Belize is still predominantly a religious and conservative country, but increasing exposure to foreign tourists has slowly begun to change local attitudes. Indeed, Belizean LGBT activists scored a major victory last year following a key Supreme Court decision to overturn a law criminalizing homosexuality.
Expats of all orientations are increasingly investing in Belize thanks to a red-hot travel market and favorable laws that grant foreign investors equal status when it comes to buying, renting, and selling property. Furthermore, Belize imposes no capital gains taxes, and property taxes run between 1-1.5% of the undeveloped value of the land, making property a very secure investment.
As the only English-speaking country in the region, Belize has always charted a unique path amongst Caribbean nations. Although it has the lowest population density of any nation in Central America (around 360,000 people), Belize is a true melting pot society where the descendants of the ancient Maya freely mingle with former African slaves, German-speaking Mennonites, and a well-established Chinese community. Renowned for their friendliness, Belize espouses a true “live and let live” attitude, making the country a great place for LGBT retirees and investors.
In the past year alone, Southwest Airlines, the biggest low-cost carrier in the United States, has added three non-stop flights to Belize, joining United, American, Delta, WestJet and Air Canada in competing to serve the red-hot Belize travel market. Lower prices and a flying time of just 2-5 hours from major cities across North America mean that it’s easier than ever before to stay connected to friends, family, and businesses back home.
Belize’s popular QRP program allows individuals age 45 and older to gain residency in the country with a 30-day minimum in-country presence per year and the ability to import your personal goods duty-free including cars, boats, and light airplanes. The government of Belize has also invested heavily in infrastructure, and the country now boasts four modern highways that connect all the larger towns and cities.
A former British colony, Belize enjoys a peaceful and stable parliamentary democracy as well as a robust judicial system that strongly favors property rights. And because English is the official language, you’ll never have to rely on smartphone apps to speak to locals, read documents, or sign contracts. Belize also offers generous offshore asset protection, allowing foreigners to establish International Business Corporations that can own and manage property.