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Gwido Mar of Grupo Mar Realty Ltd. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
best places in Belize to live and retire Caye Caulker – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIf somebody wants to live and retire on an island in Belize, the best would be Caye Caulker (pictured at left). If somebody wanted to live inland, the best would be San Ignacio. These are very popular areas for different reasons.

Caye Caulker is a good-sized island with lots of stores, gift shops, apartments and condos.  It has a landing strip and is about an hour from Belize City. It’s more laid-back, more easy going, more friendly and less congested than the town of San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. San Pedro is “party-central.” Everybody goes there to party and drink a lot and have fun. In Caye Caulker, you can take a 30 or 40 minute boat ride and experience the best fishing and best diving because you are in a great spot. For sand and sun and sea lovers, I would definitely say that Caye Caulker is the best place to live and retire in Belize.

San Pedro is on the island of Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker is on a separate island. Caye Caulker is between Belize City and Ambergris Caye. San Pedro is the main town on the island of Ambergris Caye, which is the biggest island. For somebody that’s visiting San Pedro and Ambergris Caye by boat and taking the water taxi from Belize City, they would probably make a stop at Caye Caulker and get to see what it’s like there. They won’t set a foot on Caye Caulker, but at least they get to see it from the water.

There are lots of expats in San Pedro, but from my personal experience, it’s too congested. For a retiree who wants to live in Belize long term, Caye Caulker would be the better option. San Pedro would be just for vacation.

best places in Belize to live and retire San Ignacio houses in San Ignacio – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIf you choose to live and retire in San Ignacio, you will find it nice, laid-back and easy going. There are surrounding villages, such as Cristo Rey, Bullet Tree and Santa Familia that are very popular expat destinations. Expats who want to immerse themselves in the community, prefer these areas. People who love nature, the rolling hills, the rivers, the creeks, the caves and the Mayan ruins live and retire in San Ignacio for these reasons. On the other hand, people who are in vacation mode or looking for vacation homes, they will probably be into Placencia. Older people who are retired and want to live in a Belize for a few months would probably be in Corozal, particularly because they are so close to Mexico. There are larger stores in Mexico and it is an easy boat ride or drive away.

The people who come into San Ignacio are the ones who want to get involved in the community, want to help the women and children, want to start a small business, whether it be in construction or a restaurant or hotel. People who move to San Ignacio or around San Ignacio live there long term and they really enjoy it.

Cristo Rey is a village that is three and a half miles away from San Ignacio. It is also a popular expat destination. Bullet Tree is another town and is named after a natural rock-solid tree. There are lots of expats in Cristo Rey and Bullet Tree, as well as Santa Familia, which means “Holy Family.” Santa Familia is relatively close to San Ignacio. It is about five miles away and there are lots of expats.

You will find Mayan families in Cristo Rey and Bullet Tree. They are great locations because they’re close to town and you can buy a couple to five acres at inexpensive prices. These are villages that are on the river, which is very desirable for expats. For an expat to have a couple of acres by the river is a huge deal. Cristo Rey is by the Macal River and Bullet Tree and Santa Familia are side by side and on the Mopan River. Property on the river sells out fast because this is significantly less expensive than property on the Coast or on the Cayes.

 
Christian Burn of Grand Baymen – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
San Pedro Ambergris Caye beach at dawn – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
The best place to retire in Belize is Ambergris Caye. (See picture above.)  It is by far the most easily accessible, the most affluent, and most developed. It offers easy access to healthcare in Belize City.
 
Next to Ambergris Caye would be the Cayo District because it is mountainous and cooler. It also has a lot to offer as far as the other side of not being an island or being in the jungle.
 
Down south in Placencia, the rainfall is a hundred inches more a year than up here in the northern part of the country. In Ambergris Caye, we get about 60 inches of rain a year and Placencia gets at least 160 inches of rain per year, so they have much longer wet season. It starts earlier and ends later. In addition, the other thing that I dislike like about the southern part of Belize is the reef migrates considerably away from the shoreline. So if you are going to do anything on the reef, be it fishing or diving, you need to take an hour or two-hour ride from the shore to the reef. That gets very difficult and expensive. The water that’s inside the reef is chalky, not nearly as translucent as it is up here in the north. You do not get the turquoise-colored water down south. The water over there is a thick green color and you get a lot of trash. The current brings the trash south and there is much less of a concerted effort to clean it up.
 
