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#479266 - 12/08/13 07:21 PM Cost of living on Caye Caulker vs. Ambergris Caye?
Katerina Offline
For those of you who may have lived both on Ambergris Caye and on Caye Caulker, can you compare the cost of living on these two islands, in particular?

First question is what is a reasonable range to cover the cost of groceries for a couple (expats)who primarily eat at home, excluding liquor?

Can you get dark green, leafy lettuce, and other diverse veggies (other than traditional Mayan squashes, cabbages, and chaya, etc.)? For instance, does any grocery or stand offer dark green veggies like arugula, kale, and green beans? What about whole grain breads and diverse cheeses (goat, feta, sharp cheddar, etc.)?

These days many vegetarians are interested in Belize. I'm wondering if vegetarians here need to grow their own gardens to get the kind of diverse veggies we could easily get in North America?

I'd assume that the BTL, BWS and phone services are very similar on the two islands, but that the cost of rentals and homes are quite a bit less on Caye Caulker. Any comments and info on cost of living comparisons would be appreciated.

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#479276 - 12/08/13 10:35 PM Re: Cost of living on Caye Caulker vs. Ambergris Caye? [Re: Katerina]
elbert Offline
Ambergris Caye has a more diverse selection when it comes to good foods. The Greenhouse is a good example. They sell a Pesto to die for, several varieties of local yogurt, hummus, local honey,lots of greens also more specialties like whole wheat pastas and 10 or more choices of coffee bean. We have several bakeries and whole wheat and grain breads are popular.Vegetable stands galore and boats arrive regularly with a wide variety of vegetables from the mainland.
My partner and I enjoy cooking and eating well. We live on Ambergris Caye.
I'm sure Caye Caulker has a lower cost of living but thats not a complaint.
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#479284 - 12/09/13 12:07 AM Re: Cost of living on Caye Caulker vs. Ambergris Caye? [Re: Katerina]
ron Offline
I live 6 months a year on Caye Caulker. The availability of anything on Caye Caulker is for the most part less then on Ambergris. There are no higher end groceries here on CC. Fresh vegetables are the same in all the stores. I doubt you will find any stocking Kale or the like. The grocery stores here to have a variety of cheeses. They are expensive. There is a much larger population in San Pedro then on CC so availability will be greater. Housing on San Pedro has a greater breadth in cost. You can rent a very nice condo or villa there that you will not find in CC. Both are islands so everything is more expensive. Larger population in Ambergris Caye means greater availability of more things. You can be a vegetarian in both places without having your own garden. You just have to adjust you diet requirements to what is available.

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#479370 - 12/09/13 10:59 PM Re: Cost of living on Caye Caulker vs. Ambergris Caye? [Re: ron]
Katerina Offline
Is anyone willing to venture a guess on what a couple would spend on CC during a week if they eat three meals a day at home, and eat protein (fish, chicken and meat), veggies, bread, rice, beans, eggs, cheese, some cereals, fruits, milk and basic food items?

My estimate of what we spend in San Pedro is $150US/week. Is that a good guess for CC? OR would it be more or less, to eat pretty well. No liquor included. Anyone willing to throw out a cost range?

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#479415 - 12/10/13 11:32 AM Re: Cost of living on Caye Caulker vs. Ambergris Caye? [Re: Katerina]
Cybercayecaulker.com Offline
Rice, beans, sugar and several other staples are price controlled by the GOB, so they (should) remain the same no matter where you buy them. Meat is pretty expensive and interestingly enough, so is fish, even though its caught right here, you will pay 8-10 bzd a lb for fish fillet. Eggs are 3 for 1 bzd, milk is 9 bzd for a 1/2 gallon, breakfast cereals are 2-3x more expensive than in the U.S., so if cereal something you like, bring it with you. Coffee is 20 bzd a lb. Local fruits on Caye Caulker are around 5 bzd for a pineapple, or papaya. Watermelon is sold by the pound and is about 1.50 bzd a lb. bananas are 5 for 1 bzd, limes are 3-4 for 1 bzd, a little bunch of cilantro is 1 bzd, cucumber is 2 bzd a lb, tommatos are 4.50 bzd a lb. If youa re here for any length of time, like a month, its worth it to take a shopping trip to Belize City and go to the central market and stock up on meat and other things that you can put in the freezer. If you are only here for a week, I would budget $200 U.S.
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#479442 - 12/10/13 05:54 PM Re: Cost of living on Caye Caulker vs. Ambergris Caye? [Re: Katerina]
MikeD Offline
I would say the above estimate is very accurate. My wife and I stayed for one month a year or two back to test the cost of living on CC (among other things). Not including our housing and eating at home most of the time, we spent about $1,000 US for all expenses unrelated to housing during that month. This included a few water taxi trips etc.. Our goal was to live as we would if we were there as long term residents.

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#479448 - 12/10/13 06:48 PM Re: Cost of living on Caye Caulker vs. Ambergris Caye? [Re: Katerina]
joey2angels Offline
I would have to ask first...what do you spend a week at home?
Second: Do you eat fish?
Third: Do you fish?

Get where I'm heading??????

Fourth: How are you getting to the island? If you cut back on travel expenses you'll have more money for food and entertainment.

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#479455 - 12/10/13 07:07 PM Re: Cost of living on Caye Caulker vs. Ambergris Caye? [Re: Katerina]
Dane Offline
We own a home on CC don't try to save and spent about $1000 month average for many years for everything no rent.
We rarely shop in the city.

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#479474 - 12/10/13 08:59 PM Re: Cost of living on Caye Caulker vs. Ambergris Caye? [Re: Dane]
Katerina Offline
Thanks, Dane. Your response was very helpful, since it is more budget oriented. I've sent you a separate PM.

Other Commenters,

I live on Ambergris Caye, so know how to cut corners. But what I'm trying to do is develop a comparable general cost of living budget for expats to be able to compare the cost of living between Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker and Placencia, all being beach towns. Of course, once someone moves here, they learn ways to cut corners. But for expats who are considering moving here, they want to get a general idea of the difference in the cost of living between specific areas. So I try to be conservative, so that they aren't surprised when they get here. I'd rather over-estimate the cost of groceries in a given region than under-estimate them.

I appreciate everyone's personal input. The cost of groceries vary quite a bit between regions. So it's hard to do this type of estimate without getting input from those who live in a particular region.

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#479490 - 12/10/13 10:35 PM Re: Cost of living on Caye Caulker vs. Ambergris Caye? [Re: Katerina]
ckocian Offline
"cost of groceries VARIES a bit" Lifestyle expectations of expats can be difficult to analyze without knowing who they are and something about them. Lots of misleading information is available about living in Belize no matter where. Lan Sluder has the best, most honest information about day-to-day living because he's spent 20-some years observing the expat population, talking to them and writing about their experiences without the usual window dressing in print

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