With stunning beauty, an attractive retiree program, and a healthy lifestyle...there are many reasons to move to Belize.

From the first time I flew from the mainland to Ambergris Caye —in a small turbo-prop plane—I was hooked on Belize. Gazing down onto the crystal clear Caribbean waters, and at the waves breaking on the Mesoamerican Reef, I was overwhelmed by the scenic beauty around me. This stunning seascape was my intro to Belize. What later convinced me I could live full-time in Belize were the vibrant communities and comfortable lifestyle…

So what makes Belize so appealing? I’ve outlined the top seven reasons to live here below:

 1.      Belize is a stunningly beautiful country. It’s bordered by the clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, which teem with colorful and diverse sea life. Though Belize is only the size of Massachusetts…it boasts the second largest barrier reef in the world…

But there is more than the sea in Belize… Nature is abundant everywhere. You’ll be amazed by the colorful birds, trees, flowers, and creatures…wild jungles…Maya Mountains…winding rivers…productive Mennonite agricultural regions…and the mystical Mayan ruins scattered around the country…

The weather is balmy and tropical. Belize’s tropical climate is a blessing to winter weary expats from northerly latitudes. This is an outdoors-oriented country. Most expats spend time outdoors: walking, swimming, biking, hiking, and enjoying other outdoor activities. And since the natural setting is so comfortable, everybody socializes outdoors. It’s a pleasure to just sit on your outdoors veranda, sip a cold one, and watch the exotic birds come and go…

2.      It’s easy to live a healthy lifestyle. Expats often tell me that their health improved after they moved to Belize. They can buy fresh, healthy food, farmed by the Mennonites. Those who live near a beach buy fresh fish directly from local fishermen. They cut out pre-packaged foods. These products are expensive, and seldom available… They often lose weight. They get out and about and burn up calories through activities…It’s easy to get plenty of sunshine and vitamin D in Belize. And the laid-back attitude translates to less stress…which can translate to lower blood pressure…

3.      Although small, Belize is a diverse country. Each region is unique. Expats who move here can pick form a variety of diverse regions. They can live on a lively, developed caye (what we would call a “key” in the U.S.) near the reef…on one of the gorgeous southern beaches…or in one of the rich agricultural belts farmed by the Mennonites… Some expats even choose to delve into the Mayan culture and live near a Mayan archaeological site…

And it’s incredibly easy to travel from one scenic spot to another. You can fly from one town to another in less than an hour. You could spend the morning on Ambergris Caye and be in the Cayo (far west)…Punta Gorda (far south)…or Corozal (far north) by the afternoon… The roads between these towns are paved and maintained. Water taxis sail from Ambergris Caye to Corozal, or to Chetumal, Mexico. Buses cover the country’s key routes. It’s easy to get to Mexico and other Central American countries from Belize.

By the way, if you want to travel back to the U.S. or Canada, that’s easy to do from Belize, too. For example, it only takes 2 – 2.5 hours to fly to Belize International Airport from Miami or Houston.

4.      The lifestyle is culturally rich and socially satisfying… Belize is definitely a cultural melting pot of peaceful, laidback people. If you appreciate cultural and racial diversity, Belize is comfortable. You’ll experience the Mayan, Mestizo, Mennonite, Kriol, Garifuna, Chinese, Indian, and Middle Eastern cultures if you decide to move here.

Overall everyone gets along amazingly well. Belizeans are typically friendly, helpful and tolerant. Given the mix of races and cultures, you’ll find an environment rich with cultural events… tasty ethnic food… and high energy, infectious music. And because it’s English-speaking, it’s easy to fit in and make friends.

5.      A workable cost of living… Belize is not one of the least expensive retirement havens. But for those who move here from a high-end region—such as the USA’s West or East Coasts—the cost of living is considerably less. The cost of living varies within the country. So you can pick a region that fits your pocket book. Those with more money to spend will enjoy the cayes, and the popular beach towns. On a smaller budget? Then check out the Cayo, Corozal, or Punta Gorda.

6.      It has a very attractive retiree program. Belize designed their Qualified Retirement Person Program to appeal to North American retirees. You need only be 45 years old to qualify, and spend one month per year in Belize. You also need to have a monthly income of at least $2,000 from a pension or annuity (including Social Security) to qualify. This allows you to bring $15,000 worth of personal goods to Belize tax-free, and pay no Belizean taxes on any foreign-earned income.

7.      Belize is an offshore haven and offers secure, private offshore asset protection. In 1990 Belize instituted laws that allow non-Belizean residents to form an offshore International Business Corporation. You can also form a Belizean Trust. These offshore products are inexpensive when compared to those in other popular tax havens.

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