What is different or separates you from other place for rent in the area?
We are a private home that specializes in peace and quiet and away from it all. We are a 35-45 minute walk from the village. You are responsible for your own groceries and your own cooking. We provide all the amenities and you cook for yourself. I suppose you could say the benefits are found in the longer term rental or with a larger group (up to 8 people).
How much does it cost to rent your house?
The cost is $100 US per night for up to 8 people. Plus 9% hotel tax. There maybe a $5 a day charge for use of the AC.
Check in Time
It is real important that you try to get to the farm by 4 pm. It get dark early in Belize (6pm) and the property managers need a little bit of time to instruct you about the house and farm.
What does this include?
This includes a fully furnished home on a 42 acre farm right on the Belize River in The Community Baboon Sanctuary. Home to the black howler monkey, 200 species of birds and many many species of mammals, reptiles and orchids.
What does this not include?
This does not include food. Groceries can be purchased in Belize City on your way in. We also have a (very) small variety store at the end of the road when you first came into our village of Scotland Halfmoon. There is also a reasonable sized variety store about 5 km’s (3 miles) from the house towards the village of Bermudian Landing.
Note: It is best to pick up any alcohol on your way to the house from the airport. There may also be a small charge for hydro depending if you run the AC.
Please explain the immediate living area and the farm which the house is located? Who else lives there?
Our house is part of a 42 acre farm. Our farm is surrounded on three sides by jungle and on the fourth side by the Belize River. The house is surrounded by trees and has two small ponds in the front yard that are filled with water provided we have had some rain lately.
The farm has a few cows and a few chickens. On the farm we are growing coconuts. We also have two large fish ponds (300ft x 50ft x 10ft deep). There is usually a few large resident crocodiles in these ponds. Around the ponds we grow coconuts.
There is also a Canadian couple– Dan and Heather Michalewicz that are in the middle of building their home on the farm. They are a great source of information to help you navigate through and around Belize. They have been living in Belize for some 25 years and have a wealth of information and great stories of their adventuresin Belize.
We are rather secluded. Our closest neighbor is about a 30 minute walk back up the road towards the village and the center of the village is about another 5-10 minute walk from that closest neighbor.
Can you describe the house a little more?
The house has an open concept kitchen / living room. There is a master bedroom with an on-suite bathroom. The house comes with running water, hydro and AC. The shower has it’s own hot water heater and of course we have a flush toilet. Drinking water is rain water collected off the roof and utility water comes from the river. The kitchen is fully stocked with everything you need (except for food). There is also laundry facilities.
How do we get to your house?
Flying into Belize
If you are new to Belize and are flying into Belize we recommend that you take advantage of our local taxi service. It is a $75 US charge to be picked up at the airport and brought out to the house. This service includes the opportunity to pick up food and groceries. Getting your groceries at this time is highly, highly recommended. You can also use this service for your return to the airport when your holiday adventure has ended (for another $75 US).
If you are a seasoned traveler and familiar with traveling through Belize then you can take the bus. You will want to take one of the Bermudian Landing buses. These buses can be found on the corner of Euphrates Street and Orange Street in Belize City. Tell the bus driver that you want to be let off at Scotland Halfmoon and that you are going to the “Hendy farm.” To be safe try to get a seat towards the front of the bus so that bus driver does not forget you. This is only a precaution as the bus drivers are usually very good. At your drop you basically start walking down “our” road for a good 45 minutes or longer depending on how much luggage you have to drag. The village of Scotland Halfmoon is basically located at the end of the road where you were just dropped off. If it makes you more comfortable, by all means confirm with the first person you see that you want to confirm that the Hendy’s farm is at the far end of the road. And then start walking. You will walk straight; a ways down the road there is a turn off; keep going straight. (FYI the Hendy farm is the last name of the locals that use to own the farm).
Fairly shortly you will be beyond the village and surrounded by jungle. About the time you are starting to feel lost, rest assured that you are on the right road. Enjoy the walk and the wildlife along the road. Constantly be on the lookout for Black Howler Monkeys. If your luggage gets to heavy (and it will) this is where I will remind you that I recommended that you take advantage of our taxi service. Don’t worry, you cannot walk past the farm; you will end up swimming in Belize River before you walk past our farm. Remember if you do use the bus route option, you also have to figure out how to get from the airport to Belize City to catch the Bermudian Landing bus.
