Dedicated to providing you with credible information about living overseas
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroad

Questions & Answers

Q & A Menu Q & A BY TOPIC
To navigate, use menu bar to the left
Cristina Johnson – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
I live in Toledo, often cited as the "Forgotten District" because it is not as developed as the rest of the country.
My cost of living is (BZD)*:
  • $200 / month rent
  • $25 / month electric
  • $20 / month water
  • $30 / month propane
  • $55 / month Internet (slowest speed but can watch videos, do video chat and download movies/music)
  • Estimates:
    • $200 / month cigarettes
    • $50 / month dog/cat food
    • $300 / month food
    • $200 / month misc.
I live a simple lifestyle. If I wanted to, I could live for far less. My house is a concrete house that I rent that was vacant for awhile so it needs repairs but it's low-maintenance and if I need something done, I can do it.
The real thing to consider is what kind of lifestyle you want. If you want a lifestyle that you can get in the US for cheap, Belize is a great option. If you want a completely different lifestyle, well that's what I have. It's simple, fresh, organic, honest and authentic.
And I love it.
*Editor's note: "BZD" stands for "Belizean dollar", which is pegged at 2 BZD to 1 US dollar.  To convert the prices above to US dollars, divide by 2.
Mark Leonard of Paradise Found Belize Real Estate and Development – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Boats at Cerros Sand, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingPersonally, I have lived in San Pedro Town (the principle town on Ambergris Caye), Ranchito (Corozal), San Ignacio (Cayo), Corozal Town and now I'm living at Cerros Sands in the Corozal District.
San Pedro has by far much more expensive, food and building materials, as well as real estate.  Corozal and San Ignacio are very close in prices. If you want to live near the sea in Corozal, you will pay a bit more. The homes I rented in Corozal by the sea went between 400-500 US a month.
(Boats at Cerros Sand, Belize, pictured.)
Irma Quiroz-Yuque of Belize Vacation Homes – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Cottage in Bullet Tree, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe cost of living in Belize is very inexpensive. However, how much it will cost you personally depends on your nature.
In my personal experience my husband and I were living on over US $200,000 per year, so we were used to a very high lifestyle.  Now, we’re living on a pension and so just to kind of show you our pension of about US $1,500 a month, and I can report that two people can live extremely well on US $1,500 a month in Belize. This monthly budget would include utilities, car expenses, travel expenses, food, and entertainment. So, most people could live on their Social Security checks here in Belize.
As an example, let’s review the budget of a couple living on their combined income of Social Security living in Belize.  For those who rent, their rent could run maybe about US $600 per month for a very nice home. Their utilities would run about BZ $60 (US $30) for electricity, BZ $30 (US $15) for water and about BZ $15 (US$7.50) for butane gas.  The cost for food depends on if our example couple goes out or if they just went to the farmer’s market, bought the food and cooked at home, in which case, they will probably spend about maybe BZ $200 to $300 (US $100 to $150) for food.  The cost for entertainment depends on what they like to do.  There are no movie theaters in Belize. There are not very many shopping malls. So “entertainment” consists of just going to the local hangout, drinking a couple of rum and Cokes, perhaps some Belikin beer if you’d like, or whatever they like for appetizers.
Relative to car expenses, you don’t really need a car here in Belize. If they did have a car, the gas does run a little bit more.  We pay about BZ $9 (US $4.50) per gallon.  Car insurance is very, very low, about BZ $350 (US $175) per year and that’s on a newer car, like maybe V8 or V6, high-end SUV. So it’s very minimal. They wouldn’t have very many other expenses. There are no yearly income taxes to pay. There is no house insurance to pay.  As a result, you can live very, very comfortable on the budget I just described. You can also have a maid once week on that income.
If you bought your house outright, you would have very low property taxes, perhaps as low as BZ $10 (US $5) per year. It can go as high as maybe only BZ $800 (US $400) per year and that’s on a mansion.  
(Cottage in Bullet Tree, Belize, pictured.)
Walter T. (Tom) Fisher of Corozal Belize Properties – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Expats in Corozal meet near the water – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living“What’s the cost of liviung in Belize” is an often asked question. I’ll try to answer it as best I can, from my “Corozal” perspective. Disclaimer: I can’t speak as well to other regions of Belize, but Corozal is generally regarded as one of the most affordable places in Belize…..
