Yesterday we went up to Belize City to begin the process of buying a car. We had to go to the main Customs and Excise office which is right near the port.
In the distance we could see the large cruise ships that come in. We have never taken a cruise so I am amazed by the size of the ships. We were told that many of the ships come in on Thursdays and that the city is prepared for them. The livelihood of many people depends on tourism. Normally, there are 4 or 5 ships of this size anchored off the coast. This day there were only 3. The person who was with us told us that this is a major blow to the economy here. Apparently there is a dispute regarding the local tenders who bring people to the shore. You can read about it here Local Tenders Threatened
Anyway, back to car buying. Yesterday's step was to have the car valuated and pay the fees that are due to the government. Normally when you bring a car into the country you have to pay duty on the import. The car we are purchasing came in through a diplomat so there were fees waived. We were unsure exactly how this was going to affect us but in the end we were not charged for this. And we rejoiced over that news. Import Duty is 59% of the vehicle's value. We did have to pay Revenue Replacement Duty, Sales Tax, and an Environmental Tax. Click on the highlighted portion to read more about those fees.
Today we will make the final payment to the seller, get the title transferred into our names, get plates for the car and insure it. We are so grateful to those walking us through this process and for the people we have met along the way. This is our first experience purchasing a car in a foreign country and so far we are pleasantly surprised at how well everything is going.