San Pedro Belize: Is it a Retirement Destination?

Hi IL,

I am very interested in the town of San Pedro on Ambergris Caye in Belize.

Can you tell me more about this town? The cost of living and what should I should expect to pay for rent, etc.

What reasons should I consider San Pedro in Belize?

Thanks,

Meg

Ann Kuffner – Belize Correspondent

ann kuffnerMeg,

San Pedro Town is the one and only town on the popular island of Ambergris Caye. I live on the island, about ½ mile from the town center. Note that expats choose to live on Ambergris Caye. San Pedro Town is just one factor they consider when evaluating the overall island lifestyle.

The initial reasons expats choose to move to Ambergris Caye are because the view of the aquamarine sea and the world’s second largest barrier reef is absolutely stunning. No matter where travel on the island the sea is nearby. So those who live here have easy access to a variety of sea related activities. The reef is less than one mile from shore, so it’s easy for divers, snorkelers and anglers to get to their favorite spot quickly. The constant sea breeze is a blessing for sailors, wind surfers and kite boarders.

Expats also pick this island because it offers more convenience and social options than Belize’s other expat hot spots. We can get most of what we need right here on the island. Every year more conveniences are available. We have reliable power, water, cable and Internet. There are many great restaurants and bars. This year a monthly gourmet Farmer’s Market was initiated. We have a theater north of the bridge. Events and parades are held often. The road north has now been paved, making it easy to get to beaches and resorts that used to be remote. The town board has budgeted to pave the road all the way south in 2017. And the San Pedranos are friendly and helpful in general, making it easier to fit in.

So I’d suggest that you broaden your interests to include the entire island of Ambergris Caye if you are considering living here. Everyone shops in town. And we do our banking there. But few expats actually live in town. It’s a noisy, bustling center of activity. During the day the traffic is intense. At night loud music booms from local clubs… The airstrip is right in town, so you’ll hear the planes coming and going every 30 minutes if you are on the south side of town. Wander more than a mile or two north or south of town and the scene changes. The decibel level drops, as well. So the majority of expats prefer to live at least a mile from town. Most live in condominium complexes that offer amenities, security, and social interaction.
 

Cost Of Living in San Pedro, Belize

 
The cost of living is fairly consistent wherever you live on the island. There main exception to that is that if you live far north or south of town you will spend more on transportation costs. If you want to live on the beach the cost for rent starts around $850/month for a studio apartment or one-bedroom unit in an older development. A two-bedroom, two-bath unit in a beach development starts at around $1100/month. These prices are common for older complexes such as Royal Palms, a few miles south of town, and the Cloisters, ¼ mile north of the bridge. If you rent off the beach, on the lagoon, or in a Belizean neighborhood, you might be able to find a place for $750/month, but there may not be security.

San Pedro, Belize

When you visit the island I’d suggest that you stay at a resort that is either in town, or walking distance to town. That way you’ll be able to walk and bike everywhere. That way you’ll easily be able to check out what’s available in town. Here are some options to consider in town: the Sun Breeze, Sun Breeze Suites, Ramon’s, or the Phoenix, depending on your budget. They are listed on Trip Advisor and most are on http://www.booking.com/ and https://www.hotels.com/. There are also some less expensive hotels that are about a 15-walk from the town center. Corona del Mar is a well-priced older hotel, on the beach, south of town. You’ll find many restaurants and businesses near these hotels. The local airport is right across from the Sun Breeze. One of my favorite restaurants, the Blue Water Grill, is in the Sun Breeze Hotel complex.

The cost of living on Ambergris Caye is the highest of any area in Belize. That’s partly because it’s a tourist island. Note that all goods must be shipped to the island, which increases the cost of everything. As a renter I’d suggest that you budget $3000/month, assuming you are spending at least $1000/month on rent. If you skip air conditioning, eat Belizean style, and are a homebody, you can get by on $2000/month as a renter. I know expats who own their own home who spend less than $1500/month. They don’t frequent bars or restaurants and live a simple lifestyle. But this is a very social island where expats often get together for a meal, a drink, a party, or a sunset cruise. There are many great restaurants and fun things to do. So it’s hard not to participate when you are invited to join in the fun activities, especially if you’re new to the island. So budget accordingly.

 

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