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Belize City, Belize

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By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Feb 03, 2023

Summary: People describe Belize City, Belize as a vibrant, diverse, and culturally rich city. Expats love the laid-back atmosphere, the friendly locals, and the easy access to the Caribbean Sea. The weather in Belize City is typically warm and humid, with temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit. The average cost of living for an expat is around $1,500 to $2,000 USD per month. The cost of a one bedroom apartment is around $500 to $700 USD per month, and a two bedroom apartment is around $700 to $1,000 USD per month. The approximate population of Belize City is around 70,000 people.

What do I need to know about living in Belize City?

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

"If you are considering retiring in Belize City, it is important to understand the local laws, tax regulations and living costs. Additionally, you should know what healthcare options and services there are available in the area, and familiarise yourself with the community and its culture. Belize City has a tropical climate with high temperatures and high humidity. It is important to research the necessary paperwork to ensure legal residency, such as a long-term visa or citizenship. Lastly, research accommodation options and crime statistics to ensure a safe and comfortable retirement in the city," explained one expat living in Belize City, Belize.

"Before retiring in Belize City, it is important to understand the cost of living. Belize City is relatively inexpensive with low costs for daily necessities such as food, utilities, and transportation. Additionally, healthcare in Belize City is not as developed as in some other countries and may be more expensive. It is important to have a plan for medical care before retiring in Belize City. It is also important to understand Belizean culture and customs as cultural norms may vary from what one is accustomed to in their home country. Knowing a bit of Spanish can be helpful as many Belizean citizens are bilingual. There is a strong expat community in Belize City, so it is easier to find other retirees and people with similar interests in the area. Finally, those looking to retire in Belize City must understand and comply with visa and immigration regulations," said another expat in Belize City.

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What do I need to know before moving to Belize City?

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

"- Belize City is the largest city in the country and the former capital of Belize. - The city has a tropical climate which includes a long wet and dry season. - The predominant language spoken in Belize is English but Spanish and Kriol are also common. - Belize City is home to a diverse mix of cultures and religions, including Mestizos, Garifuna, Creole, Mayan, and Mennonite. - Crime rates, while reported to be higher than in other cities in Belize, remain relatively low, however basic safety precautions should be taken. - Utilities are generally reliable, but power outages and water shortages are not uncommon. - Belize City has a bustling nightlife, with plenty of bars and restaurants, but the nightlife can be quite dangerous. - Immunizations and medical care are not always readily available, so it is important to have adequate health insurance when living in Belize City. - The cost of living in Belize City is generally lower than in other cities in Belize, however, prices can be higher for imported goods," added another expat in Belize City.

"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," remarked another expat who made the move to Belize City.

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How do I find a place to live in Belize City?

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

"Finding a place to live in Belize City can be done by searching online on sites such as Craigslist, Apartments.com and PadMapper.com. Additionally, contacting real estate agents who are knowledgeable of the area and may have listings of local properties can also be a great option. Networking with friends or family who may have connections in the area can also help in finding a place to live. Finally, visiting Belize City and searching through local publications, classified sites and bulletin boards may also yield useful information for a potential renter," added another expat who made the move to Belize City.

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

"Expat homes and apartments in Belize City vary greatly in terms of size, amenities and condition. Many apartments are located in buildings with shared common areas and facilities, such as a pool or play area. Smaller apartments usually have one or two bedrooms and one bathroom and can be found in areas such as downtown or near the waterfront. Expat houses are typically larger and may have up to four bedrooms, while some may feature a private patio or garden. Expat homes are most commonly found in residential areas near schools, parks and other amenities," wrote a member in Belize City.

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What is the average cost of housing in Belize City?

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

"The average cost of housing in Belize City varies depending on location and other factors, but it can generally range from moderate to expensive," remarked another expat living in Belize City, Belize.

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

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How do I meet people in Belize City?