"Basic" lifestyle. Mennonite 20' x 30 or 40" cabin on a lot, with garden, landscaped, etc, turnkey starts at about $50 K to 75 K USD including land, etc. You'll see prices way under that, but don't get too excited. It doesn't include land, tax, destination charges, options, electric, plumbing. Much like buying a basic car without the tires and engine. Some people handy enough can do their own finish work. But, it is an adjustment in lifestyle not acceptable generally, but to the heartiest of expats. It requires doing with less in the way of material goods, just based on sheer home size, and is not the lifestyle here of most. You don't eat out much, buy based on price, if you have internet, it is basic. I'm not judging it; I rather admire the minimalist approach. Without a car, using transportation, etc, I hear tell people live on about $1000 to 1250 USD a month for a couple in these situations. But be advised, this is a no frills, and by most ex-pat standards, a "rustic" lifestyle.
The "middle ground" that many expats fall into here is a lifestyle that is comfortable, and relatively affordable, by (US anyway) standards. This would include a concrete home for between $100 to 200 K US, depending on lot and home size, location to the water (waterfront, forget about it!) and finishes. Towards the upper end of that range, and maybe a little over for really "tricked out" stuff like granite counter tops, high end finishes, etc.) the homes approach nice, comfortable US home standards. People in this range usually have cars, dine out occasionally, use AC moderately, have moderate speed internet, and live on budgets of $1,700 to $2,500 USD a month depending on personal choices. I'd say the vast majority of ex-pats here (Corozal) fall into this range. I'm squarely in this price range of lifestyle.
Above $250 K, you can begin to look at better level properties that in some cases, exceed US standards. The whole package, except.... that elusive waterfront. The fact of the matter is that waterfront here has become, well, only for the pretty well off. Lots on the water usually add $100 K MINIMUM to any housing choice, and sometimes, a lot more than that. Unless, you are one of those hearty souls willing to live in more remote locations where electric, good roads, etc. are, well, optional. And, if you can afford a home in these price ranges, discussions about monthly budgets are probably somewhat moot, but let's call it $3,000 to $4,500 USD a month. That would mean you don't monitor the use of AC particularly, have fast internet, eat what you want and when you want it, drive a vehicle where and when you want to, regardless of gas mileage, etc. and $5 (USD) a gallon gas in Belize isn't of particular concern. You get your goodies on the internet, and have them shipped. Again, not putting it down, just a lifestyle observation many of us here is well, uh, above our pay grade......
That may give you some general sense, maybe not. We've made modifications over the years, both to cut, and add cost to our budget. (Faster internet, additional fridge, garden lights, etc, etc.). It will, as with anywhere, depend on what you want, and what you can afford, but I hope that gives you some general sense. 
(Pictured: getting together with friends in Corozal in a beautiful environment is priceless... and free.)
John Acott of RE/MAX Belize Property Center – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Barbecue ribs at Fuego Bar & Grill Belize, San Ignacio, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe cost of living in Belize varies a lot depending on where you are. In San Pedro (the principle town on Ambergris Caye), it is really expensive as far as I am concerned, and San Ignacio, here in the Cayo District, is very cheap. You can pay almost twice the amount in a restaurant in San Pedro and Placencia (a higher end peninsula with lots of expats) as you can here in Cayo.
One of the ways to figure cost of living is to discuss the cost of going to a restaurant.  You can go into very different price ranges. If you want to buy local food, you can spend as little as US $2.50 for rice and beans, or if you wanted something fancy like a shrimp salad or something like that, you would pay about $8 in a restaurant here in San Ignacio. There are different priced restaurants in Cayo and all of these are cheaper than the ones in Placencia or San Pedro. 
In Belize, property is far cheaper inland than it is on the shore. It is much, much cheaper here in the Cayo District than in the cayes. A standard, 2,000 square foot, 3-bedroom, 2-bath house in the Cayo District in a fairly nice area would be about $150,000. In San Pedro in Ambergris Caye or Placencia, it would be double or triple the amount depending on the location.  In addition, in these areas, it wouldn’t be a house. It would probably be a condo, because there are not many residential houses on Ambergris Caye for sale.
Relative to the price to purchase food, most of the local food is grown in the Cayo District, so it’s a lot cheaper here because, in order to get to San Pedro, it gets transported to the cayes by boat and taken by road. San Pedro in Ambergris Caye is sand, so nothing grows there. Everything comes from Cayo. 
In the market, for example, you would pay about US 50 cents for an apple, $1.50 for a head of lettuce. Then if you go for groceries, you’re paying $1 for a loaf of bread from a Chinese store. You get 10 bananas for 50 cents, and a sack of 100 oranges for $4 (that’s right; 4 US cents per orange).
(Tempting barbecue ribs at Fuego Bar & Grill Belize, San Ignacio, Belize, pictured.)
Chris Leonard of Paradise Found Belize Real Estate and Development – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
house in Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI would say the cost of living is very inexpensive in Belize. My house in Boise, Idaho rents for about US $1,400 a month. A similar home down here in Belize would probably rent for around $600. This is in the Corozal area. You would pay much more on the coastline and certainly way more on the islands.

