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Ambergris Caye, Belize
Ambergris Caye, Belize
Ambergris Caye, Belize

Moving to Belize

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Jan 30, 2022

Summary: Moving to Belize? Expats talk about what you need to know before moving to Belize.

AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers
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What do I need to know before moving to Belize?

Live in Belize? Answer this Question

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Belize, they said:

"I’ll give the same advice everyone else gives, come by and stay a couple of months, visit different parts of the country THEN make your decision," explained one expat living in San Pedro, Belize.

"Research, Research, and more Research. Then do a spread sheet on three "Time and Cost" scenarios for a final decision on whether getting here by Land, Sea, Air, or a combination will be more effective," said another expat in Corozal.

"Don't. Come here and spend some time first, find out the in's and outs. Cee if you can put up with the bugs that will eat you alive. Or, no doctors or hospitals for miles. They will tell you if you get sick take a flight back to the States. Check on the duty to bring anything there. It's 100 percent that's why you can't find anything there to buy. Car's are all old and rusted out. You used to get two to one on your dollar, but that didn't mean anything when everything is three times the price. Most all that cheap farm land you see is cheap because it is low with water standing on much of it and it won't grow anything. The cows in the country are all sick, due to blow fly's which you're not suppose to use for meat, but they sell em anyway. Don't believe the hype on this place, and don't listen to me, go there and spend a few months and you will soon find yourself flying out as fast as you flew in," added another expat who made the move to Belize City.

"Do you research, feel free to contact me at - I am now the Relocation Expert for Belize- not all info is the same, best to get it straight from the beginning ! See this video on Why Belize- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDiKKNXQuLo Belize is Everything to some People- I am ONE of these, are you ?," explained one expat living in Belize City, Belize.

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William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

How do I find a place to live in Belize?

Live in Belize? Answer this Question

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"I lucked out with a bit of alone research. I found a listing on a Belizean rental site. The apt ended up being in the suburb area, for a 1 bedroom that ended up costing the same price as rent in the center of town and other parts of town usually where the locals live," said another expat in San Pedro.

"Originally San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, but after 4 years it got over populated and prices went way up. Moved to the mainland Northern Belize were there is less rain and humidity and 15 minutes from Chetumal where you can get low cost everything," added another expat who made the move to Corozal.

"I choose the San Ignacio area as it has the best local downtown, expats and locals mix well together, the folks are so friendly and the Expats are like my other family ! I found my home, thru Rainforest Realty www.rainforestrealty.com," explained one expat living in Belize City, Belize.

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Get a free international health insurance quote from our partner, Allianz Care, whose plans ensure that you have access to quality healthcare whenever you need it. Allianz's flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Belize?

Live in Belize? Answer this Question

"1 bedroom apt. Washer/Dryer, Internet. A couple of steps away from the beach. Living on an island [Ambergris Caye], you are NEVER to far from the beach. Yes, several expats live in the suburb type area," said another expat in San Pedro.

What is the average cost of housing in Belize?

Live in Belize? Answer this Question

If you are thinking about moving to Belize, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"Lower. Average cost with some amenities is $400 US, I also have heard that for that price or a little more you can rent a whole house instead," said another expat in San Pedro.

"Housing cost is about 50% less if you are a owner builder. Avg for land and house is $80k US and the ROI after three years is about triple that," remarked another expat who made the move to Corozal.

"MUCH LOWER! Property taxes are around 30 dollars a year!!! Car insurance is less than 150 a year! WOW!," explained one expat living in Belize City, Belize.

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Should I buy or rent a home in Belize?

Live in Belize? Answer this Question

If you have not spent a lot of time in Belize, you should rent before even thinking about buying. We asked expats there about the buy vs. rent decision:

"We purchased a seaside lot at Sittee Point and had a home built through a local builder. Rolando Gonzalez kept us informed regularly with emails and pictures, so we never felt isolated from the process," remarked another expat in Hopkins Village, Belize.

"We purchased a lot along the sea and had a local builder construct a home for us. It was all done primarily through email correspondence and money transfers. He sent us regular pictures and reports to keep us informed," said another expat in Hopkins Village.

"Purchased a home in an auction. It was very easy. We purchased before we were even residents of Belize. To do that we needed a us dollar bank acct here, it was easy to do," remarked another expat who made the move to Belize City.

What should I pack when moving to Belize?

Live in Belize? Answer this Question

We asked people living in Belize to list three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They responded:

"I have lived in Corozal for 8 years+. I came with all of my tools, kitchenware, bed, and clothes. It cost a lot to bring the stuff but have not regretted it one bit. My neighbors that came here with only a tooth brush are always asking about borrowing, or do you have. I am careful to get my stuff back, but because I brought all my stuff, I am the go to person. I did not come QRP, I paid duty on all my things. Everyone is different. If you don't plan to lift a finger, than don't bring anything. If you tinker, work or house or cars, enjoy cooking, bring your stuff," remarked another expat who made the move to Belize.

