Belizes Shores Realty Blog

The Cost of Living in Belize

belize

Moving to a new area in your home country is always a daunting task.  When you move to Belize you may be surprised to find out how affordable it is to live here.  In many ways it is actually much cheaper to live in Belize than it is to live in the United States.

Many of the costs in Belize are significantly lower than in the U.S. such as the cost of buying a house, insurance, taxes, and utility bills.  Depending on where you plan on settling in Belize, the average costs to maintain a lifestyle can vary, just like they do in the U.S.  If you live near Ambergris Caye or Placencia you should expect higher prices.  On the other hand in northern Belize near Corozal things are generally less expensive.

In the more expensive areas of the country, you could live comfortably on a monthly budget of $3,000.  In the less expensive areas you could maintain a lifestyle on $1,000.  The way to control costs is to live like the locals do.  Eat local and save.  For a sandwich and a coffee a meal may cost you $3, a medium quality bottle of red wine that is imported may run roughly $15.

There are plenty of places to live in Belize where you can live on a lower budget, walk to the beach, and still not give up some of your modern day amenities.  Belize is the perfect place to retire in, spend holidays, live part time or full time in.  The weather and the lifestyle are such alluring factors for this tropical paradise.

Belize Tourism surprises even the officials!

This was just posted last evening by the Belize Tourism Board, showing that in spite of all the world problems people are still setting money aside for a little chunk of paradise:

 

Tourist arrivals are up by 11.8% for the first half of this year! For the past six months, there have been increases across the board in overnight and cruise arrivals. For overnight arrivals, we had a 7.1% increase in June of 2014, over June of 2013, with 28,727 tourist visitors. The forecast was a decrease of -2.24%. There was a 14.6% increase in the 2nd quarter, contributing to an overall increase of 11.8% in overnight tourist arrivals for the first six months of 2014. Once again, March has the highest number of arrivals with 38,712 visitors. April saw the highest increase when compared to 2013, with 23%, or a total of 38,712 arrivals.

Like previous years, March has seen the most arrivals through the Philip Goldson International Airport, having 30,754 arrivals, which is an increase of 7.4% when compared to March, 2013. The month with the highest increase when compared to 2013 was April, which saw an increase of 20.7%; a total of 21,028 arrivals.

For the first half of this year, cruise passenger arrivals are at 527,037 visitors showing an increase of almost 37%. Overall, Belize saw over 142,000 more visitors in 2014, when compared to the first half of 2013. The month of June alone recorded the highest increase with 120.2% more cruise passenger arrivals when compared to June, 2013. March has seen the most arrivals with 115,227 cruise passengers. There have been 57 more cruise ship calls in 2014 than there were in 2013 through the same time period.

The largest market for travelers to Belize continues to be Americans, which has increased by 11.8%; the second largest is the European market, having a 23.2% increase; the third largest is the Canadian market, with a 6.4% increase.

Education in Belize

Schooling in Belize

Before you make the move to Belize, it is important to look at what your family’s future will be like, and one of the most important facets, of course, is the sort of education that  is available to your children. Before you decide where to move in Belize, it may be a good idea to tour a couple of school campuses to make sure that your children will feel comfortable with their transition into a new school system as well. Here is a little bit of information about education in Belize so you can know what to expect.

 

Although education in Belize was originally founded through religious institutions (especially Jesuit), the government now manages all public education systems in Belize.

 

The Belize educational system is structured after the British system, with three levels: primary education, secondary education, and post-secondary education. Primary education is required for children living in Belize. While there are several colleges and universities in Belize available for post-secondary enrollment (University of Belize, University College of Belize, St. John’s College, and the Belize School of Nursing, among others), there is also an option for your children to enroll in sixth form, which is a two-year post-secondary course that prepares students for A-level examinations but also awards students with an Associate of Arts degree (as sanctioned by the United States Association of Junior Colleges).

 

Although technology in Belize has not reached the same levels of accessibility as it has in many European countries or in the United States, schools in the more urban areas have access to computers and the Internet. Although these technologies are not yet integrated into the curriculum, there are several current efforts throughout the country that focus on bringing technology to all schools in Belize and making technology literacy part of school curriculum. As we all are, Belize is working to embrace the still-new intersection of education and technology. You and your children can look forward to exploring these defining years in the Belize educational system.

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Tips for Moving to a New Country

Belize Shores Reals Estate

 

Do you feel the itch to get out and move to a different lifestyle, whether it be laid back in the mountains or at the beach, or the hustle and bustle of a new city? There are plenty of things to consider before making the move to a new country.  Follow the tips that we have outlined below to make an easy transition.

 

Think about where you would like to move – this is the most exciting part of the journey, consider spots that you have vacationed to in the past that you have fallen in love with, and can’t wait to go back to again and again.

 

Research The Employment Outlook – searching for jobs overseas can be just as complicated as looking for a job in your home town.  Sometimes there is a language barrier as well.  If you are thinking about opening up your own business, be sure that there is a market for your company in the new country as well.

 

Consider Schooling for your Children – if you still have school age children, you want to make sure that they have an easy transition as well.  Look into the schooling systems and even consider touring a few campuses before making a final decision on where to settle down.

