Canadian, Chris Applebe has been living full-time in Belize for the last seven years. Home is Placencia, a 16-mile tropical peninsula in the south of the country—a hotspot for both expats and tourists alike.
“Previously, I worked for Sotheby’s in Canada, in sales and marketing for new project sales; mostly ski resorts,” says Chris. “For me, the main reason for moving to Belize was the weather. I was tired of winter, and skied out. Canadians work all year to spend one week in the tropics and I figured, why not all the time?”
People flock to Placencia every year thanks to average, year-round temperatures in the 80s F, the beach, the gorgeous views of the Mayan mountains over the lagoon, and the ability to rent or own anything, from a simple wood beach shack on stilts, to luxury homes.
Chris has a few years to spare until retirement, but he didn’t want to wait until then to start enjoying a year-round outdoor life. He transitioned to work in Belize in the same field of real estate, and moved to Placencia when it still had a dirt road into town, and was barely known in the tourism sector. He spent many years living in cheap, wooden houses on the lagoon. Although he liked experiencing the rustic side of Placencia, he has also enjoyed the ability to live in progressively more upscale beach homes.
Chris currently rents a luxury two-bedroom, two-bathroom beach condo overlooking the lagoon for $1,000 a month. “My home is in a beautiful marina with lagoon and sunset views. It’s relatively new and spacious. Every morning I open the curtains and there’s sunshine.”
For expats moving to Belize now, the property options are endless. Chris has been able to be a part of this housing boom in Belize, and he’s now planning his first home purchase in Belize. Many expats rent for quite a while before buying, and indeed there are endless rental options.
Buying on the beach in Belize is expensive—like everywhere in the world—but Placencia is unique in that you can still enjoy all the benefits of water views at a much lower cost—thanks to the tropical lagoon. “My plan for the future is to build duplexes on the lagoon similar to what we currently live in. This is ideal for boat storage and enjoying great sunsets.”
Many expats come for the boating, fishing, and water activities, and these are readily accessible from the back door. Although some expats may initially feel they need to be right on the beach, they soon discover you can get a lot more for your money when you move a little away, and you’re always going to be just a few steps to the ample public beach.
Placencia is known for its beaches, which are tranquil, never crowded, and lined with palm trees everywhere you look. There is a thriving expat population with activities every night, and a slower-paced lifestyle.
“Life in Belize is simple,” says Chris. “Even though I work full-time, it feels like I’m on holiday. I no longer deal with many of the First-World hassles like traffic or crowds. People are also very friendly and easygoing, which makes everything seem easier.”
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