Many people are initially attracted to Belize because of the pristine nature, balmy temperatures, and delicious food but soon learn to appreciate the finer things thanks to a very affordable cost of living. The local currency, called the Belize Dollar (BZD), is permanently pegged to the US Dollar at 2:1, making it easy and simple to calculate costs without having to worry about fluctuations.
While Belize is far more affordable than similar nations in the region, the most important factor to consider when determining a monthly budget is the amount that you will pay for rent or a mortgage. The offshore islands, including the tourist hotspot of Ambergris Caye, have a limited number of available properties. Beachfront rentals can be $1,000 or more in top areas like Ambergris Caye and Placencia, but it is much easier to find more affordable locations elsewhere in Belize.
International Living Magazine published a comprehensive breakdown of average costs in Belize, estimating that expats who own their home can live very well on just $1,500 per month. Other important factors to consider include the type and quality of food you eat. Locally-grown fresh produce like tropical fruits, cashew, and cacao is far cheaper than in the United States or Canada while imported produce like apples and manufactured goods are often between 2-5 times as expensive in Belize. Residents of Belize living close to Mexico can take advantage of NAFTA and other regulations that make food, retail goods, and other manufactured items very affordable.
The good news for homeowners in Belize is that property taxes are very low. Even million dollar homes rarely garner more than a four-figure property tax, and the government of Belize assesses no taxes on income derived outside of the country. Imported items like gasoline are more expensive (the average price is around $5/gallon) but hiring housekeepers and other services rarely cost more than $15-20 per day.
Traveling in Belize is relatively inexpensive, and the entrance fees for national parks, reserves, and ancient Maya sites is usually $10 or less. Home internet is usually very affordable at around $25-50 per month, but mobile internet can sometimes be as pricey as in the United States. Utilities are generally quite affordable with the exception of electricity, which is also imported.
Cerros Sands is a gated, master-planned community located in Belize’s northern Corozal District near the border with Mexico. An ideal community for individuals looking to retire, live in, and invest in property, Cerros Sands has completed homes and waterfront lots starting at $25,000.