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Cayo, Belize

Rivers, Waterfalls, Caves: You Name It...

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.

Cayo is the largest of Belize’s six districts and has quietly become the harbinger of this tiny country. From natural to manmade, the region is rich in resources. Cayo has more protected land than any other district; it is the top eco-tourism destination in the country; boasts the largest underground cave system in the western hemisphere; and, of course, its landscape is dominated by rivers and mountains.

Cost Of Living In Cayo

Monthly Budgets

Please note all prices are in Belizian Dollars. An exchange rate calculater can be found below.

Apartment or House Ownership Budget (for a couple)

TotalBZ 3,080
RentBZ 1,428
GasBZ 51Used for cooking.
ElectricityBZ 204
WaterN/AIncluded with electricity.
TelephoneBZ 163
InternetBZ 163
Cable TVBZ 51
GroceriesBZ 612
EntertainmentBZ 408
  • Vehicle insurance: $40 per month. Minimum policy.
  • Fuel: $9/liter
  • Upkeep: $2,000
  • Monthly payments
  • Parking: free

Apartment or House Rental Budget (for a couple)

Expense ItemCostNotes
$2,424 to $3,584
Rent$800 to $1,500In a desirable part of town (city center, if applicable), unfurnished, two-bedroom, comfortable apartment.
Transportation (bus, taxi, etc.)$40 to $500Bus fair: Cayo to Belize City = $10
Gas (cooking/heating)$20For a 30-gallon tank used for cooking and hot water daily, refilled every two months for $40
Electricity$150Average electric bill with air conditioning and washer/dryer use
Garbage collection$40
Telephone$320Land line installation $100
Non-resident deposit $200

Monthly bill $20
Internet$794 Mbps download and 4 Mbps upload
Cable TVBundled with telephone fee.
Household Help$30Total for 3 hours of cleaning help twice monthly, or $5 an hour.
Gym membership$75
Medical appointment$60

Penny-Pincher’s Budget (for a couple, bare minimum costs for all)

Expense ItemCostNotes
Rent$200Cheapest part of town, most basic kind of rental
Transportation (bus, taxi etc.)$40No transport needed within town.
Gas (cooking/heating)$10Monthly.
Telephone$0If you use Wi-Fi (WhatsApp)
Garbage collection$0
Internet$0If you use free Wi-Fi available at most restaurants and cafés
Cable TV$60Bundled with telephone fee.

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

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.