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. Another big difference is that Corozal receives only 60 to 70 inches of rain per year versus Punta Gorda’s 140+ inches per year.

Expats who own their own home in Corozal can live comfortably on less than $1,500 a month. Budget for $1,700 a month if you plan to rent in town, though. Those who prefer more privacy and open space head to the attractive, well manicured bedroom communities such as Consejo Shores and Mayan Seaside. Both are well located on the Bay of Corozal, with lovely sea views. You’ll pay a bit more there--about $1,600 or more a month if you who own a home, and $2,200 a month if you rent.

Expats Mary Elizabeth and Dan Croft have been amazed at how much their cost of living dropped when they moved from Pennsylvania to Consejo Shores. Mary Elizabeth explains, “We live on about a third of what it cost us to live in the States. Another reason we moved here is that we love to travel. The savings in our cost of living will allow us to continue to travel, both in the U.S., abroad, and in Belize!”

If you’ve dreamed of owning your own home on or near the sea, you’ll get plenty of bang for your buck in the Corozal District. There’s a decent selection of well-built three-bedroom, two-bath homes on half-acre lots to choose from. Most are on the sea, or have a sea view, and are priced under $250,000. Expats who’ve built their own homes, with quality finishes, say they were able to do so for $85 per square foot.

Since land in this region is well priced, you will find few condominiums. But at the time of writing, a few one-bedroom condos south of town were available for under $100,000 each.

There are a number of rentals in the Corozal region. They start at $350 per month for a simple Belizean-style apartment. The newer, more modern rentals (with air conditioning) tend to go for $500 a month or more. For $750 to $1,000 per month you can find a house with a yard, and possibly some mature fruit trees… Recognizing a need, expats are building rental units below, or attached, to their homes.

Another major attraction is that Chetumal, Mexico, is right across the border from town. Expats and Belizeans alike make regular trips across the border to stock up on discounted supplies at Sam’s Club and Costco. Belize has no international chain stores. But you can find plenty of deals in the Free Zone, on the border between Belize and Mexico. Chetumal also has many good restaurants and entertainment. The strong U.S. dollar makes it a well worth it to make regular trips across the border for supplies, entertainment, and local vacations.

Corozal is not only one of the most affordable places to live in Belize, it also has many great amenities and good real estate opportunities.
Corozal is not only one of the most affordable places to live in Belize, it also has many great amenities and good real estate opportunities.

Expat John Wiankowski appreciates the fresh products and good prices at Corozal’s open market, and nearby meat and fish markets. John notes, “You’ll get eight oranges, four limes, or eight bananas for just 50 cents. Ground beef is $2.50 per pound; fish fillets $3.50 a pound; lobster tails $9 a pound. If you eat like a local, you save.”

Prices for almost anything you buy in Corozal are substantially less than those you’ll find on the cayes, and in the mainland tourist area of Placencia. Corozal is a family town where locals count their pennies. Fewer tourists translate to considerably lower product prices. The majority of local restaurants offer tasty food at value prices. June’s restaurant is a popular breakfast diner, which expats go to for the dependable food that’s fairly priced. For $5 you’ll get a two-egg breakfast with a choice of side meat, hash browns, and fruit. Other local restaurants in town offer special meal deals for $4 to $5.

If you visit Corozal, be sure to drop by the open-air Jam Rock, on the bay. It has a great bay view, as well as decent food. It’s a popular spot where expats regularly gather for lunch, dinner, or an afternoon cocktail. For $10 you can order fresh fried fish and chips. Another local restaurant with tasty, well-priced food is Tres Nietas. The grouper in garlic sauce dinner is excellent, priced at $7.50.

Many expats who live in Corozal will tell you they get by comfortably on their Social Security income. And they are grateful for the inclusive community and many free social activities. So if you’re looking for an affordable place to live, on or near the sea, in an English-speaking Caribbean country, be sure to check out Belize’s Corozal District.

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