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This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.About RE/MAX Belize...
John Acott of RE/MAX Belize Property Center – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Home featured in House Hunters International, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingHaving lived in Belize for 30 years and having traveled the world in the RAF (Royal Air Force) for 25 years before that, I’m probably in a very unique position to answer the question, “Why Retire in Belize”.
 
Belize is one of the top choices for expats looking to re-locate to a different lifestyle in a warm and friendly country with a much cheaper cost of living - and without all of those stupid and annoying rules and regulations governing every aspect of your life.
 
Here are some of the reasons why -
  • Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central and South America. No need to learn another language.
 
  • Bordered by Mexico to the north, Guatemala to the west and south and the Caribbean Sea to the east, Belize is located only 1 hour 40 minutes from Miami and has daily flights to many American cities.
 
  • Belize is sub-tropical and enjoys warm, sunny days with an average year-round temperature of 77°F (25°C). No heating bills or heavy clothing.
 
  • A member of the British Commonwealth and a stable, independent country with a democratic parliamentary government elected by the citizens.
 
  • The very mixed population of only 330,000 allows all of the different cultures to blend in successfully with no racial discrimination. Friendly people who welcome foreigners.
 
  • Belize has a very attractive Retired Person's Incentive Programme to allow free importation of personal items and an exemption from any taxes on income from a source outside of Belize. There are no capital gains or inheritance taxes in Belize.
 
  • Located on the Caribbean Sea, Belize is home to the world’s second largest barrier reef. It is a divers’, snorkelers’ and anglers’ paradise and has many beautiful off-shore cayes (islands). Belize is one of the world’s number one tourism locations.
 
  • Belize has the highest standard of living in Central America.
 
  • The local currency is the Belize Dollar which has been fixed at BZ$2 = US$1 since 1976. The US dollar can be used anywhere.
 
  • There is no such thing as a price for a foreigner and a price for Belizeans, and foreigners buying property in Belize are afforded the same rights as Belizeans regarding ownership. The title you receive will be a full freehold, fee simple title, unlike some other countries where you are not allowed full ownership.
 
  • Belize has tough anti-squatting laws unlike some other Central American countries.
 
I have been living in the San Ignacio area of the Cayo District for 30 years and I have never been robbed, burgled, assaulted, etc. I do not carry a gun and my property is not completely fenced.
 
There are many expats living in Cayo but, unlike some areas of the country, they are spread out and not all bunched-up. My social activities invariably involve a mixture of locals and expats.
 
The Cayo District is not on the sea but, in my opinion, is by far the best part of the country in which to live. It is much cheaper than the heavy tourist areas but, Belize being a very small country, nowhere is more than an hour or so from the ocean.
 
Cayo is the bread basket of Belize and the soil is great for gardening and for fruit trees, etc., unlike the sandy soil on the coast and cayes.
 
(Home featured in House Hunters International, Belize, pictured.)
David Berger of Tradewinds Hospitality at Orchid Bay – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Climbing the Mayan pyramids around Orchid Bay, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe best reason to retire to Belize is to take a break and get out of that fast-paced world we are used to in North America. When you come to Belize you can relax, clear your mind, and be warm. Every time you go to town here in Belize is like an adventure. It is a very entertaining place. It makes you think and prepare.
 
There are a lot of great reasons to live here. Just to experience the Belizean culture is so much more fun. Everyone likes each other here. They eat together as a family, people stay close to home, and everybody still goes out to be with their mothers. Belize is like what the US used to be a long time ago. It feels like the good old days to me.
 
(Climbing the Mayan pyramids around Orchid Bay, Belize, pictured.)
Victor Gomez of International Services Ltd – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Beach in Belize with chairs and palm trees – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingOne of the best reasons to retire in Belize is the ability to purchase property. There are no restrictions on foreigners coming into Belize, purchasing property in Belize and building their dream home in Belize, on the Cayes, near the beach, and I think that's what a lot of retirees want.  They want to leave their cold, windy, rainy, environment and come and build a dream house in Belize on the water.
 
There are no death or inheritance taxes in Belize.  In addition, let's say that they are still in business and they're retiring and somebody's taking care of the business; when they get dividends or whatever profits, there are no taxes on any income outside of Belize.
 
Another good reason to retire to Belize is that almost anywhere in Belize, people speak English or a form of English. English-speaking foreigners coming to Belize can get around almost anywhere in Belize without any problem.
 
Belize is also just a 2-hour flight away from the US, so retirees like that.  There's no 18-hour flight getting here and you can get back to Miami in 1.5 hours or to Houston in 2 hours.  It’s just that quick--- they hop on the flight and they're back in the US. 
 
