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Corozal, Belize

Retire in Belize

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Nov 27, 2021

Summary: Retirees share their experiences living in Belize. What are the challenges and rewards of retiring in Belize?

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What is it like to retire in Belize?

"We live in an area full of wildlife, Mayan temple and surrounded by water. Simply awesome ar Cerros Sands. Lots of expat interaction if that's what you want, or just live and do your own thing," said another retiree in Cerros Sands Corozal .

"We have met many expats who live in our area at Sittee Point. They are all exceptionally friendly and helpful. We are not ones to engage in nightlife, but there are many options for those so inclined. We love the Garifuna culture, and we appreciate knowing them. We have gotten to know many people through the baseball players and the church we attend," commented one retiree living in Hopkins Village, Belize.

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What advice do overseas retirees have for others considering retiring abroad?

"We are nearing the end of our stint in the U.S. and cannot wait to get back to Belize," said a retiree who moved to Hopkins Village, Belize.

"We both love living in Belize, and our dog is very much at home. He loves swimming in the sea, as do we! Getting used to the humidity was probably the most difficult for us, but we are adapting. We especially enjoy worshipping with the local congregation led by Pastor Herdie in Hopkins Village," said another retiree in Hopkins Village.

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What are the most challenging aspects of retiring in Belize?

"Belize having to deal with the ongoing banking restrictions. Its not that bad but getting a bank account opened requires a bit of patience," added another person in Cerros Sands Corozal .

"The most challenging difficulties to overcome or get used to include the unpaved roads and the slower paces of the various offices that service automobile registrations, immigration reports, and even paying our bills in person. No worries," remarked another retiree in Hopkins Village.

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What are the most rewarding aspects of retiring in Belize?

"Great Lifestyle. The roads are getting better all the time in Corozal. We don't get high humidity and crime is very rare," explained a retiree in Cerros Sands Corozal .

"We have most enjoyed the people. We are devoted to teaching baseball to some of the Hopkins boys and girls, and seeing them enjoy the donated equipment and playing together is especially edifying. We also enjoy attending worship services with Pastor Herdie's church in Hopkins Village," explained one retiree living in Hopkins Village.

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What are healthcare services like in Belize?

We asked retirees if they have access to good medical care in Belize. They wrote:

"Cheap and good! Chetumal, Mexico is just over the border if you want to get a second opinion. Not expensive at all," added another person in Cerros Sands Corozal .

"Since we are in the U.S. for some of the year, we have had no difficulty keeping our healthcare up-to-date. We subsist primarily on Medicare," remarked another retiree in Hopkins Village.

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How do I meet people in Belize?

When we asked people living in Belize about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"It is really easy to meet people on Ambergris Caye. Here are just a few ideas of where we regularly socialize. Anything outdoor and health oriented is great on the island. My husband and I built the San Pedro Fitness Club, so I go there most days. Ladies tend to enjoy the water fitness classes, in particular, since it is both exercise and social time. But there are sailing groups, plenty of scuba and snorkeling opportunities, places that specialize in sailing or kayaking, and fishing groups and competitions. There are now also several yoga schools where you will meet health oriented people. So for those of us who like to balance healthy activities with a little indulgence, it is easy to do here... For those who enjoy live music, there are a variety of places where people hang out and listen to local bands, all for free. Beach bars include Crazy Canucks, BCs, and Fidos, all near town. On the north side, Legends often has good music. We love to dance to a live band on the beach, cooled by a sea breeze! Sunday afternoon lunch is a time when everyone goes out for beach BBQ and to socialize. Popular places include Caribbean Villas (they have plenty of water toys), Crazy Canucks, BCs, and the Palapa Bar (up north). We go to Wine de Vine on Friday nights. This is a "smoke free" environment where many expats, business owners and tourists drop in for a nice glass of wine, and a cheese platter. There are regular festivals and fund raiser events that many expats attend. It is a great way to socialize and also donate to a good cause. There are more volunteer organizations than I can mention. Many expats join both to contribute, and to meet people. The most popular are the Saga Society (which is the local Humane Society), the churches, Lion's Club, and various school organizations. Some groups get together to play cards such as bridge. And many of us get together for group dinners. Sometimes we meet a favorite restaurant. Other times we enjoy a pot luck with friends," remarked another retiree in Ambergris Caye.

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What is life like in Belize?

When we asked people living in Belize what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"It's a real mixed bag. The Belizeans are all working, as do many expats. Some expats live here only 3-6 months a year. We all have different priorities. You can find whatever you are looking for. But family is very important to Belizeans. So there are a lot of festivals and performances that we expats join in for. Socializing is really big here. We spend much more time with friends than we ever did in California. We still are very involved in business, but that also involves a lot of socializing. For us, our lives include all of the above," remarked another retiree in Ambergris Caye.

"Open season on Gringos...check crime logs just for the month of July 2011...getting very scary if you are white American," said a retiree who moved to San Ignacio, Belize.

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Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

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

What do I need to know before retiring in Belize?

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

"Come check it out first and spend some time. I visited here for a number of years before deciding I could live here fulltime. I knew how I'd spend my time. I have never regretted it. But I knew what I was getting into," remarked another retiree in Ambergris Caye.

"Do not leave your brain at the border- see this article here http://www.caribpro.com/Caribbean_Property_Magazine/index.php?pageid=767," said a retiree who moved to Cayo San Ignacio, Belize.

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What type of recreational activities are there in Belize?

"Placencia Beach Club offers Swim Club memberships and is open to the public. Recreational activities here are mostly owned by individual operators and tour guides and most are connected to local hotels. To include: Diving, Snorkeling, Fishing, River Tours, Manatee Tours, Howler Monkey Tours. Mayan Ruins, Scarlet Macaw Tours, Cave Tubing," said another member in Placencia.

"There is sea swimming, fishing, snorkeling, and diving at Hopkins. Inland there is hiking, waterfalls, zip lining, atv rentals, and motor cycle rentals for exploring. There are many tours offered by experienced, knowledgeable guides," explained one retiree in Hopkins.

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Where will I buy groceries and do other shopping in Belize?

"There are many grocery stores in Placencia but the beauty of this area is most product are delivered to your door. For Example, Bakery, Produce, Organic Foods, Water, Beverages, Wine, Beef, Chicken, Fresh Fish....," said another member in Placencia.

"There are several markets in Hopkins, large and small. The grocery choices are quite extensive. Additionally, there are several stores where souvenirs can be purchased as well as places where handmade items can be bought, like wood carvings and jewelry. The small cafes and restaurants offer a variety of delicious food that is exceptional for a small village," explained one retiree in Hopkins.

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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.

Corozal, Belize

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