Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscars 2011 Nominees Get Belize Vacation in $75,000 Swag Bag

Sometimes it pays to be a loser, even in Hollywood.  The losing nominees received the famous swag gift bag titled "Everybody Wins at the Oscars" worth more than $75,000.  The bags contained a $12,000 Belize vacation getaway at Cayo Espanto, a private island resort in Belize.

The losing stars will have no shortage of places to go to drown their sorrows. They will get a $12,000 Belize getaway in Cayo Espanto — a private island, a $5,000 all-inclusive week-long fitness retreat from Live In Fitness Enterprise and a $16,000 all-inclusive getaway to Huvafen Fushi luxury resort in the Maldives compliments of Premier Tours. They can entertain themselves with their new Motorola Zoom Tablet.

more at Hollywood Today.

Friday, February 25, 2011

"Belizean Betty" Friday - Pirates of the Caribbean

Betty is playing "Pirates of the Caribbean"  this week, but I am not sure if she understands why she needs to wear a patch on one eye.  She does make a really cute pirate.

Belize was named after a pirate.  Around 1638, Peter Wallace, a notorious Scottish Buccaneer was governor of Tortuga.  Wallace was driven out of office by the Spanish and then settled just outside of what today is known as Belize City. 

According to legend, the country of Belize, as well as the Belize River, were named after Peter Wallace, whose name was also spelled Willis in some documents.  The Spaniards called it Walis, which went through several variations and finally ended up as Belize.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Photo of the Week - Your Choice?

Your Choice?

One day while Bill and I were driving around San Pedro, Belize in our golf cart, I spotted this sign on one of the main roads in front of Lime.  Parking Ticket = $25.00 or 5 Local Beers = $25.00.  Your choice?  I don't know about you, but I would rather have 5 local beers any day over a parking ticket.  What about you?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Where to Live in Belize? San Pedro, Ambergris Caye

Ambergris Caye, Belize

We have been to Belize several times and have stayed on both the mainland and on the islands.  Belize was not our first choice of where to retire, it was originally Key West, Florida.  But I was just never sold on the idea of retiring to Key West and we had never really considered the option that we could move to another country and retire.

Last year we starting reading and looking into Belize and after making another trip to Belize, this time just staying mainly on the island of Ambergris Caye in the town of San Pedro, Bill and I decided Belize is where we wanted to be.  We felt like Belize had the best of everything to offer, it has the islands, jungles, Mayan ruins, they spoke English, easy access to the US and we could afford to live there.  We thought, what more could we ask for?

Ambergris Caye is Belize's largest island in the Cayes and is the most popular destination in Belize, for expats and tourist.  It has the largest expat community with a resort island atmosphere.  Belize has the second largest coral reef system in the world.  The reef lies 1/2 mile east of the Ambergris Caye shoreline and runs the entire 25 miles length of the island.  This has made San Pedro Town the dive and water sports capital of Belize and Central America.  The Great Blue Hole, Turneffe Islands, Shark Ray Alley, Hol Chan, Marine Reserve, Mexico Rocks, and Lighthouse Reef are only a short boat ride away. 

San Pedro reminds you of the Caribbean of 30 or 40 years ago, before the boom of international travel.  There are just three main north-south streets which are lined with wood houses and shops painted in bright tropical colors.  Most people get around town on foot, bike or golf cart.

Ambergris Caye has the sun and heat of the tropics, but is cooled by the trade winds off the Caribbean Sea.  Temperatures range from about 75-95 degrees during the day year round.  The rainy season is May to February, with most of the rain following in the late afternoon and evening.  Southern Belize may get up to 140 inches of rain a year, Ambergris Caye only gets about 40 inches per year.  The water temperature stays pretty much around 82 degrees year round.

Other post you may be interested in:
Where to Live in Belize?  Caye Caulker
Where to Live in Belize?  San Ignacio

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Scorpions in Belize

If you are scared of Scorpions, Belize may not be the place for you.  Scorpions are found in 16 states of the US and are found through out all of Belize with 4 known species.  Scorpions actually do not bite, but they sting and are usually not life threatening.  The stinger is in the tail and the sting can be very painful. 

Scorpions are nocturnal and come out when the sun sets.  They love to find little corners or hidden away places to hide. 

