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+(501) 227-1144This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.About Belize Touris...
John M. Burgos of Belize Tourism Industry Association – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Selwyn Walford Young – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingEverybody’s bilingual in Cayo-- English and Spanish.  The first language will be Spanish but they all speak English, and English is the official language of Belize.  All official business is in English.
 
(Selwyn Walford Young composed the Belizean national anthem, "Land of the Free", pictured.) 
Franklin Syrowatka of Better Homes Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Large carved fish being moved by a Belizean with a t-shirt in English to Vanilla Inn, Cayo, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingYou can definitely get by in Cayo even if you just speak English. You do not need to speak Spanish because about 90% of the people here in Cayo can understand English. Only some of the older folks in the small villages might not be able to speak English.
 
English is taught in school so all the kids and younger people speak English. It is an advantage if you speak Spanish though. It is a psychological thing because that way you can approach people in their mother language. Although Belize is an English-speaking country, 80% of the people in the villages still speak Spanish as well. 
 
All legal dealings such as contracts are in English in Belize. If you need to get your water in your house turned on or if you need to go to a government office, the language they use in their offices is English. They speak American type English here.
 
Creole is another important language that is spoken in Belize along with Spanish and English. Creole is derived from English but don’t think that just because you speak English, you could also understand Creole. You might understand some of it immediately because some words are similar to English but as they speak fast you will not be able to follow.
 
Belizeans are tolerant to different cultures and different accents and language in general because there are so many people from different places living here. They know that nobody is perfect and everybody will speak a little different. So if you have a British accent, they will try to understand you. If you are from Texas, they will adjust to your accent as well. If you do not understand them the first time, they will repeat it for you. Belizeans always try their best to please the visitors in their country. They are innately friendly and that is a big factor in communication.  
 
Generally, if you only speak English, you can get by in Belize perfectly. This is one of the advantages of Belize over other Caribbean countries. My wife and I do not speak Spanish and we never had an issue.
 
(Pictured: large carved fish being moved by a Belizean with a t-shirt in English, to Vanilla Hills Lodge, Cayo, Belize.)
Roberto Harrison of Chaa Creek – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Map showing Belize surrounded by Spanish speaking Guatemala – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingMost people in Belize are bilingual. That is the beauty of living in a diverse country with tourism at the center of the economy. We get to live and learn different languages. Even if it is not proper English or proper Spanish, we learn enough of the language to get by and help others as well.
 
In the Cayo District, the language that is most often spoken is Spanish and Creole. Creole is a dialect, which is a mixture of African and English. It is comparable to the Jamaican Patois. When Americans hear the Belizean Creole, they find some words to be understandable because there is some English in it. English is also spoken in Cayo, but overall, the languages that are most often spoken are Spanish and Creole.
 
You will still be able to get by here in Cayo even if you only speak English. In fact, many expats enjoy living here because most people here in Belize speak English. English is the official language of Belize so all the contracts and any legal documents are in English. Everybody in the government offices communicate in English. Most companies also service in English so if you need to turn on the electricity in your house, for example, you can communicate with the electric company in English and that won’t be a problem.  
 
(Map showing Belize surrounded by Spanish speaking Guatemala and Mexico, pictured.)
Wilana Oldham of Hot Mama's Belize Limited – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
English-speaking Belizean resident Howard Oldham, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingSure, you can get by in Belize with just English.
 
What’s interesting about Belize is that it is an English-speaking country. English is their first language and then Spanish. In the north and in the west, there is the influence from our neighboring countries, which are Mexico and Guatemala, so naturally, there would be a lot more Spanish spoken in those areas.
 
You will run into some people who I call “refugees” from out of Guatemala, Honduras, or El Salvador, who have come here to Belize to live here and have been here for many years and still do not speak any English, so it’s to your benefit to learn a little bit of Spanish, but majority of the people here do speak English. An example of when it is beneficial to learn a little bit of Spanish is when you get a housekeeper, because some housekeepers do not speak English.
 
(English-speaking Belizean resident Howard Oldham at Driftwood Bar and Grill, Hopkins, Belize, pictured.)
Jaseth Bassaragh of The Alpha & Omega Group – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Grand Opening at the Alpha & Omega Group, Cayo District, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingAbout 25% of the people in the Cayo District in Belize speak Spanish and about 75% speak Spanish and English. You can get by speaking English but in the Cayo District, especially in the town of Santa Elena, there is a lot of Hispanic influence because you are getting closer to the border of Guatemala. As a result, there is a mix of people, cultures and languages in this area.
 
As a typical expat, if you go to the salons, cafes, vending areas, etc., the languages spoken are going to be Spanish and English.
 
(Pictured: Grand Opening at the Alpha & Omega Group, Cayo District, Belize.) 

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