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
Bentley Wildman of Consejo Shores – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Corazal Town, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI basically live a North American standard in Belize. I have a 1,600 square foot, concrete house.  I have almost all of the amenities you would want, such as satellite dish and everything else. You don't have to live like that here.  If you want to live with less stuff, you can live with less stuff. However you chose to do it, the standard of living in Belize is good. 
 
The problem with me answering this question is that I lived here most of my life, so I don't really have a lot to compare it with. I'm not someone that lived 60 years in another country and moved to Belize, so it's difficult for me to answer.  With that said, I'd say that the standard of living here is pretty good. There isn't a person in the area in Corozal that I would say is a homeless person. There is no such thing as homeless people. Everybody looks after everybody. Family is very important in this country. If it's not you who looks after a person, then an uncle or an aunt or a nephew or somebody down the line is going to bring this person in so they can sleep at night and make sure that they have food and clothing. Even if they're out on the streets they come back in a couple of days and they look after them again. It's very important to these people. The quality of life and taking care of others is very important to these people.  
 
(Corazal Town, Belize, where Bently Wildman refers, pcitured.)
Howard Oldham of Tropic Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
roast chicken Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe standard of living in Belize depends on what you want. My wife and I do not go out at night because more crimes happen at night and we have to provide our own security. There's just nothing out there unless it's a party in the US embassy or something like that. But our day-to-day life in Belize is 10 times better than in the US because we eat better food, breathe clean air, and drink very clean water.  
 
Food in Belize has better quality than in the US. GMO products in Belize are illegal. In fact, you can get arrested for sneaking some into the country. We also don't believe in bad chemicals for farming, which is why our food is cleaner and has better quality. Chicken in Belize tastes better because we don't feed them chemicals to make them fat. Eggs also taste better because the chickens only eat cracked corn. But our meat is not as tender and beefy as in the US because all of our beef is grass-fed, as opposed to grain-fed, like most of the beef in the US. But you could marinate the beef and make it tender so you can eat a piece of meat that's 10 times better for you than the one filled with fat like what we get in the US. So the quality of life is just a whole lot better. 
 
Going to the market on a Saturday morning in San Ignacio is a social event. Everybody shows up there and all the farmers bring their stuff in. For just Belize $10 to 15 (US $5 to $7.50) you can pick up your week's supply of fresh vegetables and fruits and go home. Here, you go to the market to get your vegetables and fruits; you go to grocery stores to get some canned goods; you go to the bakery to get your bread. And I love it. 
 
In contrast, in Houston, we just can't stand the crowds and the traffic--we just wanted to get the hell out. Compared with Houston with its millions of people, there are only 325,000 people in the whole country of Belize. Belize has fewer people, less crowds, and less pressure.  It's a more relaxed way of life.  
 
(Chicken fed on cracked corn for sale in Belize, pictured.)
John Acott of RE/MAX Belize Property Center – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Beer for sale in Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe standard of living in Belize is higher than in all of Central America. We have a lot of immigrants from Central America who come here to have a higher standard of living for their families. It is more expensive than Honduras and Nicaragua but there is a higher standard of living here. Wages and everything else are higher here in Belize.
 
There is no trouble like in Honduras or El Salvador with gangs and things like that here. It is pretty free and easy here. Yes, you can get everything that you want, more or less you can get in Walmart or in a big supermarket but any object or anything else that you cannot get you can buy online.
 
There is a sense of well-being here and everything is easy. Everyone is more relaxed here in Belize because it’s very casual. Expats here are normally retired so they don’t work. They just go to the market and take their time. They go to the restaurant and they take their time. No one is in a hurry here.
 
It is a very good way of life and I could never live in a “civilized” country again. I mean “civilized” like North America or Europe.  Here, it’s nice and it’s easy.  
Mark Leonard of Paradise Found Belize Real Estate and Development – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Having a nice meal in Blackbeards Beach Bar, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI don’t miss a thing in Belize other than every now and then, pizza! 
 
I did have a friend who came in about a month or so back and he said, “Mark, you have helped us with so many things and I know you have gone beyond the call of duty. What can we do for you?” I said, “Double-stuffed Oreo cookies.” And they said, “What? Come on!” And I said, “No, really, that’s it. Double-stuffed Oreo cookies!” They bought me four packages of Double-stuffed Oreo cookies and I rationed them!   
 
That gives you an idea of the differences for me. 
 
I have everything I want here in Belize. My wife Francesca has adopted, along with the Belizean style cooking, the American standard medium rare beef, which I like and is unknown to most people in Belize. I have everything down here that I need. The only thing I probably want is if somebody could open a decent pizza joint. Turns out a buddy of mine is trying. That is probably the only thing that I miss.  
 
If you are coming to Belize then you probably already have the money so that you can have whatever you want. If you want a boat, have a nice boat. If you want a car, have a car. You just need something to get you around. Just get a boat that fits your needs. If you want a motorcycle, buy a motorcycle. If you need some fishing equipment, and you can’t find it in Belize, you can send for it or buy it in Mexico. 
 
When I visited the States recently, all the items I ordered that I was asked to bring with me to Belize were sitting on the floor. I had special face powder for Kayla and some rubber golf tees for my driving range. I had a bingo set for Francesca. No visit to the States is complete without ordering from Victoria’s Secret. There is no Victoria’s Secret in Belize. If you have a wife or a girlfriend and you don’t bring a Victoria’s Secret present you might as well not go back because they know you came here. I bought some parts that are hard to find for a Toro lawnmower. Some equipment you may have a problem getting a part for, so just call, order it and have it shipped to Belize, and you will have it in 72 hours if you really need it that fast.  
 
