There are certain elements to the total cost of living in Ambergris Caye that are going to provide for a far less expensive cost of living but other elements that would provide for a more expensive cost of living, depending on the way you choose to live here in Ambergris Caye.
For example, a lot of people come here to Ambergris Caye and want to live the same way they did back home; drinking wine, getting imported foods, etc. If you do this, it will end up costing you substantially more here in Ambergris Caye because those imported foods and other imported items are substantially more expensive in Ambergris Caye than, for example, in the US. On the other hand, if you adapt and eat more chicken, local fish, vegetables, and fruits that are from the local region, your cost of living will end up being substantially less than in the US.
What most people end up doing is a combination of buying imported and local goods and services. They still drink some wines and have some Dannon yogurt, and occasionally, beef that is generally not raised here and then some fruits and vegetables. In so doing, they end up equalizing their overall budget.
Other than these tradeoffs, most of the people on Ambergris Caye drive a golf cart, which is much less expensive than a car. A golf cart will cost anywhere from US $7,000 to $12,000 for an initial purchase. You might pay $25 a week on gas if you are using the golf cart every day. The licensing is about $100 to $125 per year and the insurance is going to run you about $40 a year.
If you own your home, property taxes are fairly low here in Ambergris Caye but on the flip side of that, insurance is substantially higher than what you are used to because all peril / all risk insurance is going to run you about $10 to $20 per $1,000 of insured value. This range would be based whether your home is concrete construction or wood construction. Concrete construction will be on the lower end of that spectrum and wood construction would be o the higher end. By the time you even it all out, it is really not that much less expensive if you decide to live like you did before – buying imported foods, going out to dinner, and other things of that nature.
Ambergris Caye is one of the more expensive places to live in Belize, but it also provides for more options than any other place in Belize. For example, there are a lot more options for grocery stores, places to live, locations on the island, etc. We have a couple of wine stores where you can buy prosciutto, or brie, etc., which are items that might not be available in some of the supermarkets or stores in other places in Belize.
There are things that you do not generally find everywhere in the country but you could find them in Ambergris Caye. The reason for this is because Ambergris Caye has a larger population of expats and these expats demand more and different types of goods and services than the population in any other area of the country of Belize. As a result, it is feasible for a lot of these grocery stores and businesses to cater to the higher end tastes in Ambergris Caye whereas in Dangriga, for example, having these items available and for sale is simply not logical because the local population will not buy them.
(Caribbean view from poolside at Tara del Dol, Ambergris Caye Belize, pictured.)