A house that costs $600 a month to rent would potentially be near the water and have at least three bedrooms and is located near to the center of town.  It would be close to the shops, restaurants, bars, and definitely close to Corozal Bay.  As far as the beaches go, here at Cerros Sands, we have an actual beach. In Corozal, it’s more of grass that kind of leads to water.

The cost of living in Corozal would only be half of my cost of living in Idaho. As you move towards other areas like Placencia, it will be more expensive. It would also be more expensive when you go out to the cayes (islands). An average night in a hotel in Corozal would cost you $25 to $30. In the cayes, the minimum night would cost $200.
Macarena Rose of Rainforerst Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Lot in San Ignacio, Cayo district, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe cost of living in Belize is two-fold. If you live on the island, it is more expensive because things need to be brought over by boat. In contrast, living inland is much less expensive. This is the reason why when people look at Belize as a country to move to, they look at the cost of living as an important factor in deciding where they will live.
If you are going to buy twelve limes in San Ignacio, which is in the Cayo District, you might pay US $1, while on the islands, you will pay $2.50. Districts are similar to provinces or counties, which North Americans are more used to. The Cayo District is the most western district of the country of Belize, and is inland; it is not on the ocean.  Everywhere on the mainland is so lush and green that you can grow things very easily. If you are down at the southern part of Belize, everything grows very well down there, since they get a lot of rain, so you will not have any issues getting fresh fruits and vegetables. The same goes with just  north of that area. When you go inland in the Cayo District, that is where the farming is done for the whole country, so you can get to these things quite easily. (A lot in the Cayo district, pictured above.)
If you are going to rent a property and you want to rent a home inland, you can find a home for $300 to $800 per month. If you are on the mainland and closer to the ocean, to rent a home will cost around $1,000. When you get to the island of Ambergris Caye, the rentals will start at $1,000 and will go upwards. If you want a very nice place to rent with two bedrooms and two bathrooms in San Pedro (the town on Ambergris Caye), you will pay around $1,500 a month.
If you are on the mainland and inland, you will be able to purchase a house with two bedrooms and two bathrooms on a regular home-sized lot for $100,000, for example. For the same type of house on the mainland, but on the ocean front or near the ocean, you will pay about $250,000 to $350,000. If you go out to the island, it is going to be very difficult to find a home that is anywhere near $350,000, so expect to pay more around the $400,000 to $500,000 range.San Ignacio, Cayo district, Belize house – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living (House in San Ignacio, Belize, pictured to right.)
Many times it is understood that Belize is an island, where in fact, we have islands, and yet we are a mainland country which is part of Central America and just below Mexico. We have several islands in Belize, too. Ambergris Caye is one of the main islands, located just outside of the Belize City area. It is the biggest island and everyone knows Ambergris Caye because people go there to go snorkeling, diving, etc. The other island that is just a little bit south of Ambergris Caye, is Caye Caulker. Caye Caulker is like a small bohemian island, while Ambergris Caye has more hustle and bustle with more restaurants and things to do.
Placencia is both on mainland and near the ocean. When we were shooting our House Hunters International TV show in Placencia, it was difficult to find homes for rent for anything under $1,200 a month. The home that they chose for the family featured on the show was $5,000 a month. It is not a low-cost place. (House on Maya Beach, near Placencia, pictured.)house on Maya Beach, Placencia, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
These are really key things to consider.

Go Here Next

Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadUse the menu on this page to go to categories of Stories.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadUse the menu on this page to go to other categories of questions.
The Best Places In The World To Retire Location Advisor makes personalized recommendations for where to live and retire overseasGet matched to your ideal location to live abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadAnswers about living, working or visiting abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadStories by expats & others about their life aborad.
Best Places In The World To Retire - MarketplaceFind for profit, non-profit and religious organizations.

Our Pledge To You

Best Places will present information from the Community in a transparent way, unedited, except to conform with our Conditions of Use.

You can trust that Best Places does not manipulate content to sell you anything. All opinions in the Community Q & A and Expat Stories are those of its authors, not Best Places.

Get Known To The Community

Those who contribute to the Best Places Community are our heroes! And being a Best Places hero is fast, fun, and easy. Just go to Questions & Answers, find your first question to answer, click on it, and then click the Contribute Your Answer To This Question Button. If you’d rather enter a Story, go to Expat Stories and click the Contribute Your Story Button".


Please contact us. We would love to hear from you! Customer Service
Technical Support
Business Development
Phone: (US) 520-940-0481