San Ignacio

Mark. Set. Paddle! Some really different strokes in Belize

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Dig in: Competitive paddlers go all out during the four-day, 170-mile La Ruta Maya River Challenge in Belize. Photo from the Ka'ana Resort in San Ignacio.
Dig in: Competitive paddlers go all out during the four-day, 170-mile La Ruta Maya River Challenge in Belize. (Photo from the Ka’ana Resort in San Ignacio.)

The Belize equivalent to the Tour de France is currently underway: The annual Belikin La Ruta Maya River Challenge.

No bicycles here.

This is a four-day, 170-mile canoe race on the Macal and Belize rivers, starting in western-most San Ignacioat the towering Hawksworth Bridge and ending in Belize City at the Swing Bridge. Read the rest of this entry »

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Belize: We have a departure date and four suitcases to fill

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We have a date. It is February 7. On that day, with two suitcases apiece, and probably a backpack each, we shall be leaving for Belize.

Picking a departure day wasn’t too arduous.  Rose and I have been talking about leaving in March but the speed with which our belongings are being bought up, distributed and discarded makes us think that sooner, rather than later, makes more sense.

So, we were driving through San Francisco recently … and started talking about “sooner.” Read the rest of this entry »

Help us crowdsource info for our move to Belize!

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Help me to my place in the sun!
Help me find my place in the sun!

It is beginning to look like we will be moving up our departure date for Belize! At the current rate that we are disposing of possessions we’ll be sleeping and sitting on bare floors by the end of December.

Lately I’ve been getting an interesting question from friends: “Are you getting nervous?”

Hell, yes. I’m getting nervous. Read the rest of this entry »

Step 2: Sell everything … then have a good cry

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Not just a house but a lovingly curated show of the life and times and aspirations of Rose Alcantra.
Not just a house but a lovingly curated show of the life and times and aspirations of Rose Alcantara.

A cynic, wrote Oscar Wilde in “Lord Darlington,” is “a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

Which brings us to item No. 2 on our list of things to do as we move to Belize: “Sell everything.”

Here’s the problem, Oscar, we know the value of everything and the price of nothing. So that makes us, what? Stricken with emotional rigor mortis, I think.

But here’s what we are discovering: Stuff is memory. Stuff is identity. Stuff is emotional. Stuff is expression. Stuff is defining. Stuff is functional.  Stuff is connective tissue. Stuff is comfort. Stuff is self. Stuff is continuity. Stuff is nostalgia.

Read the rest of this entry »

Moving to Belize? Making a list, checking it twice …

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Downtown San Ignacio offers the hustle and bustle of a center of commerce but also has lovely parks on the Mopan and Macal rivers and a relentlessly encroaching rainforest.
Downtown San Ignacio offers the hustle and bustle of a center of commerce but also has lovely parks on the Mopan and Macal rivers and a majestically and relentlessly encroaching rainforest.

It all starts out so simple:

  1. Decide to move to Belize.
  2. Sell everything.
  3. Pack what you want to keep into two oversized suitcases and a backpack each
  4. Fly to Belize.
  5. Move into a cool place.
  6. Open a Belikin beer on the veranda and watch the sun set … or rise.
  7. Exhale.
  8. Repeat 6 and 7 as needed.

Apparently there are some interim steps that must be executed before you get to Step 8. Like a million.

Read the rest of this entry »

‘In an uncertain world, you can never have too many Monkey Bobs’

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Look, Monkey Bob would be the first to admit that he was a little spontaneous and unpredictable. In Belize, he had a way with the ladies and could disappear for hours without an apology or explanation.
Look, Monkey Bob would be the first to admit that he was a little spontaneous and unpredictable. In Belize, he had a way with the ladies and could disappear for hours without an apology or explanation.

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Long time readers of this blog — some of you go back decades … to where I’m not sure – will remember a little miscommunication that led to our split with our Belize travel companion, Monkey Bob.

And sometimes Monkey Bob just drank too much and got reckless. Belekins are pretty small beers but they go down smoothly. The buzz kind of sneaks up on you on a warm summer's night.
And sometimes Monkey Bob just drank too much and got reckless. Belekins are pretty small beers but they go down smoothly. The buzz kind of sneaks up on you on a warm summer’s night.

What part of “we’re leaving in five minutes!” he didn’t understand, I’ll never know.

I say “never” because Monkey Bob has made no attempt to contact us since staying behind at the Orchid Bay Resort near Corozal. While Rose and I continued our journey to the rainforest community of San Ignacio, Monkey Bob made a deliberate and, I believe, possibly self-centered decision to remain behind.

It broke Rose’s heart because the two of them were near constant companions and getting along magnificently as travel companions.

Read the rest of this entry »

Waterfront property? Wait for it … wait for it ….

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In this screen grab from the National Geographic, Belize would be a small lump of land and San Francisco would be the Venice of the West should all the Earth's ice melt. Though it would take 5,000 years for that to happen, climate change and rising sea levels are already having an impact on coastal lands.
In this screen grab from the National Geographic, Belize would be a small lump of land and San Francisco would be the Venice of the West should all the Earth’s ice melt. Though it would take 5,000 years for that to happen, climate change and rising sea levels are already having an impact on coastal lands.

As Rose and I ponder the pros and cons of living inland or on the coast of  Belize, a new thought enters my mind: Could we be going about all of this wrong?

I have been looking at this scary interactive map on the National Geographic website titled “If All the Ice Melted.” The map invites you to “explore the world’s new coastlines if sea level rises 216 feet.”

Apparently 216 feet is how high the oceans would rise if the title of this interactive comes true. In other words, if Tea Party’s climate-change deniers and industrial polluters prevail and Ted Cruz gets elected president and puts Sarah Palin in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency …

Naturally I went straight to Belize on the map.

Or, where Belize used to be. Read the rest of this entry »

Game on, Belize

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Rose sits on the Water taxi to Ambergris Caye toward the end of our fact finding tour of Belize.
Rose sits on the Water taxi to Ambergris Caye toward the end of our fact finding tour of Belize.

Game on, Belize.

One day a suspect lump in a breast threatens to delay, if not derail entirely, our dream of moving to Belize early next year. And now, a long couple of weeks and numerous tests later, Rose has been given a clean bill of health (literally) from Kaiser Hospital’s enormously efficient Breast Cancer Clinic.

So, like I said, game on.

It was while we were on our scouting trip to Belize last month that Rose detected the very distinct bump.

The immediate response was a quick reordering of priorities.

Do we fly home right away and have it checked out? Do we call a doctor in Belize? Should we even be thinking of moving if there is cancer? Do we panic? Do we stay calm? My god, why is this happening and what do we do next?

Read the rest of this entry »

How dangerous is Belize? Let’s not ask John McAfee

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Welcome to Belize. Now, relax.
Welcome to Belize. Now, relax.

We’ve been back in California for a week now and while we’re no closer to deciding exactly where we will make our home in Belize — either San Pedro or San Ignacio — there is one thing to which Rose and I are firmly committed: We will be living in Belize by the end of February 2014.

Rose has been quietly explaining our plans to each of her Pilates clients this week and the reaction falls somewhere between enthusiasm for our new adventure and tears.

I’ve been hearing other reactions, too, like, “Seriously? Belize Why not Panama? You should check out Panama.” Or “Didn’t you consider Costa Rica? You should really check out Costa Rica before you make the move.”  Feel free to plug in the name of other Latin American countries. I think I’ve heard them all. Read the rest of this entry »