Living in Belize: Cost Of Living & TOP 3 Pros/Cons

Living in Belize

If you’re looking to live by crystal clear waters, palm trees, and wildlife, you definitely won’t be disappointed if you decide to move to Belize. It’s one of the most beautiful places on the planet–rich in both marine and terrestrial wildlife and with a laid-back environment that will suit those who want to move away from noisy urban areas.

Living in Belize means enjoying a tropical lifestyle, an all-year-round summer, and much lower living expenses than the U.S. With a minimum monthly budget of USD $800-$1,500 covering real estate, utilities, and food, you can enjoy a comfortable and affordable life in Belize.

If you’re unsure whether moving to Belize will suit you, you can check out the rest of this article, where we discuss the cost of living, the pros and cons of living in Belize, and Belizean culture, lifestyle, and economy.

Cost of Living in Belize

The cost of living in Belize is 31% lower than that in the U.S., which is one of the biggest reasons why there is a growing expatriate community in the country.

If you’re a couple planning to retire in Belize, your combined pension can more than afford you a tropical paradise lifestyle at a resort-style home with a beach view.

That’s nowhere near what an average retiree can hope to have in the U.S. There’s absolutely nothing like spending your days getting sun and having a dip in the crystal-clear waters of Belize whenever you want to.

Expenses To Expect Living in Belize

If life in Belize sounds good so far to you, let’s take a look at some of the expenses that you should expect if you decide to make the move. Preparing for the financial aspect of such a big lifestyle change will help ensure that you have a smooth, hassle-free transition.

Of course, there are other things to prepare too, such as preparing mentally for the difference in culture and environment, but ironing out the finances is a huge step forward.

Also, if you’re coming from a highly materialistic lifestyle, it’s important to remember that life in Belize is very simple.

The shops for everyday purchases are pretty straightforward. Most of the produce that you need every day you can get at farmers’ markets at a fraction of the price that they sell in the U.S.

Home Rental or Buying Property

If you decide to move to Belize, one of the first things to ask yourself is whether you want a home rental or to build your own home. The cost of real estate varies in Belize, depending on where you want to live.

If you intend to live long-term in Belize, you might find that buying property is cheaper. Although real estate in Belize is a little higher than in other countries in Central America, it’s still way cheaper than owning property in the U.S.

It is generally cheaper to buy property in Cayo, Corozal, Hopkins, and Punta Gorda in Belize. In any of these locations, you can buy a piece of land and build your own home for about USD $135,000.

If you’re not sure whether you want a home in Belize, though, or if you don’t have the money to buy property upfront, you can opt to rent a home instead.

You can really stretch your budget by renting a furnished one-bedroom home in San Ignacio for only USD $500 a month or a one-bedroom apartment in Belize City for a little over USD $300.

However, given the number of expatriates already moving to Belize, you might find a hard time getting the cheaper rentals. Be prepared to spend as much as USD $800 a month in rent for a well maintained house.

If quality of house is not an issue, local Belizeans often can find a small bedroom house for as low as USD $150 a month.


How much you spend on food depends on your personal preferences and lifestyle. A typical expat budget for food and drinks could range from USD $100-$300. This includes your groceries for a month as well as a few nights of dining out.

A typical sit-down meal costs USD $10-$20 per person on average.

If you want to work with a smaller budget, however, you can easily whip up good meals by shopping at any of the farmers’ markets that dot the country. Here, produce sells very cheaply, with the added bonus that they’re fresh from harvest, so you get really good quality food for a very small amount.


For utilities, like electricity, water, cable TV, Internet, gas, and phone, you are likely going to spend USD $150-$300. Most people don’t need a TV nowadays, so deducting cable bills from your budget can make your utility expenses even lower.

Here’s an average breakdown on common utilities in Belize:

USD $ Utility
50 Electricity
15 Water
35 11 Gallon Tank of Butane for Cooking (Can last up to 3 months)
40 Internet 50 Mbps
30 Basic Phone Plan – Unlimited Talk & Text, 8 GB Data
30 Cable

Also, supposing you use one car for the both of you or for a whole family, you will be spending about USD $100 on gas per month, but Belize is a great place to walk instead of drive.

Also, there are stores pretty much everywhere, so you don’t need a car for daily use unless you’re really into long drives or going from town to town.

Residency and Citizenship Process

If you want to become a full-fledged Belizean resident, then you will have to go through a residency process that will require you to renew your tourist visa every month. This costs $100 per visa.

You have to keep renewing your visa for 12 months before you can apply for permanent residency. Once you become a resident, you can now apply to become a Belizean citizen. There are two things that you need to apply for Permanent Residency:

  • $1,400 for the application processing fee.
  • $2,000 monthly income in your bank account.

The application processing fee is lower (about $750) if you apply any of your dependents together with you. Also, it’s not enough to provide a statement showing that you make at least $2,000 monthly to get approved. You have to actually have at least that much money in your account at the time of the application as “show money.”


Getting medical treatment in the U.S. is pretty expensive, and most of the time, you won’t be able to get medical care unless you have insurance. In Belize, however, you don’t need any medical insurance to receive healthcare services.