We found one on the shower floor one morning when we were staying at the Maruba Jungle Spa in Belize.

Maruba Jungle Spa

Monday, February 21, 2011

Belizean Fudge

Belizean Chocolate Fudge

Last week I made Belizean Coconut Bread, it was really very tasty.  So this week I thought I would try making something sweet.  I was thinking something chocolate, so I made Belizean Chocolate Fudge and added some of Bill's Hot Pepper's that he grew last year to the recipe to spice it up a bit.  Bill said the fudge was the best and he loved the taste of the hot with the sweet. 

The Ingredients


2 cups sugar
1/4 cup condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz. butter

Melting the sugar

The dark chocolate has been added.

Almost done

I added pecans, coconut and lots of dried habanero pepper to spice it up.  It was really good but oh so rich.


Mix sugar and milk in a saucepan, add butter and place over low heat, stir until sugar is dissolved.  Bring to boil until soft ball stage 257 degrees F (when dropped into cold water) on candy thermometer.  Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, let cool slightly, then beat until thick.  Pour into greased dish.  Cut in squares when cooled.

For chocolate fudge, add 2 tablespoons cocoa or 2 ozs. chocolate.  I used dark chocolate.  You can also add coconut, nuts, ginger or habanero pepper for an extra kick.  Enjoy.

Friday, February 18, 2011

"Belizean Betty" Friday - Digging

My granddaughter Betty is digging and playing in the dirt today, but I look forward to the day when she gets to dig and play in the sandy beaches of Belize

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Photo of the Week - Snorkeling with Nurse Sharks in Belize

Nurse Sharks

One of the highlights of our last trip to Belize has to be the day we went snorkeling with the nurse sharks and string rays in "Shark Ray Alley" off the island of Ambergris Caye.  Getting to Shark Ray Alley is only a short boat ride from the island and you won't have a problem finding a guide on the island to take you there. 

Nurse Sharks are considered mainly non-aggressive but they have very powerful suckers rather than teeth, kind of like a catfish.  If they latch on to you it can be bad.

It can feel a bit intimidating sitting on the side of a boat about to jump in with these sharks, but it is well worth it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Belize weather is characterized by two seasons: a rainy and a dry season

Belize is situated on the Caribbean coast of Central America with Mexico to the North and Guatemala to the west and south. It lies between 15º45´ and 18º30´N and 87º30´ and 89º15´W. The terrain is low and flat along coastal areas and in some northern regions of the country while in the central and southern regions low mountains rise gradually to a height of 3,685 feet.

Belize is hot and humid and the weather is characterized by two seasons: a rainy and a dry season. Belize annual rainfall: most of the year's rainfall occurs during the period June to November, that is, the rainy season. The transition from dry to the rainy is very sharp. Belize annual rainfall ranges from 60 inches in the north to 160 inches in the south. Except for the southern regions, the rainfall is variable from year to year.

The onset of the rainy season begins in the early May in Toledo, (where the Belize annual rainfall is highest) progressing north to the Stann Creek, Belize, Cayo and Orange Walk District in late May, followed by Corozal District in early June. The mean temperature varies from 81°F/ 27°C along the coast to 69°F/21°C in the hills. The coldest month is January while the highest temperatures are experienced during the month of May.

For more information about the weather in Belize, check out The Belize government National Meteorological Service site.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Where to Live in Belize? Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker is Ambergris Caye's "Little Sister" Island.  It is a small limestone coral island off of the coast of Belize in the Caribbean Sea.  It is approximately 5 miles long running north to south and less than 1 mile running east to west.  The town on the island is known as Caye Caulker Village. 

Caye Caulker is located approximately 20 miles north northeast of Belize City.  You can get to the island by high-speed water taxi, or small plane.  It has become a popular destination for backpackers and tourist. 

Unlike Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker has fewer cars than San Pedro.  Everyone mostly gets around town on foot, but you can rent bikes and golf carts on the island. 

Caulker has much less beachfront and doesn't really compare to the beaches on Ambergris Caye.  Beaches of white coral sand that easily reflects the sunlight and causes mild sunburns, so you should always wear plenty of sunscreen.  You can even get a sunburn sitting in the shade. 

