Moving to Belize
Expats moving to Belize will find an unspoiled country with a sub-tropical climate, surrounded by crystal clear waters and home to the world’s largest concentration of Mayan ruins. This Central American paradise boasts a stable economy, a long history of democratic government and a strong respect for human rights and the environment.
Belize has a tiny but culturally diverse population of approximately 360,000 residents. The mix of Caribbean and Latin cultures is evident throughout the country, and the population includes Creole, Chinese, Lebanese, Indian, Taiwanese, Korean and Syrian expats. Furthermore, being the only country in Central America where English is the official language has made it a popular destination amongst expats from the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.
Belize is the perfect expat destination for those wanting a simple life, surrounded by beautiful natural attractions and friendly locals, and is a particularly suitable spot for expats of retirement age. The Belizean government’s positive attitude towards business and its implementation of tax breaks, as well as the country’s favourable property prices, have also served to attract expats looking for investment opportunities and starting their own businesses. Those used to fast-paced city life are warned that very few things run on time in Belize and they’ll have to make some adjustments to operate on ‘Island Time’.
While opportunities for tertiary education are limited in Belize, the compulsory free education offered to all residents is of a good standard. There is also a growing number of international schools in Belize, which have been established to serve the needs of the growing expat population. Medical facilities are readily available in all but the most remote locations. While Belizean private hospitals are equipped to deal with most minor ailments, expats often prefer to travel to neighbouring Mexico or the USA for more serious medical treatment.
Public transport infrastructure in Belize is minimal, but the small size of the country allows people to get around easily by foot or by bicycle. Investing in a four-wheel-drive vehicle is a good idea for expats who are keen to explore the more rugged rural areas of the country. Crime can be an issue, especially in urban areas of Belize, but it tends to be limited to petty theft and drug dealing.
While Belizean infrastructure does require improvement in some areas, expats continue to head to the country in search of their piece of paradise for retirement or investment opportunities.