Belize

  Belize  

Belize: English-speaking Caribbean With a Tiny Price Tag

 

Belize is quintessential Caribbean but with Maya roots.

Over 200 pristine cayes (islands) are scattered along Belize’s coastline—each surrounded by crystal clear, turquoise seawater that teems with brilliant fish, coral, and sponges.

A favorite pastime on the cayes is to relax in a hammock, under a gently swaying coconut palm, while sipping an icy Belikin beer, or a pina colada… It’s the perfect spot to relax and watch the frothy white waves wash against the Mesoamerican barrier reef… For those who live on a caye, the living reef is so close it’s a visible touchstone, a reminder of its many wonders. Diving, snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, sailing, and surfing are pleasant activities in the shallow waters inside the protection of the reef…

The Caribbean seascape you see from the mainland is equally stunning. Placencia’s 17 miles of golden sand beaches are perfect for long, leisurely strolls and days spent sunning or picnicking near the sea. Sailboats, cruisers, and catamarans come and go from the deeper water docks, or idle in the calm, protected waters at the tip of Placencia Village.

From Placencia it’s a short drive to a host of other mainland activities such as hiking, bird-watching, and zip lining.

But Belize offers much more than the beauty of the Caribbean Sea and Mesoamerican reef. It’s complimented by the lush, wild jungles of the Maya Mountains, with tumbling rivers, mysterious Maya ruins, and awe-inspiring rainforests. The Cayo region is rich with productive farms and the perfect spot for homesteading expats.

A small country barely the size of Massachusetts it’s easy to travel from one part of the country to another. As one adventurous expat eloquently described his rational for moving to Belize, “I can be Jacques Cousteau in the morning—diving in the blue hole, and Indiana Jones in the afternoon—exploring a Maya cave in the jungles...”

Belize offers other advantages. As a British Commonwealth country, English is the primary language, making it easy for expats to transition. This little country is also well known for its open-arms attitude toward expats who wish to become residents, or to open a business.

Talk to expats who live in Belize and you’ll hear a common theme…Belizean people are warm, helpful, and made them feel welcome.

Most expats who live in Belize today moved from the USA, Canada, Britain, and other European countries.

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Fast Facts About Belize

belize
  • Capital City: Belmopan
  • Population: 334,297 (July 2013 est.)
  • Climate: Tropical; very hot and humid; rainy season (May to November); dry season (February to May)
  • Time Zone: GMT 6
  • Language: English, Spanish, Creole, Mayan dialects
  • Country Code: 501
  • Coastline: 386km

Archives

Corozal, Belize

Affordable Living in Tropical Corozal

A growing number of expats are relocating to the Corozal District of Belize, on the Bay of Corozal. It’s high on their list due to the affordable cost of living and the welcoming expat community. Only one other Belizean coastal town is as affordable as Corozal. That’s Punta Gorda, at the extreme southern end of Belize. But Corozal offers significantly more amenities and convenience, as well as easy access to Mexico.

Hopkins, Belize

3 of the Best Beach Communities in Belize

Belize is a small country situated on the Caribbean Sea, best known for the World Heritage Barrier Reef that parallels its 240 mile coastline. Several areas of Belize’s coastline, and many of its cayes, have lovely sandy beaches that co-exist with mangrove forests that protect the coastline.

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Florida Investigator to Caribbean Restaurateur

Before moving to Belize, 66-year-old Steve Gustat, from Tampa, Florida, hadn’t even considered opening a restaurant. “I had no experience in the restaurant business,” he says of his decision to open the Blue Iguana, the popular restaurant he now operates with his Belizean partner, Shantel, in Corozal, in northern Belize near the Mexican border. “But that has not been a problem. Business principles are the same in any business.”

Ambergris Caye, Belize

Rediscovering Belize With Help From My Grandkids…and a Lobster

When the big day arrived, the temperature was warm, the breeze faint. As our boat, the El Gato, glided over the sea I could see everyone relax, hypnotized by the clear water and vibrant hues of the aquamarine sea that surrounded us. “I can’t believe I can see all the way to the bottom”, was a constant comment.

Cotacachi

My Love-Hate Relationship With the World Of Travel

I am a bad traveler. That may seem like a strange admission to make for an expat. Travel is, after all, part of the deal…you can’t really live abroad without traveling—at least to the country in which you plan to settle. And to be sure, I love to see and experience other towns, cities, beaches, mountains…the lure of foreign lands and exotic adventures has not diminished for me during my years abroad.

