Sunday, November 11, 2012

 "My Favorite Escape in Belize..."

If you’ve ever wanted to truly get away... from lines of rush-hour traffic... from the hustle and bustle of the city... from the noises and the stresses of big-town living... there's one small town in Belize that's hard to beat.
With cool sea breezes that flow as easily as the local conversation, a colorful and relaxed biweekly food and craft market, and a pace of life that’s laid-back and Caribbean

Lots of tourists to Belize never make it to little Punta Gorda. It’s just a bit too far off the beaten path for most folks. PG, as it’s called, is way down in southern Belize. It’s small (only about 5,500 people), and—although it’s right on the Caribbean—there isn’t much beach.
Yet it’s one of my favorite places in the whole country. And if you love nature, it probably will be one of your favorites, too... Sea and sky seem to go on forever here. And inland is lush green jungle, just waiting to be explored.
The pace is slow and relaxed, too... and in laid-back Belize, that’s saying something. Driving into town, for instance, you may well pass small fishing boats heading toward a dock, or children splashing in the shallow water near shore. In the main square, policemen often direct traffic with a languid hand or a nod. Nobody seems in a terrible rush.
Punta Gorda
PG is short on cultural amenities, but it’s heaven for adventure tourists. Want to fish? There are plenty of folks to take you—this is still a fishing village. What about snorkeling or diving offshore in the nearby Sapodilla Cayes? PG is the jumping-off point. Ditto for jungle trips.
So far, only a few expats live here full-time. Some run small hotels that cater to the tourist trade. Others work for themselves or volunteer. Some have married locals.
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And all take advantage of a low cost of living. There are market stalls for buying fruit and veg, as well as some convenience stores. At dinner at a local seafood shack, my plate of shrimp and two sides was $9... and the drumming from the local Garifuna band was free.
I know of people renting here for as little as $300 a month, though I’d advise coming in person to sniff out good deals. Small homes are for sale for under $100,000, and you can find comfortable three-bedroom homes below $150,000. If you want a "live-in" business, there’s a tempting two-story property for sale right now... Each floor is an independent apartment, so live in one and rent the other. The building’s price has just been dropped to $100,000.
If you need a lot of amenities, Punta Gorda probably isn’t for you. You’re not totally isolated, of course. Belize is small. And you can catch flights to Belize City, and on to trendy Ambergris Caye, from PG’s small airport.
Just one request: Don’t tell too many people about PG. For lots of us, it’s perfect just the way it is.