Caye Caulker remains a budget friendly island with a laid back atmosphere.  Water sports such as boating, fishing and diving are very popular off the island. 

Caye Caulker is much like the tourist businesses of San Pedro, but just fewer of them.  There is over 30 small hotels, a few casual bars, dive shops and small grocery stores.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Picking up Your Entire Life and Moving it Across the Sea - Part I

Bill and I have moved 8 different times in the last 26 years.  Once we moved 3 times in 18 months.  I would say we have the hang of it when it comes to moving.  But retiring and moving to a foreign country is not an easy thing to do, especially when you know that you cannot take all of your current personal things with you.  You think, "WOW" that should be so much easier with less things to move.  But taking a trip down memory lane and purging these memories is not always an easy thing to do. 

But now that the holidays have past and the most special of holidays the Superbowl, we decided to start doing some cleaning out this weekend and we started in the attic.  It is pretty overwhelming going through 26 years of papers and personal things that belonged to your children, siblings, parents and grand parents.  What do you do with all of these things?  Who do you give it to?  Who wants it?  What do you throw away?  What do we take with us to Belize?  Anyone have a bulldozer we can borrow?

We started with cleaning out one corner of the attic, which held many boxes with years of tax returns and these are our least sentimental items.  I thought I should shred all of our tax information and bank statements before I trashed them, so I pulled out our handy dandy shredder and let it rip.  It says right on the top of  the shredder 6 pages max, but don't believe everything you read, that was not true and it over heated many times.  So I would have to wait and let the shredder cool down and then I would start again.  7 extra large trash bags later and many hours, we were done.


After, wow it looks pretty empty there in that space.

Oops, looks like we missed one box stuck back there in the back, oh well back to the shredder.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Photo of the Week - Bill Giving a Helping Hand

Bill and I were finishing up our breakfast at Lilly's on the beach one morning and I noticed a Belizean lady trying to get a table out of the water.  I guess the winds had picked up during the night and had blown it out in the water.  She was having a hard time getting it out by herself, so Bill went out and gave her a helping hand.  Together they were able to get it out of the water and back on the beach.  These ladies use these tables to set up their wares to sell during the day on the beach.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Belizean Coconut Bread

Belizean Coconut Bread

Oh my gosh, this bread was "delish".  I decided to try out a recipe I found for Belizean Coconut Bread last night.  I really thought I was not going to like it because I do not care for the taste of coconut.  But this bread was great, it had a wonderful taste and I could barely even taste the coconut.

The ingredients and of course the glass of wine was for the cook. 

Belizean Coconut Bread Recipe

1 Pound All Purpose Flour (4 cups)
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Instant Yeast
2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
1/4 Cup White Sugar
3/4 Cup Dried Grated Coconut
1 1/2 Cup Coconut Milk
1 Egg Well Beaten


Combine all the ingredients and knead well.  Place the dough in a mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for one hour.  Knead bread with hands and shape bread.  Put dough on a greased baking tray and let bread rise until about double its size.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. 

The Coconut Milk-It did not look like milk to me. 

I dumped everything in my bread machine.

I let the bread machine do the kneading.

The bread machine did a great job.

Almost done.

It is ready to eat.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tiny Belize: A Huge Country for Divers


If you know any avid divers who have been to Belize, do not ask them about it unless you have a few hours…you will not be able to shut them up.

Belize is in fact a tiny country, but not if you include the underwater wonderland that is adjacent to it. Then, at least in dive terms, it’s one of the largest countries in the world! Belize has everything you want in a tropical escape, but when it comes to the diving and the saltwater fly fishing, it is among the best in the world.

Though it’s probably smaller in total square miles of real estate than some counties in Texas, Belize offers more dive opportunities than you could possibly experience in a year.

With a bewildering array of big walls, barrier reef, open water atolls and islands, and plenty of sharks of all types, the fact is, diving just may be Belize’s biggest growth industry besides real estate. From coral gardens and stunning parrot fish to giant whale sharks, it’s all here, even for two-tank veteran divers who seek longer outings.

Unlike some Caribbean countries and most of Central America, you can dive year-round in Belize, right through the rainy season.

Tiny Belize: A Huge Country for Divers