 

Think about how to move your belongings over – it can be incredibly expensive to move cars and large furniture overseas.  You may be better off looking for a fully furnished home, or buying new furnishings once you are settled.  Hold a moving sale, hand off your larger furniture to family and friends, or consider donating your items to your favorite charity.

 

Prepare for the culture shock – not many places have that homey feel as soon as you land.  Do your best to recreate some elements that are important to you and your family when you move.  Whether it is having a backyard to BBQ, or buying a home close to the market so you can walk down every weekend.

 

There are so many things to consider and prepare for when moving to a new country, including what we stated above. Our best advice is do your best to research into the areas that you are considering moving to. Utilize travel books, online magazines, and films all about the country to get the most amount of information that you possibly can.

 

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Why You Should Retire in Belize!

Belize Real Estate
 
There are a lot of things to consider once you are planning to retire, and you want to make sure that you’re happy once you do settle down! Here is a great list of reasons to retire in Belize.

 

1. The Economy. The Belize’s economy is extremely stable, and has one of the lowest inflation rates in the world.

 

2. The Language. English is the official language of Belize. This is the only Latin American country where this is true- but it suits Americans well.

 

3. The Distance. Belize is close by- you can get to it in two hours or less from Houston or other points along the coast. This means it will be easy to visit family members when you want to- and many of them will want to come visit you!

 

4. Similar Laws. The laws in Belize are based off that of the British. This makes them very similar to the ones that we are already used to in America. This makes it a very easy transition.

 

5. Real Estate. The real estate in Belize is very affordable compared to the real estate in America.

 

6. Taxes. Belize’s government doesn’t tax excessively. Depending on how you earn your income, you could possibly have a zero tax liability as a retired person in this country. Belize has many options, own an International Business Company and hold your foreign assets tax free, or own an International Free Zone company which can hold even your Belize assets with tax holidays for the rest of your retired life.

 

7. The perks.  If you are over 45, you can take full advantage of a retiree program which helps you establish legal residency in Belize, which will allow you to enjoy extra benefits and tax advantages!

 

8. The land. Belize itself is something you don’t want to miss out on. There is a barrier reef that is only second in size to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. With this along with all the other fascinating places to visit, it will be hard to get bored in Belize.

 

9. The feeling of community. Family life and the happiness that comes with it is a huge priority in Belize.

 

10. The Expatriate Community. Belize has been attracting retirees and expatriates for decades.

 

Belize is a beautiful, quirky country that should be on everyone’s bucket list to visit. For those who are of the mind to, they will even get to spend their golden years.

 
 

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The Rich History of Belize

Belize Real Estate

The first group of people that lived in what is now known as Belize was the Mayans. The Mayan Empire was one of the most sophisticated civilizations of the ancient Americas. They reached their peak in the 6th to 8th centuries AD. However the once great civilization declined in the 14th century. During the 16th century, the Spanish arrived and there was hardly any Mayan influence left.

Though the Spanish ruled Belize, it wasn’t a true ruling, because they mostly saw the area as being good mostly for cutting dye wood.

Belize’s roots, from the outset of colonization, have always been more of a British nature than Spanish. The British gained control over Belize in 1798 when they defeated the Spanish Armada. Great Britain declared Belize was the colony of the British Honduras, which went against the Monroe Doctrine.

Such was the case with many other countries, the economy of Belize declined after World War II. This is what led them to push for independence. Belize became self-governed in 1964, which allowed for the formation of democratic parties and parliamentary rule. Belize City had been destroyed in Hurricane Hattie in 1961 so the new capital had been moved to Belmopan. In 1981 Belize gained full independence and officially became known as Belize.

In recent years, the US government has also helped to stabilize Belize. Large amounts of money were invested in Belize to help with the economy. Due to civil wars in Honduras and El Salvador, Belize has increased in the number of refugees in the area and has increased in the number of native Spanish speakers in the country. Even still, Belize remains very peaceful and tolerance prevails.

Belize invites visitors to slow down, relax, and follow the rhythm of this tiny country.

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Next Month’s BETEX Event Showcases Belize Tourism

Belize is a relatively small country, only slightly larger than the state of Massachusetts and with a population of around 330,000. One advantage of this is a well-organized tourism community that bolsters Belize’s position as a popular attraction to visitors from all over the world.

At the forefront of the movement is the Belize Tourism Industry Association, or BTIA. The organization lobbies for issues that help its members and the tourism industry as a whole. For example, the BTIA fights for laws and policies that are likely to promote and benefit tourism, a major component of the Belizean economy. Next month, the BTIA will host the bi-annual Belize Tourism Expo, otherwise known as BETEX.

BETEX was started in 1996 as a way for the Belizean tourism industry to market themselves to the international community. It is a major tool of the BTIA in uniting and promoting tourism across the country, now attracting over 300 parties. This year, the Expo will be held right in Belize City from Wednesday, May 7 to Monday, May 12. Participants must register in advance.

