Considering a move to Belize? Let's dip our toes in first.
There are several reasons for why someone may want to move to Belize. After the COVID-19 pandemic, industries have seen how efficient and capable employees are to work from home. Many people can successfully complete their jobs from a computer, literally anywhere. Or perhaps you’re retiring or plan to retire early and want to live in the Caribbean. Maybe you’ve been in a high stress job and want to trade that in for a better work-life balance. Belize may be a great option for you! If you have considered to move to Belize, consider taking an extended vacation first.
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Have an Extended Stay Before You Move to Belize
One of the first pieces of advice you’ll hear from expats living in Belize is stay for 1-3-6 months before deciding to buy here. We’ve seen people up and move their lives just to be unhappy with it and move back to the States within a couple years, some even after a handful of months. We suggest getting a rental, seeing what you like, where you like, and whether Belize suits you.
Depending on where you are at in your life and what your goals are with moving to Belize, you can find out if it is the right place for you. With that being said, Donna and Hailey (owners of Drift Inn) purchased their property after A 4 DAY WEEKEND in San Pedro. No exploration of the mainland or anything. It worked for them since Hailey had no attachments to the US outside of family. She was able to move to Belize with little effort, and having lived abroad for years in non-English speaking countries Belize was a cake walk. Some families who moved to Belize did not have as positive experiences as our owners when entering a new business (like hotels or restaurants) without prior experience in a foreign country.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Move to Belize (or anywhere)
Do you have sufficient funds?
The cost of living varies from person to person, but you must consider the price of moving from where you are now to where you are going. Consider the costs of staying at hotels or condos before moving into your long term residence.
What type of work permit or visa do you want?
In the beginning, you’ll be on a tourist visa which, for Americans, is $100 USD per month. If retired, you could join the QRP (qualified retirement program), but then you cannot work/own a business. You must bring in a minimum of $2000 USD per month to qualify for a QRP.
What is your timeframe? What are your 3 – 5 – 10 year plans?
Where does Belize fit in the grand scheme of your life. What career goals, life goals, financial goals do you have? Will living in Belize help actualize those goals?
Do you have a backup plan?
What is the primary reason for moving to Belize?
What lifestyle do you have versus what lifestyle you want to live?
What will your day to day be like in the country? Are you working? Do you need to start a business? Will you work remotely?
Will you miss your family and your normal life? Will it impact your family positively or negatively?
Are you attached to your things? Can you sell/give away most of your belongings before moving?
Where will you live?
Visit Different Regions of Belize Before you Move to Belize
Honestly, several districts I haven’t spent much time in. For that reason, I’ll focus on three I visit frequently and know more about. These three options aren’t only where I’ve spent time, but where most people traveling to Belize frequent as well. If you want to move to Belize, it is worth moving around and testing out each area.
Each region and district have their own vibes. There are the kind of people who visit San Pedro and the kind of people who have never visited the island and lived in Belize for 5+ years. One area may suit you much better than another. For that reason, it is best to test the waters and move around before commiting and buying a property.
Northern Cayes (San Pedro | Caye Caulker)
First, San Pedro is an excellent location to base yourself in. The population is roughly 17,000 people and it is part of the Belize District . It is the number one tourist destination for travelers to Belize, so it has all the resources you need to get the most out of your trip. There’s an excellent expat and local community on the island, you’ll be welcomed with open arms and find friends easily. Check out How to Spend One Day in Caye Caulker for more information on the other Caye.
Stann Creek District (Placencia | Dangriga | Hopkins)
Cayo District (Mountain Pine Ridge | Santa Elena)
The pace is slower and more relaxed on the mainland. Spend your days listening to birds and howler monkeys, looking out into the jungle. This district is home to ancient Maya sites such as Xunantunich, Caracol, and Cahal Pech. This region is known for their agricultural production, growing citrus and bananas. Cayo’s town, Spanish Lookout, is known for the Mennonite communities. This district has a population of around 73,000 people (2010 census).
Move to Belize: Other Districts
Toledo is the southernmost district, hosting the maya site Nim Li Punit and the capital town of Punta Gorda (PG). Orange Walk and Corozal are north of the Belize District. Orange Walk has the Lamanai Maya site and is known for its sugar production. Whereas, Corozal is known for the border town where you can cross in and out of Chetumal, Mexico. This border town will get you closer to Mexico for easier and cheaper shopping, but also a higher concentration of Spanish-speaking communities. If English was a major pull for you to move to Belize, then Corozal may not be your cup of tea.
Research Before you Move to Belize
It is necessary to do some research before visiting or up and moving somewhere. Determine what requirements a location has for you to be happy and satisfied, as well as what your job needs you to have. Think of questions like – can you afford two leases? How much will your monthly budget be? How much time will you spend on activities? Conducting research on this topic is important to prepare for a move, whether it be a short term or long-term move. Fortunately, there are many online resources available to assist you in planning your journey.
Articles and blogs are excellent sources of knowledge, especially for traveling to a country such as Belize. Facebook pages such as The guide to moving to Belize | Facebook or Ambergris Caye Tourists | Facebook are great resources to ask questions and read about other people’s experiences in real time. Search Drift Inn Belize’s blogs for more information on living in Belize.
We hope this article helped you in your research on whether you should move to Belize and where you should stay.
Test out Working from Belize Before you Move to Belize
Remote workers and digital nomads find Belize to be among the best places to work remotely for many reasons. One, the time zone is comparable to North American time zones. This means, you won’t need to wake up at, say, 3 AM to stay on your US work schedule. Two, English is the first language in Belize. You can make close friends quickly in this country, where you’ll listen to English spoken in a creole Caribbean rhythm. Three, the work-life balance in Belize is excellent. Go from a morning of work to a float trip down a river or diving to see the Belize Barrier Reef.
If you want a slower vibe or more isolation, check out quieter villages like Hopkins or Dangriga down south or jungle resorts. In popular places, like Placencia and San Pedro, you will find more populous towns buzzing with restaurants, cafes, and stores. Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker are exceptional island destinations, you can go from working on your laptop to snorkeling or diving the Belize Barrier Reef. For a nature and culture buffs, San Ignacio town is the perfect place for you. Everybody has different interests when traveling, so be in touch with what you want and what would suit you best. Also, check out article 8 Reasons to Work From Belize.
Visiting Belize? Stay with Drift Inn
Are you ready for an adventure in Belize? Look no further than Drift Inn. Our comfortable and affordable accommodations provide all the necessities for your trip, including premium mattresses, private bathrooms, A/C, hot water, and WIFI. Plus, our convenient location on the island or in Cayo puts you just steps away from the beach and easy access to all major tour sites.
But we don’t just offer a place to rest your head. Drift Inn is a community of travelers who live to explore and make new connections. Our staff can organize tours and excursions, from trips to the Blue Hole to golf cart or car rental. And with opportunities to meet other guests at the bar, participating in tours, and gathering for live music, you’ll never be short of company. So, book your stay with Drift Inn and start planning your Belizean dream adventure today.