Flying into Cancun
If you are flying into Cancun, Mexico (which is what I often do) you can catch a bus to Belize City. I would then refer to the bus route instructions as described above as the final leg of getting to the farm (unless you have a crazy amount of luggage). Flying into and out of Cancun is typically much cheaper airfare. This way of travel really only works if you have the time. What I mean is you need almost two travel days to get to the farm from Cancun and you need a day and a half travel to get back to Cancun. That is almost four days of travel time which is not very practical for a weeks’ vacation. Depending on how your day goes it is approximately a 10 hour bus ride from Cancun to Belize City. The cost for a one way bus trip will be a bit more then $800 pesos or $85 Belize or $43 USD; and I think there is probably some kind of exit tax out of Mexico. You will probably want to get a hotel room in Chetumal (Mexican border city with Belize) depending on how late you arrive in Cancun.
Upon arriving in Cancun you will want to find the Ado Bus ticket booth. Ado Bus Company is a first class bus company and they put Greyhound to shame. Book a ticket to go to Chetumal. You will travel the rest of the day and into the evening to get to Chetumal. I don’t recall exactly how long it takes (approx 6 hours I think). Grab a sweater from your luggage as they love to blast the AC. Upon arriving in Chetumal you will want to catch a taxi to bring you to a hotel close to the “Old Market” where the Belize buses can be found. Unfortunately it could be hard to find a taxi driver that understands English. So you might have to wait for a taxi driver that understands English. This is not impossible and sometimes you might find a local that can help translate for you. The key is to get the taxi driver to show you where the Belize bus stop is and to find you a hotel within walking distance. There is a hotel that is a five minute walk from the bus stop. Unfortunately I have never written the name down. You should be able to find a hotel for $350-400 pesos ($30 US – 2011 prices).
You may feel tempted to panic during this part of the trip. The important thing is to relax, this is all apart of the adventure and you will figure it out. The next morning I would try to be at the bus stop for about 6:00 am or a bit earlier. The buses start early and then stop until later in the day. You really don’t want to miss the morning bus. You will go through Mexican customs and then travel through Belize to Belize City by around 1:00 pm. If you are worried about Mexican customs ask the bus driver for help. The bus drivers are super friendly and will help you through every step. On your way to Belize City the bus will take a five minute break in Orange Walk. Once in Belize City I recommend you go find the bus going to Bermudian Landing (Euphrates & Orange Street). You can safely store you luggage on the bus and the drivers will watch it for you if there is a bit of time before departure. Once your luggage is on the bus go find yourself a beer; the hardest part is done. Refer to the above instruction about taking the bus to the farm. You can also take our taxi service from the city, but if you have made it this far I think you can make it the rest of the way. I should also mention that Belize buses (including what you ride from Chetumal) are old retired school buses from the United States. No more Ado coach buses.
Flying home from Cancun [I did this back in June 2018 and these are my notes]
Leaving for Cancun for your return flight home you will want to catch the bus from the end of our road into Belize City. Make your way to the main Bus Depot (W Collect Canal St) in the city. This is not far from where the bus you are on will park. You will be traveling on the Ado bus line. It has been recommended that you reserve your spot on the bus ahead of schedule. Deposit is $19 BZ and bus leave the bus depot at 11:15 am. Your bus will reach the border at about 2 pm and cross by 3:15 pm (our bus was fairly light and could be longer if your bus is full). You pay $40 BZ [exit fee] at the border. Grab some pesos at the border if you can. Shortly after crossing you will stop for a 25 minute break. There you can grab food (with pesos) and pay for the rest of you bus ticket – $83 BZ. [Not responsible if schedules or prices have changes]
When I fly out of Cancun I actually spend the night in Plya del Carmen and take the shuttle bus to Cancun Airport in the morning. I arrived in Plya del Carmen at 9:15 pm. Mexico time zone is one hour ahead of Belize. Belize City to Plya del Carmen took me nine hours. Plya del Carmen also has a main tourist section along with a beach that is very cool to check out in the evening. This is part of the reason I spend the night here. Plya del Carmen to Cancun takes one hour and cost 190 pesos.
This has been my preferred route for the last few years (if I have time) and I am now very comfortable taking it. I also get to enjoy the food and atmosphere of a second country (Mexico) on my trip. As a Canadian, I also like it because I can take West Jet direct and I avoid US customs (in Toronto) because the flights are direct to Cancun. With Belize flight there is usually an American layover which forces you to stand in line for US customs. Fortunately West Jet now also fly’s direct to Belize. If this route (through Mexico) causes a little fear in your stomach maybe the best way to Belize is flying directly to Belize.