In addition, every day there are more and more flights from different places to Belize.  Such as Miami, Dallas, Houston. There are also direct flights from Los Angeles and New Jersey.  In October they will have Southwest coming from Houston.  This is the thing that we can do and people can come and coordinate from here.  Let's say they want to go to Mexico, to Cancun, or Guatemala, In that case, Belize could be the center of where they can come so they can catch other flights.  We are going to be able to get more and more different places directly from Belize  
 
The cost of living here is also lower, so your money is doubled when you come here.   If you are someone who is preparing your own meals, buying your own basic fruits and vegetables, there are markets that carry a wide array of produce and it's fairly cheap.  If you're preparing your own food, it can really cost you far less when living here.  They say in Belize, "You will never starve; there's always something to buy for a dollar."  It's very cost effective.  
 
Belize is a former British colony and that is a good advantage. We have the school system similar to what they had in their country set up here.   It is good because they know that we are English-speaking, and we teach English in schools from day one.  And not only that, there’s the court system.  We have a parliamentary system that really works and people like to know this and we have laws that protect the people, including tourists and expats.
 
The lifestyle is another good reason for you to retire in Belize.  When you come here, you could keep your own lifestyle.  If they want to have a vehicle there is an incentive that if you come here as part of the retirement program, you can buy any kind of car and bring it to Belize duty free.  And duty free is a big thing because it is almost 50% more than the price there.   The government prefers that you get new vehicles so that they could last longer, and you don’t have to pay the import tax.  And these vehicles can be gotten here in Belize. We have lots of different dealers that sell new cars. 
 
You can buy a new car, duty free once you qualify on the retiree program.   It’s a program you must apply for and submit documentation.  It's a not so rigorous process. Interpol checks and the like will be done to make sure that you're clean.  Once you qualify, you will be able to travel back and forth to Belize on that retirement status and be technically a resident and not have anyone bother you about being legal because you would have legal status in Belize.
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Bentley Wildman of Consejo Shores – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
private island  with huts over the water, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are just so many good reasons to retire to Belize. It's just a far quieter place to live. There are a lot less problems. I think that, when they get up in the morning, a lot of the people here don't even know what they're going to do with themselves. "Do I take a walk along the sea, or do I go biking today, or is today a shopping day?  I can't remember, because I know I do a particular thing every Tuesday. Is it Tuesday?" It's just a real nice. The people are very nice. It's pleasant. In general, it's a pleasant place to be. We have about an 85% “sun rate” here. It's a quiet, laid back lifestyle.  
 
Everybody's laid back. It’s just the way it is. The whole mañana attitude is here.  
 
(Coral seen through the water in which huts are placed on this private Belizean island, pictured.)
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John Acott of RE/MAX Belize Property Center – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Laughing Bird Caye – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe answer for me to the best reasons to retire in Belize are very simple: 
  • sunshine; 
  • pretty girls; and, 
  • cheap rum! 
It’s so much easier living in a warm country because of the clothes you wear, there are no heating bills, and there is no snow. It’s just very simple. It’s a lot cheaper and a lot easier. That is the main reason we are here.
 
The Caribbean Sea is beautiful, of course. Belize is known for the Caribbean, and that is nice. Also, the travel from Belize is very easy. You can go to Cancun, Mexico for a weekend regularly. And you can go to Merida, Mexico the other week for a long weekend. It’s a beautiful city. After that, you can go to Guatemala City and after that you can go to Honduras and then you can try the southern countries such as El Salvador. 
 
Then of course, Belize is an English-speaking country and that is an attraction for a lot of North Americans. Everybody speaks English here.  A lot of families speak Spanish as a first language at home but when they see you, they’ll speak English to you.
 
(Pictured: Laughing Bird Caye. You can even buy an island in Belize!)
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Karen Wilkinson of Corozal Belize Properties – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Picnic at Consejo Shores, Corozol, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe best reasons to retire in Belize would be the lack of stress, good neighbors, good weather, no heat bills, and the fun-loving community unlike anything I have ever experienced anywhere, and I am pretty widely traveled. That would be my top five best reasons. And definitively, for those coming down here, it is a much lower cost of living. 
 
Yes, it’s funny because I get questions like, “Do you have central air?” I say, “No, we don’t have central air because we have no heating systems.”  In order to have a central air unit, you have to have heating ducts and down here, we don’t build houses that way.  In Michigan, where I came from, we used to catch a little bit of a break. We pay higher gas bills in the winter and the electric bills kind of drop back in summer, so it is a little less financially painful in the summer. I understand from people coming down on a regular basis that this is no longer the case and there is no more significant “recovery period” during the summer months. Now, it is just a standard drum beat of high bills. You pay the high heating bills in winter and now you pay the high electric bills in summer.  
 
Down here in Belize, I have not turned my AC unit on at all since October so the electric that I am paying right now is just my average amount for the house, the clocks, the fridges, TV, etc. We have nonexistent bills for heating and very low electric bills.  
 
