Caribbean Beach Dreams Found in Belize

We’re here in Belize working on an International Living special project (details below). Although we’ve been traveling to Belize off and on for more than two decades now, it’s surprising how much we’re learning.

Here are some things you may not know about Belize:

The official language is English although almost everyone here also speaks Kriol (a very fun language to try to learn) and Spanish.

The currency is the Belize dollar which is traded 2:1 to the U.S. dollar. And the U.S. dollar is accepted everywhere. Last night, dinner for four of us was $50 Belize. I only had a mixture of Belize and U.S. currency to make up the US$25 total, so I left that and we were good to go.

Measurements here are in the Imperial System (Belize is the former British colony of British Honduras). So you needn’t puzzle your brain with metric conversions—everything here is measured in inches, feet, yards, and acres.

So what are we learning that we didn’t know before? Mostly we’re finding that long-term rentals and property prices aren’t nearly as expensive as we thought. (If you long for a Caribbean lifestyle, Belize lives up to its reputation as the least-expensive English-speaking destination in the Caribbean.)

Yesterday on Ambergris Caye (Belize’s most popular tourist and expat destination and therefore the country’s hottest real estate market) we saw beachfront condos renting from $750 a month and condos for sale right on the water for $199,000.

My favorite home was an expansive brand-new, three-bedroom villa on the north end of the island. Right on the waterfront (and with a gentle, sandy-bottomed beach) it’s one of the best-built tropical homes we’ve ever seen with every modern amenity. Functional and sturdy, yet contemporary chic and loaded with mahogany cabinets and accents…including a massive cathedral ceiling. An expansive terrace overlooks the pool. All this for less than $500,000.

Today, we’re off to Belize City and points beyond (it’s just a 15-minute plane ride from the island to the mainland). We’ll spend time exploring Belize’s pastoral countryside and head farther south to more beaches on the Placencia peninsula. We’ll keep you posted with what we find—with Belize there are pleasant surprises around every curve in the sandy road.

Editor’s note: In tropical, English-speaking Belize, “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem” is the perfect tag line. Life is relaxed and independent spirits thrive. You can live well for $21,000 a year. And in the all-new Blueprint for a New Life in Belize, we take you by the hand and show you exactly how. It’s all waiting for you right here.

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