Belize is the best kept secret for expat retirees

Published:  5 Apr at 6 PM
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Expats who’re looking for an alternative to destinations crammed with retirees living the same lives as they did in their home countries should take a look at Belize.

It’s a truism that, especially in retirement, many expats tend to relocate to destinations already home to large communities of their own nationals, forgetting the fact that familiarity might well breed contempt. For the more adventurous, there are still havens offering the compulsory natural beauty, great weather and affordability together with a truly international expat community.

Unlike its near neighbour Mexico, the island of Belize isn’t as yet a must-have retirement hub exclusive to Americans, with the expat community here having a refreshing international flavour. Europeans and Canadians are now discovering this well-kept secret and enjoying a warm welcome from its people.

Set in the Caribbean Sea between Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and Guatemala, the small country is mainly rural and boasts jungles. rainforests, mountains, beautiful beaches and the hundreds of offshore islets forming the famous Belize Barrier Reef. One of its major advantages is that English is the official language, meaning new arrivals don’t need to learn another tongue just to get around on a day-to-day basis.

Life here is laid-back and relaxed, giving the perfect environment for a comfortable retirement. What you won’t find are multinational hotels, fast food chains and massive malls, and just being yourself is the accepted way to live. It’s what you are rather than who you are, what you wear and the size of your bank balance that’s important in Belize.

As regards real estate, foreigners enjoy the same property rights as nationals, especially where land ownership and tenure are concerned. Home purchases or rentals of both apartments and villas are still reasonably priced in comparison to the UK, USA and major European cities, although care should be taken as scams have been reported. There’s a choice of styles, from luxury, high-end, gated developments down to simple, attractive homes in rural locations and even beach-front cottages painted in tropical colours.
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