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Ed Parrish of Dumbbell Properties, LLC – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Ed Parrish setting up his new house on the beach of Corozal, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe cost of living in Corozal is widely variable. Living shelter in Corozal is relatively inexpensive. Many expats choose to build a house versus renting one.
 
There is a limited supply of house rentals available that would meet most expat expectations, especially long-term rentals, but this situation is beginning to change. There are more and more rental houses being built. We're in the process of building some ourselves.
 
Property taxes in Belize are miniscule compared to the United States. However, this may change because the Belize government is currently looking at different ways to improve revenue growth, which they would need to do to invest in infrastructure development.
 
Once you have a property built in Corozal, then your cost of living is relatively inexpensive because you're only left with utilities. However, electricity cost is fairly expensive because the majority of it is still generated by petrochemical-fired generators, whether diesel or gasoline, but it's mostly diesel. Belize does buy some power from some of the neighboring countries, particularly Mexico.
 
Water in Corozal is not expensive, but the quality is questionable. It's fine for bathing and washing. For drinking water, I would recommend to either filter it or buy purified water.
 
Food is extremely inexpensive in Corozal. You can buy a humongous sack of fresh vegetables at the local market for US $10. Beef is a little more expensive. Chicken and pork are still pretty cheap and the staple of the Belizean diet.
 
They do not have a lot of beef, but this is starting to change as there has been a little bit more beef production that the Mennonites are starting to get into. They're developing cold storage, which will allow the meat to age out properly and be a lot more palatable, too. Guys like me from Texas are used to really good beef.
 
If you're going to be driving around Corozal, gasoline is pretty expensive. Currently, it is around $5 a gallon. I would highly recommend a fuel-efficient vehicle or a diesel one.
 
Getting vehicles fixed in Corozal is pretty cheap, with the exception of some of the parts because they would need to be imported. We often go to Mexico, pick up whatever vehicle parts we need, and bring these back in to Belize, but we pay duty taxes for these parts. The amount of duty tax depends on what the vehicle part is.
 
In Corozal, US $4,000 a month would translate into a very nice lifestyle. You could certainly afford all your basic needs and would have plenty left over for any enjoyment that you may want to do.
 
If you had $2,000 a month, don't go out all the time, and cook most of your meals at home, then you'd certainly live very well in Corozal. You couldn't be a party animal, but you certainly would have some discretionary income left over after you've paid your bills and took care of basics. For $800, you could get a nice, spacious apartment that's not in an older complex that would not have some sketchy people living there as well.
 
In contrast, in Dallas, Texas, $2,000 a month would not be enough. You're going to be living in a tiny apartment somewhere, which is going to cost a minimum of $800 to $900 a month. If you're making car payments, plus the cost of your food, you're not going to have anything left over for any discretionary spending.
 
(Ed Parrish setting up his new house on the beach of Corozal, Belize, pictured. )
David Berger of Tradewinds Hospitality at Orchid Bay – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Buyers tour at Orchid Bay, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe cost of living in Corozal depends on how people live. For example, if you’re used to eating out, or driving cars and shopping, the cost of living goes up substantially. Most people don’t live that way here in Corozal. They eat street food, or take buses or car pool. A lot of people hitch rides around here in Corozal, so it’s very normal to start walking to where you want to go and have someone just pick you up right away. Gasoline is very expensive here in Corozal, so transportation is typically expensive. 
 
We have a boat, so we probably have a higher cost of living in general.  “We use it to go back and forth to Corozal Town to take care of our shopping needs for the restaurant, and it’s more efficient for us. Also, we can fit more stuff in a boat than in a car. 
 
We only live 11 miles from Corozal Town, but it could take us an hour to get to town because we have to wait on the queue to get on the ferries. Certainly, our sense of being on time is challenged here in Corozal. We have to cross on two hand-cranked ferries to get to Corozal Town, and the time it takes is about 40 minutes to an hour and a half. 
 
If you move to Corozal, you only have to change your lifestyle so as to not have that pressure to be places on time because if you don’t, you’ll go crazy here in Corozal. Corozal definitely has a kick back and relax kind of state of mind, and if you’re in a hurry, it drives people nuts. It’s actually healthy that Belizeans have learned to slow down to a certain extent. 
 
In Corozal, the food is really fresh and is really good. If you shop for vegetables in the market and go home and cook, you can live pretty inexpensively here in Corozal. On the contrary, if you go to the grocery store to buy imported goods such as Nestea or Frito-Lay, you’ll find it here but are going to cost three times their normal price since they’ve already been imported, which can increase your cost of living significantly.
 