My community is primarily expats. We do have Belizeans here. Those Belizeans who reside around us typically went to the States and made their fortune and then decided to repatriate. 
 
We have people from Scotland and from Britain, Belgium, and Germany. We have people from all over the globe who have chosen Belize for a lot of reasons. Belize is unlike anything that you would think of at home. We have a very small community where everyone knows everyone. Everyone recognizes everyone’s car. You go out, you walk your dog, you ride your bike, people stop you, and they chat. It’s just a wonderful place to be.  
 
When we go back to everything in America, it is all about “right now, right now, right now, got to have it right now.” When you first come to Belize, you struggle with that because it is a whole different mindset here and pretty soon you start to step back from that ledge a little bit and you find out that it really doesn’t matter if something does not get done right now. Unless there is a fire, “right now” doesn’t count.  
 
Consejo Shores, Corozol, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWhen you learn to do that, everything evens out. We always laugh when new people come down to Belize and say, “I called the plumber and he said he’d be here on Tuesday.” The first question out of my mouth is, “Did you ask him Tuesday of what week?”  You definitely learn to live with it.  
 
Most of us live in more rural communities. I live six miles outside the town of Corozal. Most of us collect rainwater. We were "green" down here before it was even fashionable. In my particular instance, in my own home, the water storage is 22,500 gallons and that is in a system that is under the floor of my garage. When it rains, I collect rain water so I have no water bill.  
 
On the other hand, a lot of folks are not comfortable drinking or cooking or utilizing system water for anything other than showers or laundry and they want drinking water. In our community, there is truck that comes down every Thursday that brings several things such as the local beer, the Coke products, and they bring water in 5 gallon bottles. All you have to do is put your bottles out on the curb and Mr. Felipe and company brings it back right into your house and pours it right where you want it. Water is US $1.50 for a 5-gallon jug. Coke is $19 Belize (US $9.50) a case. 
 
Mr. Felipe doesn’t deliver ice cream. That would be another man who brings wonderful US ice cream that he imports from the States. The ice cream he brings is a little pricey here in Belize. However, if you want frozen yogurt, a Snickers bar, or you want a one-gallon tub of ice cream, it all comes to your door. It is $42 Belize for one gallon of ice cream, which translates to US $20.50, but that is for a gallon. So if you were buying two half gallons of Briar’s, I think in the States they run about $8 for a half gallon, or $16 for a whole gallon.  So, we pay slightly more for ice cream. 
 
Generally speaking, whether you are in Placencia or Ambergris Caye, the weather here in Belize is great, compared to the snow and the blow of especially the northern quadrant of the States going all the way across. In Belize, you will never see another snowflake other than on TV. And when people ask me frequently, “Don’t you miss the change of seasons?” I say, “No. I don’t.” If I want to be reminded of why I came here all I need to do is turn on the TV and watch the snowstorms, especially this last year. It made me very happy that I was here. 
 
(Top picture: Picnic at Consejo Shores, Corozol, Belize.)
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Jaseth Bassaragh of The Alpha & Omega Group – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
There are so many good reasons to retire in Belize, now more than ever.. I was taught that you should never live where you make your money. So chances are you will have the means to take a stronger currency and enjoy the benefits of living in a community where basic necessities are very affordable. Economics aside, consider going to bed and waking up to the sound of nature all around you. 
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Chris Leonard of Paradise Found Belize Real Estate and Development – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Great Blue Hole Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe best reason to retire in Belize is that it is a better place to relax. If you want to do something, you can do it. If you don’t want to do anything, you can just spend your day looking out to the beautiful sea. I do not want to retire, but I still want to be there. It’s a beautiful country and can be completely laidback, if that is what you want. If you want to be a go-getter and get things done, you have the opportunities to do that. 

It is a relaxing environment over-all.  If you’re eating from the markets and buying fresh fish, you’re not getting extra chemicals or anything else, like you would from buying from the store in the US. You’re getting fresh picked fruits from the tree miles away from wherever you bought it. There’s fresh fish. It’s not a polluted environment so that’s a huge bonus as well.

The cost of living is also another reason to retire in Belize. There are couples living on less than US $2,000 a month, which is easily enough to do whatever you want, whenever you want to do it.
 
*In picture: The Great Blue Hole in Belize
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Macarena Rose of Rainforerst Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Expats and locals playing the drums in Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe best reason to retire to Belize and the number one key factor is that Belize is an English-speaking country. If English is a language that you have mastered, you can immediately move yourself to Belize and immerse yourself, and become one with the country because we all speak the same language. A lot of retirees just want to come to a country where they speak the language and where they can learn new things. The language allows you have a real relationship with the local community. That is a key factor of why it is best to retire to Belize.
 