The city of San Pedro in Ambergris Caye keeps the beaches clean. The government put out 20 brand new trash bins and they hire people to clean the beach.  They have decent garbage services to remove trash from the streets, and we work really hard to keep the island clean. It is not perfect but it is much improved compared to some of the other places in Belize.
 
Also, down south in Belize, because the reef is so far from the shore, you get a lot more wave action and that brings in more trash.  As a result, the beaches are lined with old oilcans, shoes, pop bottles, and diapers. It is so unfortunate. They are just not actively working towards cleaning the water down south, perhaps just because the area is less populated.
Rubi Young – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Tony's Inn and Resort on the beach in Corozal, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are many nice places in Belize to live and retire. The first one on my list would be Corozal, which is in the northern part of Belize. Corozal is small but it’s very nice. We have shops, markets, and nice parks where children can go to and play. People in Corozal are very kind and friendly. You can retire at Consejo in Corozal, where you can find houses right in front of the beach. They have beautiful shores. The price of the houses in Consejo would depend on the quality of the house that you want. We also have Tony’s Inn here in Corozal. Tony’s Inn has a hotel and a nice restaurant and they are located right in front of the beach. It’s a very nice place to go. 
 
Many expats who are in Corozal live in Consejo.The Altamira Residences, which is in a very nice location, is also located in Corozal. Altamira Residences has a new project coming in. It is a gated community composed of fourteen houses with CCTV security. There is also a plan to build a restaurant with a pool where everyone could hang out and party. Apartments are also part of the plan in Altamira Residences. 
 
Another nice place to live is Orange Walk. It is similar to Corozal because they also have nice shops, markets, parks, etc. You could also find Lamanai in Orange Walk, which is a Mayan ruin site. Orange Walk is also on the sea but it is very small. They have a small boulevard. 
 
Belize also has several islands. The biggest and most popular island is Ambergris Caye, which is close to the Corozal District. You can take a plane or a boat from Corozal to Ambergris Caye.
 
Next to Orange Walk is Belize City. You will find the zoo in Belize City. There are more stores and shops in Belize City because it is a bigger place. You will see more Garifuna people in Belize City. Majority of the people in Belize City are Garifuna, unlike in other places such as Corozal and Orange Walk, where you will see more mixed people such as the Spanish, and others. Belize City has by far has the largest population of any area in Belize.
 
We also have San Ignacio in the Cayo District. San Ignacio has the second largest population in Belize. You will also find a lot of expats and tourists there. There are several Mayan ruins there such has the Xunantunich and the Nim Li Punit. There are also a lot of activities that you can do in San Ignacio like cave tubing. They have different caves, one of which is the Rio Frio Caves. It is a very touristy place.
 
The next place in Stann Creek, where you will find the town of Dangriga. Orange farms and banana farms are located in Dangriga. These oranges and bananas are export products of Belize. Hopkins and Placencia are also located in Stann Creek. Placencia has a lot of high-end and relatively expensive areas and a lot of expats. Placencia is a peninsula attached to the mainland.
 
The next district of Belize is Toledo. Toledo is the last district in the south, close to the Guatemalan border. Not many people live in Toledo.
 
(Tony's Inn and Resort on the beach in Corozal, Belize, pictured.)
Saira Mahabir of Century 21 Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
rustic farm home, Cayo District, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI personally like San Ignacio as one of the best places to live and retire in Belize because it is very mountainous and has the feel of a jungle. They also have nice places where you could stay. San Ignacio is in the Cayo District. It is inland so it’s not on the sea. It has lots of rivers and it is very lush and green. The air in San Ignacio is very clean. There is lots of things to do there such as hiking, jogging, riding on the trails, kayaking, etc. It is a place for the typical thrill seeker. San Ignacio is a twin town with Santa Elena; one is after the bridge and the other is before the bridge. It is not as populated as Belize City because Belize City is the most populated place in Belize. We have approximately 85,000 people in Belize City, while in San Ignacio and Santa Elena, the population is about 30,000, which makes it the second biggest town in the country.
 
When you live in San Ignacio, you will see that it is spread out and there are lots of different villages. I personally would like to live in a village along the river. I would like to live in Kristo Rey because it’s a nice village and it has hills and mountains and there is the river. It is much cooler in that area because of the mountain and the foliage there is very lush. That’s what I like.
 
