Monthly Archives: October 2016

Belize: Travel Destination or Retirement Home?

Because I blog on Belize and wear a lot of summer clothing with Belize this or that emblazoned on them, I frequently get asked if we own property in Belize and when I reply in the negative the follow up question usually is, “Why not?”


In this blog, I intend to address these questions. But first, an anecdote that influenced my decision not to retire in Belize.

Years ago, we met an American couple from Alaska who had been vacationing on the Caribbean coast of Belize for 12 or so years. After their first few visits, they purchased a tract of land on a river that emptied into the Caribbean. Then, year after year for a month or six weeks, they built their dream bungalow with the help of local labour when required and local tradesmen. When the work was completed, they returned to Alaska, gave their employers notice, said goodbye to family and friends and returned to Belize and their retirement home. 4 years later they were back in Alaska.


What happened?

First and foremost, I would say, they didn’t do their homework. They didn’t realize that there are seasons in Belize. (We have found that the weather that suits us best runs from Feb. to April. Not surprisingly that’s also prime tourist time. Nov. and Dec. can be hot. January can be cool.  May to November, hot and humid with heavy rainfalls. The hurricane season is between August and October). Consequently, they were not psychologically prepared for weather that at times even Belizeans cannot endure.


Also, he was an avid fisherman, she not so much. In the good weather, he’d fish from dusk to dawn with a fishing buddy. She’d stay at home. She liked to read but began longing for company. When we popped in to say hello she was super-excited though we were by no means good friends. She said she missed her family and friends back home and kept in touch with them through social media but it wasn’t the same. During the very hot, wet days, her husband had to stay at home and groused about till he could go out fishing again.


She said she felt secluded because they had settled outside the nearest village but truth to tell the villagers were not of much interest to her.  She complained of the long nights (Belize is roughly 12 hrs. day, 12 hours night all year around.  T.V. reception was problematic . They played cards and sometime drank a cocktail or two more than they should have and so on and so forth.


So, it didn’t work out and they went back home.  And that one word, ‘home’, is at the heart of why I would never contemplate retiring anywhere other than where I worked all my life. I’ll write about that in my next blog in November.

Happy travels, Brian

Cafe Belize

For more Belizean tidbits take a quick, or not so quick trip to Chez Belize

Welcome to Chez Belize – Virtual Cafe and Bar

click on the link above to take you there ….. enjoy!!!

Belize Update—Direct Flight from T.O. to Belize

Further to my last blog I have more info on West Jet’s direct flight from TO to BZE.

First off, West Jet only offers the direct flight during the high season from Oct.29 to April 19. That’s okay. Most North Americans don’t vacation in the Caribbean in the spring and summer and Europeans and vacationers in other parts of the world may consider flying to Toronto as an option to flying to a city in the U.S. enroute to Belize City.

West Jet is offering three travel packages for your consideration: Econo, Flex and Plus. You can check West Jet on-line but obviously Econo is going to be bare-bones and the least expensive, Flex 1st bag free and medium priced and Plus offering more comfort and convenience and most expensive. When I booked (the day after I heard about all this) one-way ticket prices were 280, 410 and 480 CAD. At 480 for the Plus package I’d be paying about the same, or less, what I’ve paid for the last few years, plus the benefit of a direct flight and much better departure and arrival times.

West Jet flies out of Toronto twice a week on Wednesday and Saturday. Departure time is 9:15 a.m. arriving at the Philip Goldson International Airport just outside Belize City at noon. Less than 5 hours. A one pit-stop flight. That’s so much better than the 6:30 a.m. departure out of Pearson Int’l with arrival in Belize between 2 and 4 p.m. The difference is so huge because when you arrive in whatever city (Newark, Houston, Miami, Georgia etc) in the States you have to wait 2 or more hours before you depart for Belize. See what I mean?

Moreover, if your flight is running late, you run the risk of getting stuck in Belize City overnight which, if you hadn’t planned it, could be tricky. Remember, Belize is a Tropical country where the sun rises around 6 and sets around 6. The local planes don’t fly much after 5, nor do the water-taxies that ply between Belize City and Caye Caulker and San Pedro or the boats in Dangriga that would ferry you to many island destinations off the coast of the Caribbean.

By flying with West Jet, all the above concerns disappear. Arriving at noon and allowing for an hour to clear customs, there isn’t a vacation destination I can think of that you couldn’t reach before sunset.

Check out my blog #5 Belize by Plane ( and #15 Transition Destination: Belize ( and #17 Transition Destination: Dangriga, keeping in mind that direct flights are now available from Toronto to Belize.

But before you do, enjoy a random sample of pics that showcase Belize and its places and people.

Hopkins Village Sunrise

Hopkins Village Sunrise

Breakfast, anywhere $12 bze = 6 usd

Breakfast, anywhere $12 bze = 6 usd

BBQ’ed chicken, delicious everywhere

BBQ’ed chicken, delicious everywhere

Dangriga to Belize City with Tropic Air

Dangriga to Belize City with Tropic Air

Cafe Belize

Enjoy a quick trip to our virtual café

Try some treats on the menu and come back often

click on the link below to take you there

Belize Update September 25, 2016




Before this, travellers across Canada had to fly to the U.S to get a connecting flight to Belize. This meant going through American customs twice: first before boarding for the flight inside the U.S and the second before the flight out of the U.S.  enroute to Belize.


It was bad enough having to go through U.S customs while still in Canada.  It was triple-ly worse repeating the experience again, somewhat analogous to beef cattle being herded to the slaughter house.


Not only that. Because of the unavoidable lay-over in the U,S., we had to fly out of Toronto around 6:30 a.m., sometime arriving at Pearson International before Customs was even open and the airline staff hadn’t yet arrived for the morning shift. Returning was just as bad. We’d fly out of Belize at a civilized 2 p.m. but wouldn’t land back in Toronto till around mid-night.



Details to follow.

Cafe Belize

Visit Our virtual café Chez Belize and choose from our menu

click on the link above to whisk you there