An Expat's Guide to Shopping and Shipping in Belize

When I first moved to Belize the standard of shopping here was one of the few downsides to living here, —I once had to drive two hours to find basic matching cookware—but over the past few years things have really improved.

You can find most any goods in Belize nowadays, the things that are harder to find are specialty items such as low-carb foods, some make-up brands, specialty clothing and shoes, and small parts for electronics. You can buy the basic electronics and all of your appliance needs in the country.

It is important to note that Belize is an extremely non-materialistic country. It attracts people that want to get away from that “keep up with the Joneses” culture. It attracts people who are very nature-based and there isn't much indoor living. It looks strange here to have fancy things.

You will find plenty of expats in their dream homes on the beach, and some with as luxurious of an inside as you find in the U.S., but the norm is to live in a more simple-type housing with large verandas for the sea breeze.

There are few times in the year where you spend lots of time inside, and it is not the norm here to walk around with fancy clothes, bags, shoes, or even a fancy car or golf cart. Even if you're not looking for a minimalist lifestyle, it will impact you over time and you will find that you are simplifying what you buy. It is one of the wonderful side positives of living here. You become a minimalist whether you looked for that or not. It is very freeing.

Even on trips back to the U.S. now, I am overwhelmed by the difference by living in a consumer culture. This is a truly unique trait of living in Belize, and although it isn't for everyone, for those looking to simplify life, and get away from a consumer base lifestyle, Belize should be on your list.

Of course, your shopping options are going to vary depending on what part of the country you live in. The most popular expat areas are Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, Placencia, and the Cayo area. I split my time between Ambergris Caye and Placencia.

If you live out in Cayo, you will have an interesting array of Mennonite goods to choose from. You'll see Mennonite would carvings and furniture all over the country. There are many places to get mostly utilitarian items.

Ambergris Caye has more tourist-based shops, and Placencia has a tiny percentage of the same tourist shops. Belize City has some huge department stores and furniture stores that can deliver throughout the country.

Recently there’s been an increase in the shipping options from the U.S. Amazon has opened up shipping directly to Belize. There are also shippers, one of them being Belizean Queen, who can get your goods from the U.S. to Belize in around two weeks. I can order right from Amazon to their Houston warehouse and it is very simple. They will contact you to let you know the amount for duty and shipping and deliver it to your door.

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