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Gwido Mar of Grupo Mar Realty Ltd. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Belize neighborhood – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI wouldn’t say “Belize is cheap.” I would say “Belize is affordable.” Comparing the United States to Belize, the cost of living in Belize is more affordable. Property taxes are cheap in Belize and the cost of living is more affordable.

If you are looking at it from an entire perspective, it depends on your lifestyle and whether you have kids and pets. Some people find Belize affordable and others don’t. Some people can live on a US $1,000 check per month in Belize but they might not have a car and insurance. If they want to have a car and insurance, or maybe dine out at the restaurants at night, they need more than $1,000.

For example, a retired couple in their early 60s who live inland, have one car, rent a 1,500 square foot, 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home and have health insurance would spend close to US $1,800 to $2,000 every month. This includes their car insurance, fuel cost and utilities. With this budget, they can also dine out, have fun on the weekends, and maybe do a bit of traveling.

The same couple living on an island or on the shore would spend about $2,500 to $3,000 a month because the cost of living is higher in these places. The reason for this is because everything has to be brought on a barge or on a boat, so there’s fuel surcharges. Therefore, groceries, food utilities and fuel cost more on the island compared to inland.

 
Rachel Jensen of Grand Baymen – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Life in Belize is generally more affordable than life in North America, but it can vary greatly depending on your lifestyle.  Most folks coming to Belize are looking for a simpler, more affordable lifestyle.  You can find an older, 1-bedroom rentals a few blocks from the beach for a few hundred dollars a month or a brand-new, beachfront North American quality 1-bedroom for a thousand dollars a month.
 
As you spend more time in the country, you adapt to the local culture, cuisine, and lifestyle.  Your “must-haves” tend to fade, and you begin to appreciate more of the local aspects.
Bentley Wildman of Consejo Shores – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Entrance to Consejo Shores, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingHow cheap it is in Belize It depends on how you want to live. Generally speaking, the cost of living in Belize is a less than living in most of the US and it would be definitely be less than living in most of Canada. For example, Florida is one of the cheaper states and I would say that, for many things, living in Belize costs a bit less than living in Florida. 
 
A lot of your costs depend on what you want to eat.  A lot of the food here is imported, but the local food is very good and also very cheap. For example, locally grown vegetables here in Belize are very cheap. The local products that are made here (of which there are more and more every day) are also a lot cheaper. 
 
I can give you an example for the price of vegetables, although I'm not quite sure what lots of the prices are in US and I don't really do the shopping; my wife does. The other day she bought five cucumbers for Belize $1.00 (US 50 cents) 
 
Probably your largest expense would be housing, and your costs here would again depend on how you want to live.  At the low end, there are wooden Mennonite-built homes here that are built remotely and then brought on site that are very cheap.   For example, they will build you a 15 foot by 15 little home with one bedroom, one bathroom, a living room, and a kitchen for about Belize $60,000 (US $30,000). 
 
Towards the middle range, where we live, in Consejo Shores in Corozal (the northern part of Belize), we can put you in touch with a contractor that can build you a house for a construction cost (not the land; just the house) of about US $75 to $85 per square foot.  This would be for block construction, usually 8 inch, 6 inch inside, including a rainwater cistern and a lot of the other basic tile work; essentially turnkey.  So, if you were to get a 2,000 square foot home, it would be about US $150,000 to $170,000, plus the land.  We deal mostly with half acre lots, which cost anywhere from  $22,500 to $165,000, depending on location.  
Karen Wilkinson of Corozal Belize Properties – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Corozal Bay, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn my opinion, everything in Belize is cheap except for electricity. I have not paid an electric bill in the US for 8 years, but I believe that the cost in the US over the last 8 years has gone up and should continue to rise.  My most recent electric bill in Belize was $196 Belize, which translates to about US $98 and that powers my entire house – fans, two refrigerators, a large freezer, and my dryer. 
 
Recently, I replaced the calipers, brake pads, and motor oil in my 2008 Toyota Tundra. I brought the parts in from the States. I have a mechanic in a little village about 15 minutes from where I live in Corozal. He came and picked up my car, took it home, had it for 2 days, made the repairs, and brought it back to me. The total cost to install all those parts was $180 Belize or US $90. That would probably cost at least US $500 if I had it done in the US. 
 
Right now I am working on a rental on the seafront with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The gentleman who is interested in it was astonished to find that it is available for US $850 a month plus utilities. That is way less than it would be in a comparable place in the US.  
 
