Considering Overseas Retirement? You’ll Never Get Bored in Belize!

by Larry Waight

Having discovered during the pandemic that you can work from anywhere you please, have you thought about continuing your career in Belize? It’s the perfect retirement destination and for all the right reasons: idyllic weather year-round, living so close to the U.S. you can go home for meetings and family affairs in a few hours, and it won’t take long for you to realize that owning a beachfront home is more affordable than you imagine. Further, you can officially retire in Belize at the age of 45. That’s not a typo. It’s the retirement country you would invent if you had the power to do so, and once you finish reading this, you’ll be convinced, too.

Making Retirement Happen in Belize

placencia beach couple colorful tipsy

Placencia is a top choice for retirees. Photo courtesy Kevin Quischan Photography

For starters, book a fact-finding mission to Belize now that travel restrictions have been eased. Bring proof of COVID vaccine shots and you’ll be admitted to the nation and book a stay at a resort that earned Gold Standard certifications from Belize tourism and government authorities so you’re safe and centrally located.

How can you streamline your unofficial expedition? By placing these locations on your must-see list: Corozal, Ambergris Caye, Placencia, Cayo, and Hopkins. These are the most often-recommended communities for ex-pats currently residing in Belize. You’re welcome to add other destinations to your itinerary but if you’re like most home shoppers, you’ll recognize the place you are meant to be the moment you spot it.

Whether you plan on retiring solo or not, one of the best trips is to explore with small groups that have a particular focus on retirement included.
You might not have a partner traveling with you, but you immediately have something in common with the other members of the group. Also, in Belize, several tour companies among them, like Belize Paradise Tours have long catered to travelers actively seeking retirement, relocation, or just being a snowbird. Join one of their small groups in the most popular areas in the country, or contact Belize Paradise Tours about custom tours to fit your needs.

Take care of business


Photo courtesy Maya Island Air

Given the fact that you probably don’t know much about Belize’s real estate market, your first task – even before you book your plane ticket to visit – should be reconnoitering the nation’s real estate market by targeting the type of abode that best fits the way you want to live. Whether it’s a home on the Caribbean Sea, a condo along the coastline or you prefer to rent an apartment before you make a buying decision, the right search engine can take you where you want to go so you assess pricing, locations and get a taste of each one.

Tierra Pristina. Photo © Vista Real Estate

Since real estate sales are based on Belize’s early British roots, everything about negotiating your deal is conducted in English and there are plenty of licensed lawyers throughout the land who can walk you through everything from making an offer to closing on your retirement home. Consider a Belize real estate professional if you want to save time and more closely target appropriate digs.

Prepare for an instant social life

friendly smiles Duarte drums Garifuna teach

Warm smiles await in Belize. Photo courtesy Duarte Dellarole

In addition to the fact that Belizeans speak English, the sheer volume of ex-pats coming to Belize on vacation who make the decision to stay grows larger every day. You’re encouraged to take advantage of this by talking to folks you meet, look into publications, clubs and organizations that keep tabs on the comings and goings of ex-pats.

Whether you’re determined to spend your retirement doing nothing, you’ll continue working, or launching a business is your reality, Belize laws make it not just possible to do all of the above but you’ll enjoy a benefit derived from your “retiree” status in addition to crafting the lifestyle you desire. This article succinctly describes what you need to do to retire in Belize.

Assess your financial status

One of the ways to qualify for Belize’s Qualified Retired Person Residency Program is to prove that you’ve got a regular income of at least $24K annually (pension; retirement; guaranteed income funds). Compared to the amount of money you would spend at home to live in the manner to which you would like to become accustomed, Belize is paradise. The cost of living is low and so is real estate.

As long as you’re aware of the fact that popular destinations like Ambergris Caye are pricey while Cayo’s market is more affordable, you can thoughtfully weigh your steady income as it relates to the property you buy or rent. International Living, one of the best publications on the market when it comes to all things retirement in Belize, publishes sample budgets to help prospective retirees see what they can expect to spend.

Oh, the places you’ll go!

Is it possible to be all things to all people in a country that measures less than 9,000 square miles? You bet. Here are some of the factors you should know that can help you pick the retirement haven of your dreams.

Choose Ambergris Caye as your new home if you can’t get enough action, both day and night.

Minus the tall buildings, this popular, pricier island is Belize’s answer to New York City because nightlife, the arts and cultural scene, gourmet eateries and the hottest entertainments can be found here. Hate crowds? Prefer your music to be classical rather than punta? Think of all the money you’ll save by eliminating Ambergris early!

Look into the Cayo District for solitude and natural beauty, which makes this a heavenly place to settle down, especially if you’re the private sort.

Whether your idea of perfect digs is a house on the Macal River, a farm located close to one of the nation’s Mennonite communities where privacy is prioritized or your idea of heaven is a cabin in an EcoVillage, this region promises to satisfy your architectural needs and your budget.

Spend $20K on a lot that’s near the seashore, a fortune to acquire an estate or just enough real estate along the coast of Corozal District to build an entire development.

You’ll be around 9 miles south of Mexico so trips across the border for any number of adventures puts you in close proximity to Mayan ruins located in both nations. Corozal is fast becoming a mecca for North American retirees because of its proximity and extremely unique personality.

If living on a peninsula with two distinct coasts (the Caribbean Sea and lagoon) appeals to you, Placencia is one of the hottest real estate markets in the nation for a long list of reasons.

You’ll find the best beaches in this region, say travel writers and huge numbers of ex-pats who know a thing or two about them. Once a sleepy fishing village, Placencia’s charm is unique, say ex-pats flocking to the area that gets residents and visitors as close to the Belize Barrier Reef as possible.

Don’t forget to look at Hopkins when you visit. This coastal village, located in the Stann Creek District, has been called “the coast with the most” because of its diversity. 

Home to indigenous Garifuna people, new residents find a taste of everything they crave in this area: Laid-back vibe. Small bars and eateries. Lush beaches and scenery. Since Hopkins was named “The Friendliest Village in Belize,” who wouldn’t want to think about retiring here?

tobacco caye belize duarte dellarole

All smiles in paradise at Tobacco Caye. Photo courtesy Duarte Dellarole

Having already informed you that Belize measures less than 9,000 square miles in total, you can celebrate not having to travel far if you intend to check out all of these areas in your quest to pursue retirement options. You’ll have plenty of time to see the nation’s remarkable landmarks, pursue your relocated job or business, hone your aquatic sports interests and discover for yourself why every area in Belize has a charm that is like no other. Until then, enjoy the search and don’t be surprised if you fall in love more than once. 

Header photo courtesy Eucalipto Yoga Belize 

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