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Authored by Lan Sluder and published by Avalon Publishing Group, Inc., ‘Living Abroad In Belize’ is considered by a ‘must read’.

Lan Sluder is a former newspaper man, having been an editor in New Orleans and an advertising executive in North Carolina. For the bulk of the last fifteen years Lan's been bouncing about the dirt roads and paved tarmacs of Belize gauging the pulse of the local people as well as the expat community. In all, Lan has six plus Belizean content books published as he tells it like it is through the voices of those that live in Belize daily and by way of his detailed analysis from his days spent in Belize over the years.

For years Lan has published his online magazine and has been a well respected contributor to the countless forums where the expart community comes together to discuss the good, the bad and the ugly that is Belize. No where in ‘Living Abroad In Belize’ does it say that Lan has ever actually lived abroad in Belize for as Lan admits he has never actually lived in Belize nor does he own property as of this writing. But that aside, he is considered 'Lan the answered man'. And rightfully so, for by his own account Lan has answered more than 10,000 questions from people over the years concerning Belize.

Lan Sluder, author of 'Living abroad in Belize' and host of the website
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 In Belize’.

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 It is obviously very outdated, for it reflects that the village of Jacintoville is at the end of a long dirt road.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 listed, but were disappointed to see that our sister web publication,, 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 Also Belize Sea View Properties, Ltd., 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" restaurant.

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 give ‘Living Abroad In Belize' by Lan Sluder four stars. ****


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