After spending the past few decades building career success, retirement is now on the horizon. You may be dreaming about how - and where - you’d like to live out your retired years. If you envision living in an environment that feels like you are on a perpetual tropical vacation, then Belize should be on the top of your list.
Let’s look at the many reasons why Americans and Canadians are choosing to buy retirement homes in Belize.
English is the Official Language of Belize
Belize is the only Central American country that has English as its official language. It’s a small nation with a population of less than 400,000. Still, it's known for its fascinating diversity of cultures, ethnicities, and languages spoken, including Spanish, Mayan, Garifuna, and Kriol, which is a form of English that almost all Belizeans speak. While English may be the country’s official language, most Belizeans speak several languages.
You can get by with English everywhere in Belize, and all official paperwork, signs, and documents are all in English. Because Belize is the only country in this region with English as its official language, it appeals to North Americans who are drawn to Central American culture and want to live here without a language barrier.
Retirement is Affordable in Belize
Compared to living in most U.S. cities, Belize is more affordable. According to Numbeo, which is a crowdsourced database of consumer price information from countries around the world, the cost of living in Belize was 30.86% lower than the average U.S. city (minus rent), as of June 2019. The actual costs of living in Belize will vary based on location and lifestyle. Still, many expat retirees can achieve a nice comfort level for far less money in Belize than they would living out their retirement in the U.S.
Living expenses are lower in Belize for many reasons. With food, you can save a lot of money by choosing local meat and produce over more expensive imported American options. You can eat out and enjoy a local dish, like stewed chicken, rice, and beans, for about five dollars. Imported liquor and wine are more expensive, but if you stick with local alcoholic beverages, it'll cost you about two to three dollars per drink.
While some expenses may be less than they are in the U.S., like your cell phone plan, internet, and cable TV, other payments are about the same as the U.S., such as electricity. According to International Living Magazine, you can rent a 1-bedroom/2-bathroom condo on Ambergris Caye, which is one of Belize’s most expensive areas for retirees to live, for less than $3,000 a month, covering all living costs. Other areas, such as Northern Belize, can be even more affordable than Ambergris Caye for those looking to retire in a less crowded area.
If you enjoy a laidback lifestyle, fresh local cuisine, a casual wardrobe and attitude, then Belize is undoubtedly an affordable option for American retirees.
Belize is Close to the U.S. with Many Direct Flights
Ideally, you want to retire somewhere that is easily accessible for family and friends to visit. This is another benefit Belize offers American and Canadian retirees, as it’s only a two-hour flight from Houston and less than five hours if flying from New York.
Getting to Belize is easy as there are many major airlines that fly directly into Phillip S.W. Goldson International Airport, located in Belize City. There are regular nonstop flights offered from New York, Miami, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Charlotte, Denver, Toronto, and more.
Major airlines that provide service from these cities to Belize include American, United, Delta, US Airways, Southwest, and WestJet.
Belize Offers Communities of Like-Minded People
Everyone feels welcome and at peace in Belize. There are many communities, such as Orchid Bay, Belize, which are filled with North American retirees. Thanks to the year-round warm climate, you’ll spend most of your days outside enjoying the spectacular scenery and engaging in outdoor activities. Your nights will be spent socializing and making friends effortlessly as everyone speaks English. Belize's laidback attitude provides a stress-free, social environment for retirees, which also benefits your overall health.
Belize Offers Many Activities
One thing’s for sure – you’ll never get bored living in Belize. You can spend your days enjoying its gorgeous beaches, exotic rainforests, Mayan ruins, mystical caves, fishing, diving, hiking, snorkeling, and so much more. Belize is home to the second-largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, and you can easily cross the border into Mexico to experience even more activities.
Belize Has Beautiful Weather
There's a good reason why Americans and Canadians choose to retire in warm-weather destinations. The more we age, the colder our bodies feel. As Belize has an average high temperature of 84 degrees F all-year-round, you can expect to wear shorts, summer dresses, and flip flops daily.
Belize has subtropical weather, which means there’s a dry season (November to May) and a rainy season (June to October). But even during its rainy season, there are just short bursts of rain – mostly at night - which pass quickly.
The northern part of Belize, where Orchid Bay is located, is the driest and coolest part of the country. It receives only a third of the rainfall that southern Belize receives.
Belize Has a Qualified Retirement Program
Belize has an excellent program for retirees called the Qualified Retirement Program (QRP). As part of this program, qualified retirees are exempt from paying taxes on foreign earned income, and can import all their personal goods, including cars, boats, and more - tax and duty-free.
To qualify, retirees must be at least 45 years old, have a pension or other regular income of at least $2,000 a month or $24,000 a year, and live in Belize at least one month (30 consecutive days) per year.
Belize is Not Overdeveloped
Belize offers a picturesque backdrop, which includes sparkling blue waters, soft powdery sand, exotic rainforests, and historic archaeological sites. It’s one of the last remaining countries in Central America that has persevered its pristine nature, with over a third of its land set aside as a national park or protected reserve.
There are many reasons which make Belize a desirable destination for American and Canadian retirees. It’s affordable, it’s easy to get to, and you don’t need to master a new language. But most importantly, it offers a peaceful, tropical setting for you to enjoy your retirement, and it gives your kids and grandkids a place visit during school breaks and holidays, while making lasting memories together.
If you are interested in retiring in Belize, contact Orchid Bay to learn more about the community’s homes, exquisite scenery, first-class amenities, and modern conveniences.