Tell Us More!
What can we do on the farm?
The farm is an oasis of relaxation. But there are many things that can be done on the farm. You can fish on Belize River or in our ponds. You can make arrangements with a local for a river or jungle tour (expect to pay a charge). Locals are extremely knowledgeable about the area and can point out so much that you would typically walk right past. The other thing is to do a couple of nature walks up and down our road. Most of the birds and wild life in the whole area are fairly common on our road. We have close to 200 species of birds in our area. Jaguars are spotted very regularly on our road near the farm. Their tracks are very very common on our road. In 2005 I saw my first and only mountain lion on our road. Along the road, snakes and turtles are also fairly common. Black Howler monkey’s regularly hang outside the bedroom window. Bermudian Landing is also a nearby village you can explore.
Any other services?
Our local taxi guy – Derrick will be happy to take you anywhere in the country for about $100 US a day plus gas. Expect to throw in for a beer here and there and gas can be a bit pricey in Belize. But he is a great guide and he will keep you safe.
What kind of wildlife can be seen around the farm?
Tons, like I said we have close to 200 species of birds in the area. Many animals are quite common in our area but that being said it can be a real hit and miss if you are only down for two weeks or less. I have seen a mountain lion on our road, but I could technically wait two life times to see another one. Jaguars and ocelots have been seen on the farm very regularly. I receive monthly reports on numerous cat sights per month. Black Howler monkeys are very common and can on occasion be found right outside the bedroom window. They can definitely be heard. I have seen coatimundis, armadillos and northern tamanduas (mid-size anteater) on the farm. Early in the morning the parrots and other birds make quite a racket. If it rains in the evening count on a chorus of frogs and toads throughout the night. Turtles, snakes, tarantulas, scorpions are also common. Tapir tracks have been spotted regularly around our fish ponds. We even had a family of manatees swim past the farm with some regularity a few years back.
Are there dangerous animals?
Well we are home to the most dangerous snakes in Central America – the Fer-de-Lance. And I have seen a few down there. The trick with snakes is don’t walk around bare foot, pay attention to where you put your hands and don’t just pick up any snake without being 100% sure of what type it is. And if you go hunting for some creepy crawlies (highly recommend) bring a snake stick (we provide) to lift debris. We also have poisonous coral snakes around the farm. Always, always be mindful of where you put your hands!
You always want to be on the lookout for scorpions. Always look and check where you plan to put your hands and always check your shoes before putting them on in the morning. The likelihood of being stung on vacation is unlikely. I have stayed a combined four years in Belize over a 20 year span and have never been stung by a scorpion once. The others on the farm have not been as lucky.
The one and only animal that I really watch for is bees and wasps. We have killer bees and wasps up to 4” long called cow’s tongue wasps. Just be careful about how you explore the area. Nine times out of ten you will hear the killer bees before you see them; just stand still; let them pass and you will be fine.
I actively look for reptiles and amphibians whenever I am there and have never run into serious problems. You will do just fine.
Are the bugs bad?
On occasion the mosquitoes can be bad. But most of the time they are not too bad. Sand-flies can be a problem on occasion. When things are real dry, ticks can also be a problem. You have to remember you are in the middle of the jungle not some beach resort, bugs and scorpions are part of the package.
What about Malaria or Dengue Fever?
Malaria is not a problem and I have never taken any kind of medication for malaria. Dengue Fever is in Belize. As far as I know Dengue Fever has not been a problem in our area or most areas for that matter. If mosquitoes happen to be bad then cover up and use spray and you should be more then fine.
What do I need to bring?
Clothing and personal toiletries items is about it. Bath towels are provided. If there is something specific that you are thinking about maybe it is best to inquire. I try to travel as light as possible; it makes for a more enjoyable trip. Remember laundry facilities are available.
Can we get groceries nearby?
My recommendation is to try to get groceries on the way to the farm if you are using our taxi service. You will find a better variety this way and not have to hump them down our road on your back. There are two small shops in our area. One near where the bus drops you off at the end of our road and the second is a small ways (by bike) down the main road to Bermudian Landing.
Bottled water is available at these shops if your prefer bottle water over rain water. Depending on the length of your stay you may want to make a separate day trip to Belize City for supplies. Inquire when down there for direction and advice on where to go. Remember get your alcohol on your way to the farm.
What about cell phone and Internet use?