As is always the case at BETEX, there are sure to be plenty of representatives from commercial destinations, lodgings, and tour companies, as well as a healthy amount of press attention. The idea is to attract and impress those who make travel decisions, like agents and event planners. The international community can meet and negotiate with the local exhibitors while also learning about our corner of the planet.

For more information on BETEX, or to register for the event, head on over to their website. The event is a fantastic example of the health and vibrancy of Belize’s lucrative tourism industry. 

 

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The Tropical Farms in Belize

PapayaFor years, tourists from around the world have flocked to Belize for its quaint, Caribbean culture and feel. In places like Belize, people rely on local farms and ranches for food. In fact, we even highlight farms and ranches available for investment on our website. Here’s a little bit of information about the wonderful selection of crops we grow here in Belize.

Belize has a tropical climate that suits the production of citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits in places like the Stann Creek Valley. Many times, the fruit you find in grocery stores during a typical American winter come straight from Belize—bananas, mangos and pineapples and more. On a trip to Belize, you’re bound to find a wide selection of additional fruits that you may have never heard of before.

In the northern lowland, near Orange Walk, you’ll discover rows and rows of sugarcane fields. And do you like chocolate? In El Cayo, you’ll find cacao, which is used to make chocolate bars.

Other crops you’re likely to find in Belize include rice, corn, and beans—all staples of the healthy diet in Belize and all over the world. In particular, be on the lookout for red kidney beans and black eye peas when you visit or move to Belize for a true sampling of the local flavor.

In recent years, Belize has become known for its production of increasingly popular papayas, They are a major part of Belize’s export economy, contributing about $25 million towards the nation’s gross domestic product. For those who haven’t been lucky enough to try one, Papaya’s have a buttery texture and a sweet, unique flavor.

Tropical Belize weather is not just enjoyed by its residents and tourists. It also contributes to the flavor of the land, as well as Belize’s national exports. If you’d like to learn more about investing in lush and beautiful Belize, visit the Belize Shores Realty website today.

 

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The Amazing Wildlife of Belize

Belize WildlifeIn Belize, we’re fortunate enough to have the most pristine forest of any country in South America. Over half of the land in Belize is covered by a breathtaking tropical forest, home to thousands of species of plants and animals. According to the BBC, a third of the land in Belize falls under protected status. It’s no surprise that eco-tourism has grown to become one of the most successful industries in the country.

One of the things we love most about being in Belize is the opportunity to witness all kinds of magnificent exotic creatures thriving in their natural habitat. Ground squirrels and white-tailed deer might be all the wildlife some of us can hope to encounter in our day-to-day lives, but in Belize you can expect way more diversity.

Imagine waking up to the call of the black howler monkey, an endangered species found only in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico. On any given day, you might be lucky enough to spot a squat, pig-like character with a shy demeanor and a voracious appetite for leaves. Meet the tapir, one of Belize’s most curious mammals.

Every year around September, sea turtles come ashore to nest and lay eggs on the beach. Nesting season is a very special time in Belize, a time when we get to see fresh new life emerge from the sands and boldly set out into the deep ocean. It is a venerated event that annually reminds us how truly precious these ecosystems are.

Keep your species identification guides close at hand! Each time you step out your door in Belize you’ll have the opportunity to see animals you might never have even heard of. We’d love to see you invest in this remarkable global tourism hotspot. For more information on investment opportunities in Belize, contact Belize Shores Realty today.

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Ambergris Caye: Best Island in the World

Ambergris CayeThose who invest in Belize real estate and businesses keep an eye on popular “Best Of” lists that often highlight the beautiful country and display its wonders for the world to see. We’re proud to point out that Ambergris Caye, the most popular island in Belize, has once again put Belize at the top of a prestigious and competitive list. It recently won Trip Advisor’s 2014 Traveler’s Choice Award for Best Island in the World for the second year in a row.

With its turquoise, Caribbean waters and stunning views, there is no doubt visitors will find the caye to be a beautiful place to get away from the stresses of everyday life, to relax and refresh yourself, and to witness the spectacle of some very interesting antiquity.

Whether you are interested in fishing, sky diving (which is particularly popular during the winter months), snorkeling and deep sea diving, walking around San Pedro Town—the only town on the caye—or simply lounging, there is something for everyone on Ambergris Caye. The caye is especially known for its Belize Barrier Reef, one of the largest barrier reefs in the world – second only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – and for its pristine, white sandy beaches. There are  also a number of resorts and hotels on Ambergris Caye, some of which may be available for investment right here at Belize Shores Realty.

A community of Maya lived on Ambergris Caye in Pre-Columbian times, and they made highly polished red ceramics, some of which can still be found on the island. The Mayan civilization’s presence in Belize is of particular interest to historians, both professional and amateur, and there are relics to be seen here that will fascinate the most ardent enthusiast.

Ambergris Caye has a lot to offer, and if you can imagine watching a breathtaking sunset over the Caribbean while sipping a glass of wine, you can imagine the special beauty of Ambergris Caye. The people are always friendly and welcoming, there is always something close by to delight your senses.

For more information on Belize and opportunities to invest in the wildly popular tourist destination, visit Belize Shores Realty today.

 

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