The standard of living in Ambergris Caye is probably the highest in all of the country of Belize. Overall, people do fairly well here in Ambergris Caye. The cost of living here is higher than any place else in the country of Belize, which is more pronounced from a local standpoint. From a gringo standpoint, it is not quite so pronounced.
What the locals pay for food and rent here is probably double than what they pay in any place else in Belize. It is very difficult for Belizean people to come out here and do well. There are lots of people, especially construction workers / laborers who come here and they have to share a room with four or five people. From the perspective of the lower end of the labor pool, it is not very good. However, from the perspective of resort employees, management people, and office people, they do fairly well and they are used to a higher standard of living than in any place else in the country of Belize and their salaries reflect that. The middle class here in Ambergris Caye does better than any place else but the people on the low end of the spectrum spend a lot more money on lodging and food than they are any place else in the country of Belize.
From an expat perspective, you can live in whatever level you want here in Ambergris Caye. We have great restaurants, gourmet food shops and gourmet wine shops, spas, salons, dog grooming centers, a dozen supermarkets, a dozen large hardware stores, and so on, so you could get almost everything that you want here. What you can’t get here, you can have shipped in from Belize City almost immediately simply by making a phone call.
You can divide the expats here in Ambergris Caye into three groups:
There is a place for all three groups here. You don’t necessarily know which group someone is in just by looking at them. It is very difficult to discern a person’s status here in Ambergris Caye because everybody wear t-shirts, shorts, and flip flops, and nobody drives a Mercedes Benz here. Everybody has a golf cart. What makes it really interesting is that you will never know who you are talking to or what they are all about other than based on the conversations that you have. You cannot place people based on what they are wearing or the car that they drive.