Corozal, Belize

Affordable Coastal Living in Belize’s Corozal District

It’s hard to beat waking to the sweet trill of birdsong accompanied by a glorious view of the sun rising over the Caribbean Sea. Open windows allow the balmy sea breeze to cool the house, all year round.

Ambergris Caye, Belize

Trading a 90-Mile Commute for a Bike Ride in Belize

Even after living on Ambergris Caye in Belize for a dozen years, it still sounds like magic to my ears when I tell people my home is a tropical island. From the Caribbean coast and our stunning Meso-American Barrier Reef, to the mountains, Maya sites, and charming communities of the mainland…we have the best of worlds. When we grow tired of white, sandy-beach views we head to the jungle to hang out with the monkeys.

Placencia Peninsula, Belize

Paddleboarding, Kayaking, and a Perfect Income in Belize

Sue and Carlos Vasquez grew up in the harsh winters of Chicago and Wisconsin…and, eventually, they had enough of them. When their son reached adulthood, and the economy went south in the U.S., they decided to head south themselves. That was five years ago and they have no regrets about making their new home in Belize.

Placencia, Belize

Beach or Jungle? Belize Gives You Both…And More

“Belize is the perfect country. Pristine beaches on one side and beautiful, lush jungles on the other. It is a hidden paradise for anyone wanting a taste of life on the Caribbean or to live in the remote areas of the Maya.” Mitch has now lived in Belize for more than two years.

San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

Tropical Island, Fresh Food, Small Business…Bliss!

The island of Ambergris Caye in Belize has been home for my husband, Marcos, and me for the past three years and during that time, I have learned to appreciate and love the more subtle changes of the seasons. I look forward to the time of the butterflies, or when the Roseate Spoonbills will return.

Corozal, Belize

“We’re Content in Belize…And Don’t Plan on Moving”

Sue and George’s interest in Belize was piqued in 2010, while still living in Los Angeles. Sue read an AARP article about retiring in Belize and George watched an International House Hunters program about building a home there. George had long dreamed of building their ideal retirement home. But the Paolettis knew that it would be exorbitantly expensive to do so in Southern California.

Ambergris-Caye,-Belize

Cut Your Expenses in Half and Live Well in Sunny Belize

Sue, 49, and her husband, Steve, 54, left Toronto, Canada, for Ambergris Caye, Belize in September 2012.
“We love the weather in Belize, with sun and the warm temperatures all year round,” says Sue. “We certainly don’t miss the rat race of our past life in Toronto, and the crazy pressure to always follow the latest trends, and spend all our time working just to buy more ‘stuff.’ We may not make the money we did back in Canada, but we happily get by with less.”

Corozal

Corozal: The Best-Value Real Estate in Caribbean Belize

Imagine living on a bay where you can feel sea breezes blowing in from the Caribbean year-round. Every day, you enjoy fishing and sailing on a sparkling, emerald green seascape, within a short distance of your home. You’re living the laidback retirement you always dreamed about. And your comfortable, Caribbean getaway cost you less than $220,000.

Corozal,-Belize-(2)

Living in Stress-Free Belize on 66% Less Than in the U.S.

If you drop by Dan and Mary Elizabeth Crofts home in Corozal, Belize, you might find Dan indulging in one of his favorite new pastimes…feeding the local iguanas. Mary Elizabeth explains, “We have a family of three that we have named: Greta, Gary, and their son, Genghis. They love bananas and we have a video of Dan feeding them”.

Placencia

Why I Stand By Our “Crazy” Decision To Move to Belize

When my husband Dave and I first visited Belize we were blown away by the island lifestyle and culture. We loved seeing swaying palm trees and white-sand beaches everywhere we looked. We loved seeing people actually enjoying their day, walking to get their groceries, the lack of materialism, and the fact that we could be outside 12 months a year.

Corozal Belize

“Let’s Sell the House and Move to Belize”

“Our day begins early, the local birds love to greet the sun and wake us up so we enjoy the sunrise over the water, too,” says Lynn Lawson. “Add a cup of fresh coffee and warm breezes, and we are totally relaxed. We take morning walks, greeting our neighbors and their pets.”

Isla-Mujeres

Dreaming of Tropical Islands in the Sun…

My wife, Suzan Haskins, and I do a lot of traveling. So we often find ourselves on the way to places. We find ourselves in airports. In taxis and shuttles. In planes and buses. In snow-bound cities and towns for holidays and family functions.

Ambergris-Caye-Belize

We Went on Vacation…And Now Live Full-Time in Paradise

Many people say that you cannot possibly come to Belize and not have some kind of a big adventure. I have to agree.

