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Christian Burn of Grand Baymen – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Ambergris Caye golf carts – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWe don’t have cars here in Ambergris Caye; we use golf carts.
 
A new golf cart here in Belize is about US $10,000. I would not have a point of comparison for how much a golf cart costs in Belize compared to other places because I would not know what a golf cart would cost at home, in Toronto.
 
Could you imagine riding a golf cart in the snow? That would be hilarious!
David Berger of Tradewinds Hospitality at Orchid Bay – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Transporting logs by boat, near Orchid Bay, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingBrand new cars cost about twice as much in Belize than they cost in the US. Everything is imported to Belize so the customs duty is high.  Imported cars are rated by cylinders and the amount of gas it uses. If you bring in a four-cylinder pick-up truck that runs on diesel, it would cost lower duty than if you bring a V8 Expedition. Cars are so expensive here that it discourages people from having cars because even the used cars are pretty expensive. It is easier to buy cars here but it costs more.
 
I do not have a car here in Belize but I have a boat. I used to have a car in the US but I sold it because it wasn’t the right car for here. I have access to use a car a lot but most of the time I just go by boat. I do my shopping by boat. I go to Corozal by boat, too.  
 
(Transporting logs by boat, near Orchid Bay, Belize,pictured.)
Jaseth Bassaragh of The Alpha & Omega Group – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
 LOLA of Lola's Art, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIf you are a modest person and you are happy with a sedan, you could bring in a car for US $12,000. There are several car dealerships in Belize, but they are limited to particular car companies, such as Nissan, Toyota, Ford, Chevy, Mitsubishi, to name a few.
 
Then there is a local car dealership that the Mennonites run that is cooking up a storm and doing pretty good as competition for the other car dealerships that have to import vehicles in Belize.
 
If you are a traditional person and you want to buy a vehicle that you only understand, such as Toyota, and you want to go to the Toyota dealership to buy a vehicle, they don’t really sell Toyota sedans. They sell Toyota pickup trucks and Toyota SUVs. So if you wanted a small car, you would have to go and deal with one of the smaller operators because there is a bunch of people that do bring in vehicles as their main business. Or you could yourself buy it overseas and make arrangements to have it shipped directly to Belize and then you would have to go through the paperwork through customs and you cut out with a middle man.
 
Buying a car in Belize will be more than buying a car in the US. As soon as you drive the car off the lot, it’s used, so if you could get a vehicle in Belize with less than 5 years on it and low mileage, you would save yourself a pretty penny. People have different needs to sell. It could be that they have extra vehicles on hand, their kids have moved away, they may be downsizing, whatever. There are many deals like that are constantly being advertised.
 
To get a used car in Belize costs slightly more than it would cost in the US because the parties who actually have the car in the first instance would have had to deal with the expense of the shipping and the handling and the freight and the duty and the importation of the vehicles. This causes the price to be a little bit more than in the US, where it is directly manufactured. Just think about buying wholesale versus retail. Buying cars in the US would be like buying wholesale and buying it in Belize would be buying in retail because you have the added extra cost of the importation and so forth.
 
When you get mass production, you get a better price. The population in Belize is very small so how many vehicles would they import? So you save more by buying a vehicle in the US if you could purchase through auction or some other means.
 
(Lola using her car to advertise her shop, Lola's Art in Seine Bright, Belize, pictured.) 
Jim Hardesty of TropicChoice Properties & Investments, Ltd. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Vehicles in Belize are more expensive than one would expect because of the high import duties imposed.  The amount of the duty depends upon the vehicle and ranges from about 30% to as much as 90% for what is considered a luxury vehicle.  
 
Vehicle age and number of cylinders are the main criteria used for determining the duty rate and the US Kelly Blue Book value is used for determining base value.
 
There is a large and active market in used cars, but it's a good idea to be very careful and have a mechanic check out any potential purchase since many cars have been thoroughly used and/or abused and cosmetic repairs have been made to cover up the wear and tear.  Because of the import duty, even old, very used cars have a surprisingly high resale value.  One can expect to pay between US$5,000 to $10,000 for a decent 10 year old, 4 cylinder SUV.  SUV's and pick ups are the most popular and appropriate type of vehicles for Belize because of the varying condition of the roads.
 
Expats coming to Belize on the QRP program (qualified retired person) are allowed to bring a vehicle with them, duty free and to replace that vehicle every three years, again duty free. This is the least expensive way to have a good quality car in Belize.  Shipping a car from Florida to Belize costs about US$900.
 
The advantage to buying a new car from a dealer in Belize is that it is the only way you will get warrantee coverage.  Even if you bring a new car from the States, the warrantee will not be valid once you leave the US.  Again, for QRP residents, the program allows the import duty on new vehicles purchased in Belize to be subtracted from the purchase price.

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