Belize is a country that ticks an awful lot of boxes on a would-be expatriate’s list of ‘desirable attributes.’ For example, it’s just so damn stunning - you have paradise beaches: deserted, white sand, palm fringed – you know, the sort that dreams are made of! Then there’s the ocean – deep azure blue, warm, gentle and home to amazing reefs and abundant and fascinating wildlife…
You’re surrounded by rainforests and thriving and bustling towns; you’re sharing the nation with the likes of Jaguar, Keel-Billed Toucan, Baird’s Tapir, Black Howler Monkeys, Red Eyed Tree Frogs and perhaps the most visually striking bird in the world, the Scarlet Macaw. What’s more, Belize manages to match and marry sufficient sophistication with fair quantities of laidback charm to create an unrivalled place to live.
Can you imagine your new life living in Belize? You could sunbathe on your own terrace overlooking the lush flora of the tropical landscape, wander down to the beach and snorkel away an hour marvelling at the magic beneath the waves of the Caribbean, before taking a stroll back through town and eating some of the freshest, most delicious seafood in the world, and sharing a glass of something potent with your new found friends – all of whom speak English! Sounds pretty dream-like doesn’t it? Well, read on to discover how your life could dramatically improve if you moved to live in Belize!
Belize is officially an English speaking country and it is still part of the British Commonwealth to this day! Whilst the majority of citizens speak Spanish or Creole, English is widely understood, it’s the official business language, and it makes for a smooth and easy transition for Brits and Americans who want to take up residence. The nation has a retirement incentive programme in place that can make living in Belize even more favourable too.
If you’re over the age of 45 you can apply, you can then bring your spouse and dependent children with you. You have to be in receipt of an income earned externally to Belize – so from a pension, or if you work online or have a business ongoing back home you could qualify perhaps. Your income needs to exceed $2,000 a month and be certifiable…finally you will have to undergo a background check as well to ensure you’re not running from the law for a new life in Belize! If you qualify the incentives include paying no tax on income you earn from outside the nation, and being able to move all your personal effects to Belize without having to pay import duty.
So, imagine now that you can live tax free in this paradise! The things in Belize’s favour just keep stacking up! The cost of living day-to-day, and including food, fuel and amenities is relatively cheap compared to the UK or Western Europe…however, the weak pound has of course had an impact for Britons, and Belize is certainly not the dirt cheap country it once was for that reason, and for the fact that it has increased in international appeal – and an increase in appeal tends to force prices up.
Property in Belize can still be acquired for a small cash outlay – but then you’re looking at something more basic and rural, rather than the dream of a magnificent house within reach or even overlooking the ocean. To bag a prime property you’re going to need significant cash. A quick flick through the real estate section of the paper this morning in Belize and I can tell you that a one storey, 2 bed, 2 bath, relatively newly constructed property is for sale for USD 119,000 – it’s in Sarawee Village just 3 miles north of Dangriga Town and the municipal airport. It would make a great first home in Belize and set you back about £75,000 in English money! However, for your dream villa, you’re looking at paying in the region of at least £375,000 for a fabulous villa with 3 master suites, a pool and views over the ocean. It’s private, it’s elegant, it’s fully furnished and it’s ready to move in to – and personally I’d love to put in an offer!
Belize is not a country where you struggle with corruption or bureaucracy – although both certainly exist as they do in most countries in the world! But the corruption is limited to big deals and if you don’t get involved, you won’t get stung. Bureaucracy on the other hand is a necessary evil, but one that patience will help you out with! If you struggle with something in Belize, the good news is the people in authority are usually accessible so you can sit down and fathom a way through. Unlike in most nations where you’re dealing with pen and paper pushers who love watching people squirm before them, in Belize it’s a straight matter of fact that you have to fill in paperwork, but that you will be assisted to do so!
Belize has wealth – not vast amounts of it and it is not evenly distributed across all people, but then other than in a fictional communist country, where <>are all people equal?! And the fact that Belize has wealth means that it is in a strong position, and it is not dependent on people like you moving in. This means you’re more likely to be afforded the space you need to live in peace in Belize – unlike certain other countries in the world where the expat is the cash cow to be ripped off and plundered for being so stupid to move in in the first place!
So, as you can perhaps begin to realise, Belize has it all – it has sophistication and class, charm and culture, it has real people, incredible scenic backdrops to bustling communities, it has the weather, the lifestyle and it affords many people an opportunity to live a charmed life. If you’d never thought of it before – why not take a trip and see if in fact Belize could be your perfect place to live, work or retire abroad…you will not be disappointed by what you find, even if Belize just becomes a place where you regularly holiday from now on.