"I wish I had brought more original copies of important documents i.e., Birth Certificate, Marriage License, Titles of assets, 5 yrs of Tax records, Medical etc...It is hard to obtain these once you have made the move. Contact info on the Businesses and Gov agencies you will need from back home in case issues come up. More family Photos. Things I wish I left behind: Long Pants, I have ten pairs of jeans that get used twice a year. My watch, it's useless when everyone else is on a plus or minus an HOUR schedule," explained one expat living in Corozal, Belize.

"Wish that I had Brought: Bug spray, bug nets, bug zappers. Wish that I had left at Home: Me myself and I," said another expat in Belize City.

"Three things I wish I had brought: Brie Cheese, More Sam's Clubs oscillating fans and more gorilla glue( works great here!) Things I should have left at home: high heels, vcr tapes and tools (we can get any type of tool here!)," added another expat who made the move to Belize City.

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What cultural faux pas should I try to avoid making in Belize?

Live in Belize? Answer this Question

We asked people in Belize if they could share any humorous cultural blunders they commited. For new expats, keep in mind that these incidents are an inevitable part of expat life. Learning to laugh about them is the key!:

"Many! In a nice, small outdoor cafe I was served a traditional Garifuna dish called hudut. A whole fish lay in a bowl of delicious broth and on a plate was a mound of mashed plantain. I had no idea what to do with the plantain, so I asked the waitress. With a bashful giggle she told me to dip it in the soup. Additionally, a napkin was put on the table with a smooth rounded brown rock. I asked what this was, thinking it was also something to eat! Even the cook laughed and said, "it's a rock so the napkin won't blow away!"," commented one expat who made the move to Hopkins Village.

"Not yet, but I am beginning to SWEAR a lot more, which I have never done in the past," remarked another expat in Belize City, Belize.

"Losing patience at the only 3 international banks when the Teller Machine was out of service for some malfunctioning and I needed to take out some money to go out and eat," said another expat in Belmopan.

Why do people move to Belize?

Live in Belize? Answer this Question

When we asked people why foreigners move to Belize, they responded:

"The beauty of the country from sea to jungle. The local Belizeans are wonderful people who love and cherish their country. English speaking country in Central America is a plus. Easy going lifestyle is what people look for and Belize has it. Belize gives people so many options of type of areas from Seafront, Lagoon Front, Istlands, Jungles and Mountains with affordable living," said another expat.

"Hopkins is a small village filled with friendly people and lots of beautiful children. The village is not in an area where cruise ships stop so it is never crowded," said one expat living in Hopkins, Belize.

"The people living in Hopkins are very friendly and it is a rare occurrence to pass by someone without receiving a big smile or wave. The expats living in the area are also very friendly and helpful. Additionally, the food establishments, large and small, serve delicious food at reasonable prices," offered another expat living in Hopkins.

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

How are healthcare services Belize?

Live in Belize? Answer this Question

When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in Belize, they replied:

"Our first choice is to go to the local pharmacist, who is very knowledgeable and helpful," stated one expat who made the move to Hopkins Village.

"Word of mouth is a great way to find a doctor if you need one. Our pharmacist has a neurogist that comes to her place of business twice a month from Belize City. He is a wealth of information. Also, be willing to travel to Belize City or Chetumal Mexico to see specialists. We are very pleased with the care we have received thus far. Most of our prescriptions cost us less or equal to our copay in the US without having the cost of a monthly premium on top of that. We are going to look into getting an international health insurance just in case one of us has an emergency that can not be handled here or in Mexico," remarked another expat in Corozal/Belize City.

"I am located 10 kms from 3 towns that provide adequate health care, but Santa Familia itself does not. So their healthcare is non-existent, but I don't care, I'm a 10-minute drive from 3 towns with good healthcare," added one expat living in Carmelita Gardens.

"I would strongly suggest anyone thinking of moving to Belize consult with those of us who have lived there for a long period instead of consulting the internet," commented one expat who moved to Sittee River.

"While there is a public healthcare clinic here in Hopkins the doctor is only here a few days a week and I have never had reason to see him/her. There is a private clinic about a 10 minute drive from here and the public hospital in Dangriga town is about a 25 minute drive," said another expat.

"Belize in general is very third world when it comes to health care. Most people go to neighbouring countries like Guatemala and Mexico for health care," said one expat living in San Ignacio, Belize.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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Ambergris Caye, Belize

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

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Learn what members have to say about living in Belize.

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Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Belize on our Belize forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

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Expats in Belize offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Belize.

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If you're thinking about moving to Belize, here are the 6 Best Places to Live in Belize in 2022 based upon the experiences of expats living in Belize.

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