Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What do Belize expats buy from the US when they go back for a visit, because they can't get it here?

We are going back to the US for a visit and we have been keeping track of what we can't get down here, to shop for at home. I have been asked a few times what you can't get in Belize, and it is a common courtesy to ask your friends if they need you to bring back anything when you go for a visit.

I have been trying very hard to simplify while we are here, so by no means is this an exhaustive list. I also haven't bought any clothes for 3 months....today I was told that there was a 4 inch hole in the back of my shorts in an unfortunate place. I am now down to 3 pairs of shorts. This is a must buy :) Different things are obviously important to different people; this is just a snapshot of our experience.

I so miss Target :) It is really the only store I miss. I like going and getting everything I need at one place. When I get to go to (blissfully air conditioned) Target, here is my list:

Flea collars (for the dog, not me)
Dog treats made in the USA (no judging of other countries dog treats, just a precaution:) )
Queen sheets-hard to find sometimes, in the variety at home
Acrylic paint-pretty expensive and hard to find here
Sunglasses-these are pretty pricey here ($10 US--Ok that is not expensive, but I go through these really fast so I buy like $3 ones at home)
Razors-much cheaper at home and the brand I like is not here
Frisbees-can get cheaply
Snorkel gear-cheaper at home
Curtains-same reason as the sheets
Hand held can opener-for some reason the ones down here don't hold up we have heard!
Eye drops-this comes from Chris, who needs them due to an eye condition, you can't get good ones here
Clothes-you really can't buy a large variety of clothes here
Flip Flops-same reason
Faucets-not a good selection here
More bathing suits-and not frilly ones, more like down to business sporty ones

Some things that we didn't think we would need, already own, but are now bringing down:
Air pump
Label maker
Board games
Satellite radio
A computer to TV hook up
Hand Vac
Kitchen stuff like canisters, tongs, grill equipment, cookie sheets, casserole pan
Hiking boots
To go coffee mugs
A few other random bar and cooking tools

Lastly, we are bringing cornhole baggos and we are going to build cornhole boards--Cornhole is at most parties in Ohio--I don't know how prevalent it is anywhere else but we are going to bring cornhole to Placencia!! I can't wait!! it is the perfect environment for it :)

This will be another post at some point, but some things that came to mind of what we DIDN'T need and brought back...
Long sleeves
Dressy clothes
Dressy shoes
Nail polish and remover
Hair dryer/curler/straightener
Perfume and body spray (Off Woods DEET and SPF are my perfumes now)
Much less socks and underwear than you think you'll need
(there is a definite theme here.)

And last thought on this topic....what I was anxious about doing without, but found I don't miss...
Makeup-specific brands
Perfume and nail polish
Doing my hair all fancy
Wearing different varieties of clothes and dressing up
All of the super healthy food I ate at home (Vibrant Greens, quinoa and kale, Whole-Foods type stuff)
Protein Shakes
Good haircuts
Specific skin regimen stuff
Really awesome detergent and dryer-dried clothes (hanging the clothes makes them crunchy but who cares)
The gym (just exercise outside)
The awesome coffeemaker we had-the coffee down here is good even in a drip machine
A huge kitchen
A big house :) (As long as I have a big bed :) )
My own garden (with all the farmer's markets and year round warmth....no complaints :) )

In other news, this week we have been having  a great time with Ray. We had the Rotary Beach Olympics, where local businesses sponsor their teams and the winner gets a trophy, bragging rights, liquor, and a fun time. It was HOT Sunday, but beautiful, and here are some shots of the day:

 Not really winning anything.
 Sue joining but also not really winning anything.
Also, Ray's first day, I took a picture admiring this sailboat:

Only to find out that it was our friend Chris and his friend Tom! They stopped up and had a visit, they were awesome at maneuvering the boat!

We also went to the new restaurant on the lagoon side of Belize Ocean Club, and it had a BREATHTAKING view of the Maya mountains....gorgeous place to have dinner!
The week is already flying by. We plan on finding some new free places to snorkel while Ray is here...and we are going to attempt to organize a beach BBQ while Ray is here, before we all leave :)


  1. Hi Laura My wife Suvi and I are moving to Placencia this late fall once our house is done. Thank you for this blog I love it and will continue to follow your advice which has been very helpful. I hope you don't mind us contacting you as we get closer with questions ...One I have is mail how does your mail arrive I read somewhere that some use a mailbox etc with a fla address so they can get amazon etc...is that what you do in Placencia?
    thanks Bruce/Suvi

  2. Thanks for the feedback Bruce and congrats on your move! I am sure we will meet when you get here. There is one tiny post office as you enter the village, and you go over there as needed and actually ask for your mail-the mail clerk, Dyna, will remember you once you introduce yourself.:) very small town charming! No address here really, just your name or business name and main street or Placencia Sidewalk. I know people have done Amazon shipping here, there may be a duty on certain things that gets paid on delivery though.

  3. There will be duty on whatever gets shipped here. You can go to http://www.customs.gov.bz/customs_duties.html for information about what they are. I am sure Bruce knows about this, but for others reading comments I offer http://www.belizeforum.com/belize/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=233703 for this specific question. Belize Forums is a cornucopia of information about Belize.

  4. HI Laura. We will be down for a sailing trip and was wondering what grocery stores you recommend. I heard that a nice one was located in Seine Bight. Do you have any suggestions? Looking forward to meeting you, from one Ohioan to another. Go Buckeyes!

  5. Hi mlou! The "nicest" grocery store is called Top Value, just north of the village on the main road. There are also a lot of farmers markets all over main street down through the village, but you can get everything at Top Value. :) look us up when you come, we are about a minute from there!

  6. Thanks Laura for the information on the grocery stores. We can't wait to explore the area. We hope to meet you too! Enjoy the island life :)

  7. Hi Laura. Great blog only just found you. We have a few things in common. We are moving to Belize in 3 years and 6 months. Not that I am counting. We have the same dog. My chihuahua Sparky is almost identical to Stix. He has some black on his face and just as cute. Your friend Sonia is - I am pretty certain my architect. Maybe we can drop in and meet when we are next over. Louise

  8. Thanks Louise! Yes please come see us when you get here...and bring Sparky to say hello to Sticks! :) congrats on your move!

  9. Love Top Value! my favourite grocery store in Placencia! Ming's is a close second.