I also like Placencia because of the beach and the sand. It is very quiet. Placencia is a peninsula so you have the lagoon on one side and you have the ocean on the other side. When you are on the lagoon side, you still have a view of the mountains. When you are on the ocean side, you have the view of the nice white sand beach.
 
There are many expats in Placencia. Most of them are Americans and Europeans. There is a nice new development on the beach and there are more developments that are planned to be put up in Placencia as well. So it is getting more populated. There is going to be an international airport there, too. If you want to live like you’re at home but away from home, Placencia is the place to be.
 
If you want to have the best of both worlds, you have the cayes (islands). Ambergris Caye is a place where you can go whenever you want and then go to Belize City easily. Ambergris Cays is fast. The population there just keeps on growing. There are lots of resorts and developments there. If you are into condominiums, then Ambergris Caye is the place to go. If you want an affordable but nice condo, you can get one there because there is so much inventory now.
 
If you want a smaller island to live on and be quiet, you can go to Caye Caulker. Caye Caulker is not developing on the north side. They are just now putting electricity and water on the north side of the caye. It is developing and it is much smaller and quieter than in Ambergris Caye. 
 
I also like Corozal. It has a great little town called Consejo Shores, which is in the far north of Corozal. When you go to Corozal Bay, you could see the lights in Chetumal, which is the first town in Mexico coming from Belize. Corozal Bay is a very beautiful bay and it has a very quiet and pristine jungle trails. There is a small nine-hole golf course there, too. We have a lot of expats there as well.
 
(Living archway that leads to a rustic farm home, Cayo District, Belize, pictured.)
 
Bentley Wildman of Consejo Shores – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
adventure excursions during the years of the Wildman Family’s “Adventure Inn”, Consejo Shores, Belize 1985-1994. – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI think that Consejo Shores is one of the best places in Belize to live and retire. The Consejo area and Corozal in general is not really a tourist area. It's a retirement area; it's for retired people. In the past, our average resident was about 68 to 70 years old and now they're in the early 60s, so the average age is getting considerably younger.
 
(Adventure excursions during the years of the Wildman Family’s “Adventure Inn,”Consejo Shores, Belize 1985-1994, pictured.)
 
The people here live a really nice, really good, active lifestyle with a lot of things going on. For example, we've got sailing clubs, and this roots and shoes plant club, and all other sorts of different things going on. We have a library, which is right behind where I live. It's just quiet, which is nice.
 
The people here are not bothered by the hustle and bustle of tourists or anything like that. Other popular places around Belize are mostly tourist destinations. In these areas you're mixing the tourists with the retirees and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. We have a lot of people who lived in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye who are retired now and who are looking to sell their places and move to places like Consejo Shores, because they've had enough of a lifestyle in a tourist area. They're getting older now, so they don't want to be there anymore. They can't take the noise and all the partying. Here, we sleep at night with all of our windows and doors open and you can't even hear a pin drop. It's incredible. It's really quiet.
 
Placencia is a really good area and there’s a retirement community there, but it is also a tourist area. That's where they blend in. We have family members who run a real estate company in Placencia who are selling everything that exists on the Placencia peninsula. Originally, my father and I developed a lot of the subdivisions that exist there in conjunction with the owners. We did all the subdivision work many years ago. Now, the area has become a lot higher end, so that the costs to live there is tremendously more than Corozol. 
 
I go to the Cayo / San Ignacio area for things like vacations. I've heard from other people who lived there and from real estate agents that sell up there, that their prices are a lot lower than Corozal, but they're not on the sea. They're in the mountains. Even though they have rivers, or are close to a river, most people want to be on the sea. If they decide they want to live in Cayo then, even though they are not on the sea, nothing in Belize is far away from anything else.  We live in a country that's 250 miles long and 50 miles wide.  
Howard Oldham of Tropic Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Hot Mama's Hot Sauce, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere's a place for everybody in Belize. Some people want to be on the beach, in the mountains, or near the border. 
 
Corozal is a small town with a lot of expats. A lot of people like Corozal because it's close to the Mexican border. They can easily cross the border and get to Chetumal, which is a bigger city with 400,000 to 500,000 people. Most of the people in Corozal like to go to Chetumal to buy their groceries and watch movies (there are no movie theaters in Belize), and because, for some things, Chetumal is a lot cheaper and they have a broader selection of products than in Belize.
 