(Corozal Bay, Belize, pictured)
Mark Leonard of Paradise Found Belize Real Estate and Development – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Blackbeards, at Cerros Sands, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIf you stay out of the tourism areas (for example, Ambergris Caye or Placencia), yes, Belize is cheap.
 
Let’s just take Corozal in Northern Belize, as an example. You can get a hotel room ranging from US $20 to the most expensive hotel or resort, at $125 a night. The medium range for nice places would roughly be about $65 to $75 and the low end is $20 to $40. The guesthouses are comfortable places. The Sea Breeze Hotel, for instance, is around $25 a night and I think for 2 people, it costs an extra $5 or $10. 
 
There are much smaller resorts in Belize. They are not mega resorts like you would see in Cancun. Most will have 8 - 40 units. The rooms are nice, usually showcasing the arts of Belize. If you are not in a tourist spot expect to pay on an average $65 a night.
 
If you have US $2,000 a month in income, you can qualify for the Qualified Retirement Program in Belize, with which you could live really well. The most expensive place I have ever rented in the country was $500 a month and these were nice places near the water. So at $2,000 a month, somebody can get by pretty well.
 
In the San Francisco Bay area, where I used to live, of course, you would be talking about $5,000 a month at least just to get by. 
 
The lifestyle in Belize with a budget of $2,000 will be different than of course the San Francisco Bay area.  Everybody has different standards but having lived in that area 5K was enough to do pretty well. If you come to Belize and buy your home, well your bills will be very low.
 
But again, the area I’m talking about is Corozal because in Ambergris Caye, you have to raise that budget because your rent on the Cayes as well as Placencia will be a little bit higher. You could find places for $500 a month but there are places over there for much more. 
 
Nightly rentals at $65 to $70 in Corozal, in Ambergris Caye, you would probably pay $125 to $150 for the same accommodation. In Placencia you would have about the same accommodation that you would have in the north. If you want to be with a lot of tourists, you have to pay tourist prices. 
 
(Pictured is Blackbeards, at Cerros Sands.  Cheers!)
Phil Hahn of Carmelita Gardens – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Farmer's Market Cayo District Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingBy US standards, you will find that things in Belize will provide about a 75% savings, but by Central American standards, Belize is not cheap. Belize is more expensive than other Central American countries. People say that it’s the English-speaking premium that you’re paying. It’s an English-speaking country, it’s close to the US, it’s got a great banking and corporate system but the cost here is less than the English-speaking Caribbean.
 
If you sort Belize into “island” and “inland”, you will find that inland is less expensive than the islands. That has to do primarily with the fact that just to get supplies and everything out to the islands, everything has to be barged or put on a plane and this adds cost to supply chain. So inland is going to be less expensive. It might be a little more expensive on the mainland if you are in the touristy areas like Placencia down in the south because this area is geared towards tourists and higher-end retirees.
 
Strictly speaking, we’re in the Cayo District.  San Ignacio and Santa Elena are the twin towns that make up the hub of the district.  In Belize, if you say “I’m going to Cayo”, they interpret it to mean that you’re going to San Ignacio / Santa Elena.  It’s also because San Ignacio / Santa Elena has the second largest population base. (Belize City is the biggest, then the twin towns.) Then there is the Spanish Lookout, which is a very progressive Mennonite community nearby.  (The Mennonites came to Belize about 60 or 70 years ago.) The economics of having a large population in this area helps to keep the cost of the Cayo area down. They have more supply and demand economics in this area than you have in other areas that are more remote, so it is less expensive to bring in goods on a per unit basis.  Belize is a very small country with a very dispersed and small population for the most part and because of that, you don’t have the efficiencies of scale for inexpensive goods. But when you have more people, it’s less expensive to bring in goods and that is why, all things being equal, it is less expensive to live in a more populated area.
 
I think you’ll find that the Cayo is just an easier place to live and you would find that you could get the goods that you are looking for a lot easier out here and the prices are going to be the same or perhaps lower at the farmer’s market (which is all week long). Saturday is the really big day at the market.  Our market here is the largest market in the country so you have all sorts of produce coming in and able to buy items that are not really a dime a dozen, but they’re pretty close. 
 
(The farmer's market in San Ignacio, Belize pictured.)
Jaseth Bassaragh of The Alpha & Omega Group – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Dickies sponsor concert at the Grand Ole Opry – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingBelize is very cheap and very affordable.
 
The cost of living I find for the necessities of life, which are food, shelter, and clothing, are very cheap in Belize. If you look at the labels that are mostly being worn in the US, for example, you will notice that they are not made in the US anymore. They are made in different places, such as Mexico, which is next door to Belize, Guatemala, and different parts of the world. At one time, Belize had a thriving textile business. Some of the clothing ends up in the Belizean market, like Dickies. So the price that you would pay for Dickies, for example, would not be the same price in Belize as it would be in the US.
 
