BELIZE – BUDGET

BELIZE – BUDGET

Ambergris Caye is an English speaking Caribbean island with an intriguing past and a promising future. From Mayan trade post to pirate hideout, Mestizo fishing village to “Temptation Island,” this once sleepy tropical paradise is coming of age. Although quintessentially Caribbean in look and feel, Ambergris Caye’s political and cultural identity is Belizean to the bone. In other words, the residents of this island are warm and welcoming but also independent and politically active. Belize only gained its independence, from the British, to form a democracy in 1981. The citizens of Ambergris Caye, like other Belizeans, take this privilege seriously.

The Belize Barrier Reef is the second longest reef in the world and the most spectacular in the Western Hemisphere. This stunning natural wonder has attracted snorkelers, scuba divers and fishermen since the advent of tourism on Ambergris Caye. Ambergris Caye is the only populated island in Belize where the reef is so close it feels like you can reach out and touch it. It isn’t that difficult to jump into a kayak and paddle out to the reef to relish this living aquarium.

Cost Of Living In Ambergris Caye

This island is the most popular tourist retreat in Belize. In the recent past, it has been frequented by scuba divers, fishermen and water sports enthusiasts. But the tides are shifting.

These days you’ll find a steady stream of Baby Boomers visiting. They’re searching for the perfect place to retire to or escape to for part-time living. They are privacy-seeking individuals attracted by the island’s natural beauty, easy residency, and lively community. But they also have noted the advantages of the outstanding offshore banking, international corporation business structures, and trusts offered in Belize. A couple can live well in this city for less than 3,996 Belize dollars per month. (The Belize dollar is fixed at BZ$2 to US$1.)

Monthly Budget For A Couple Living In Ambergris Caye, Belize

Click here for currency conversion at today’s exchange rate.

Rent BZ 2,055
Gas N/A Included with electricity.
Electricity BZ 205
Water BZ 41
Telephone BZ 103
Internet BZ 134
Cable TV BZ 41
Groceries BZ 822
Entertainment BZ 822
Total BZ 4,223

Infrastructure In Ambergris Caye  

Ambergris Caye is coming of age. The three original town roads are paved, and a number of others have been carved out. A central island roadway continues nearly from end to end, meaning that, now, you don’t have to travel by boat to see the length of the island. You can go by golf cart (the preferred means of transportation these days).

As long as you rent or invest in property near town, you’ll find that the utilities and infrastructure are similar to those in any small North American city. The exceptions to this are the roads and sidewalks. The main drag in San Pedro is paved with cobblestones throughout the major town area. But most streets lack sidewalks or marked parking lots.

Climate In Ambergris Caye    

The weather on Ambergris Caye is similar to that of Corozal and the north coast of Belize. The temperatures range from a high of 85 to 94 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months and from 70 to 85 during winter.

Temperatures in the evening are typically at least 10 degrees cooler. During most of the year the heat is moderated by the cooling Caribbean Sea breeze. Only in August and September does this breeze diminish. These are the warmest months of the year. In the winter the northerlies bring chilly breezes; the temperature can drop 10 degrees or more for a few days at a time.

December through March is the period when northerlies are common. Ambergris Caye receives an average of 40 to 60 inches of rain a year. This is significantly less than the southern areas of Belize. Punta Gorda can receive 160 to 190 inches of rain in a year. The dry season runs from November through May. The lowest rainfall is from February through May, making it a perfect time to visit. The wettest months, on average, are June and October.

Belize’s hurricane season is June through mid-November. But the few hurricanes that do occur are most likely to hit Belize in September and October. Atlantic basin hurricanes typically originate off the coast of Africa, near the same latitude as Belize. They track west for a while and then typically head northwest toward Florida or North Carolina. The majority of these hurricanes don’t come anywhere near Belize.

Ambergris Caye is the largest of over 200 islands scattered along the eastern Caribbean shores of Belize. It is 36 miles in length and varies in width. In the middle of San Pedro town, you can see the sea to the east and the lagoon—between mainland Belize and Ambergris Caye—to the west. Although an island, Ambergris Caye was at one time a peninsula that extended off Mexico’s Xcalac Peninsula. The man-made channel on the north side of the island separates it from mainland Mexico. It is said that the Mayans inhabiting the island hand dug this channel so that their canoes could easily move between the lagoon and the Caribbean Sea. From almost any point on the easterly beach you can watch the waves break on the stunning barrier reef, less than a mile from shore.

The little English-speaking country of Belize has long been discovered for its handful of Caribbean islands lying just offshore the mainland, especially Ambergris Caye of “Survivor” fame. However, now, in the current global climate, another face of Belize is also beginning to attract attention.

This country’s lush, mountainous interior, known as the Cayo District, is drawing the notice of retirees interested in a lifestyle that values self-sufficiency and independence more than Caribbean sand and seashores.

Cost Of Living In Cayo

The lifestyle that Cayo offers can be budgeted for a couple as low as 2,363 Belize dollars (US$1,182) per month.

Monthly Budget For A Couple Living In Cayo, Belize


Click here for currency conversion at today’s exchange rate.

