What Expats Need to Know About Living in Belize 

by McNab Editorial Team

Belize has long been a regular vacation spot for many. A lot of these people are fine with staying at the country’s many resorts, knowing that their every desire and need will be handled. While most are content to think of Belize as their vacation spot, some get the completely natural idea of staying full-time. These people fancy living their lives in a paradise where they are free to snorkel or scuba or boat or chill on the beach whenever the urge strikes them. As to whether or not this is what Belize’s expat life is even like, read on to learn the truth. 


On Staying Fed

Most grain products, like cereal and pasta, tend to cost half as much as their American analogs. If you are into fruit and vegetables, chances are very good that you will soon discover which items to buy in a store and which to hunt for at the market. If you fancy dairy, know that most stores in rural areas shut power off their refrigeration to cut costs. In a few months’ time, you will get the hang of eating local while saving money in the process.

While every expat eventually finds his perfect bar and will practically have dibs on a given stool, it is a good idea to have some purpose beyond the bar scene. Yes, you may quickly make friends that way, but you do not want your whole life to revolve around your bar mates.

On Paying the Bills

There is no address to your home, meaning no postal delivery or mailboxes if you live outside a city or town. Bills have to be paid in person, either at the relevant utility’s office or the post office. Mail can easily reach wherever your letters need to go and you can even rely on your local post office to make a Facebook post informing you of when you have received mail.

On the “Belizean Way”

There are a lot of things that occur when living in Belize that might make things difficult, even reassess how you go through your day-to-day operations. It is these very hiccups that have contributed to the Belizean Way, what most non-Belizeans take for granted runs a fair chance of being something the average Belizean has never had to deal with, let alone consider. You eventually learn to adapt to these quirks. If you cannot find something, you probably did not need it; just move on and knock the next thing off your list. Also, understand that “maybe” is a more common response than “no.”

On Residency

You have options if you want to permanently live in Belize. 

  • Marry a Belizean national. A marriage license is $25 and you can apply for citizenship after one year of marriage. 
  • Permanent residence. Stay for at least a year. You can become a full citizen after at least five years’ residence. 
  • Tourist card. The easiest method with the reddest tape, this approach costs $25-$50 a month to extend. 

Written by Larry Waight

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