Our first six weeks in San Ignacio, Belize

What a first two weeks in Belize. Tami and I were hoping for life changing experiences and I think we’ve endured just that. Although we researched Belize and San Ignacio, nine months before arriving, there is still no substitute that can take the place of your projected destination.

After two weeks, Tami and I noticed our research was not done.  So Let’s get into the things we’ve learned in our first six weeks here in San Ignacio, Belize.

Community

Upon our months of research, we expected a humbleness amongst the people here in Belize. We were welcomed with politeness and graciousness from everyone. It reminded me of the days I grew up in the 80’s when communities watched out for one another.

The people of Belize particularly San Ignacio has a beautiful calmness about themselves. I noticed a sense of a strong family structure here in Belize. On our way from Belize City, we drove through several towns. Corozal, Hopkins and the Capital of Belize “Belmopan. We noticed several families outside in their yards enjoying family time with their loved ones.

 

Transportation

 Transportation here in San Ignacio varies from scooters, motorcycles, mopeds, older cars, and modern vehicles as well. Gas is really expensive, currently $11.00 a gallon. Most locals use butane instead of gas, since butane is much cheaper than gas.

If you are buying a brand new vehicle, there is a butane kit that can be installed on your car to cut down on expenses.

Taxis

Here in San Ignacio, Taxis are plentful. The pickup times of Taxis are similar to Uber in the states. Most Taxi cars are older model Toyotas and other foreign cars from the states. We have a new appreciation for the Taxi drivers and car owners here in Belize. They are making the best of the older cars that we in the state dispose after accumulating high mileage.

Buses

Buses here in San Ignacio are pretty much running on similar routes and systems as any other city or town. The big difference we’ve noticed, instead of getting on and off of the bus at the front, here in Belize there are two entrances. Passengers can get on and off at the end (back door) of the bus.

This is a great asset and easy access pathway for passengers.

American goods

$32.00 BZD $16.00 USD

 American goods are considered a premium here in San Ignacio. We noticed various products imported from the United States were very expensive. From detergent, cooking oils, liquor, snacks (potato chips) etc. We assumed businesses here in Belize pay duty (fee/taxes) to receive products from abroad, therefore passing the costs on to their consumers.

 Traffic

 San Ignacio is a small town, so there is very little traffic compared to one of your larger U.S. cities (Atlanta, Dallas). There are very few signal lights unless it is a main intersection. There are very few stop signs as well, especially in residential neighborhoods. Instead, speedbumps are a substitute for stop signs here in San Ignacio. We also noticed civilians crossing the street near speedbumps, similar to a walk sign in the states.

 

Casino

San Ignacio also has one casino called Princess Casino, it is a small casino in our opinion. The one thing that was apparent. We noticed two security guards with full ammunition guns (military style) in front of the entrance.

Once we entered, we were instructed to walk through a scanner, similar to the ones at court houses in the states. They also searched our belongings as well. Once the search was over they asked for our IDs and they added our information to their system.

We didn’t see many gamblers during our two visits at the casino. On our second visit, we noticed the slot machines and other coin operated games were muted.

In the States, slot machines and other coin operated games are loud with bells and various sound effects. At Princess Casino you only hear the push of buttons, no sound effects. We asked one of the employees about the lack of sound on their machines/games and he stated that the only sound you hear on the machines is the siren when someone wins a jackpot.

The Princess Casino has a very nice lounge, plushed white sofas with a stocked bar as well. The ambience is very relaxing. The last couple of times we visited, the lounge area was basically empty. I think it is used mostly for birthday parties and celebrations.

The Princess Casino also has talent shows similar to the voice. We thought that was very cool.

Music

 On any given day we can hear music outside or around the corner of our home. From  reggaereggaeton, puntasocadancehallhip hop, and rock.

One day we were walking down the street and we heard loud music playing at four different homes at the same time. Of course we were having fun dancing in the streets. Lol

Home Life

 Home life here in Belize is not as easy as the States. We have so much respect for the people of Belize and their lifestyle. The majority of Americans should be thankful and appreciative of their way of life compared to Belizeans. Moving to Belize has put life in perspective for Tami and I. Most people in Belize especially the smaller towns hang their clothes out to dry on clothes lines. The people of Belize mostly own washers but dryers are a rarity. We searched for dryers and didn’t see many at all. I know, we are so use to dryers in the States, currently we do not own a dryer, so we are adapting to a life of hang drying our clothes.

I can’t confirm this, but we were told most people in Belize (San Ignacio) use room temperature water for showering, cooking, laundry etc. This was told by our landlord once we complained about the water not being hot. Most homes here in Belize is not equipped with hot water heaters.

Here in San Ignacio, everyone is very family oriented. Tami and I really love seeing families get together, celebrate and have fun. To be honest it happens very often, unlike some (not all) families in the States. It is very refreshing to see how close families are here in Belize.

I may be dating myself, as a kid growing up in the 80s there was not any emphasis on locking your doors at night. In the States, things have changed. As we walked down the streets here in San Ignacio, most front doors in homes were wide open rather day or night. There were no screen doors at all. On some occasions front and back doors were opened.

Greetings

 On our first night here in Belize, we went for a nice walk. We said hello to people walking by on the streets and their response were good evening or goodnight. This greeting is mostly said during the late evenings and at night time. Unlike the States when we mostly said goodnight when it is bedtime.

 

Water in plastic bags

In the States we mostly drink water from plastice bottles. While catching a Taxi, we saw several people drinking water out of plastic bags. So instead of drinking out of 12 ounce plastic bottles, Belizeans drink out of 12 ounce bags of water. Of course Belize has plastic bottles here as well. This was just something new to us that caught our attention. In our opinion, drinking water from a bottle seems easier than drinking water from a plastic bag. To each it’s own.

 

Breast feeding

Breast feeding is legal in the States and here in Belize. The difference is, in the States (most States), breast feeding in public is not a common practice. Here in Belize breast feeding is a common practice, unlike the States, it is not a big deal to see a mother here in Belize breast feeding in public.

Power Outages

We’ve been in Belize six weeks and there has been three outages in the last two weeks. Belize is a developing country, so they are constantly trying to update and keep up demand for electricity. At times it can be frustrating, especially when you work from home. Here is a link to Belize Electricity Unlimited. They post updated scheduled power outages on their website.

Napkins

 I know lol. A little humor doesn’t hurt lol. Here in San Ignacio, we noticed when eating out at restaurants or a mom and pops shop, napkins seem to be a luxury. Most of the time we would have to request napkins and once we received them they were very small in amounts of only two.

Although adapting to a different lifestyle here in Belize, Tami and I are enjoying our stay. Of course there has been challenges, but this is a part of our journey and we have no regrets. Hopefully we can continue to explore and share the Belizean lifestyle with our readers.