Rent BZ 1,100  
Gas BZ 200 Used for cooking.
Electricity BZ 140  
Water BZ 70  
Telephone  BZ 110  
Internet  BZ 110  
Cable TV  BZ 50  
Groceries BZ 350  
Entertainment  BZ 300   
Total BZ 2,430
 

Infrastructure In Cayo

Paved roads are always a good indicator of where the path of progress is headed. The British left a great legal, educational, and governmental foundation in Belize, but not much in the way of physical infrastructure.

Over the last few years, however, considerable investment has been made in improving the roads and bridges of Belize. Still, though (to help put things into perspective for you), there are but three highways in this country. The most significant artery in the country is the Western Highway, which connects Belize City (the largest city), Belmopan (the capital), and San Ignacio (the largest town in Cayo).

Not only road infrastructure, but infrastructure in general is limited in this country, including infrastructure for medical care. However, Cayo is home to the La Loma Luz Hospital and the San Ignacio Hospital. There are also clinics throughout. Recently, a portion of the main road in San Ignacio (Burns Avenue) was closed off, probably permanently. Mayan artifacts were discovered here, so the spot is now pedestrian-only

Cayo can allow a very self-sufficient lifestyle that comes with lots of advantages. One is that “self-sufficient” infrastructure is relatively low-cost. Important to a sustainable lifestyle is solar energy, and Belize’s Cayo District enjoys plenty of sunshine year-round. Water, too, is in abundant supply, meaning it’s easy to grow fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. In the self-sufficient communities forming in this region, gardens and orchards are interwoven among the housing lots so that owners can grow their own food. You can participate directly by planting and harvesting, or you can simply take advantage of the fruits and vegetables grown onsite and made available for residents.

Climate In Cayo

The temperatures range from 50 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit with an annual average of 79. November to January are traditionally the cooler months with a 75-degree average and May to September are the warmest at about 81 degrees on average.

Here in Cayo, colorful flowers and fruit-laden trees bloom year-round and vibrant and diverse species of birds are everywhere. In Cayo, you also find well-manicured productive Mennonite farmland. The region is reminiscent of the hills of Pennsylvania. If not for the palm trees, you might not know you were in Belize. The soil in Cayo is fertile and rich, and the Mennonite farmers who work it produce most of Belize’s food supply.

Expats In Cayo

As recently as a few years ago, the numbers of foreign retirees living in Belize’s Cayo District numbered but a few dozen. Today, small but ever-expanding communities of expats and retirees seeking a back-to-basics lifestyle have established themselves in this pristine land of rivers, waterfalls, and rain forests.

Many reaching this stage of life are reminded of what’s really important in this life. This realization is spurring a new generation of people looking for opportunities around the globe to embrace a self-sufficient, resilient lifestyle. In this context, Belize stands out. 

Life in Northern Belize is as diverse as its amazing landscape. Over the years, locals and expats have built their homes and lives beside secluded tropical rivers, amid noble hardwood forests, upon bucolic traditional farms, within sleepy rural villages, and along breezy Caribbean seashores. They are attracted to a simple, friendly life in a place which is refreshingly off-the-radar.

Northern Belize is a region encompassing a landmass of only about 2,500 square miles, but it stretches from the Caribbean Sea to the forests of Central America. The population of under 50,000 people means you can enjoy plenty of solitude—a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the world. It is truly where the Caribbean and Central America meet. These combined backdrops are enhanced by ancient and contemporary influences.

From the rich Maya history, evident throughout the region, to the relatively recent contribution of the Mennonite community, Northern Belize has benefited from its diverse population. The new wave of North American expats is now making this discovery. The towns of Corozal and Orange Walk provide most of the municipal services, but for First World shopping trips and experiences, Chetumal, Mexico, is right across the border.

Cost Of Living In Northern Belize

Northern Belize is the best value destination in Belize and one of the most affordable options for retirement in the Caribbean. A couple can live well in the region for less than 2,936 Belize dollars (US$1,468) per month.

Monthly Budget For A Couple Living In Northern Belize


Click here for currency conversion at today’s exchange rate.

Rent    BZ 1,428  
Gas     BZ 51 Used for cooking. 
Electricity    BZ 204    
Water  N/A  Included with electricity. 
Telephone    BZ 163  
Internet    BZ 163  
Cable TV    BZ 51  
Groceries    BZ 612  
Entertainment  BZ 408   
Total BZ 3,080
 
Infrastructure In Northern Belize

One of the best indications of progress is paved roads. While the British left a strong legal, educational, and governmental foundation, they did not leave a great deal of physical infrastructure. Over the last few years, much more emphasis has been placed on some of these vital features.

The Northern Highway that connects Belize City and the rest of the country with Corozal and Mexico to the north is a fine example of that. Once a tortuous pothole ride through cane fields and small towns, it has been upgraded to a modern road. Before, you had to drive through the middle of Orange Walk Town and its tiny streets behind tractors and cane trucks, but now they have built a nice, efficient bypass that shaved a lot of time off the drive.