It’s really not so much about what Belize can do for you. It is more of what do you want to do. You don’t have amusement parks. We only have a little museum, which is not much at all. So if you really want to see cultural plays or if you are used to going to the opera, you might as well forget all that. Belize does not have that.  However Belize is rich in culture and tradition. The local festivals and events are a lot of fun to attend.  With about 350,000 people in the entire country, the economics are not there to support a lot of things, but as far as outdoorsy stuff, it’s all here except there is no snow skiing. You can water ski. You can fish and it is great fishing. It really depends on your hobbies.  
 
If you move to Belize then first of all, everything but gasoline costs a lot less. The weather is nice and warm. The culture is very accepting of you doing whatever you want to do so you don’t have a lot of peer pressure or societal pressure to conform in any way. So if you are a free spirit, Belize is a great place to go.  
 
As far as being outside, if you want to do anything active, whether it is kayaking, boating, fishing or riding your motorcycle, or having drink with your friends at the local watering hole, it is a great place.  
 
If you have to shop, at least if you live in the Corozal area in northern Belize you have access to Chetumal (a city in Mexico just across the boarder with Belize that has malls and big box stores), otherwise you will give up major mall shopping.  If you are in other parts of Belize, you can still get to Chetumal because it is not hard to do. If you really feel that you need these things, you can take a trip to the US to get them, but by and large, once you start living in Belize, your need for these types of things that you thought you needed before that were important to you in North America just aren’t as important.  
 
The living cost in Belize is very reasonable. You will find staple food items to be a bit cheaper. A toothbrush is about 60 cents because it is a necessity. Beans, sugar, flour, and rice are a staple so these are kept at a standard pricing schedule.   
 
If you want to buy a jar of Ragu spaghetti sauce, you probably are going to wind up paying a US price for it or maybe a little bit more. On the islands, you are going to pay a 25% premium because items have to be shipped there. If you want dill pickles made by Vlassic, you will find them, maybe a bit more expensive, but not dramatically. 
 
(Pictured: having a nice meal in Blackbeard's Beach Bar, Belize.)
Phil Hahn of Carmelita Gardens – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
On the veranda in Carmelita Gardens, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingFor the average Belizean, the standard of living is very low by US standards and their housing is fairly meager. Most Belizeans don’t have a vehicle. They will, however, have a cell phone and TV and cable and that’s very typical, and nobody is starving. There is no abject poverty here in Belize. There is an abundance of food and natural resources.  
 
Belize has been ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world. People are just generally happy people here. They may not have all the material things that we are used to but I think we found that that doesn’t really make a person happier. They have their family around and they spend time together with their family and friends. 
 
It reminds me of a seminar that I attended given by the renowned architect Andres Duany. He was the architect behind Seaside Florida and other New Orleans developments. I went to New Orleans to attend the seminar two years after Hurricane Katrina and Andres Duany talked about his experience as one of the architects who was called in to help to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. He is a native of Cuba but as a child, his family moved to the US. 
 
He said that he arrived about 3 AM and he was there in his hotel room looking around. His hotel room was just like any other hotel room anywhere in the world. In order to get context, he walked outside and he went to the French Quarter.  There, he saw the architecture and he was transported immediately to the Caribbean. That’s when it dawned on him that New Orleans is different than the rest of the US because it is the Caribbean. It’s not the South; it’s not the US.  
 
Belize is a good example of that.  What people value in the Caribbean is time. Everybody else is running around making money.  Here in Belize, what is important is the time you spend with your family, the time you spend coming up with a recipe and cooking rice and beans and sharing that with your family and the time that you take to write a piece of music and play it for your family and friends. That is they value.  That’s Belize. It’s about family. It’s about friends. Time is the most precious commodity. It’s more important to spend time with your family. 
 
(Pictured: On the veranda in Carmelita Gardens, Belize.)
 
Boris Mannsfeld of Boris Mannsfeld & Associates – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Placencia, Belize, raised sidewalk between houses – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe locals are extremely content about the way they live. That applies to all: the rich, the poor and those in the middle. They are pretty happy and they have a pretty tight-knit family life. Belizeans have large families, and many generations live in one village. Families get together in parties so I think Belizeans are pretty content. They are happy with their family and with their friends. Living off the land, they don’t have the stress and the need for material goods unlike us who live in the States or in Europe. I think the standard of living is pretty high for Belizeans but if you look at the per capita numbers, they are not that high.  However, not everything in your standard of living is based on how much per capita you make and how much per capita wealth do you have.
 
Overall, the standard of living down here in Belize is all good. For an expat, you will live a lot better than in the States.
 
From an expat perspective, you can live in Belize a lot better than you would in Canada and in the States because things are cheaper. The basic needs are cheaper.  Fish and chicken are cheaper. The only thing that is a lot expensive down here are gasoline, power, and processed food like Churros and Pringles.
 
Some foreigners come to Belize just so they could live on less than in the States. They move down there because they say, “Hey, I cannot afford to retire in the States and have a good standard of living.” They choose Belize so they can hire a cook full time for a week for only $150. That’s about $7,800 a year for full time help and you cannot have that in the States.
 
If you are old and you need a little help, or if you want to live the lifestyle of the rich and famous, you just come down here to Belize and you can afford that, so then your standard of living goes up.
 
For those people in the States who don’t have a lot of money, their standard of living becomes higher here. Those who have plenty of money back in the States, their standard of living here is much higher because they also get rid of the stress and all the baloney from the States. If you ask them about their standard of living, they will tell you it is much better now than when they are back at home. They don’t get mail delivered so they don’t get bothered with a lot of junk. They do not have all these issues.

Go Here Next

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.
 

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".

Contact/Support

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