Relocating to a new country can be daunting, especially if you aren’t sure where the best and worst places to resettle actually are. How can you be sure if you’re choosing a place where you’ll meet new friends and fellow expats? Belize is quickly becoming an expat haven, thanks to its low cost of living, beautiful beaches, and its wealth of activities for those seeking adventure. This means there are several different areas in which expats are settling – all offering a slightly different lifestyle and/or cost of living. That means more options for you! Here are Belize’s top four locations where expats are choosing to settle:
The Corozal District
Located on the northern border of Belize, Corozal sits on the Bay of Chetumal, right on Mexico’s border in the city of the same name. While there aren’t any sandy beaches here, this town offers a quiet life, where many choose to bring families. It is known as a “sleepy town,” and has direct access to the bay for swimming. There is a wall that separates the city from the bay, in which there are places to climb down and swim. The cost of living here is more than affordable, with apartments in town that rent for less than $500 USD per month – and sometimes even less than $300!
Many expats have chosen to live in a community called Consejo Shores, seven miles from the town itself. The expats here take part in many social and volunteer organizations and most of them meet at the popular Jam Rock restaurant that sits on the bay.
Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker
The Cayes, Ambergris Caye, and Caye Caulker might have the biggest concentration of expat residents when compared to other areas of the country. Being islands, they do have to import many food products, which does drive up the price a bit. Additionally, these areas are quickly growing in popularity, so it is getting increasingly difficult to find an empty place to live for a good price. However, if you can find that, you’ve got countless opportunities for socializing and participating in activities with the local expat community.
The San Pedro Fitness Club in Ambergris Caye is owned by an expat couple and hosts fitness classes in which many of the residents can choose to attend and socialize. There are also yoga schools for the health conscious, popular live music spots where expats gather to listen and socialize, and Sunday afternoons are reserved for beach BBQ’s that bring everyone together. Another very popular place for the expats to congregate is Wine de Vine, where you can indulge in a nice glass of wine and share a cheese platter.
Placencia is located on a peninsula south of Belize City, and can feel like an island, except that you still have convenient access to the mainland and the mainland’s prices. Life in Placencia is slow, as it is said to still be on “island time,” even though it isn’t technically an island. It boasts gorgeous and mostly untouched beaches to the east and a captivating view of the Mayan Mountain chain to the west.
This area is growing, with most of its population made up of expat homeowners. Prices are still low and the lifestyle is still quiet and slow, but it may not be so for long. It does bring in a tourist crowd during the high season, but during the low season when things are back to normal, Placencia’s population still has access to the chic shops and restaurants. Popular places for expats to gather are Mango’s Beach Bar and Above Grounds Coffee House.
San Ignacio, and the Cayo District Overall
San Ignacio of the Cayo District offers a different kind of lifestyle entirely different from the beach paradises mentioned above. If you’re more into the mountain, river, and jungle scene, this may just be your own little piece of paradise. It’s located just two hours from Placencia but boasts even more affordable living prices. You can even fish in the river that goes right through town!
Other points that expats who’ve chosen to live here have made are that the weather can be hotter during the day than the other areas, but it’s cooler at night and there are fewer bugs. If you would feel bothered by too much of a touristy or “Americanized” population, you might prefer San Ignacio as well. It does get tourism traffic, but since the area is more spread out, the tourists are also more spread out, and so they are much less noticeable and less likely to affect your quiet life in this district.
Overall, Belize is growing into a haven not only for vacationers, but for those looking to enjoy a quieter life, whether it be on an island, on the bay, or in a jungle town. Belize is known to be very reasonably priced and with all of these qualities, you’re bound to meet very happy and very friendly fellow expats!