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David Berger of Tradewinds Hospitality at Orchid Bay – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Dock at Orchid Bay, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingHere's my answer for how much of your stuff you should take with you when you move to Belize: none. You do not have to bring a lot of things to Belize. You just need clothes. All the stuff that you have in the world, you don’t need here in Belize.
 
People in the US save things. They have a garage full of tools, etc. but all that stuff would actually rust out and go bad here. So it is better to not bring any of that here in Belize and just start over.
 
When I moved to Belize, I sold all of my things and just brought with me my clothes and a few things. I never need anything here.  
 
(Dock at Orchid Bay, Belize, pictured.)
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Virginia Krohn of Villa Cayo Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Bedroom in Cayo, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn my opinion you should bring nothing to Belize except yourself, your family and your personal items. Just purchase everything here unless you are coming in under the Qualified Retirement Program (QRP). Under the QRP, you are able to bring just about anything duty free but you still have to pay for shipping which is usually more that the value of old furniture and appliances. 
 
You can buy those things brand new here in Belize or in Mexico.  From Mexico you will still have a little shipping expense (unless you pick it up in your own vehicle) and duty to pay but it will all be new and a lot less expensive.   
 
(Bedroom in Cayo, Belize, pictured.)
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Walter T. (Tom) Fisher of Corozal Belize Properties – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Walmart in Chetumal, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWhen we moved to Belize, I drove down my truck loaded with stuff, and a neighbor donating a small bus to Belize allowed me to use some of the bus for bringing a few extra things, probably a small trailer's worth. In the few years leading up to the full time move, we brought down suitcases jammed. We brought the following: dishes, pots and pans, limited artwork and pictures, computer, tools, Honda mower, cordless tools, a few select pieces of furniture, TV, sound dock, digital music, a set of 6 stackable faux wicker chairs, a few lamps, clothes, and our five cats (on the airline w/ my wife). I missed a few things, since replaced (small compressor, pressure washer, etc.). But, we did it mostly right, for us.
 
Things have changed a lot. There are shippers who can bring down everything from individual boxes to container loads. We had basically all of our furniture built here by a local cabinet maker. We are convinced it was the right call.  We try to help people with resources for these decisions. We now use a very competent and reasonable shipper in the US for purchases on Amazon to Walmart, etc., to buy other "stuff." It's a very individualized question.  For us it worked. Our goal was to simplify our life moving to Belize. That meant letting go of a lot of "stuff". You will figure it out!
 
(The Walmart in Mexico across the bay from Corozal, Belize, pictured.)
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Gwido Mar of Rainforerst Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
container being moved from a barge at the Port of Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingHow much of your things you should move to Belize depends on what things you think you cannot live without. In some cases, people are really meticulous about what type of appliances they have. They are very specific about the brands, models, etc. Generally, you can get anything and everything in Belize, but there are some people who have things that they really like a lot, so those are the things that they really want to move into Belize. We have people who move appliances, furniture, power tools, linens, or dishes. You can get all those things here in Belize, too, but it depends on the person to determine how much they want to move and if a specific thing is so sentimental to them that they really want to move it to Belize, then of course they can ship it down.
 
There are things, for example, some woods, that you will pay a higher tariff on if you bring it in from outside the country. The reason for that that is that Belize is trying to tell people that we already have a lot of wood. So if you import wood into Belize, the tariff is higher and that kind of discourages people from importing wood. If  you are looking for furniture, there is a lot of cool stuff and high quality stuff here in Belize. There are no fake or compressed boards here. They are all genuine, high quality woods. We have a lot of exotic woods aside from mahogany. People have learned that if they cannot find what they want in the stores, they can have it made by the local skilled carpenters.
 
You can also buy appliances here in Belize. It may cost more to buy appliances here than it would in the US. In some cases, expats do the math and find that it’s cheaper to buy appliances in the US and get them shipped to Belize than to buy the appliances here. And there are times when certain people are not willing to sacrifice certain items. If they have something that they cannot do without, then they will have it shipped to Belize.
 
