San Ignacio, Belize
San Ignacio, Belize
San Ignacio, Belize

Pros and Cons of Living in Belize

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Nov 27, 2021

Summary: Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what expats and digital nomads have to say about the pros and cons of living in Belize.

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What are the pros and cons of living in Belize?

Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in Belize responded:

"Carmelita Gardens has been described as a gated community without the gates. Pre-COVID, the community was able to be much more integrated with our closest village of Santa Familia. My husband and I just arrived at the beginning of October, and I have to admit that we were much more knowledgeable of the larger nearby towns of San Ignacio, Santa Elena and Spanish Lookout as that is where we do our shopping. We are exploring Santa Familia more and getting to know it and its residents more. All of the workers at Carmelita Gardens are from Santa Familia, so is the crew that builds the new houses here. That helps build familiarity with our closest village. I love the peace and tranquility of Carmelita Gardens and love the new experiences we have almost weekly. We are getting used to the hotter, more humid weather but still haven't gone through the hottest months of the year. Major dislikes so far are the bugs but we're getting used to them. Major likes - our neighbours, feeding the chickens next door, going for walks with the community dog, having my neighbour's cats come over for cuddles, just relaxing and chilling with the people we've met here, good, fresh, organic food AND food that I've never had before," explained one expat in Carmelita Gardens.

"As I have stated,I owned a beautiful 10 acres on a river. Had a rent house completely licensed as a hotel and a large home for my residence. Was planning to retire in a few more years after living back and forth (US to BZ) for about 18 years. after several murders and violent home invasions of friends(local and expats) and a false arrest of myself to gain access to a licensed fire arm we decided to sell out (at a loss) and move out. The place is not safe in my opinion and having to always looking over ones shoulder is no way to live. One example...I had to lock myself out of my own home to mow the grass, otherwise they would sneak in while busy and wait to assault and rob you. Happened a number of times in my village," said another expat in Sittee River.

"Hopkins village is exactly what I was looking for in terms of living in Belize, beautiful seaside village, local culture, (Garifuna), friendly and welcoming people, fresh fish, small expat community, resort areas for the tourists. So many great dining options! In terms of healthcare there is a private ambulance service stationed at the Hopkins Road and highway junction should any emergency occur. The village has a rural feel with free range chickens in the yards and horses grazing at street corners. Many of the locals have farms to grow their local veg and fruits, cassava, plantain, and coco. Local shops are plentiful and carry a good variety of stock, although not clothing. Anything not found here can usually be found in Dangriga town just a 25 minute drive from here. There are two main vendors for fruit and veg although trucks do come around selling door to door as well. Bottled water, (5 gallon) is also available daily to your door. In my seven years here in Belize I have lived in three locations, Placencia, Seine Bight and now Hopkins and for me Hopkins definitely feels like home. ," remarked another expat in Hopkins Village.

"Hopkins is full of happy people who love music and dancing. The Garifuna drumming music can be heard all over the village on almost any day. The people generally wave and greet expats. They happily give directions when you need assistance. The sand flies on the beaches will bite and become itchy and uncomfortable so insect repellent is necessary. Seasonally "doctor flies" give a nasty itchy bite also. For such a small village the food is excellent and there are many restaurants, cafes, and street vendors. There's also delicious ice cream and bakery goods. Hopkins is located on the Caribbean Sea, but it's also located near the jungle so there are many outdoor activities and excellent local tour guides ," explained one expat living in Hopkins Village.

"Everywhere you look is like a postcard! Beautiful ocean and lagoons all around you. Lots of fun stuff to do. The Belizean people are extremely helpful and friendly. The island is a bit more expensive than on the mainland. Lots of fresh picked produce available everywhere," said another expat in living in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

"Life is what you make of it. I love living in Belize, but I also do not have a lot of needs for high fashion and trendy things. I have usually lived in a semi-rural area, so the Cayo District of Belize feels homey to me. Urban folks might find it to be too slow. The official language here is English, with a lot of Spanish spoken. Anyone in customer service is bilingual or trilingual (to include Belizean Kriol). I wanted to live somewhere warm and lots of Central America fits the bill, but the English language and common law here are the icing on the cake. Some people think that Belize is just the island of Ambergris Caye and its village, San Pedro. Lots of expats out there, but most of us who live inland are happy to let them have it," added another expat in San Ignacio.

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Need health insurance in 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.

What do expats in Belize appreciate most about the local culture?

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Some of Betsy's more popular articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Italy, 12 Things to Know Before Moving to The Dominican Republic and the Living in Panama Guide. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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Meet other expats and talk about living in Belize.

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If you're thinking about moving to Belize, we have 5 great places to recommend based upon the experiences of expats living in Belize.

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Cost of Living in BelizeCost of Living in Belize

Expats offer insight into the cost of living in Belize.

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Expats that move to Belize learn to enjoy a breathtakingly beautiful setting without some of the essentials they may have taken to granted in their home countries.

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Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Belize.

Pros Cons of Living in BelizePros & Cons of Living in Belize

Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what expats have to say about the biggest challenges and the greatest rewards of living in Belize.

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Help other expats and newcomers by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Belize.

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Whether you are living in Belize or considering a move to Belize, this article offers a glimpse at some of the tremendously helpful advice that expats share on Expat Exchange's Belize forum and in our expat reports.

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