Belize is a tiny and quirky country that offers a simple, back-to-basics lifestyle that is increasingly hard to find anywhere else in the world. Here are five reasons to consider retiring in Belize.
A new frontier. This is a country of freedom-seekers. Folks from as far away as Germany, the Netherlands, and Britain and as close as Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Honduras have been making their way across Belize's borders for decades in search of safety or escape. Today a new population of freedom-seekers is finding its way to this English-speaking country—American retirees who recognize in this nation of independent thinkers and doers an opportunity to enjoy a way of life that can seem extinct in much of the rest of the world. Belize is a country where you can make your own way.
When you arrive in Belize by plane you will walk across the tarmac to the one-room arrivals hall of the airport and have a sense of leaving the rest of the world behind. The troubles, uncertainties, and worries that seem so all-consuming Stateside and elsewhere fade here. Belize is a land that remains a frontier, undeveloped, and full of escape, freedom, and potential.
Little paperwork. Belize is one of the most user-friendly places in the world to establish foreign residency. You begin the process of establishing permanent residency simply by entering the country with a tourist visa and then renewing it monthly at a cost of $50 until you’ve been in the country for a year. Belize also offers a special QRP retiree residence status that allows the duty-free import of your household possessions and car, if you want to bring them with you. This small country is also a tax and banking haven.
A diverse landscape. The best known face of Belize is Ambergris Caye, thanks to the Temptation Island seasons filmed here. This Caribbean island lies just offshore of Belize City. However, the inland rain forest is a very different region and the Cayo District is a land of mountains, Mayan ruins, rivers, and waterfalls. This is Belize's frontier, a land where an individual comes to stake a claim and make his or her own way. The wide-open spaces of the Cayo appeal to the adventuresome and the independent. Living here, you will enjoy lots of elbow room and far-reaching vistas.
Off the grid. Communities are being established and small clusters of expats and retirees are already in residence. The appeal is strong for many—an affordable place to live a healthy and happy lifestyle well apart from the troubles plaguing so much of the rest of the world. The Cayo District, with its lush tropical rain forests and abundant fresh-water rivers, has quietly become the fastest-growing area in Belize. This is a region where you can operate as independently as you want including generating your own electricity, using solar power, or growing your own food.
An affordable lifestyle. One of the most appealing parts of Belize’s Cayo District is the cost of land and construction, which is far lower than elsewhere in this country and a bargain on a global scale. Planned riverfront communities offer building lots for as little as $25,000, and you can build a home using the beautiful and exotic local hardwoods for as little as $500 per square meter. You could establish a base for yourself in this beautiful English-speaking haven for a total cost of well under $100,000.
Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter. Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.