Regarding import duties, there are certain permits that you can get in order to get an exemption. In some cases, if you are with an NGO or if you are a humanitarian aide, if you are helping a school or orphanage, then you can get an exemption. But generally speaking, everyone who moves to Belize has to pay import duty. The exception other than what I mentioned is through a program called the QRP (Qualified Retirement Program).  People who enroll in that program do get all their things duty free, including furniture, household effects, car, boat, and a plane.  If you qualify for the QRP, there may be some period of time during which you can import your items duty free, but please check to make certain.
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Kelly German of ECI Development – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
How much stuff you should take with you when you move to Belize depends on how long you are staying here. If you are going to Belize on a trial basis like for six months to a year or less, I don’t think you have to bring a lot of stuff. You can bring some clothes and decent shoes that you can use for all kinds of terrain. But generally, like my father says, “If you don’t have it when you are traveling, you just buy it where you are.”
 
The only essential things that you need to bring to Belize would be your pharmaceutical things, if you need any, and toiletries like deodorant, shampoo, beauty products, etc. because they are not easy to obtain here in Belize. Another thing I have not been able to buy is contact lenses, but you can buy them online and have them sent to Belize. If you have prescription eyeglasses, bring a spare pair.
 
I would always recommend bringing an e-reader or any kind of tablet.  People are very committed to their news sources and ultimately having access to the same news and other media that you have at your home country is a good way to ease into your new situation while  still having access to the things that you love.
 
If you decide that you want to stay in Belize for a long time, other than your basics, you should bring your linens, because it is difficult to get decent linens here in Belize, unless you pay a fortune. If you have a hobby, you should bring the items you need for your hobby, like your fishing rods, golf clubs, hiking shoes, etc. If you are buying a car in Belize, you will pay double. So if you are coming to Belize on a Qualified Retired Person’s Residency, you could just bring your car to Belize duty free. You have a one year window to do that and that window is renewable after the third year.
 
My recommendation is to bring less. Just bring your essentials. Bring less than you think you are going to use. I am saying this from experience. I have a three-bedroom home in Canada that I packed up, and after numerous donations, garage sales, and friends coming to harvest, I kept the special stuff. I kept the dining table that my husband’s grandmother had given us and other essentials, and now, they are all just sitting in my mother’s basement for years because I have a small house in Belize. I do not even remember what we had, but now in hindsight, I realize I should have gotten rid of all of it, but we did not know that then. I had already gotten rid of so much of our stuff that I thought I was just keeping the essentials. It was a learning experience. So I would recommend for people to not bring lots of their stuff to Belize because you can buy most things here. You can also buy furniture here in Belize.
 
If you realize that you need something you left in your home country, then you can bring it into Belize later. Just because you have moved to another country, doesn’t mean you are not going back. And when you do go back, you will realize how much consumerism there is in North America; everything is “buy and buy and buy.” You have one thing and then you buy another one of that same thing. That doesn’t seem to exist in Belize nearly as much. When you move to Belize, your attitude about buying things changes. Out here, you live with less. You keep it simple, and it is a really freeing feeling. I will never forget those first few days when we were deciding what to keep and what to leave. I was panicked thinking that I could not sell my stuff; I needed them. I told myself that I would be back in three years. That’s what I said nine years ago. Now, I realize I am not going back, so I don’t need the things I used to think I needed and I can only farm them out to family members for a certain amount of time.
 
When you come here to Belize to live, your attitude really shifts about how much stuff you need, and I think it’s a really healthy thing.  In North America, your “wants” become “needs”, but not here.
 
I would highly recommend that whoever comes to Belize over the age of 45 to get a Qualified Retired Person’s Residency because it is very easy and provides a lot of benefits. All you have to prove is that you have US $24,000 per year or $2,000 per month coming into your bank account; whether you spend it or not in Belize is up to you. They are just looking to make sure you have the ability to support yourself. Once you have that residency status, you don’t need a tourist visa, and you get that one-year window to bring in your goods duty free.  Also, as I wrote above, it is renewable after the third year. You will not be able to import goods for two years after the first year. But then you can re-apply and start bringing in duty free goods again. 
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Rachel Jensen of Grand Baymen – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
How much stuff you should move to Belize depends on how much “stuff” you need.  Some folks bring down only a few suitcases while others ship down their entire house (well, everything except the frame!).
 
You’ll find most folks in Belize live very simply.  You can find your basics (furniture, electronics, appliances, etc.) in country, although the prices may be a bit more expensive.  Take with you whatever you think you’ll miss just in case you can’t find an exact replica at the stores in Belize.

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