Sluder, author of 'Living abroad in Belize' and host of
the website BelizeFirst.com
The Avalon ‘Living Abroad’ series allows those that
dream of living their life in a country other their homeland to
learn the ropes about what they might face with such a move. ‘Living
Abroad In Belize’ is very useful for anyone thinking about
relocating to the western Caribbean nation. The ‘expat profiles’
written by expats that have or still do live in Belize provide
an accurate insight from their perspective regarding daily life
for expats in Belize. Our editors found these profiles to be the
most important information gathered from ‘Living Abroad
Generally speaking ‘Living Abroad In Belize’ is
packed full of useful information, from lawyers to insurance
companies to real estate agents to schools. The book gives indepth
information about immigration, customs, money matters, healthcare,
housing, employment and all the other areas of concern for one
contemplating "making the move".
However, a proper 'critique' would not be complete without
finding a few things to take issue with, such as the map of
Southern Belize on page 154. It is obviously very outdated,
for it reflects that the village of Jacintoville is at the end
of a long dirt road. Jacintoville is actually located along
the paved Southern Highway.
Additionally, the road that Lan shows through the Toledo District
to the seaside Garifuna village of Barranco, although with a
compass you might find your way, it is not the best road to
take. In reality, the road that Lan shows is actually an assortment
of roads and dirt trails. The actual road the buses and locals
take to Barranco is known as the San Felipe Road. It connects
Barranco to the paved Southern Highway just before you hit Jacintoville.
It leads directly from the Southern Highway to Barranco and
is navigable year round whereas the road in Lan's map requires
a four wheel drive vehicle most of the year.
We also must take a little exception to Lan’s review
of the rain season in the Toledo District. From December 2003
through November 2005, the dry season lasted from January through
June, the rain season from July though November 2005. We find
that it rains at night during the rain season and during the
day in the dry season. These are brief rainstorms or squalls.
Only one week during that period were parts of the Toledo District
actually saturated to the point of flooding, and that only lasted
for two days.
Lan also has not fully and accurately listed the available
resources from real estate agencies to Internet websites. We
were pleased to see BELIZEmagazine.com listed, but were disappointed
to see that our sister web publication, www.PuntaGordaBelize.com,
the official website for the town of Punta Gorda was not listed.
As we are in the web design and hosting business worldwide,
‘Living Abroad In Belize’ seems to have stacked
the list with Tony Rath websites.
In regards specifically to Belizean real estate websites, several
noted sites in Placencia were not listed, including the oldest
real estate agency that we are aware of in Placencia, Playa
de Piratas Properties and their website www.placenciarealestate.com.
Also Belize Sea View Properties, Ltd., www.belizeseaviewproperties.com
was overlooked. Regarding the list of available attorneys in
Belize, we would have recommended the list provided by the British
Embassy's website. This comprehensive list of nineteen criminal,
civil and commercial lawyers, includes our personal attorney
who handled the purchase of our land, The Michael Young Law
Firm in Belize City, one of the oldest and most prestigious
firms in Belize.
The list of popular restaurants in Belize, pages 89-93, Lan
mentions only two restaurants in Punta Gorda and one of them
is now closed. One of the oldest restaurants that's listed in
almost every guidebook on Belize down in PG, Grace Coleman's
"Grace's Restaurant", is not even mentioned in Living
Abroad. Same thing for the popular restaurants in San Ignacio,
Bob Jones' "Eva's" and Martha August's "Martha's
Guesthouse" restaurant, absolutely two of the finest longstanding
eateries in Cayo. Same thing for Caye Caulker, there is no mentioning
by Lan of one of the best restaurants in Belize, Don Corleone's.
Lan also does not mention on Caye Caulker The Sand Box or Marin's
Restaurant & Bar. In Placencia, there was no mentioning
of Wende Bryan's Pickled Parrot Bar & Grill, again a very
popular and longstanding restaurant and bar. There is also no
mentioning of Placencia local Norman Leslie's "D'Thatch"
The lists of hotels offered we feel is also incomplete. Lan
fails to mention three of the nicer properties in Punta Gorda,
The Charlton Inn that has been open for years, the Coral House
Inn that opened in the Spring of 2005 and Hickatee Cottages
(we can understand why Lan overlooked it, they only opened in
September 2005). In Placencia, the lists for hotels overlooks
alot of fine properties in various price ranges, Turtle Inn,
the Seaspray, Evan's Place and Dianni's.
Although we know the difference between a guidebook and a book
explaining relocating to another country, we feel that some
of the most widely known and respected restaurants and hotels
have for some reason been conspicuously overlooked, either by
accident or by design. Since this is the first edition of ‘Living
Abroad In Belize’ possibly these previously mentioned
oversights will be addressed in the second run.
Lan Sluder’s other books include, Fodor's Belize &
Guatemala 2006, Random House 2005 (co-author), and also four
previous editions; Easy Belize eBook, 2005 and 2004; San Pedro
Cool, Equator, 2002; Adapter Kit Belize, Avalon, 2001; Belize
First Guide to Mainland Belize, Equator, 2001; Belize Book of
Lists, Equator, 2000. To be published in 2006 by Random House
is Fodor's Belize, an all-new edition entirely devoted to Belize
rather than Belize & Guatemala. Lan also did many book-format
editions of Belize First Magazine, before he migrated everything
to the Web.
All said, 'Living Abroad In Belize' is indeed a must read and
will assist those persons considering relocating to Belize a
great beginner lesson in what lies ahead. Out of 'five stars',
the editors of BELIZEmagazine.com give ‘Living Abroad
In Belize' by Lan Sluder four stars. ****