Belize has often been called the “best little secret of the Caribbean.” This sounds a bit crazy because Belize is actually in Central America, just below Mexico, on the opposite side of the Gulf of Mexico from what we normally call the Caribbean.
Why Belize has been named a Caribbean country stems from its colonial past. It was a British colony, and English is the primary language, sharing a lot of cultural colonial heritage with other Caribbean countries. But it also has a history that is steeped in Central America, so you could say it is of both worlds.
All of this really doesn’t matter to those who vacation in Belize. They go because of the vast opportunities for exploration, fun, sun, water activities/sports, temperate climate, friendliness, and more.
What Belize Offers to Tourists
The short answer is just about everything. Depending on what you are looking for in terms of a vacation, here you go:
Explore some ancient history: The Mayans were the earliest known civilization to inhabit Belize. There are some amazing Mayan ruins that are within a day trip of your coastal lodging., including pyramids, cities, temples, royal palaces, and a network of caves.
Explore the ecological environment: Protected rainforests, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks that offer mountain hiking, natural swimming holes, and amazing waterfalls. There are opportunities for day trips or overnight stays at many of the sanctuaries. One-third of the country is protected by government environmental regulations in order to preserve all that nature offers.
Belize Barrier Reef: tourists who are into diving cannot find a better place than Belize. It is home to the second-largest coral reef in the world. There are diving enterprises all up and down the coast, whether you want to go on your own or as a part of a tour.
Water sports: Anything goes. Swimming, kayaking, boat tours, deep-sea fishing, stand-up paddle-boarding, parasailing, jet skiing, and more. For those who love being in or on the water, Belize is a true paradise.
Romantic getaways: Belize has become a destination for couples who want both their privacy and an exciting nightlife of local bands, other talent, and nightclubbing. Singles who meet and develop international relationships online when try Hily dating app may find that Belize is a great “neutral” location to meet up in a “paradise” and explore their relationship futures. And as a honeymoon destination, no place could be more romantic.
What Belize Offers to Expats and Retirees
There is an explosion of people from the world over moving to Belize, and there are many reasons for this. The government is stable, the country is wonderfully safe (outside of Belize City and the western border with Guatemala), the climate is great, and living is relatively inexpensive. While the majority of expats are from Canada and the U.S., there are also Germans and a growing population of Asians discovering that Belize is a true haven for peace and a laid-back lifestyle.
For retirees, it gets better. There are a number of benefits, as Belize continues its efforts to appeal to older generations through its QRP program. There are a couple of requirements, the most important one being that retirees can prove an income of $2500/month for a couple. Or, they can deposit $24,000 as a one-time annual payment and then draw from that. And retirees may ship all of their personal goods to Belize with no import taxes – household goods, cars, and even planes.
Retirees enjoy free health care (actually, available to anyone in Belize), and tax-free benefits from any income earned outside of Belize. This includes online work done for a foreign entity, income from funds and investments, etc.
Another plus is that those in the QRP program only have to spend one month in Belize to stay qualified. So, retirees are free to return to their “homeland” as often as they wish.
Currently, the government is exploring other benefits they can offer to make retiring in Belize even more attractive. In short, they want foreign retirees.
Where Do Expats and Retirees Live?
Most choose to live along the coast. There are large expat communities in the north, specifically Ambergris Caye which is a large peninsular land mass or San Pedro. In the far south, there is Placencia, a rapidly expanding community. A trip to Placencia will allow travelers to view amazing mansions all built or being built by expats and retirees. In the middle of the coastal regions is Hopkins, a smaller village but one where land and development lots are exploding, especially near the “resort district.” Anyone considering living or retiring in Belize should explore these three areas.