14 May, 2007

Cost of things in Belize

Don and Brenda asked some good questions about costs in Belize.

I'll do my best to answer those. Keeping in mind these are ballpark figures, with definitive answers having to wait about 2-3 weeks since we're back in Olympia as of yesterday afternoon!

Eating out in Corozal can range from local Belizean rice and beans for about $4-5BZ, to a relatively high-end US-style dinner at Tony's Inn and Resort (most expensive place in town) for about $40-50BZ for a couple.

So for two bucks US, you can get a full belly with some good tasting local chow. In fact I had a plate of rice and beans at the San Pedro airport - my last meal in Belize. Put some Marie Sharps Hot Sauce (local Belize product, carrot-based habanero pepper sauce) on it and you're good to go. Or, spend about twenty-five bucks US and you've had a good night out on the town. BTW that price also includes two Belikin beers. Hard to beat.

Gas depends on where you buy it. At the Texaco station, it's about $5BZ per gallon, I think. I've never bought it there. I buy what's called "can gas" from my local supplier. It's black market gas and that's about $3.50 per gallon. It's Mexican gas, smuggled in and distributed via cottage industries.

Rents - We're paying $200BZ a month for our place. That may be a bit low, since we've got quite a spread, but I think you'd find rents similar to that all over. Several folks do house sitting for six months - like what we're doing, for snowbirds going north during the rainy season and get cheap rents so someone is in the house.

Electricity is expensive here. Especially if you run an air conditioner. Our house doesn't have one so all we run is ceiling fans. They're quite a bit cheaper to run, but I'm sure if you run them 24/7 like we have been, you'll notice the result in the bill. I just paid last month's electricity - $114BZ. But, I'm sure Tony and Nelly only ran fans intermittently. So, we'll see. I think it's still going to be low priced by our standards.

Gardeners and other unskilled labor (housekeepers, etc) are generally available from $20-$25BZ per day. We pay our handyman $40 per day. But he's been employed by Tony for nine years too. It is very unusual to pay a handyman that kind of money. Another example, a primary school teacher makes about $7,000BZ a year.

Skilled trades, plumbers, electricians, etc., make about $40BZ a day.

Boats are available. There are boats for sale. Paul, our Brit friend over by the hotel we stayed at, just bought an i/o Mercruiser, I think he paid about $4,000BZ for it. Needs some work, but he'll have a working boat when he's done.

The only sailboats I've seen up here are fishing boat sailboats, built locally out of wood by boat builders up on the Cerros Peninsula. I want to head up there when we get back to see what they can do. I'd like to get a cat for cruising on the Bay, and a small power boat to keep at the slip in the canal, for fishing and trips to Chetumal or elsewhere. Don't know about their prices yet.

Not sure what a stalk of bananas costs - we haven't purchased any. We get them for free from the trees on the property. Coconuts, three different types of bananas, and plantain.

At the hotel, we had free mangoes from trees there.

Dianna bought a huge papaya (about a foot long) and some onions at the market and paid about $4BZ for the lot. And it was very good too.

Watermelon and oranges are available, but we haven't purchased any yet. I would guess a full stalk of bananas would run about $3-4BZ - just a guess right now. They're so plentiful it's hard to imagine they'd cost much more.

Ocean pictures - best I can do is the flight fotos to San Pedro, till we get back and go boating to Chetumal or Cerros with Paul or Gregg.

Like I said, I'll post more definitive prices for stuff after we get back to Corozal. If you have a specific item you want a price for, ask away and I'll see if I can nail it down for you.

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