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Living Abroad in Belize

True Expatriate Stories

© Lan Sluder, from Living Abroad in Belize , 1st Edition. Used by permission of Avalon Travel. All rights reserved.

Lan Sluder

Author Lan Sluder

I discovered Belize, at least in my imagination, more than two decades ago. Backwaters appeal to me, and I was attracted by Aldous Huxley's oft-quoted comment: “If the world had any ends, British Honduras would surely be one of them.”

Living then in New Orleans, once the gateway to Latin America, I first visited Central America in 1982, but I didn't get to Belize until 1991. I've been banging around the country ever since, poking my nose into all its obscure corners and a few of its secrets, making friends and, here and there, an enemy.

Fascinated by Belize, I started a little newsletter about the country, and that grew into a little magazine, Belize First. From there, I jumped to books, writing four guidebooks to Belize. I've also contributed articles about Belize to magazines and newspapers around the globe.

In this book, I've tried to share with you my understanding of the country, which I admit is as incomplete as anyone else's. Belize is a small country, but it is incredibly complicated. The more time I spend in Belize, the less I realize I know about it.

I've found that even many Belizeans know only a little about their country—or they know a lot, but only about a little part of it. Living in, say, Belize City, they know all the crannies and grannies of that port town, but Punta Gorda in Belize's far south or Sarteneja in northeastern Belize is as foreign to them as Peoria is to a New Yorker, or Sardinia to most Londoners.

My goal is to provide you with information that will help you decide if Belize is for you, and if so, what options you will have in the country. This is not a guide to every aspect of daily living in Belize, because that would take many thousands of pages, but a guide to making your first decisions about living in Belize as a retiree, part-time resident, full-time businessperson, employee, or student, or simply someone who has an abiding fascination for Belize.

You'll learn about the history of the country's culture and people, how to get good health care and find affordable housing, how to travel around the country and where to find more information about it, and how to move to Belize. You'll find specific information on the areas of Belize that are likely to be the most attractive for retirement, relocation, investment, or just visiting awhile for school or fun—including the Northern Cayes, Corozal and the rest of Northern Belize, Cayo in Western Belize, and Hopkins, Placencia, and Punta Gorda in Southern Belize. Throughout, I've been as candid as I can, sharing with you the bad aspects of Belize as well as the beautiful.

If you have specific questions that aren't answered in this book, drop me an email at the address below, and I'll try to respond to your questions as soon as possible. Through the years, I've answered about 10,000 questions about Belize.

After you finish this book and begin your Belize adventure, whatever that means to you, you can do something for me: Tell me what you discover. If you find a great bargain or a bad egg, or if you come across a better way of doing things than I've described here, drop me a note in the mail care of the publisher, or email me at or

Belize is changing rapidly, and only one thing is certain: Before the ink is dry on these pages, costs will have changed, people will have moved on, and places will be a little different from when I was last there. Let me hear from you.

About Lan

Lan Sluder has been roaming around Belize for 15 years, exploring every corner of the country. He has authored or co-authored a half dozen books on Belize, and has also contributed dozens of Belize-related articles to magazines and newspapers around the world, including Caribbean Travel & Life, Canada's Globe & Mail, The Tico Times, Honduras This Week, Bangkok Post, and the St. Petersburg Times. He founded Belize First, a magazine on travel and life in Belize, and is now editor and publisher of the web edition at Sluder is known as “Lan the Belize Answer Man,” as he promises to answer just about any question on Belize in 48 hours. So far, he's answered more than 10,000 questions.

A former advertising newspaper editor in New Orleans and an advertising executive in North Carolina, Sluder has also has contributed articles on travel and business to the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Charlotte Observer, Florida Times Union, Newsday, New Orleans Business, Miami Herald, and other publications.

Besides travel, Sluder is interested in farming, gardening, old house remodeling and renovation, and vintage Airstream trailers. He is married to Sheila M. Lambert, an attorney, and they have two children. Sluder was educated in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and at Duke University.

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