On average, you will be spending $25-$50 per doctor’s appointment, depending on what your concern is. Also, there are doctors that make house calls, so if you find a clinic or hospital that you want to go to, that’s one of the things that you can try to request.

However, unlike in the U.S., the capability of the healthcare systems in Belize is not as advanced. If you have a medical condition that requires special attention or specialized treatment, you should check whether any of the hospitals in your preferred location can accommodate your needs.

Often, local Belizeans will travel outside of Belize for specialized care. It can be a trip to Mexico in Chetumal or Mérida; or to Guatemala City.

Pros of Living in Belize

More and more foreigners are moving to Belize, not just from the U.S. but even from other parts of the world.

The colorful heritage of the country and its diverse ethnic traditions make it a deeply inclusive nation, where people from all over the world can find a piece of home even as they are thousands of miles away.

Let’s look at some of the advantages of living in Belize.

Tropical Climate

Tired of bitterly cold winters? Belize’s weather is the perfect getaway–and even better if you’re staying for good! The country enjoys an eternal summer, where the breeze carries cool, salty air from the Caribbean Sea.

Life in Belize is all about nature–eating out to enjoy the fresh air, swimming in crystal clear waters, sunbathing on the beaches, or taking a swim by the river as part of the daily routine.

It’s a simple way of life, but very rich in experience, as people have more opportunities to appreciate good company and the beauty of nature.

Low Cost of Living

Another major advantage of living in Belize is that the cost of living is much cheaper than in the U.S. If you’re particularly thrifty, you can have a comfortable life while spending the bare minimum.

Let’s be honest–that’s not something that you can do in the U.S., where everything is expensive. In contrast, the Belizean lifestyle is very simple and laid back, so even if you rely solely on your social security check every month, you’ll have no problems money-wise.

Existing Expat Communities

When you’re moving to a new country for good, one of the things that can be most daunting is having no one that you can relate to or that you know. What’s great about Belize, though, is that there already is a big (and growing) expat community there that can help you blend in with society much easier.

Two of the most known expat communities in Belize are Cayo and Corozal Districts. So, if you’re looking for a particular part of the country where you can find the most number of expats, you can start there.

But you don’t have to worry if you end up renting a home outside of these regions because Belize is an English-speaking country, and you won’t have a hard time communicating with the locals should you have to.

Cons of Living in Belize

There’s no such thing as a perfect place, though. And even paradise can be flawed. Most of these disadvantages of living in Belize are from the perspective of an expat who is thinking of living in Belize while having experienced many of the conveniences that can be enjoyed in the U.S. or other countries.

Bugs Galore

A tropical climate is wonderful, but it comes with lots of bugs. It’s not uncommon to have mosquitoes everywhere in the country, especially near the shoreline and at night. When it rains, the mosquitoes can be particularly pesky too.

But that’s expected pretty much anywhere with a tropical climate and is easy to work around with the right tools. For example, making sure that your house has screens on the windows can help keep the bugs away from your house. Also, don’t forget to stock up on bug sprays.

Infrastructure Can Be Improved

The infrastructure in Belize could definitely be improved. If you are a digital nomad who wants to live in Belize, you might want to take note that power outages can happen a few times in a year. Some expats purchase generators to deal with the issue, but you can also remedy it by having a back-up wifi device ready.

Water can also be turned off a few times a year for maintenance. This rarely goes for more than a day.

If you’re looking to move to Belize though, this downside won’t be much of an issue, as there’s plenty to do in the country that doesn’t require electricity or infrastructure.

Petty Crimes

Another thing to watch out for in Belize is the occurrence of petty crimes. Robberies or petty theft happen once in a while, since security devices like CCTV or home alarm systems are not common in the country.

Fortunately, violent crimes are pretty rare, and Belize is generally regarded as safe for foreigners and tourists. Still, it’s best to err on the safe side, and keep your valuables secure at all times.

Do Expats Live Here Easily?

Expats live in Belize easily, as there already is a large expat community existing in the country. The cost of living in Belize is significantly lower than in other countries. Life in Belize is relaxed and comfortable for foreigners, especially since Belize is an English-speaking nation.

Belize Economy

Belize is a developing country that experiences widespread poverty due a number of reasons, including a lack of employment opportunities and low manpower wages. Belize also has the smallest economy in Central America and gets most of its income from tourism and agriculture.

A study conducted in 2009 revealed that 41.3% of the total population in Belize lives below the poverty line and is unable to afford basic human necessities like healthcare and education.

Belize Culture and Lifestyle

Belize is a melting pot of different cultures–a country outlined in part by the Caribbean Sea and colorful with the influences of Mayan, African, Spanish, Chinese, and British cultures. Life in this country can be laid back but also fun, with island parties and beach hangouts.

Final Thoughts

Belize offers the ultimate beach lifestyle to anyone who craves it. You can never get tired of its beautiful landscapes, pristine beaches, and rich wildlife. And if you want to enjoy all of it for good, you can do so even if all you live on is your social security check.

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