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

"Epinal has a wealth of opportunities to meet people and make new friends. There are a variety of clubs and associations that cater to different hobbies and interests, such as sports clubs and art clubs, making it easy to meet like-minded people with similar interests. You can also take advantage of the many social activities organized around the city, such as markets and festivals as well as going to pubs and bars, which are always a great way to meet new people. Additionally, consider joining online social networks, such as Meetup and Couchsurfing, to find out about events and activities taking place in the city," explained one expat living in Epinal, France. explained one expat living in Belize City, Belize.

"Meeting people in Belize City can be done in a variety of ways. Joining a local community organization or club is a great way to make friends and get to know people in the area. Attending local events and festivals is another way to meet new people and get involved in the community. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Meetup are also great ways to connect with different groups and meet other locals. Additionally, going to local bars, clubs, and cafes is always a fun way to meet people," said another expat in Belize City.

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What should I bring when moving to Belize City?

People living in Belize City were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"When moving to Belize City, it is important to pack for the tropical climate, including light and airy clothing, comfortable sandals, a swimsuit, and a hat. Since Belize City is a coastal city, it is also a good idea to pack some mosquito repellent and sunscreen. Additionally, depending on where you are staying, you may need a sleeping bag, pillow, and extra bedding. Dressy and casual clothing should also be included, plus outdoor gear suitable for a variety of activities, such as snorkeling or fishing. You may also want to bring any personal items or medications you will need, as well as important documents, such as photo identification and a passport or visa," added another expat in Belize City.

"Wish that I had Brought: Bug spray, bug nets, bug zappers. Wish that I had left at Home: Me myself and I," remarked another expat who made the move to Belize City.

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Where should I setup a bank account in Belize City?

We asked expats in Belize City what banks they use and there advice about banking. They advised:

"Belize Bank Ltd. has several branches throughout Belize City, and offers a wide range of personal, business and corporate banking services. Atlantic Bank Ltd. also has several branches in the city, offering full banking services. Both banks offer internet banking, mobile banking, foreign exchange services and other features. In addition, customer service and financial advisors are available at both banks to answer any questions and help open a new bank account. Other banks in Belize City that offer services include Belize Bank International, Scotia Bank (Belize) Ltd., and Heritage International Bank Ltd," remarked another expat who made the move to Belize City.

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Will I be able to find a job in Belize City?

When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Belize City, they reponded:

"Yes, it is possible to find a job in Belize City. There are many job opportunities available in the area, especially in the tourism and hospitality industry. You can also find work in the education sector or in finance. Additionally, many people also do freelance and contract work. To maximize your chances of finding a job, you should highly consider networking and using job boards as a resource as well," remarked another expat who made the move to Belize City.

"Finding a job in Belize City is possible but can be difficult, as the job market is fairly small. It is best to start by researching local employers and job websites for current openings and to network with people in the area. Additionally, you may find some volunteer opportunities in order to gain experience and create connections that may lead to a real job in the future," explained one expat living in Belize City, Belize.

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What is life like in Belize City?

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

"Living as an expat in the area can be a pleasant experience. The region has an incredibly high standard of living, with amenities and services available to create a comfortable lifestyle. The people are very welcoming and friendly, creating a sense of community and providing an ease of settling into your new home. Local and international businesses are eager to hire expats for their experience and know-how, making finding work relatively straightforward. There is an extensive public transportation network with excellent links to different parts of the city, and the cost of living is reasonably priced. There are several expat clubs available to join, providing important support and advice, and lots of activities, events and attractions to try out. All in all, living as an expat in the area can be a great experience," remarked another expat living in Belize City, Belize.

"Living as an expat in the area can be both rewarding and refreshing. There are lots of opportunities for meeting new people and experiencing new cultures. Expats have access to great restaurants, local markets, shopping, entertainment and nightlife. The area is well connected to public transportation and is easily accessible. The cost of living is fairly low, making it easy to enjoy highlights in the region. There are a variety of wonderful outdoor activities, such as hiking, cycling, and kayaking, making the outdoors a major part of day-to-day life. Despite the language barrier, locals are friendly and welcoming. Expats can often find international communities that offer chances to participate in activities and events which promote cultural exchange and integration," added another expat in Belize City.

