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Living in Belize: Reef, Ruins, Rivers, and Rain Forest...Plus Easy Residency and Tax-Free Living

By Kathleen Peddicord

Summary: From its sub-tropical climate to close proximity to the United States, Ann Kuffner shares 10 reasons why expats love living in Belize.

Living in Belize - Reef, Ruins, Rivers, and Rain Forest...Plus Easy Residency and Tax-Free Living

Earlier this month, I asked Correspondent Ann Kuffner, who joined us in Orlando for our Retire Overseas Conference, why, six years ago, she chose and her husband chose to relocate to Belize...when, at the time, the couple could have re-launched their lives anywhere. Here was Ann's reply:

"This English-speaking country has a population of only 330,000. In other words, unlike in many other Latin American and Caribbean countries, it's not crowded here. There's plenty of elbow room...and plenty of opportunity.

"Mike and I were also attracted by Belize's long history of peace, democracy, and stability. Belizeans are fiercely independent. They're also extremely proud of their young democracy. Over 70% of registered voters actually go to the polls to vote! The political process is dynamic, and Belizeans are actively engaged during any election.

"At the same time, and this is very important to Mike and me, Belizeans, including those in government, take a very hands-off approach to living, rarely interfering in their neighbors' business. Again, this is true not only of the average Belizean you meet but also of the country's government overall. There are few laws, restrictions, or controls in place here.

"If I were to make a list of the things that attracted us to Belize and that make it a great place to invest, live, and retire, here's what it'd be. Belize is:

  • English speaking. There's no need to learn another language or to translate contracts....
  • Only a quick flight away from North America. It takes 2.5 hours to fly to Belize City from Miami or Houston...
  • A safe, secure, democratic country. People get along...
  • Comfortable. The climate is sub-tropical, ranging from 60 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the region...
  • Friendly. Belizeans are warm and welcoming to tourists and expats...
  • An easy place to establish yourself. Belize offers an outstanding retirement program through its Qualified Retirement Person status...
  • An easy place to do business. The country uses British-based laws and regulations...
  • An easy place to set up a corporation (in the form of its tax-free International Business Corporations, or IBC)...
  • An easy place for foreigners to buy and own real estate. No restrictions are placed on foreign ownership of property, and there are no squatter's rights...
  • A place where you don't have to worry about exchange risk. The Belize dollar is pegged to the U.S. dollar at a fixed rate of 2:1, and U.S. dollars are interchangeable in the country...

Ann and her husband Mike like the Caribbean. That's another reason they chose Belize. This country's Ambergris Caye is quintessential but affordable Caribbean. This little white sand-fringed island is also home to and established and growing expat population in San Pedro Town.

Ann will be joining us in Belize City next month for our Live & Invest in Belize Conference. She and Mike couldn't be happier with the new life they've made for themselves on Ambergris, and Ann will tell attendees at next month's event all about it.

Kathleen Peddicord
Publisher Live and Invest Overseas
www.liveandinvestoverseas.com

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About the Author

Established in 2008, Live and Invest Overseas is the vision of Publisher Kathleen Peddicord.

Kathleen Peddicord has covered the live and invest overseas beat for more than 25 years and is considered the world's foremost authority on overseas retirement. She has traveled to more than 50 countries, invested in real estate in 17, established businesses in 7, renovated historic properties in 6, and educated her children in 4.

Click here to peruse Live and Invest Overseas publications, conferences and more.

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Comments about this Article

FJW
Nov 14, 2011 19:03

I really hesitated to write this response but finally decided to do so. The picture you have painted of Belize is so "Belize through rosy colored glasses" that I almost question if you really live in Belize. My husband and I moved here in 2000 and lived 6 years in Belize City and the past 5 years on Ambergris Caye (San Pedro). While everything you said is kind of, sort of, true it really doesn't provide an accurate picture of life in Belize. "Selling" folks an idealized picture of Belize when it will cost those folks lots of money, time, energy and effort to actually move to Belize, is in my opinion unkind. Belize is a third world, developing country. Yes, the official language is English but it is no one who is born in Belize first language, First languages are Creole, Spanish, Garifuna, Maya, or Chinese. Communicating CAN be a problem. Yes, the Belizeans are friendly but they also have an 'iron curtain' around their personal lives. Most Belizeans are extremely wary of folks that have white faces. Their history is replete with those white skinned people taking advantage of them. It takes years to be accepted by the real folks (took us over 8!)who will finally accept you IF you don't have a hidden agenda. Yes, there are Gringo community in San Pedro, Corozol and the Cayo District but many of these folks are over grown hippies, alcoholics,into drugs or 'entrepreneurs' out to make a fast buck. Yes, there are beaches but they are often littered with trash. Yes there is the second longest barrier reef but it is being destroyed at an alarming rate. Yes, the government is 'stable' but it is corrupt and incapable of stemming the rise of crime due to drugs and gangs. Yes, you can retire in Belize but the Government paper work and necessary bribes could make you choke. Yes, we moved to Belize and love it warts and all. We welcome others to join us but feel they need an honest evaluation of what life is really like. No, the police are not your friends. No, you can't get everything you could buy in the States. No, the roads are not easy to travel on. But...the climate, except for occasional hurricanes is wonderful; the people once they trust you are great; the stores are adequately stocked; the Government is still holding it's own; and life moves at a slower calmer pace. If this is what you want, then please come to Belize!!!!

guest
Nov 15, 2011 00:06

I spent a month exploring Belize two years ago. You won`t find an above average quality of medical services : doctors and dentists, hospitals. The main city of Belize is not a place you would go for a walk ; there is not a pleasant downtown ( parks, sidewalks, etc) The main airport can be depressing for a visitor. No real supermarket for your groceries, streets are without sidewalks and week-end entertainment ( movies, concerts, live plays) is a rarity. No daily newspaper.

guest
Nov 15, 2011 00:24

Two years ago, I spent a month exploring the mainland of Belize ( not Ambergris). The streets and roads are in need of repair; sidewalks seem to be unknown. The main airport reminds me of a high-school cafeteria. There is no realweek-end entertainment such as live play, concert or a good public library . Open sewers are common.

guest
Nov 15, 2011 10:31

With KP it is always the country, the place to live, to invest etc..... it changes every year following the place she decides to make some cash affairs...today it's Belize, some years ago it was Ireland, and after Panama....tomorrow it will be Papouasia new Guinea, Solomon or Kerguelen islands (but in this case she will have to learn pingouin's dialect first) Just blablabla.....for gogos. in some years perhaps she will settle down a new Church....who knows?

guest
Nov 16, 2011 13:29

FJW and beloved guests, that may be your experience, but others have had an exceptional experience with this country. Yes its true some of the things other bloggers have said, but at the same time, which country is perfect? All these 'bad' incidents happen so we learn from them and make Belize a better place both for locals and foreigners wishing to spend some days here, or to live here. And I believe we are on our way to improving on different facets of Belize, from the Government to the Cultural life. Some people make it sound like an unpleasant place. Compared to other countries, I would say Belize is moving in the right direction. Belize has truly been blessed, and one day people will see why it is truly called the HIDDEN JEWEL. BTW,not all streets are in bad shape, and you can find good medical services; not all expats are fat, hippies,alcoholics. Come on my friends! God Bless

First Published: Nov 15, 2011

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