Moving to Belize
What is Belize?
Belize is a diverse, English speaking Caribbean country
Formerly known as British Honduras, Belize is a small country at the northeastern coast of Central America, which borders Mexico, the Caribbean Sea and Guatemala.
It doesn’t seem to have major issues with Mexico, but Guatemala does claim sovereignty over all or a part of Belize.
It’s unlikely this will result in war, but it is definitely possible.
Because Belize is a former British colony, the official language is English.
For expats who cannot speak any other language (like Spanish) this is a definite advantage.
In addition, Belize is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, which is a sigh of democratic relief compared to some other Latin American countries.
Belize is 60% covered by forests, and because of the thick jungles it’s also a major transit country for drugs into Mexico.
It has a tropical climate, with pronounced wet and dry seasons.
The average temperatures are pleasant, but the humidity is way too high.
Belize is often known for its massive coral reefs, huge terrestrial and marine biodiversity.
Another fun fact is that Belize has a high prevalence of communicable diseases, as befits a tropical country.
It also gets hit by hurricanes every so often.
Belizeans are reproducing at a very healthy rate, and the country’s population is growing steadily.
However, this comes with relatively high rates of violent crime, mostly related to gang activity concerning drugs.
Another country which hasn’t learned that a “war on drugs” is stupid and never NEVER works.
Belize is considered a tax haven, nonresidents can open bank accounts, and its currency is pegged to the USD.
Moving to Belize - requirements
Belize has very relaxed requirements for moving there.
The cost of living is low, and you do not need to get a visa before traveling there.
You get a visa on arrival, which can be extended every 30 days.
In addition, getting permanent residence is really easy.
You do not even need to reside in Belize on a permanent basis!
It’s possible to get permanent residence after living there for a year, or you can be a Qualified Retired Person, if you have an income of at least $2000 being deposited into a Belizean bank.
After 5 years of residence, citizenship becomes an option.
What is the cost of living in Belize?
The cost of living in Belize is moderate to low.
As a foreigner making a “Western” sized international income, you should not have any problems living a good life here.
In general, you can expect to spend around $1000 per month to live here, which is really low.
Of course, this will depend heavily on which part of the country you move to, how much luxury you “need”, and so on.
And I cannot neglect to mention the fact that there are no taxes on international income in Belize.
All the money you earn, you keep. What a delightful concept.
Benefits of living in Belize
Downsides of living in Belize
Living in Belize - by the numbers
|Hours of sunshine (4/10)||Temperature (9.5/10)||Rainy days (8/10)||Humidity (1/10)|
26.5 C – 79 F
Cost of Living: 9/10
Taxes on international income: 10/10
Economic growth: 4/10
Average GDP growth over the last 10 years: 2%
How is life for expats in Belize?
Belize is a country with several strong advantages, but some nontrivial disadvantages as well.
To start off, it’s a beautiful country and if you’re into diving or exploring nature, you can live a very happy life here.
That being said, it’s also humid as fuck, so be prepared to sweat a lot.
Having English as the primary language is another awesome feature, as is the really great visa/residence/citizenship system.
Expats can open bank accounts and businesses here, and you do not have to pay taxes on your international income.
The downsides … Belize is tied to the USD, there is a drug-related crime problem, and natural disasters do occur.
None of these factors are specifically detrimental by themselves, but the combination of everything I just mentioned leads me to this conclusion:
It has a lot of things in common with Panama, in fact.
I would not advocate living in Belize full time, but I 100% endorse planting flags in this country, and then visiting it every once in a while to relax and enjoy the beautiful nature.
That way, you get the best of Belize, without being there long enough to start to notice the downsides.