Once you stroll Belize’s unspoiled beaches and explore the flora and fauna of its rainforests, you may become afflicted with what’s known as the “Belize Factor.” Simply put: you find that once you return home, you have an uncontrollable compulsion to return. Time and again …Perhaps even to stay.
I arrived in Caye Caulker, Belize by water taxi from Ambergris Caye, as many people do. The trip takes half an hour, costs $7.50, and is worth the money—skimming across the Caribbean’s blue waves, you can watch the island’s white-sand shores, fringed with palms, gradually grow closer. This approach also drives home a reality of life here: On Caye Caulker, you really are away from it all.
It doesn’t matter where they came from or what they did back home—teacher, entrepreneur, dentist, secretary, taxi driver, journalist—the happiest expats we meet overseas have one thing in common: They brought their sense of adventure with them. I’m not talking dare-devil tendencies. I mean, simply, that they went overseas ready to try new things, to be confounded, to be impressed, to be surprised… I bring this up because you should know: Living overseas works best when you’re pulled there and not just pushed.
When Chicago native Lee Nyhus first visited Placencia, Belize, 16 years ago she loved the small-village feel and the people. “I felt right at home after just a few days,” she says. Farther south in Punta Gorda, expat Jo Audinett tells a similar story: “I’m one of those people who came for a week and never left! After five years I still call it home.”
Belize has a lot going for it. For a tiny country, it packs a big wallop when it comes to charm and scenery. For the would-be expat—especially if you’re looking for real value—there are many places deserving of your attention. Places where you can live the laid-back, Caribbean lifestyle of your dreams.
In Belize, more than 40% of the country is protected as national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and marine reserves. But this lush ecological paradise is not just a haven for wildlife. Belize encourages offshore business and welcomes foreigners as local residents, too. In fact, if you’re looking into your residency options, Belize should be high on your list.
In 2004—the day after returning from a sailing adventure in Placencia, Belize—Lucky made a routine trip to the doctor’s office. “His blood pressure was normal. The doctor was shocked,” says Erin. Belize was the reason. That helped focus the couple on a permanent move. They sat down and made out a five-year plan, developed a strict budget, and began downsizing.
Grab your bathing suit and flip flops (that’s all you’ll need) and head for Belize—the only country in Central America where English is the official language. Expats here report that the monthly cost of living in Belize, on average, is about $1,800 (about $60/day). In Belize you don’t need much…
“I was a California business owner and completely stressed out by all the laws, regulations, and the failing economy. Plus, I had a dream of living in a different country that was culturally stimulating. Overall, I just didn’t feel in control of my destiny in the States, and I felt there must be a better way.” There was a better way, and Sharon found it in Belize.
Belize is the Caribbean’s last secret. The country should be heaving with North American tourists and residents. But the rich and famous seem to have the place mostly to themselves. When you realize how low the prices are here, you can see that almost anyone can afford a Caribbean beach house.
- Enjoying the Slower, “Old World” Pace in Belize, Ecuador and Panama
Posted on August 22, 2011 by International Living
Times were good until the economy began its downturn, crashing the real estate market. We were concerned that our retirement savings wouldn’t see us through, so we began looking overseas for a place where our ever-shrinking nest egg might last longer.
Yvette Dalton was already looking for a new direction in life when a visit to her aunt in Belize set her on a new course. She liked Belize so much that she took a second vacation there later that year. “I met many new friends, experienced much of the country and decided this was where I should spend some of my lifetime.” Now she lives part-time in the Cayo district of Belize.
International Living editors Dan Prescher and Suzan Haskins recently found this little gem of a restaurant on Ambergris Caye in Belize. Ambergris Caye is Belize’s most popular island and the restaurant is located south of San Pedro Town.
- Video Postcard: Beautiful Views in One of the Cheapest Places to Live in Belize
Posted on July 28, 2011 by Dan Prescher
In this video, you’ll see the beautiful views from up in the hills in the Cayo district. Dan and Suzan are about to go and look at a property there and the video shows the view you’d have if you lived there.
- IL Radio Episode 21: From New York to Belize—Big Business in a Small Village
Posted on July 13, 2011 by Dan Prescher
John and Pamela Solomon almost opened a restaurant in upstate New York…until they found a place that called their hearts…Placencia, Belize. Now their restaurant, Rumfish, is one of the most popular on the peninsula.
- Your Own Business in Belize – No Experience Necessary
Posted on July 9, 2011 by Len Galvin
Stunningly beautiful, cheap and English-speaking…it’s no wonder Belize is drawing Americans in ever increasing numbers.
- IL Radio Episode 20: A Canadian Couple Moved Offshore to Belize and Saved on Their Taxes
Posted on July 7, 2011 by Dan Prescher
Paul and Kelly German had great lives back in Canada. But they found that Belize offered them a great lifestyle with a year-round summer and they could build their nest egg much faster than they could back home.
- IL Radio Episode 17: The Benefits of Living in Belize
Posted on June 8, 2011 by Dan Prescher
Being raised in Mexico City and writing extensively about the Caribbean, and Belize in particular, has given Don a unique insight into the benefits of living abroad.