San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Wispy clouds passed by beneath us as our pilot turned toward San Pedro Town on Ambergris Caye just off the northern coast of Belize.
We were at 800 feet climbing to our 1,500 foot cruising altitude over the whitecaps of Chetumal Bay, having just left Corozal Airport.
This would never happen on a commercial flight in the U.S, but I’m actually sitting in the co-pilot seat of our four-seat Cessna watching all of the pilot’s instruments. Jan is in the back seat with our luggage. At 1,500 feet, we were just at the lower edge of the clouds and rain streaked back on the windshield for most of the 20 minute flight. These pilots do this every day in all kinds of weather, so nothing for me to do but sit back and watch.
We absorbed a ton of information at the conference in Playa Del Carmen last week, as we heard from North American and European expats living all over the world. We got to talk one-on-one with many of these experts during the breaks, luncheons, and cocktail parties. We now have contacts and feel a little more confident to go on to the places on our schedule. As we wrote about our stay in our last post “We’re not in Kansas Anymore,” our stay at the Fairmont Mayakoba was luxurious and so we just totally relaxed last Sunday, swimming, sunning, and dining the day away.
We got three pieces of news while at the conference. The first good news was that our house in Escondido closed escrow and we are now debt free. The bad news is that we are officially homeless and living out of suitcases for the foreseeable future. The very next day we got the good news that we have been accepted for the Belizean Qualified Retired Persons (QRP) residency program.
The other bad news is that we must now get a bank draft for $1,950 to complete the process. QRP is open to anyone 45 years old or older who can prove at least $2,000 per month income from a government or corporate pension source. The program allows full-time residency and the tax-free import of a vehicle, boat, or aircraft in addition to household goods, but does not lead to citizenship.
“What are you going to do with the money?”
We had gone to our international bank to arrange to move funds from our bank in Las Vegas and to get a check for QRP.
“Well, we’re going to keep it in cash,” we responded. “Can we buy one year CDs?”
“They only pay 2%,” we were told. “We have some great deals on condos, some new and some from foreclosures.”
“We really don’t want to invest in real estate right now.”
“But, the return will be a lot better than CDs.”
So, I ran the numbers, and that’s how we came to buy our “virtual” condo on Ambergris Caye. It comes with a leaseback agreement that guarantees a fixed amount from the rental pool each month for the next three years starting immediately, even though the condo is not scheduled for completion until February 2014. And, we get to stay in it for two weeks per year free.
I missed pictures of sunshine on the Caribbean and boats passing by as we ate our breakfast on Wednesday morning because my camera’s lens was fogged up and I couldn’t get it cleared. It had rained the previous two days and the humidity was really high. The rainy season officially starts on June 1, and the good news is that lobster season starts here on the fifteenth.
Tomorrow, Saturday, June 1, we head up to the Cayo District and a new adventure in Santa Elena for the month of June.
(Originally published by Email as: Blog #3 053113 Good News, Bad News)