Not everything is about pavement. Dirt roads are still the norm in Northern Belize, but even those have been getting continual, albeit slow, upgrades. You can tell when it is election time in Belize because the roads in towns that are vital to the incumbent’s chances of reelection will be graded and smoothed to show how much that official is doing for his people.

Traveling into the hinterlands can still be an adventure and the cause of flat tires, poor suspension, and possibly even a crooked back, but with good planning you will have a supply of water, a good spare tire, a full tank of gas, and a cellphone. Having the correct attitude going in helps.

Climate In Northern Belize

Northern Belize is a very attractive destination to people who are looking for a consistently warm climate. The climate is subtropical. Temperatures range from 60 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The area boasts the most hospitable climate in the country. The region enjoys trade winds coming off the ocean and has two seasons. The rainy season is between June and December and the dry season covers December to May.

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BELIZE – BUDGET

Ambergris Caye is an English speaking Caribbean island with an intriguing past and a promising future. From Mayan trade post to pirate hideout, Mestizo fishing village to “Temptation Island,” this once sleepy tropical paradise is coming of age. Although quintessentially Caribbean in look and feel, Ambergris Caye’s political and cultural identity is Belizean to the bone. In other words, the residents of this island are warm and welcoming but also independent and politically active. Belize only gained its independence, from the British, to form a democracy in 1981. The citizens of Ambergris Caye, like other Belizeans, take this privilege seriously.

The Belize Barrier Reef is the second longest reef in the world and the most spectacular in the Western Hemisphere. This stunning natural wonder has attracted snorkelers, scuba divers and fishermen since the advent of tourism on Ambergris Caye. Ambergris Caye is the only populated island in Belize where the reef is so close it feels like you can reach out and touch it. It isn’t that difficult to jump into a kayak and paddle out to the reef to relish this living aquarium.

Cost Of Living In Ambergris Caye

This island is the most popular tourist retreat in Belize. In the recent past, it has been frequented by scuba divers, fishermen and water sports enthusiasts. But the tides are shifting.

These days you’ll find a steady stream of Baby Boomers visiting. They’re searching for the perfect place to retire to or escape to for part-time living. They are privacy-seeking individuals attracted by the island’s natural beauty, easy residency, and lively community. But they also have noted the advantages of the outstanding offshore banking, international corporation business structures, and trusts offered in Belize. A couple can live well in this city for less than 3,996 Belize dollars per month. (The Belize dollar is fixed at BZ$2 to US$1.)

Monthly Budget For A Couple Living In Ambergris Caye, Belize

Click here for currency conversion at today’s exchange rate.

Rent BZ 2,055
Gas N/A Included with electricity.
Electricity BZ 205
Water BZ 41
Telephone BZ 103
Internet BZ 134
Cable TV BZ 41
Groceries BZ 822
Entertainment BZ 822
Total BZ 4,223

Infrastructure In Ambergris Caye  

Ambergris Caye is coming of age. The three original town roads are paved, and a number of others have been carved out. A central island roadway continues nearly from end to end, meaning that, now, you don’t have to travel by boat to see the length of the island. You can go by golf cart (the preferred means of transportation these days).

As long as you rent or invest in property near town, you’ll find that the utilities and infrastructure are similar to those in any small North American city. The exceptions to this are the roads and sidewalks. The main drag in San Pedro is paved with cobblestones throughout the major town area. But most streets lack sidewalks or marked parking lots.

Climate In Ambergris Caye    

The weather on Ambergris Caye is similar to that of Corozal and the north coast of Belize. The temperatures range from a high of 85 to 94 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months and from 70 to 85 during winter.

Temperatures in the evening are typically at least 10 degrees cooler. During most of the year the heat is moderated by the cooling Caribbean Sea breeze. Only in August and September does this breeze diminish. These are the warmest months of the year. In the winter the northerlies bring chilly breezes; the temperature can drop 10 degrees or more for a few days at a time.

December through March is the period when northerlies are common. Ambergris Caye receives an average of 40 to 60 inches of rain a year. This is significantly less than the southern areas of Belize. Punta Gorda can receive 160 to 190 inches of rain in a year. The dry season runs from November through May. The lowest rainfall is from February through May, making it a perfect time to visit. The wettest months, on average, are June and October.

Belize’s hurricane season is June through mid-November. But the few hurricanes that do occur are most likely to hit Belize in September and October. Atlantic basin hurricanes typically originate off the coast of Africa, near the same latitude as Belize. They track west for a while and then typically head northwest toward Florida or North Carolina. The majority of these hurricanes don’t come anywhere near Belize.

Ambergris Caye is the largest of over 200 islands scattered along the eastern Caribbean shores of Belize. It is 36 miles in length and varies in width. In the middle of San Pedro town, you can see the sea to the east and the lagoon—between mainland Belize and Ambergris Caye—to the west. Although an island, Ambergris Caye was at one time a peninsula that extended off Mexico’s Xcalac Peninsula. The man-made channel on the north side of the island separates it from mainland Mexico. It is said that the Mayans inhabiting the island hand dug this channel so that their canoes could easily move between the lagoon and the Caribbean Sea. From almost any point on the easterly beach you can watch the waves break on the stunning barrier reef, less than a mile from shore.