Another reason why I believe Belize is an exceptional place to retire is because of the cost of living. As an example, I was speaking to a client of ours today who is moving to Belize. Her whole reason for moving is that she is a retired nurse from Alaska and she said she cannot afford to be retired in Alaska. She sees that the cost of living in Belize is a complete fit for her. It makes a lot of sense.
 
We see a lot of retirees here in Belize who saved their money and lost a lot when there was a crash. Their house is underwater and they just need to be able to go somewhere where they can retire without needing to learn a new language.
 
The other reason why Belize is a good place to retire is if you are from the US, Belize is only a 2-hour flight to Houston, Texas or to Miami, Florida. Once you are in one of those places, it is easy to get to anywhere in the US or Canada.
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Kelly German of ECI Development – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
TSan Pedro Ambergris Caye Boardwalk – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Livinghe best reason to retire in Belize is to be able to get rid of the high cost in living in North America, but without sacrificing your comforts. You know you have to get used to the eccentricity, but that comes with every relocation.
 
Another good reason to retire to Belize is Belize’s proximity to North America. You are far from home, but it is easy access back. You are on the same time zone. It is an English-speaking country with British parliamentary laws and a government in place that you are familiar with. You know what to expect because it is very predictable based on your own experience.
 
As a Canadian, I really love the climate in Belize. I am really not sure why. When my grandparents came across from Europe, they settled in Canada. They were looking at all kinds of  options and they were fleeing from World War II. I know my grandmother told me that they looked into Australia, but it was just too long a boat ride. During those really harsh winters in North America, it had got to be tough for them. But it isn't nearly as tough down here in Belize because the climate is fine.
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Frik De Meyere of Boris Mannsfeld & Associates – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Belize customs – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are several reasons why it is best to retire in Belize.
  • Retirees and other people in general like the simplicity of the government system here in Belize. The system here is very uncomplicated and transparent. To purchase is a very simple process. All the documents are in English, the contracts are in English, and you can call any lawyer who will also answer you in English. You can go to the Lands Department to inquire about something and everybody will respond to you in English. The transparency of the system is very much appreciated by everybody because when they compare the system in Belize to countries like Ecuador, Mexico, or Costa Rica, what I hear from those people is that the language of the country is one of the main drivers to a successful experience. If they don’t speak Spanish, they can barely open a bank account in Costa Rica because nobody understands them. Belize practices transparency at its best. If you buy property here, you don't need to hire a lawyer to explain to you a million things. Every process and every agreement is very easy to understand. They keep everything simple here; they don’t like complexity.
  • Belize is because it is pretty much unspoiled. Scuba diving at Belize coral reef – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingAfter being in Belize, a lot of people don’t want to go back to their home countries. In Belize our focus is on the more wealthy and more financially capable crowd. We don’t have a lot of people who buy properties here on a loan. There are not a lot of financing possibilities here in Belize, so all these people who buy properties here and retire here are people who have enjoyed a wild life and now they want to go back to basics. They are looking for a nice simple life and that is what they find here in Belize.
  • Belize is a small country, so in two week’s time you could have already traveled around the country and have an overview of what it looks like and how life is here, so that gives people a feeling of control.
  • The price of goods in Belize is still very acceptable compared to other Caribbean destinations. Belize is known to be the cheapest Caribbean destination, but the most expensive Central American country. It is expensive compared to other Central American countries because of its small scale and remoteness.  Everything here in Belize is a little bit more expensive than in Mexico, Guatemala, or Honduras, but we are the only Caribbean country with a mainland and that is officially part of the CARICOM. All the other countries that are part of the CARICOM are islands. Only Belize is attached to a mainland. The formation of CARICOM mainly has to do with trade and legal issues, so there are no import duties or taxes on trades between CARICOM countries. If you buy windows in Jamaica, there are no import taxes to bring them over into Belize. If you bring them into Belize from Guatemala or Mexico, you will pay import duties. So we are the cheapest Caribbean country because of being on the mainland. People that go to other Caribbean countries see the advantages of Belize.
 
  • Belize iBelize river – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Livings very diverse in the sense that it is very focused on people who love water, nature, fishing, and other outdoor activities that give them a sour feeling right now in the US. Here in Belize, retirees can bring their boats and they won’t pay import duties on it. Getting boat licenses is all very simple and cheap, and property taxes in Belize are dirt cheap. The government has no intention of changing this because local property taxes are set on the low income standards of the locals; knowing that the rest of the country is pretty poor, they didn’t apply any property taxes on houses or buildings. You only pay property taxes on lots. For example, a prime Caribbean beachfront property with clear waters and with 4G cell phone reception, cable, and telephone connection, has property taxes of about $25 Belize per year, which is about $12.50 US per year, or a little over $1 per month. People who come from places like Miami get shocked when they discover this, since out in Miami, they pay about $10,000 to $20,000 per year just on property taxes.

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