My first visit to Belize was in 1995. I vacationed for a week of scuba diving off Glover’s Reef. I met my Belizean husband, Marcos, during that trip, and he moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico with me in 1996. I was a practicing psychotherapist and my husband launched a small business. We enjoyed living in Santa Fe, but were intensely busy virtually all of the time.

Panama

Top Four Countries in the World for Retiree Benefits

Panama, Ecuador, Mexico, and Belize earn top rankings as the countries with the best retiree benefits and discounts in the newly published 2016 Global Retirement Index from InternationalLiving.com.
The 2016 Global Retirement Index lists the top countries where retirees can live better for less around the world. But as well as offering a lower cost of living, some countries stand out in the category of significant retiree benefits and discounts, including savings on transportation, entertainment, social services, visa costs, and healthcare.

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Coffee-Shop Dreams on a Tropical Island

I am happy. I don’t worry about car insurance, driving for hours, or traffic. I don’t have to put on a pair of heels and a business suit. Flip-flops and a great pair of shorts or sundress are my normal attire now,” says Marlene Houghton, who owns Marbucks, her dream coffee shop on the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Penang-Small

English-Speaking Havens Around the World

When you move abroad, it’s an adjustment. It’s a new culture, a new lifestyle, new customs, and new ways of doing things. But one way to ease your transition is to settle in a place where you don’t have to learn a new language, too.

Panama

The Top 4 Countries in the World for Retiree Benefits in 2016

Imagine a place where sunshine is ubiquitous, a high-quality lifestyle won’t cost the earth, and as a retiree, you’re treated like a VIP…you’ll get a red-carpet welcome and be rewarded for your age and experience. Places like this exist…and they have claimed the top spots in the “Benefits and Discounts” category in International Living’s 2016 Global Retirement Index. In many countries all over the world you can live better for less.

best places to retire

The World’s Best Places to Retire in 2016

Retiring abroad is easier and more affordable than ever before. These days it really is possible to spend your days relaxing beneath palm fronds on a Caribbean beach, enjoying farm-fresh produce in a mountain haven with year-round spring weather, or wandering the storied streets of a historic and cultured European city…or all of the above. But with so many choices available, finding the right one can seem daunting.

ambergris caye

A “Do Nothing” Lifestyle in the Caribbean

Feeling burned out by their busy careers, Clive and Janet Brewster made the big decision to leave the working world behind in October 2014. That’s when they embarked on a new life on the Belizean island of Ambergris Caye. Today you’ll find them living a life of leisure and luxury on this laidback Caribbean island.

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Enrich Your Life Abroad Through Volunteering

How do you see yourself spending your ideal retirement? Does it involve strolling the cobbled streets of an historic city in Europe? Or maybe you’d rather lounge, cocktail in hand, on a lounge chair by a tropical beach. If you’re like me, you’d prefer the abundant clean air and farm-fresh produce in an Ecuadorian mountain town, relaxing in the local expat hangout when you’re not exploring awe-inspiring valleys and colorful local markets.

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The World’s Top Retirement Havens for 2016

Retiring abroad is easier and more affordable than ever before. These days it really is possible to spend your days relaxing beneath palm fronds on a Caribbean beach, enjoying farm-fresh produce in a mountain haven with year-round spring weather, or wandering the storied streets of a historic and cultured European city…or all of the above. But with so many choices available, finding the right one can seem daunting.

Placencia

A Snapshot of Daily Life in Sunny, Snow-Free Belize

Life here is busy, but it’s a good kind of busy. We have less driving and commuting than when we lived in Ohio…and we don’t miss traffic jams, shoveling snow, and de-icing the car in the morning, which used to take up so much time. Here, grocery shopping or paying bills involves a bike ride or a walk in sunny weather, where you can hear birds and see the beach.

Belize

Stalactites and Skeletons in Belize’s Mayan Underworld

If you’ve ever yearned for your own Indiana Jones-style adventure, be sure to add Belize’s most infamous cave to your bucket list. ATM—full name Actun Tunichil Muknal—is your ticket to the ancient Maya underworld, or Xibalba. Also known as the “cave of the stone sepulcher,” it’s near san Ignacio in the Cayo District, and it’s where the Mayas of old performed their sacred rituals long before Europeans came.

Ambergirs-caye

A New Start and a New Life on an Island in the Caribbean

After enjoying a Belize sunrise from my bird-song serenaded porch with a cup of locally grown coffee, a trip to the gym or walk on the beach is a great start to my day. Then I may catch up with friends on the internet, read international news, or spend time tending to plants on the veranda. The decision to move to Belize was not taken lightly by my husband Anthony and I, yet was achieved with a light heart.