Accommodation and rentals of course vary from region to region, but, for example, in Belmopan, you can rent a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom, fully furnished house with 2-stories for $1,700 Belize (US $850) per month. This house would have a solid cement structure, fence and gate for security purposes. You cannot typically get that in the US.
 
I can compare because I personally have a tenant who is paying US $1,100 for a one-bedroom unit in Queens, New York. For a similar place that I mentioned in Belize, you would they pay at least three times that amount if you were in Queens.
 
Healthcare is going to be definitely cheaper in Belize. Personally, I believe that it is better to have your dental and optical attended to in Belize.  I fly to Belize to see my dentist and to have my eyes dealt with. You will get nice frames for your glasses, from wherever you want such as France, Italy, wherever, for a fraction of what we pay in the US. It’s amazing.
 
Medicines? Oh please don’t get me started. I can only speak from personal experience. I remember two years ago, I had to go in to see my gynecologist in Belize because I’ve used him for years and I go nowhere else. He did some blood work on me. I paid $145 Belize (US $72.50) for the whole thing because I was a little bit concerned that I was borderline diabetic. The doctor’s visit was $40 Belize, which is US $20. So even though you have health insurance and typically people do not worry so much about those things in Belize, you could afford the care that you need on your own dime.
 
When it comes to transportation, if you want a car you need to import into Belize or buy it there because vehicles are not manufactured in Belize. This would be a significant cost to you. In terms of ongoing maintenance for insurance and upkeep, the cost in Belize comparatively speaking is at least half, for example, for tires, and for servicing. I know because I had to go through doing the same thing when I had to buy tires for my vehicle in Belize and when I looked at what my husband pays for tires in the US. The cost of two tires in the US is the cost of four tires in Belize.
 
(Dickie, which manufactures clothing in Belize, sponsoring a concert at the Grand Ole Opry, pictured.)
Ginny Ophof of Rainforerst Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Woman in Belize holding Flor de Izote – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingBelize is cheap if you live like a Belizean, as much as possible, i.e., forget the smoked salmon, imported wines and deli treats. That is not to say that you should eat rice and beans every day, but do stick to local products, and shop at the open-air markets.  (To the right I'm pictured holding a Belizean delicacy treat, the flor de izote, which, in addition to being beautiful, is delicious.) 
 
Funny experience I had whilst visiting family in the US and Europe recently: shopping at whole food stores to get healthy produce and products there can get expensive, but here in Belize it is the other way around. The expensive stuff is the junk food, such as a bag of chips, imported chocolate bars and candy. It is better in Belize to stick to nutrient rich plantain chips, cassava chips and pork rinds (nutrient rich???!!... still love 'em) that are home-made and can be found at the market or with street vendors.
 
Electricity in Belize is expensive: US 21 cents for 1-kilowatt hour of current.  To give you an idea of how that compares, the average in the US is about 12.5 cents, with the highest in the US in Connecticut and New York at around 18 cents. Hence, AC in the whole home in Belize is a luxury and usually reserved for bedrooms only. As for the rest of the house, we do a lot of "porch living", where one catches the breeze and which will include a hammock for a siesta time or just hanging out.
 
Gas is also expensive...a gallon of regular unleaded gas is around US $5.00, but local transportation such as buses and taxis are very cheap.
 
So, in a nutshell: enjoy the country's bountiful fresh, tropical fruits, exotic veggies and the daily staple of rice and bean with stew chicken.

Be one with nature, whether in the rainforest jungle or on the beach, with plenty of "outdoor living."
Apolo Caliz of Boris Mannsfeld & Associates – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Yes, Belize is very affordable.  Being a born Belizean I can tell you that living here is inexpensive. We are not used to everything being bought at a store or eating out every night. In our very own household the meals are prepared and the clothes are sewed, so to us everything is inexpensive. Now to someone moving to Belize, it may seem different, being used to the “fast Life”: meals on the go, fast Internet, 1,000 channels on TV, etc.
 
Here’s some prices to compare:
  • On meals you will spend about US $20 on all three meals.
  • Internet connectivity is expensive compared to the USA.
  • Cable is about US $20 / month which includes all the major channels from the USA: HBO, CINEMAX, USA, CNN, ABC, NBC ETC.
  • The very low taxes we pay serve to bring down the overall cost of living substantially.  Taxes are next to nothing here.

If you're interested in Cost of Living in other places, look here...

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