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

"Expats in Belize City appreciate the friendly atmosphere and welcoming attitude of the local people. Belize is a unique cultural melting pot, blending elements from its many indigenous, Creole, Mestizo, and Garifuna populations, which allows expats to feel truly immersed in the local culture. The expansive biodiversity and natural beauty of Belize also makes it a great place for outdoor activities like snorkeling, caving, and birdwatching. Additionally, Belize City is a great place to explore Caribbean cuisine, with numerous restaurants serving up a variety of flavorful dishes. Finally, expats are also able to take advantage of the low cost of living in Belize City, allowing them to save money while enjoying their new home," wrote a member in Belize City.

"Expats in Belize City often appreciate the laid-back attitude and pace of life in Belize. They also appreciate the friendly and welcoming nature of the locals, as well as the diversity and mixture of cultures from around the world. Many expats also enjoy the country’s beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, diverse cuisine, and amazing range of outdoor activities, as well as the availability of amenities such as modern shopping malls and supermarkets," commented one expat who made the move to Belize City.

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What do expats find most challenging?

"Making new friends, adjusting to the culture, adapting to the language, understanding different customs and etiquette, getting used to a different climate and environment, managing work/life balance, finding stable housing, navigating the bureaucracy, dealing with loneliness and homesickness, budgeting for an increased cost of living," added another expat in Belize City.

"Expats often find adjusting to a new culture and language, navigating unfamiliar laws and regulations, and making new friends and professional contacts to be some of the most challenging aspects of living abroad. These challenges can contribute to homesickness, loneliness, and difficulty finding employment or accommodation. Additionally, depending on the country, there may be social and political tensions resulting in additional challenges," remarked another expat who made the move to Belize City.

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Is there a lot of crime in Belize City?

We asked people if there is a lot of crime. They answered:

"Yes, there is a lot of crime in Belize City. Violent crime is a serious concern that affects both tourists and locals alike. The US State Department advises visitors to use extra caution and to be aware of their surroundings in Belize City," added another expat who made the move to Belize City.

"Crime is a problem in Belize City, with the highest crime rate in the country. The U.S. State Department recommends that travelers exercise increased caution due to crime, and suggests avoiding certain areas of the city at night. Belize City has seen an increase in gang-related violence, particularly in the south side, forcing heighten security measures by the Belize police force," explained one expat living in Belize City, Belize.

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Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Belize City accepting of differences?

"Yes, there is a lot of diversity in Belize City. As the cultural hub of the country, the city is home to people from many different backgrounds and ethnicities. Belizeans are generally very accepting and tolerant of people regardless of ethnicity and cultural differences, and the city is a great place for those from different backgrounds to come together and share their cultures," added another expat in Belize City.

"There is a diverse range of people who live in Belize City, with the majority being of Latin American or Hispanic descent. There is also a sizable Afro-Caribbean population, and a smaller East-Indian population. In terms of religion, there is a mixture of Christianity, Hinduism, and Santeria. People in Belize City are usually accepting and welcoming towards people of different backgrounds and beliefs, and there is generally a culture of hospitality and friendliness," remarked another expat who made the move to Belize City.

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What are the schools in Belize City like?

"Belize City is home to many primary, secondary, and tertiary schools, including public and private institutions. Public schools in Belize City are run by the Belize Ministry of Education and include Belize Elementary, Belize High School, Collet Primary, and Belmont Primary, among others. Private schools include St. John's College, a Roman Catholic boys' school, Wesley College, a private Christian high school, and the University of Belize. Some schools also offer special programs such as the Institute of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ITVET) which provides adult education and apprenticeships," commented one expat when asked about in Belize City.

"Belize City is home to several primary and secondary schools including Wesley College, St. John's College Junior College, Universal Primary School, St. John’s Primary School, Maud Williams High School, Cornerstone Christian Academy, Excelsior High School, Immaculate Conception High School, and St. Catherine’s Academy. Most of these schools offer a strong academic focus, with some providing religious education. They also offer quality facilities and resources, enabling students to develop the skills they need to reach their full potential," explained one expat in Belize City, Belize with kids at .

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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.

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