The cost of living in the Cayo District / San Ignacio, Belize is lower than the cayes (islands) and beachfront places in Belize such as Ambergris Caye or Placencia.
Basic foods are cheap in Cayo. A loaf of fresh, sliced bread in Benque Viejo costs $1 USD, for example. Rice, beans, vegetables or eggs are super affordable, too. For example, red beans cost $1.50 USD/pound and a dozen eggs will set you back $1.50 USD. Chicken breasts cost approximately $1.40 USD/pound. You’ll fork out $1.50 USD to buy a bottle of cold Belikin beer, Belize’s domestic beer. While produce prices in Cayo vary seasonally, you can buy onions for $0.75 USD/pound and 8 bananas for 50 cents!
San Ignacio boasts Belize’s largest farmers’ market. It is a daily market which swells to 100+ vendors on Saturday, the traditional market day. (See picture above and to the right.) The produce and goods sold at the market are, overall, exceptionally well-priced. The market represents a cost-of-living coup for Cayo residents – it is the envy of those who do not live close enough to shop here! Fresh meat is available from several meat shops in the market or from countrywide distributors such as Running W, Caribbean Chicken, and Reinland Meats. Additionally, there are numerous large stores in San Ignacio that offer a variety of groceries with price points to suit everyone’s budget.
Real estate in Cayo is much more affordable than most coastal areas in Belize such as Corozal, Placencia, Hopkins, Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker. For example, you can purchase an affordable lot in an off-grid community starting at US$21,000. Property taxes in the community are less than $100 USD annually. A recent listing of a home for sale in Santa Elena showed a list price of $45,000 USD for a small 2-bedroom.
Fuel is costlier, overall in Belize, at about $4 USD a gallon. However, when you live in Cayo, you tend to drive less, taxi more, hop on a bus or carpool. A taxi costs $2 USD to go 10 miles between Benque Viejo and San Ignacio. A bus costs $1 USD to go from Better in Belize EcoVillage to Benque Viejo del Carmen, a distance of 10 ½ miles.
A check-up at a dentist in Cayo will only bite into your bank account by $30 USD. The price for a crown averages $200 USD, with a veneer averaging $250 USD. The Tooth Fairy is alive and well and living in Cayo!
The Mennonite community of Spanish Lookout in Cayo offers goods ranging from solar systems through to handmade furniture. They offer price points that make the cost of living in Cayo affordable and appealing.