Coleen

I live in Belize, Central America. I'm a blogger, graphic artist, and writer. Check out my personal website at: http://www.chlewney.com

Aug 082017
 

Traveling Across Belize can be an adventure.

San Ignacio, BelizeIt can be full of excitement, new sights, or seeing things in a new light. Traveling Across Belize can also be fraught with frustration and occasionally, even peril.

It’s all in the planning. However, you don’t have to plan on having a great trip, finding the ‘perfect’ hotel or the perfect day to see a particular sight. All you have to plan to do is have a great time!

Earlier this year, for the first time in many years, I traveled across Belize with a good friend. I was fortunate to see the grace and beauty of Belize from a new perspective.

The trip began mid-morning in Corozal. San Ignacio, BelizeWe drove down the Northern Highway, cut across at the Western Highway and drove through Belmopan, to San Ignacio. We hadn’t booked a hotel, trusting on luck to find a decent Bed & Breakfast or Guest House once we got there. When we arrived, late in the afternoon, we walked around town for a spell, looking for a room that was inexpensive, clean, with air conditioning and free Internet.

We checked out Martha’s Guest House, but it was booked. So we walked around the corner and found the Casa Blanca Guest House. The front entry was gated and secure. It had a cozy kitchenette where we could get our morning coffee, and a clean, if small, room with Queen and single beds, air conditioning, and free WiFi. The window looked out onto Burns Avenue, in the heart of downtown San Ignacio. Casa Blanca Room, San Ignacio, BelizeThe entrance to the balcony was just around the corner from our room, and also overlooked Burns Avenue. The Casa Blanca Guest House was charming, the price was right, and the location couldn’t have been better for exploring the downtown area in San Ignacio, Belize.

After checking into the hotel, snacking on munchies we’d brought with us, and relaxing for a short time, we took a stroll down Burns Avenue, looking for a good restaurant to assuage our hunger. The menus of several restaurants looked inviting, but we chose to walk around the downtown “Welcome” area near the park. We found the cobblestone pedestrian area off Burns Avenue, and decided to try the Tandoor Restaurant with Indian cuisine. The meal was tasty, the service good, but a tad slow – they were quite busy. The manager was very accommodating, and brought us padded chairs to sit out on the veranda of the establishment.

The evening was wonderful with great company, good food, and a lovely leisure stroll around town afterward. A pub playing live music beckoned, but it was loud and crowded so we didn’t linger. Instead, we found an ice cream shop and each had a delicious scoop of Belizean ice cream. Ice cream is my weakness…

Thus began a fantastic trip, traveling across Belize. Next stop, Xunantunich.

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Jul 242017
 

What a difference a year and a half in Belize makes.

I know, it has been too long since I last posted. It’s been year and a half since Darrin’s death. I thought I could let people know what it takes to get death certificates, and take care of your property and possessions after the death of a loved one abroad.

To be honest, I was in shock for the first few months after Darrin’s death. I thought I could continue with this website and blog. I hoped that I could provide much-needed information for people trying to cope with the death of a loved one here in Belize. The truth is that I couldn’t do it. I fell apart for a while last year.

Belize Memorial for Darrin
After a trip back to the U.S. to see family and friends, and to honor Darrin with a Memorial in the states, I retreated into a kind of self-preservation mode.

I resumed writing my novel, and concentrated solely on that. I tuned out the world and the loss of a man that I treasured through good and bad, thick and thin; our marriage was literally a ‘Till death do us part’ marriage. I still miss him, but I am learning to live again.

Now, I’m ready to start working on this blog, this website, and a new book endeavor for a ‘Guide to Belize on a Widow’s Budget.’

Would you be interested in knowing more about Belize? How to live here on a minimal budget, where are some of the best places to live, retire, visit and play? Where to stay in hotels, where to eat, where NOT to go? What are some of the Pro’s and Con’s of Living in Belize? How do you move here? How do you bring your pets here? What do you need to do to get your Residency, or QRP (Qualified Retired Person) or how to get Citizenship?

Leave me a message and tell me what YOU want to know!

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Feb 202016
 

I know I haven’t posted anything in way too long, unfortunately, there is a good reason for that.

It’s called life and death, in Belize.

I was in the process of putting together another follow-up about the “Best Little Known Restaurants in Belize.” But Something happened. Those who know me personally know what happened.

If you are a follower of our “Discovering Belize” Facebook page, you also know.

On January 27th I lost the love of my life, my heart, my soul, my partner, my beloved husband, Darrin Holley passed away from an acute heart attack. I will be writing about what happens when you lose a spouse in Belize, as a Belizean Resident, and a U.S. Citizen.DarrinandMeatLamanai2002
This is extremely difficult, but I would NOT want someone else to go through and have to deal with what I am dealing with, with out the proper resources, so when I have all of the information compiled, I will write about it. For now, please bear with me as I mourn the greatest loss of my life. I love and miss you Darrin Holley.

In the coming days, I will try to compile all the information and steps needed when you lose a spouse in Belize. First though, I want to encourage every single person reading this – whether you are in Belize or any place else in the world, PLEASE get a Will written! Do not leave your loved ones without a written notification of how you want things to be taken care of, who you want to have what, and how to care for your estate and more importantly, your loved ones!