In general, the best way to live cost-effectively here in Corozal is to get used to eating and drinking like the locals. Everything here in Corozal is priced on importation and is taxed, which means you can still get anything that you used to have in the US, but it costs more if you live that way. In Corozal, you have to eat Buen Nachos instead of Doritos, which are almost the same thing. We have fresh vegetables and fruits available almost every day of the year here that are grown locally, so instead of buying certain lettuces coming to Belize that cost more, buying locally can help you live cost-effectively. 
 
You might find it difficult at first to just consume basically Belize-type products, but once you get through all the adjustments, it’s actually easier to find local Belize products, but our expat brains are tricked to not look for them in the beginning. We come from a society where we have everything at our fingertips all the time, and it’s cheap. It’s just because there’s no free trade here in Belize like we have in the US, so we have very small amounts of imports, and things that are imported are usually highly taxed.  
 
The things that we do are usually free here in Corozal. We don’t go out, unlike in the US where we would just go places, do things and drive. Around here in Corozal, we ride our bikes and swim. Even in going to the store to buy things, you usually can’t find things you really like, so you don’t spend money on stuff that you used to spend money on everyday, and that’s why it’s easier to spend less money here in Corozal than it is in the United States.
 
In Corozal, you don’t drive as much, so even though gas costs more, since you drive less, you still don’t spend more. You maximize your trips to town, so you think and plan ahead before heading to Corozal Town, and that makes us think more. It’s not as convenient as it is in the US, and it actually makes you smarter.
 
I live in a nice place that is in a gated community. We have air conditioning, phones, and Internet connection that costs the same as in the US, but with a lower speed. I still spend less in Belize than I would anywhere in the US. People could retire here on way less money than they could in the US.  
 
(Buyers' tour at Orchid Bay, Belize, pictured.)
Tony and Beth McClure – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Fish ready for dinner, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe overall cost of living in Corozal is very attractive- probably half of what it is in the United States. The only thing that I find that’s significantly more expensive in Corozal than in the States is gasoline. I have not had enough experience in high dollar / high ticket items to know how expensive they are, but as far as just regular everyday purchases – food, clothing, things of that nature- I find it very inexpensive in Corozal
 
Another thing that’s attractive in Corozal is that they accept US currency everywhere and the exchange rate is always the same: $2 Belize to $1 US. For instance, if you purchase something that’s BZ $5 and you hand them a twenty dollar US bill, you’re going to get BZ $35 in change.  It’s just real easy, and real simple.
 
As an example of the cost of living in Corozal, I can remember having a great meal- fresh fish, all the trimmings, a couple of beers, and it was BZ $11.50 (less than US $6) in a nice setting, in a nice restaurant. I have nothing but good things to say about. However, I haven’t been to a big box store over in Guatemala to buy a washer and dryer and come across the border back into Belize to pay the duty on it. That’s the thing that I’ve got to get a better handle on.
 
My impression is that routine healthcare is very affordable. I hear things that tell me that health care there is really inexpensive, and if you have to have something fairly serious, you go across the border to Guatemala. If you’re looking at heart surgery or something like that, of course, you’re going to come back to the States.
 
The most attractive thing to the people that I have shared Corozal with is the price of land. I’ve had conversations with people who have looked into other Caribbean locations, and oftentimes they’re dealing with 99-year leases. They don’t have outright ownership. The official language of Belize is English, so my deed is in English, my title insurance is in English, and all of the documents are in English so they’re very easy to understand. Belize has Common Law, much like we have in the States. The major difference is that in Belize they don’t have a Second Amendment- you don’t automatically have the right to purchase and own and carry a firearm. You can do so, but you have to jump through a few hoops to do that. But outside of the Second Amendment, you will find very little difference between Belizean law and the law here in the States.
 
(Fish ready for dinner, Belize, pictured.)
Mark Leonard of Paradise Found Belize Real Estate and Development – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
House in Corozal Town, Belize– Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingYou can rent homes in Corozal for as little as $200 - $500 US a month. Personally I lived in some larger sea view homes for $350 - $500 US a month for a 3 bedroom and 2 bath home in Corozal Town. Homes in the villages easy be found for $200 US a month. As far as utilities, power runs about $75 US, water is $25 US, cable and Internet are around $70 US a month. 
 
A visit to the hospital is free, and private clinics are $20 - $25 US a visit. Food is reasonable. Staple items, like rice, flour and beans are pretty cheap.
 
(House in Corozal Town, Belize, pictured.)

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