live aboard and work in the dive industry? I am extremely employable in that area as a very advanced instructor and photo pro he is a dive master who can drive and fix boats.
Regards
Oooh now you've opened up a whole other can of worms. Working or running a business as a foreigner in Belize is a huge pain. This even more so true if you are doing anything which competes with Belizeans -- and being a dive master, instructor, power boat captain is hitting them head on.

The foreigners I know in the dive industry in Belize are generally the business owners with Belizean crew. I've only know one or two foreigners who worked as dive masters or instructors and those were generally in off the beaten path locations where they were not overtly competing with locals (like out at the atolls).

Also, there are loads of dive operations in Belize. Some I know have been struggling with the economy being down.

The dive industry would not be my first choice for employment or business in Belize, but if I were determined to work in the dive industry there, I would seek out an existing foreign owned dive operation and discuss some type of partnership with them. For example, managing their business, rather than going through the pain and agony of trying to do this on your own. Or, check into working on one of the live aboard dive boats like the Aggressor.

In Belize, it is all about who you know, so if you want to work there, I would cruise there for a while and get to know some folks in the industry -- opportunities will likely arise from those relationships. This also gives you the chance to get to know Belize a little better and decide if you want to commit to being there longer term.

For anyone determined to go it alone establishing a small business in Belize, I recommend giving yourself AT LEAST a full year to get started and two would be more realistic.

Another possibility you might consider is working as captain and crew aboard a live aboard charter sailing vessel. The Moorings for example, exclusively in my experience, hires foreign captains and crew for the boats in their fleet (usually only 1 or 2) which are captain only. Tradewinds Yacht Charters also exclusively uses foreign crew (Tradewinds is a different approach to full service charters so I suggest researching that one a bit to make sure its something that might interest you).
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Old 28-08-2012, 10:42   #27
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True that most of the Caribbean uses locals for many skilled jobs, however, in my experience many non locals full dive instructor positions because they are more skilled in that area. Also many staff at dive resorts do not have work permits and are being paid cash.
Unfortunately we do not have a budget or savings to cruise on when we relocate to the Caribbean we will have to have some form of employment.
Belize is high on my list although there are many other suitable locations as well...most prefer to employ locals first of course :-)
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Old 28-08-2012, 10:46   #28
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Re: Best Places to Retire

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We live aboard our 32ft Colvic Watson 50/50 all year in Morlaix Brittany France. We cruise the coast of France and the Channel Islands between April and September. We have a small Renault Clio. With insurance for the car and the boat, summer mooring fees,fuel,and food for the year plus going out about once a month it cost a total of about 8000 a year. We are at the moment in a little port called Binic they have a lovely market on Thursdays and many great resturants. A typical 2 course meal with coffee will cost you about 50 euros. Hope this is if some help to you.
Wow.... that sounds very nice! 2 course meal for 50 euros is for two people?
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Old 29-08-2012, 08:25   #29
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Re: Best Places to Retire

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True that most of the Caribbean uses locals for many skilled jobs, however, in my experience many non locals full dive instructor positions because they are more skilled in that area. Also many staff at dive resorts do not have work permits and are being paid cash.
Unfortunately we do not have a budget or savings to cruise on when we relocate to the Caribbean we will have to have some form of employment.
Belize is high on my list although there are many other suitable locations as well...most prefer to employ locals first of course :-)
In Belize, most instructors and dive masters are Belizean.

And yes, you can work under the table here, but if you piss off a local they will alert the authorities. And, the authorities periodically do work permit sweeps in Belize....usually during peak tourist season.
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Old 29-08-2012, 08:53   #30
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Re: Best Places to Retire

Why not think outside of the neighbourhood.
Malaysia and Thailand offer some beautiful spots. Hard to find a marina that charges over $500 a month. There is even a free Marina in Malaysia at Danga Bay which offers free wifi and water and has three restaurants and a great bar at the top of the docks. Must book ahead though as often a bit of a waiting time to get in there..
What is more boat parts are tax free in Malaysia and safety is not an issue..
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