That said, if your spouse does not have a will, if YOUR name is not on the title of property – of ANY kind, you may face problems with selling or placing your loved ones belonging. Luckily, my name is on most of our titles as an equal, because – Darrin always treated me as an equal. So right now – yes – RIGHT NOW – go find all the documentation you will need to write your will. Go get all of your land, vehicle, or other important titles and paperwork, and get BOTH partners names put on them! It costs, too much? It takes too much time? Death doesn’t care! If you care about your loved ones – DO THIS NOW!

Next post, I will write about the autopsy and funeral process. Look, this is HARD! I didn’t want to have to face these things or go through this, but neither would I want someone else to have to feel like they are forced to jump through hoops at a time when they NEED TO GRIEVE!

To each of you reading this, I wish you much love, and a long and happy life. Unfortunately, this is Life and Death, in Belize.

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Dec 312015
 

We have received recent email information regarding Vehicle Permits in Mexico:

This email has been circulating within our groups. I decided to talk directly with the Mexican Consulate in Belmopan. See the reply at the end.
Honorary Consulate of Belize in
Quintana Roo, México

According to the Mexican Foreign Trade Law and Mexican Customs it can only allow the entrance of foreign vehicles within a range of 20 kilometers starting from the border line. If you are thinking of travelling beyond this specified KM, which ends at XUL-HA, it is necessary that the owner of the vehicles carries out the necessary immigration procedures, then pays a temporary importation permit at the Banjercito premises, right next door to immigration where you clear your passport. This deposit will vary according to the model and year of the car, and will be returned once the owner exits the country. It is important to mention that the government will discount $US51 due to administrative expenses. If you fail to follow this requirement, the Mexican government has the right to confiscate your car and even start a trial against the driver. Which means that if you are planning on travelling to Bacalar, Mahaual or Cancun you need this permit.
Having nothing more to add, I thank you for asking.
Sincerely,
Lic. Jorge Luis Valencia Gómez J.P.
Honorary Consul of Belize in
Quintana Roo, México

According to Banjercito at the Chetumal crossing, the fees are as follows – Autos:
2007 and newer $400 USD;
2001-2006 $300 USD;
2000 and older $200

Fees were to be paid in cash USD, or credit/debit card. Banjercito open 7 days a week from 0700-2000 hrs. Documents required are valid original title/registration and 1 copy, valid drivers license and valid passport with MX visa.

Here is the website link that lists current information: http://sat.gob.mx/BienvenidoaMexico/Paginas/permiso_vehiculo_eng.html

NOTICE: – PLEASE contact INFOSAT: 01 800 46 36 728 from Mexico, or 1 877 44 88 728 from USA and Canada for the most current information.

Also, for clarification regarding residents of Belize crossing, we received the following information:

Please note that visitors with foreign vehicles can travel within the State of Quintana Roo without a temporary vehicle importation permit. The current Mexican legislation considers the State of Quintana Roo as a Border Region (Región Fronteriza – attached file in Spanish with information about it). Nevertheless, if you plan to travel to Yucatan, Campeche, or other regions in Mexico, such permit will be required.

Also, it is important to take into account the following information:

Dec 312015
 

Happy New Year Belize, I hope everyone has had a great year, and in 2015 has found all the information needed for Discovering Belize.

I know, I know, it’s been way too long since I’ve updated the blog. I’ve been very busy, writing! I mentioned previously that I was participating in NaNoWriMo, which for those of you who don’t know stands for “National Novel Writing Month, and if you’re interested, you can get more information about them here: http://nanowrimo.org/

But, you say, NaNoWriMo was over on November 30, how come you STILL haven’t updated the blog? Erm… I didn’t get to my 50,000 word count (sigh) but got completely wrapped up in getting started on my novel. One thing I’ve found about writing (a novel that is,) is that it is MUCH harder than you would think to just sit down and write!

Why? Well, even if writing is your passion, in daily life you still have to live, work, feed yourself, your animals (if you have them, and I have five – two cats and three dogs!) plus trying to keep up with housework, grocery shopping, you know – the daily grind!

Okay, well, living in Belize, the daily grind is not the same as it is in the U.S. or most other “Industrialized” nations. In Belize, grocery shopping alone can take a couple of hours, depending on what you need – see my previous post about “Shopping in Belize” – sometimes, shopping means you have to go to several different shops to find what you are looking for, plus, if you have to go to the pharmacy, occasionally, you have to go to a couple of different pharmacies, if your favorite happens to be out of whatever medication you are looking for. Most times, you can find your medications here in Belize with no trouble, however, there are times when no matter where you go, they just don’t have it! Those are the times that living close to the border of Mexico comes in handy, since often you can go across the border to find the medicine you’re looking for.

I must say though, that currently, traveling across to Chetumal is more difficult than it previously had been. Now, due to the recent terrorist activities world-wide, Mexico is cracking down on foreigners crossing the borders. To read full information regarding the recent changes, please go here: Vehicle Permits in Mexico

Also, for those moving to Belize with pets, I’ve updated the blog posts with current information and links to BAHA, please see theses posts for info on Bringing your pets to Belize.

So, I have been busy writing, I’ve just not had the time to sit down and do the research for Restaurants in Belize, but rest assured, when I get a chance, I will be updating the lists of great, but little-known Restaurants in Belize.

For now, I hope that everyone has had a wonderful, blessed, healthy Holiday Season, and that each of you reading this has a Happy and Prosperous New Year, and that in 2015, you’ve found some great information on Discovering Belize.

Once again – Welcome to Belize!

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