Everything there is cheaper in Corozol because their wages are cheaper and Mexico imports in large quantities because of their large population. I love it. I have a real estate salesman who loves it and tells stories about why people love it there. They have expat groups that party and have a good time.
He talks about going over to Chetumal to watch movies because the movies are in English with Spanish subtitles underneath. He buys his groceries. It's crowded over there compared to where I am in the Cayo District. He likes living in Corozal and he likes going to Chetumal. 
 
Ambergris Caye is where most of the expats are. It's a big time tourist spot. Everybody's on the beach and most of them are living in a condo. You would have a different tourist on the street every day because the tourists are coming and leaving. It costs a lot more to live on Ambergris Caye because everything has to be transported from the mainland.  For example, we own a hot sauce company.  We take our orders from Belize City.  To get them to Ambergris Caye, we put them on a ship, which then has to be unloaded and taken to the different stores, which costs money.  So these stores in Ambergris Caye sell my hot sauce for more than what it sells for on the mainland.
 
Placencia is also a hot spot for foreigners and expats and is cheaper than Ambergris Caye because they get everything for the same price as on the mainland because Placencia is a peninsula. Placencia is growing quite well with foreigners. There's the story that a hurricane that struck Ambergris Caye 12 years ago sparked the growth of Placencia. When Ambergris Caye lost its resorts and docks, they sent their clients to Placencia, and they loved it. They went crazy over Placencia and it has grown tremendously ever since.
 
Hopkins is a Garifuna fishing village right on the coast. The Garifunas/Caribs came here 300 years ago.  They're great fishermen and they're really nice. Hopkins is just small town and it's not commercialized like Palencia. It's where my wife and I go to the beach and visit restaurants during the weekend. We love it there. 
 
But as for me, I like living in the Cayo district because I’m a farmer and it’s where the fields and the mountains are located and the weather is better. 
 
The weather is better in the Cayo district because the amount of rain is just right. Down south, they get about 150 inches of rain in a year.  Up north where Corozal is, they get 50 inches of rain a year; and in the Cayo District, we get about 90 inches of rain a year, which is just about right.
 
The Cayo District also has the greatest temperature change in the country. Our average high temperature is 85 degrees year round. But in May, which is our hottest month, it can reach up to 100 degrees during the day and down to 68 to 70 degrees at night. So it gets cooler at night. But if you live at the beach in Belize, the temperature is more temperate because of the air coming from the Caribbean Sea. It may be 82 degrees all day but the temperature only drops at around 76 degrees at night. The change in temperature from day to night is not as great as what we have in the Cayo District. 
 
Insects are a common problem in the beaches where the sand flies and mosquitoes thrive.  But in the Cayo District, we don't have an insect problem. It's less likely that you're going to get bitten by insects here. 
 
Overall, Cayo is just a better life for me.
 
(Hot Mama's Hot Sauce from the Cayo District, Belize in various travel sizes, pictured.)
Phil Hahn of Carmelita Gardens – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Carmelita Gardens house with porch in rural Cayo District – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe best places in Belize to live and retire really depends on what somebody is looking for. If you are looking for the coastal environment, around the Placencia area is very nice. They have greatly improved infrastructure and their beaches are some of the better beaches in the country. There is an expat population down there. If that’s what somebody is looking for, that’s a great place.
 
Up in northern Belize in Corozal, they have coastal areas around the bay which are nice.  It’s also close to Chetumal, Mexico, so right across the bay, you could see the bright skyline and the lights glowing at Chetumal, which has a population that is equal to the entire country of Belize. They have Sam’s Club, McDonald’s, etc., which is why they call it “Little America.” It’s got everything that you would expect to see in a city of 300,000 people in the States. If that is your comfort zone, then that is available.
 
Island living is also available in Belize. A lot of people look at their screensaver with a palm tree on the island and always dreamt of that. Caye Caulker is a great place for that laid back lifestyle if that’s what you are looking for. San Pedro, Ambergris Caye has been the most popular destination over the years and it continues to be very popular for people who like touristy areas.  It just depends on what you are looking for. A joke says that San Pedro has a motto that says, “We want to be Cancun when we grow up.” Some people love it, but it’s not for everybody.
 
