Since moving to Belize full-time in 2012, empty nesters Christine Cotten and her husband Tom ease into their day. Morning time for them on Ambergris Caye starts with a coffee on the pier in front of their beachfront condo, watching the sun rise, golden and glowing, in a purple sky.
So there we were, my husband David and I, retired in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, we had a lovely home in a great development and spent our time remodeling, doing volunteer work, and getting on with our lives.
Michael and Amanda Cyphers retired early partly to give their 14-year-old son, Colin, a better way of life, away from the hustle-bustle of their Las Vegas suburban home. They find they have more quality family time now in Belize. “I have more time with my husband and son, because I’m away from the 101 things, the 3,800-square-foot house, the cars, everything we had.” We live a humble life here.
All is quiet in the condo where we’re staying on the paradise island of Ambergris Caye, Belize. I’m up early. The world hasn’t yet come to life. When my five children wake up we share a breakfast of fresh mangoes and pineapple with black beans and rice seasoned with coconut oil. We wash it down with some cold coconut water. Locals call it pipa and it’s cheap and plentiful on a palm-fringed island like this one. After breakfast, it’s time for the pool where we laugh and splash and play until lunchtime.
- Affordable-Living by the Beach in Placencia, Belize
Posted on March 28, 2013 by Domini Hedderman
“In 2004 we’d looked at property in Belize and decided to let the euphoria settle down while we really thought it out. But then a day came when it took me two hours to go 60 miles on the Florida Turnpike and cost me $13 in tolls. That was the final straw. I had it. That was the turning point. I called Kim and told her to contact the real estate agent.”
Five hours of driving on paved highways with jaw-dropping views of mountains and farmland brought us from the international airport in Belize City to our destination: Monkey River Village in the Toledo District, the southernmost area of Belize. We parked our truck and hopped on a boat taxi for the five-minute ride to our new but temporary home, a two-story Caribbean-style home…
At just 25 years old, Emily made a decision it takes most people years to make. She was working 50 plus hours a week in a stuffy office building in Boston. Although her work in the field of environmental advocacy was interesting, Emily realized she was settling into a typical career path of long hours and little sunshine. She wanted something more…
Belize, the little Central-American nation, casts a spell—especially on those with a spirit of adventure. Attractions include the warm, English-speaking people, the natural beauty and the air of freedom and opportunity. A young country (only independent from Great Britain since 1981), Belize has a low population and plenty of empty, wide-open spaces.
Wedged against the Caribbean Sea, Belize has no strategic importance to anyone. Maybe that’s why it has such a peaceful history. Four hundred years ago, pirates would lie in wait among the 200 islands scattered off the coast. But these days, all you’ll find hiding on the cayes and islands are divers, sailors and anyone looking for an affordable way to enjoy total privacy.
On a recent visit to Belize’s Cayo District, near the border with Guatemala, I found something interesting happening… It wasn’t the low prices—I expected those. The Cayo has long been popular with expats for its low cost of living, and it lived up to its reputation. In and around the town of San Ignacio, where most expats live, I saw a number of small homes renting for $400 to $600 a month…
Lots of tourists to Belize never make it to little Punta Gorda. It’s just a bit too far off the beaten path for most folks. PG, as it’s called, is way down in southern Belize. It’s small (only about 5,500 people), and—although it’s right on the Caribbean—there isn’t much beach. Yet it’s one of my favorite places in the whole country. And if you love nature, it probably will be one of your favorites, too… Sea and sky seem to go on forever here. And inland is lush green jungle, just waiting to be explored.
Fifteen years ago, Diane and David Hisle took a vacation from the Caribbean island of Nevis to visit a friend in the interior of Belize. At the time they were living on a 65-foot schooner called The Alexander Hamilton. Life on board was good, and the couple had no plans for a change. Yet what they found in the small riverside town of San Ignacio enchanted them so much that they never left.
These days Caye Caulker, a five-mile-long island off Belize’s Caribbean coast, has the laid-back, beach-bum vibe that brought expats to nearby Ambergris Caye 20 years ago. The streets on Caye Caulker are still packed sand. Most people get around by bicycle. And for those who come here, life is all about the water. Small-town, island beach life isn’t for everyone. But if it’s for you…
Many visitors to Belize head east to the Cayes (pronounced “keys”) to sail and scuba dive on the world’s second largest barrier reef. Others drive west to explore the country’s extensive Mayan ruins. Some hike in the central rainforests. But few people make it to the—still authentic—Caribbean retreats of the south.
Living in Boise, Idaho, Rick ran the state drinking water program and Darla had a career in radiation oncology. In 2000, they took their customary two-week vacation and visited Belize. “It was our first visit to Central America and we were impressed with the beauty of the country and easy pace of the residents,” says Rick.
Ever since settling in the Toledo district of the country in 2005, Chris and his wife Sue have been surrounded by a tropical wonderland of flowers, trees and animals. Life is simpler in Belize. Unobtrusive government, healthy food, a friendly, laid-back population, and a cheap standard of living make life easier all-around, says Chris.
Walk down any street or narrow village lane in tiny Belize (only about the size of the U.S. state of Rhode Island) and you’ll hear any one of a half dozen or more languages—pretty remarkable in a country that’s less-populated than many U.S. cities (320,000 inhabitants).
- Placencia, Belize: The Beach Town That’s Easier Than Ever To Get To
Posted on April 27, 2012 by Suzan Haskins
On this, my second trip to Belize, in 1980, I’d come to dive the world’s second largest barrier reef, just offshore the small towns of Seine Bight and Placencia in southern Belize. Flying by tiny sea plane was the easiest and fastest way to get here…as the dirt road from Belize City was perilously rutted and would take an entire day (if you were lucky and popped only one tire).
Whatever you’re looking for in a tropical paradise: diving…real estate…connecting with top attorneys…Caribbean beaches…the retiree program that sweetens the deal for anyone over 45-years-old…rich mountain pastures…offshore wealth protection strategies…and much, much more…this video has it all.
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.
Of course, cost of living alone does not make a well-rounded retirement. In fact, affordable beach is only a small part of the real Belize story. It’s easy to fit in…everyone speaks English…they don’t levy taxes…and consistently defend their asset protection laws in international courts.
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.