We do not have free wifi but through your own phone internet is available via a tower in the village. Check your provider for roaming charges and internet can be slow at times.
You seem isolated, are there risks to being in the middle of the jungle?
Life is risk. In the city you can get hit by a bus just as easy as any accident. We have phone and we have a Mennonite community nearby. One phone call will bring help pretty quickly.
What is the weather like?
Tropical; hot and humid; rainy season (May to November); dry season (February to May). Hurricanes season (June to November) brings coastal flooding (especially in south). But with all this climate change the weather can be hard to predict.
Is it hard to see other parts of the country from where the farm is?
Not really; you would take the morning bus into Belize City and then find another bus to wherever you looking to go. You may want to consider staying the night wherever you are planning to go though. Coming back to the farm in the dark is not recommended and it gets dark early in Belize (6pm). Don’t forget you can also use our local taxi service. I recommend inquiring at the farm about the best way to see other parts of the country.
I had a previous guest rent a car. He rented a car from Thrifty Car Rentals (right across from the airport). He said that it cost about $100 USD a day rental and also recommended taking digital photos of the car before leaving the rental agency. So this is also an option if your budget allows for extra spending money. It is one way to see more of the country more efficiently. I would also suggest inquiring about our road conditions to make sure you are not going to get stuck half way down our road.
Is it hard to visit Mexico or Guatemala from your house?
Nope, I already explained how to get to Mexico. For Guatemala you sort of do the same. Take the bus into Belize City and then find the bus going to Guatemala. I have been to Guatemala twice, once just to the border and a second time to visit the Mayan ruins of Tikal.
Why visit Belize? Why not other Central American countries?
Belize is a stable country and it is the only Central American country that is English speaking. A huge bonus if you don’t know your Spanish. On our farm you have the extra security of having another Canadian couple on the farm to help advise and navigate you on your adventure. Nothing feels better then knowing that the advice that you are getting is solid and you are not being taken on some kind of trip when visiting a third world country. Belize has a little of everything that the other countries have but do not have in Belize.
Questions about the country of Belize
English is the official language, Spanish is very common. Expect most locals to speak Creole.
$1 US dollar is $2 Belizean Dollars
How long can I stay?
Visitors to Belize are initially allowed to stay for up to 30 days without a tourist visa. After 30 days visitors can get one month extensions by applying in person at any of the Immigration Offices throughout the country. Each extension will cost $25 US a month for the first six months. This is all a very simple process. Show your passport and hand over the cash.
What else does Belize offer?
Everything, Mayan ruins, scuba diving and snorkeling in the second largest barrier reef in the world, deep sea fishing, zip-lines, caving and exploring the many different parts and cultures of Belize.
What type of food do you find in Belize?
The primary meal found virtually everywhere is (red) beans and rice, and chicken. Most chicken in the country is prepared and served on the bone. Rice and Beans is a mixed dish with some spices and some fried plantain and is a staple of the Belizean diet. In the city there are lots of street vendors that offer tacos. Pretty much any kind of food can be found throughout the country.
Citrus plantations are numerous, so fresh oranges and grapefruits are abundant. Pineapples, papayas, bananas and plantains are also grown and sold in roadside markets.
A famous hot sauce in Belize is Marie Sharp’s made from the very potent local habanero pepper. It comes in a variety of flavors (mild, hot, extremely hot).
Watch out for the fried chicken that the Chinese serve. Most Belizean live on it. I am sure they will all die 20 years early for it.
Is Belize a dangerous country to visit?
No more dangerous than other parts of the world (in my humble opinion). Always use common sense. Do not flash money and do not walk down vacant streets. Stay on the main streets in Belize City and the most you have to worry about is panhandlers. I have walked from one end of the city to the next without a problem. Just stay away from those vacant streets. While I would not necessary advise or promote this, I have hitchhiked a few times without problems and would not think twice about doing it whenever the need arose.
If there is anything that I have missed please ask. I will regularly update this page with questions that I missed.
“Arie house was outstanding! When we arrived it was clean and well-equipped, and Dan the Caretaker was extremely helpful in acquainting us with the house and its amenities. The surrounding property is beautiful, and bird-watching from the deck was a favorite morning activity for all of us. As far as I can tell, there just aren't many places that are available right on the banks of the Belize River, at that location made it really special. I loved hearing howler monkeys every morning and evening, seeing spiny and green iguanas in the trees, and turtles on the road in. This place is paradise for lovers of wildlife!”
Day L. a university Associate Professor from Missouri