Then there are the “salt of the earth” folks from where I grew up in the Midwest or farmlands in the South, or up in the Prairie Provinces in Canada. Cayo attracts a lot of those folks who don’t necessarily want to live on the beach every day of their life. They enjoy nature. They enjoy the backdrop of farmland. If they want to go to the cayes or the islands, it’s just an easy day trip, but they don’t have to live on it.
 
The best places in Belize really depend on the individual and Belize has a lot to offer different people.
 
(House with porch in rural Cayo District, Belize, pictured.)
Walter T. (Tom) Fisher of Corozal Belize Properties – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Corona beef at tackle shop – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingBest place to retire in Belize? It is a tough question to answer. While there are many great places in Belize, my research and visits led me to Corozal, and specifically, Consejo. If it is white sandy beaches you are looking for, well, we don't have them. If life in the Caribbean for you must have that, "Corona Commercial" component, then here is not for you. If you want to open a dive shop, sell stuff to tourists, open a restaurant, etc., I strongly suggest, look elsewhere. Retire, hang out, live in a quiet and laid back environment? Yea, that we got.
 
Look, I love my sandy beaches as much as anyone, (San Pedro / Ambergris a short boat ride away) but there were other considerations that made Corozal my choice.
 
Water? We have that. It's a huge bay, and quite picturesque, except when the water is brown from the rivers spilling into the bay during rainy season. Full disclosure here.
 
Breeze? In abundance.
 
Rainfall? Moderate. That means less bugs, less flooding, less, well, rainy days.
 
Protection from hurricanes? Yep, behind barrier islands, and generally, protected. I've seen pictures of storm surge over the islands. And, while I'm the adventuresome type, I have my limits.
 
Cost of living? I'd argue to say, the best in Belize. Remember, that living on an island means that the cost of well, everything, is going to be more expensive. I'm certainly not putting that down, but accept it. Barges and boats aren't shipping stuff, or people, to and from the islands for free. If you can afford it, no problema here. Ah yes. Mexico. Right across the border here. Walmart, Sam's Club, Auto Zone, Home Depot. And, great restaurants, Mexican tile stores, etc. Corozal isn't sexy, touristy, or "hopping".  Perfect.
 
(Gift and tackle shop featuring Corona beer, pictured.)
Penny James – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Young girl at farmer's market in Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingParty hearty Sun - Worshippers and Scuba Divers usually migrate to Ambergris Caye – for some of the best diving in the world. Those with a little less interest in getting popped off by someone driving a golf cart on Ambergris Caye, head to slower and sleepier Caye Caulker. Toledo seems to attract the more intrepid and iconoclastic expat – not cut out of any mold. Toledo is often referred to as “the forgotten district of Belize.” Corozal attracts a lot of retirees and "Walmartians" – as they can deke [ice hockey term] across the border to Chetumal, Mexico for their Big-Box fix. Placencia attracts mariners and salty dogs; Placencia is the Sailing Capital of Belize with a deep water access marina. Anyone worth their salt or due diligence avoids Belize City.
 
Cayo is the choice for many people who enjoy:
  • its affordable cost of  living;
  • Cayo's interesting and diversified natural and cultural attractions;
  • its spectacular topography;
  • Cayo's good medical care, clinics and hospitals;
  • its good dental care;
  • Cayo's selection of the best Farmers’ Markets in Belize; its rich mix of  Chinese, Creole, East Indian, European, Garifuna, Maya and Mestizo ethnic groups;
  • Cayo's well-deserved reputation as the "eco-tourism hub of Belize";
  • its location as one of the most hurricane-proof areas in Belize;
  • Cayo's diversified real estate market including off-grid living in Belize.
Apolo Caliz of Boris Mannsfeld & Associates – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Maya Beach, Placencia, Belize deserted beach – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are two best places in Belize to live and retire.
 
One is Corozal, because the cost of living there is a lot less and because it is at the border of Mexico. Anything that you buy in Mexico, you can acquire at half of the price of what you pay here in Belize. So it’s cheaper just to go across the border and buy your groceries and bring it back to Corozal. If you live  Corozal, you will be paying US $300 a month to stay in a nice two-bedroom house.
 
The next best place to live and retire in Belize would be in Placencia (which is where I am presently) simply because it is a tourist village. Even though it is a tourist village, the roads are not too noisy. Placencia is the local village and Maya Beach (pictured above) is where most of the retirees live. The cost of living is a little bit higher than Corozal, but it is still cheaper than probably the home countries of those expats.

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