Inside San Ignacio with Preston Wright

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Iconic steps leading to Preston Wright's Kumquat Cottage in San Ignacio.
Iconic steps leading to Preston Wright’s Kumquat Cottage in San Ignacio.

Preston Wright of Minnesota  has owned Kumquat Cottage in San Ignacio for more than a decade. He recently added a seven-acre coconut grove to his holdings. Still working in the States and visiting when he can, Preston longs for the day when he can live in San Ignacio full time.  As our “guest columnist” today, Preston Wright had this to say about San Ignacio in the western Cayo District in a couple of e-mails: Hello, came across your blog about moving to Belize, and San Ignacio in particular.  I have owned land and a house for 10 years there, but currently work for a media company in the US.

Creek that runs through Preston's land.
Creek that runs through Preston’s land.

About a month ago you were crowd-sourcing ideas or things you thought you needed to know.  I know a lot about San Ignacio, but not sure at this point what people have told you. 1. San Ignacio is a walk-able town if you live close enough to the town center.  My house is just up the hill before the police station.  I don’t own a car or rent one.  You can walk most places and taxis are cheap.  I think one of the big mistakes that a lot of expats make is to think they need to be miles outside the towns like they are in the US.   You can get good rents close to town.  I was helping a friend of mine find a place in January of last year and there were several 2 or 3 bedrooms available in the $250 -$600 US range. One note, they usually won’t have a fridge or stove or hot water like you might expect in a US apartment. 2. Meet other foreign locals by sitting in the right bars and restaurants.  Flava’s, Hannah’s, Bamboo Bar, Belize Soul Project.  Get an idea of what is going on from Cayo scoop at  http://www.scoop.it/t/best-of-san-ignacio-cayo. 3. Employment — can you work?  Yes, in certain occupations if there isn’t someone local.  You can always start your own business.  Will you make money?  One of the best pieces of advice I was given 10 years ago is to have your hobbies and if someone pays you for that, even better, but don’t expect it.  If you don’t have the money to stay without working, try to see what you can freelance in the US remotely — whatever jobs you may find locally go for 1/8 to 1/10 of what you are used to being paid. San Ignacio is growing and changing.  Good internet is available, the Welcome Center seems to be a good idea, restaurants are getting better, and more Americans and Canadians are moving in. Met several new arrivals just by having breakfast in the morning at Pop’s and Flava’s.

Preston Wright's new coconut grove inside the city limits of San Ignacio.
Preston Wright’s new coconut grove inside the city limits of San Ignacio.

That means a new flow of money is coming to the area, and I think it is mostly positive.  While northerners are focused on the coasts, the fastest growing region in Belize is the the Belmopan to San Ignacio to Benque area — not unlike what happened in the days of the ancient Maya. With a new cruise ship port coming to Placencia, I am happy that the money is there for the country, but also glad that it’s too far for that kind of tourist to take a day trip up. Thanks, Preston And thank you, Preston! Anyone from San Pedro, Placencia, Corozal, etc. care to share their insights in three key points? Contact me at robertj.hawkins2012@gmail.com . Thanks! More links:

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