Belize is becoming one of the hottest destinations in the Caribbean for real estate, and it’s a surprisingly robust market. Generous advantages offered by Belize’s tourism board for overseas migrants has made Belize one of the most bustling places in the Americas for retirees, and that’s been accompanied by a boom in the housing market. It’s only going to grow as Belize’s beautiful barrier reef, lush jungles, and gorgeous beaches become more prominently recognized throughout the world. It’s a market with diverse options ranging from vacation villas to urban condos to homes in planned oceanfront communities. But while a lot of eyes are on Belize, much of that attention is concentrated on the Cayes.
Cayes in this case is pronounced “keys,” and it refers to the four hundred or so islands that dot the Caribbean Sea off of Belize’s coast. The close proximity to the world’s second largest barrier reef makes these islands a hot commodity for visitors, but the sheer scope of the Cayes means that there’s a lot more to these islands than the surface area alone would suggest. Some of these islands are barely too small to even appropriately dock a boat, while others are large enough to offer thriving communities. Whether you’re looking for the perfect place for retire or a smart investment, the Cayes are the place to pay attention to. Here’s everything you need to know.
Among the hundreds of islands branching off from Belize, two stand above the rest. Ambergris Caye is the biggest land mass in the chain by a long shot. It’s 25 miles at its longest point and four miles at its longest width. The hub of activity here is the town of San Pedro which is a large enough town to offer all the essentials without being overly crowded. While San Pedro is becoming a pretty popular path for tourists, there are also private homes in the southern town of San Pedro and some developments less off the beaten path in the north. But the biggest selling point of Ambergris may be its close proximity to the mainland. If you want easy access to explore Belize, the ferry from Ambergris Caye offers the most efficient route.
Then there’s Caye Caulker. It’s still a popular destination for people on vacation, it’s much less overwhelmed than the larger island of nearby Ambergris Caye. That also means that real estate investments, and goods in general, tend to be cheaper on Caye Caulker. This caye is only five miles at its longest point, and that means that most of the residents here do most of their traveling by golf cart or bicycle rather than car. The village is named the same as the island, and it’s a small but colorful destination that comes equipped with all the basic amenities you’d need. And if you do want to go to the mainland, it’s less than a mile away.
While the popularity of Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye mean that they’re a necessary point of discussion, but the Caribbean Sea is also home to a number of smaller and more secluded islands that each offer their own unique sense of personality. Take St. George’s Caye for example; a home here is a sign of serious prestige. The weekender-friendly island is home to some influential vacationing Belizeans, and it’s also where you’ll find one of the Belize’s celebrated resort with historical ties.
Typically you can expect the process of buying a property in Belize to be simple. Since it’s a former British colony, both the language and the nature of the real estate law will be familiar to English speakers from the the west. Land prices are significantly cheaper than other developed or tropical countries.
Further adding to the appeal is the fact that Belize is eager for new residents. This is one of the few countries where foreigners are afforded the same rights as locals in terms of property ownership, and the Belize government is even willing to offer tax breaks and incentives to people moving from abroad.
But just because the market is familiar doesn’t mean that you don’t need a professional. A qualified Realtor, like one with Sunrise Realty, can help make sure that you avoid real estate scams and get a good deal on your property. Plus, Sunset Realty is the only agency that specializes in the Cayes.