Corozal

Make Your Dollars Go Further in Belize With This Retiree Program

Earl and Gail Johnson have lived in the Corozal District, a retirement haven in northern Belize, for eight years. Corozal is a small town, set on the vast Corozal Bay and just nine miles from the Mexican border. It has a close-knit expat community, with plenty of clubs and social activities.

ambergris

It’s Easy to Live a Healthier, Happier Life in Belize

Belize first attracted me because of the spectacular Caribbean seascapes and the vibrant offshore barrier reef teaming with colorful, diverse sea life…the laidback lifestyle…affordable cost of living…and the friendly Belizeans. But after moving here another advantage became apparent. Maintaining a healthy, happy lifestyle in Belize is easy. As a matter of fact, many expats who move to Belize remark that they have lost weight, are in better shape, and feel better than they have in years…

Salinas

Can You Really Bag a Beach Home for $78,000?

For most folks, the perfect way to start a day is with a stroll on the sand or a dip in the ocean. Owning a beach home so that they can do it every day is at the top of many wish lists. Many people think they can’t afford to do that. Understandable: When you take the limited supply of beach property and combine it with strong demand, what do you get? Sky-high sticker prices. But you can still bag a beach bargain in some overseas destinations

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Escaping Winter on a Caribbean Island Paradise

For many North Americans, winter is the time to batten down the hatches and brace for an onslaught of wind, snow, and rain. But not so for Bob and Lonni Skrentner. On the Belizean island of Ambergris Caye, this couple has found the perfect winter retreat. Here they can spend their days scuba diving in the Caribbean Sea, socializing, and relaxing by the beach, while friends back home are confined indoors by the cold.

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Creating a Coffee Culture in Placencia, Belize

Keith Morrison loves the great sailing and Caribbean lifestyle in Placencia. Keith Morrison, 58, scoured two continents for the perfect place to start his coffee shop: an English-speaking country with a laidback, affordable lifestyle, warm weather, good sailing, and low taxes. He found all these in Placencia, on Belize’s southern coast. Now he enjoys a terrific Caribbean lifestyle when he’s not overseeing operations at his Above Grounds Coffee House.

Ambergris-Caye

The Secret to Scoring the Best-Value Property on Belize’s Paradise Island

What a delight to wake up each morning to a glorious sun rising over the Caribbean Sea. You head out to the veranda to sip a rich, dark Guatemalan cup of Joe while gazing out at frothy waves breaking on the world’s second largest barrier reef less than a mile from shore. What a tranquil way to start the day…

costa-rica

Banking and Social Security When You Move Overseas

“It’s easy to get your Social Security benefits abroad if you wish,” says IL Mexico Editor Glynna Prentice. “Arguably the easiest way to get them abroad is by electronic transfer to your local foreign bank account in the foreign country. However, “not all foreign banks will accept direct deposits of U.S. Social Security checks, so if you want your Social Security delivered to a local bank, make sure to choose one that does,” says Dan Prescher.

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Latin American Havens With Great Retiree Benefits

For many people looking to retire overseas, selecting the right country from the many options available can seem daunting. Fortunately, some countries actively encourage expat retirees to relocate there. They offer excellent retirement benefits that can help you truly enjoy these destinations’ great value. To help narrow your choice, here are the three top countries for retirement benefits on the IL beat.

Placencia

“I Love My Work…and My Less Stressful Life in Belize”

Dick Walton, 53, and his wife, Dawn, 47, have always loved to travel. And they knew for a long time that they wanted to retire to English-speaking Belize…the tiny Central American country on the Caribbean Sea. But when Dawn had an aneurysm in 2009, the couple pushed up that timetable to escape the stress and fast pace of life in their hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

hopkins

Sipping Cocktails on the Beach—And You Call This Work?

I’m sitting on the beach in Hopkins Village in Belize—mimosa in hand—staring out over the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea trying to find the exact point where the clear blue sky meets the water. This friendly village is the heart of the Garifuna culture in Belize and my home for the next couple of days. There isn’t much on my to-do list…sunning, swimming, and a Garifuna drumming lesson with a local drummer.

6-9-COVER-STORY-karyn-2

Keep Your Paycheck While Starting a New Life Overseas

Teleworking, telecommuting, remote working…call it whatever you like, it’s catching on. And the bottom line is, with the technology available today you could move overseas and take your job with you. If most of your daily work is conducted via email and telephone, then you may be in the perfect position to approach your employer about working remotely.

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