If you’re thinking that moving offshore for your retirement or as a way to pursue the type of lifestyle that you want, Belize is worth considering. Believed to be one of the most desirable places to live in the Caribbean, your choice to settle in Belize will depend greatly on what you consider the most important.
The good news is that Belize offers something for just about every taste. Here are some of the top locations to consider.
Ambergris Caye – San Pedro
Ask most people where to begin your search, and Ambergris Caye is likely to be the response. As one of the most popular areas of the country, you have beautiful beaches to enjoy along with a wide range of water sports. If you like to fish, scuba dive, or snorkel, this is a place that should be on your shortlist.
Getting around Ambergris Caye is easy. Walking is one of the most common methods, and the area is bike-friendly. This is true even in places like San Pedro, where the population density is higher. You may even want to think about the most common transportation mode on the island – a golf cart.
The island is only about 1 mile wide and 40 miles long, so you can quickly get to a multitude of entertainment options, fantastic restaurants, favorite pubs, or a secluded location where you can enjoy the sunshine and beauty of the island.
People who want to live at a slower pace than they have at home but still have quick access to big city options will want to consider Belize City. This is where the main airport is located and where cruise ships tend to dock. As the largest city and the financial and industrial hub of Belize, you’ll find medical services, cultural attractions, trendy boutiques, hotels, and other elements generally associated with larger cities.
Diversity is a hallmark of Belize City. People from all cultural types tend to settle here. Belize City residents accept one another, so don’t be surprised if strangers strike up a conversation with you in shops, restaurants, or at festivals.
The motto of Caye Caulker is “go slow,” and it is indeed a laid-back place to be. Fewer people live on Caye Caulker, making it ideal for those who are more interested in enjoying a slower pace and more peace and quiet. Here you can settle in, enjoy lazy days, and avoid stress. The views are beautiful, and the cost of living is affordable.
It has some of the same amenities and features as Ambergris Caye, but it is smaller and less developed. For example, Caye Caulker streets are comprised of packed sand, internet connectivity can be spotty, and medical care has its limitations. However, Ambergris Caye is only a 20-minute boat, and Belize City is 45 minutes away via a high-speed water taxi.
Cayo – San Ignacio
Do you like the idea of living closer to nature? If so, Cayo is an area that you want to consider. Much of the region sports lush forests, plenty of rivers, and beautiful waterfalls. Those who love the outdoors can hike to their heart’s content, enjoy sports like horseback riding, and live life at a pace that’s very different from many other parts of the world.
Affordability is another hallmark of Cayo. Even if you choose to live in San Ignacio rather than one of the small nearby villages like Cristo Rey, the cost of living is among the most affordable in the country. Cayo areas are also excellent for those who would like to opt for a sustainable lifestyle that requires little to no dependency on the grid.
Located near the Mexico border, the Corozal District is considered one of the most suitable places for those on fixed incomes to live. It’s easy enough to cross the border and take advantage of big-box store shopping that helps to stretch financial resources.
Housing is very affordable, and there’s a sizable expat community within the District. Some say this setting provides the ideal way to live comfortably and simply on less while remaining close to the amenities enjoyed in more populated locations.
You could think of Placencia Peninsula as being the mainland counterpart to Ambergris Caye. That’s because you do have access to beautiful beaches and a gorgeous view of the water. One thing that’s missing is the more significant number of people who are around. Relatively few end up settling on the Peninsula, so expect fewer housing options like condominiums.
Even so, finding a place to live is not tricky. You’ll enjoy a more laidback lifestyle, lower overall costs, and plenty of room to enjoy some peace and quiet.
Like many areas of Belize, you’re not that far away from areas that offer more in the way of nightlife and entertainment. That makes it easy to head out to a larger city when you want something and still enjoy the tranquil surroundings of Placencia Peninsula.
Tucked away in the Northern Corozal District, Sarteneja deserves a special mention all on its own. The proximity to the Mexican border definitely has an impact on the local culture and cuisine. You’ll also hear Spanish spoken more often, although anyone who speaks English will have few issues conversing with others.
While not a top destination for most tourists, Sarteneja offers a relaxed lifestyle that’s perfect for those who want to keep things simple. Between the friendly culture and the beautiful beaches, it can be the ideal setting for anyone who loves the idea of a natural way of living.
Some people tend to refer to the Toledo District as the “forgotten district” of Belize. The reasoning is that the chief city – Punta Gorda – isn’t known to be a destination for many expats. The result is that the city’s culture has been less impacted by tourism than some of the other areas of the country. That may change over time as more expats begin to discover the District and seriously consider it a place to settle.
Simplicity remains a hallmark of the Toledo District. You do have access to beautiful beaches and simple pleasures like fishing. Access to the rainforest is also plentiful. In terms of a variety of nightlife and entertainment options, there are limited options. People interested in getting to know their neighbors while living in comfortable and affordable surroundings are likely to be happy here.
Settling Down in Beautiful, Affordable Belize
Settling into a new country and living an expatriate’s life is easier when you have the right bank to help with your financial needs, including basic bank accounts and finding suitable investments. The professional financial services team at Caye International Bank, headquartered on beautiful Ambergris Caye, stands ready to help.
Call today and talk with a member of our team. We can make sure you get your new life started on the right foot in your new country.