Located on the northeastern coast of Central America, Belize is a country with rich flora and fauna and a diverse culture. The average per capita income is less than USD 6000. It is a haven for retirees due to its liberal society and peaceful life.
The figures from the Belize Central Statistic Office in July 2005, prove that the population of the nation is fast rising and coming close to 300,000 permanent residents. This shows that the appeal and attraction of Belize is increasing per year.
Retired life in Belize
Belize has become a popular retirement destination due to the beautiful scenery, stunning climate, friendly people, tax advantages, proximity and good transport links with the United States and Mexico. The Retired Persons Incentive Program permits people to live 100% tax free. To qualify for this program, the individual can come from any country, must have a minimum age of 45 and should have a qualifying non-Belizean based income of minimum USD 2000 per month.
This person may be subjected to some background checks. If the person is qualified, the family, personal effects and a means of transportation can be brought and maintained tax-free. Any income created from investments or business ventures would be tax-free as long as they are not an output of Belizean economy. These criteria are very simple to achieve and this is the reason that many Americans, British, and North Europeans have retired in this cheap, sunny and beautiful tax haven.
Real estate in Belize has very competitive prices. The initial communities are planning their settlement and are in the construction phase. Independent housing is available in the popular areas of Cayes, near Belize City as well as Northern Belize. Many expatriates live in these areas. The everyday cost of living due to water, electric, telephone,etc.,is at very reasonable prices.
If local goods are purchased, the Belizean dollars would not accrue to a large value. However, the imported goods are exorbitant. It is easy to travel to Mexico or the United States. The intense wet season repels people from this area. However, this season is the reason behind the rich flora and fauna.
Cost of Living
Belize has turned out to be one of the most exorbitant of the Central American nations. In 2004, the Gross Domestic Product increased by 3.5%. However, inflation is increasing and this implies that the cost of living would increase. The tourism, agriculture,and construction sectors are progressing rapidly. This is very conducive towards economic growth. In the year 2005, the average per capita income was less than USD 6000. A small flat in Belize City could be rented for about USD 1000 and a large house in the Cayo district for USD 300. A piece of land had a cost of USD 5000 to 10000. Some houses were priced at USD 25 per square foot. An ocean front property was estimated at USD 250,000.
The weather in Belize is sub-tropical. The humidity is high, but infrequently oppressive. It is most felt in coastal areas. The mean annual humidity is 83% and is overcome by cool sea breezes. The coastal regions have southeast trade winds at 10-13 knots. These are very consistent in July. The temperatures vary from 50 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit averaging 79. The mountains have a mean of 72. The Cayo district has about 125 rainy days per year, the Belize district about 171, the Stann district about 183, and Punta Gorda has more than 200.
The cooking methods are influenced by the Chinese, Creole, Mexican, and European methods. Seafood or chicken and spices are the core of most Belizean foods. Some of the recipes are Barracuda, Beans and rice, Belizean Stew Chicken, Belizean Bake Chicken, Belizean Bake Fish, Belizean Chicken Stew, Ceviche, Belizean Scramble Eggs, Conch Fritters, Tortillas, Plantains and Potato Salad, etc.
Belize is a Caribbean country rather than a Central American one. The people are very friendly and informal. Not greeting known people or failure to return a greeting is not considered proper. The society is fun-loving and not inclined to quarrel. It is thought apt to greet or make a friendly nod to strangers. Before starting a talk, a handshake is thought essential. Racism is not dominant in Belize. A locality may have different ethnic groups that co-exist without mixing. The inhabitants of the country are cognizant about their clothing.
They think it displays the level of their culture, taste, and status. The contemporary trends from the United States are always held in high regard. English is the official language in this region. The actual language is a blend of English and Creole. Religious freedom exists in this nation. Catholics are 60 percent and Anglicans are 11 percent. Churches conduct a majority of schools and hence everybody is associated with some religion.