For such a small country, Belize packs a big punch in terms of what it offers expats.
It tops IL’s list for ease of integration, with expats reporting that they fit easily into the local community there. It’s friendly and welcoming and, as a former British colony, English is Belize’s official language.
Financially, it’s a country that makes sense, too. Cost of living is extremely low, about half of what you’d pay in the rest of the Caribbean or the U.S. (The Belize dollar is pegged 2:1 against the U.S. dollar.)
The government is unobtrusive and actively encourages foreigners to settle here. It offers a “qualified retired persons” program, which gives significant tax incentives to those who become permanent residents of Belize.
But while all those things are big draws, what makes Belize so attractive is the freedom it offers expats. You can do things your way in Belize.
Want to get back to a simpler lifestyle? It’s very easy to do in Belize.
— If you’ve always wanted the good life by the beach, the eastern coast, hugged by the Caribbean Sea, gives you plenty of options.
Chuck Bilbe and his wife, Jamie, found their perfect spot in Corozal and have seen their lives transform.
“What we like the most about our move to Belize is that we can now have a lifestyle like Florida in the 1940s, but at a price we can afford. Our stress level is down and our satisfaction with life is definitely up. We’re eating better, sleeping better, and enjoying social activity much more now than we did before.
“Living next to the water is something we had always wanted to do but could never afford before now.”
— Chris Harris and his wife, Sue, moved to the Toledo District of Belize in 2005, a frontier land where you can still carve out your own kind of lifestyle.
“We eat fish and lobster and conch. I catch snappers off our dock whenever we need them,” Chris says. “We grow herbs, tomatoes, melons, cucumbers, papayas, coconuts, and bananas. And we have chickens and ducks for meat and eggs and to supplement the local market. Our oranges are wonderful, so we have no shortage of fresh OJ.”
And though Chris and Sue are largely self-reliant, they’re not lonely.
“We are in a secluded place, but not isolated,” he explains. “We suspect we have shown some that living off the grid is in fact, pretty easy, and that our lifestyle encompasses most of the good things in life.”
— Move away from the coast to the Cayo District and a more adventurous lifestyle could be just on your doorstep. Diane and David Hisle, who bought a 15-acre parcel of land (at $1,000 an acre) just outside the riverside town of San Ignacio, have their pick of things to do in Belize.
“Traveling inland to San Ignacio opens the door to a totally different experience. Iguanas, toucans, and Mayan ruins are as much a part of Belize as the diving, snorkeling, and ﬁshing that the country is known for,” says Diane.
“You’re only one-and-a-half hours from the barrier reef and numerous cayes. We have the local Mayan ruins, and the Tikal ruins in Guatemala are just a short drive. For shopping, ﬁne dining, or a change of culture, a drive to Flores, Guatemala, or Chetemal, Mexico, takes just over an hour.”
That freedom to live life on your terms is waiting for you right now in Belize.