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An Insider’s Guide To Business Opportunities In Belize

How To Make Money In Belize

In Belize, there are plenty of options for generating small and large incomes… some are inexpensive and easy to set up… some require work permits and overheads… some target the local market and others have you exporting your goods or services to other countries… 

All you have to do is decide what you want to do and pursue it. 

Getting advice from a local consultant will save you time and frustration no matter what your money-making goal. Some general rules of thumb apply, though…

First off, if you’re living in Belize on the QRP visa, you aren’t allowed to seek employment, though you can do business online.

Secondly, if you target the local market, you’ll be earning a “local” salary. This is one of the reasons most expats looking to earn money in their new home start online businesses to work with foreign clients or customers—which also puts you in the clear from the visa point of view. 

With that in mind, here are some of the most obvious ideas for making money in Belize… 

Animal Breeding, Training, Farming

This is dependent on your skills and experience, of course… Belize is a country of wide open spaces—perfect for animal farming of all types. 

a golden retriever on the beach with his tongue sticking out
If you love pets you could always start a breeding or training business and get paid for doing something you love

If you are interested in breeding pedigree dogs, there is a market for good stock. There’s also a small but very lucrative market for properly trained guard dogs. In expat communities, you could easily pick up some extra cash by pet sitting when folks go back home for a visit and leave their furry or feathered loved ones. 

There’s also a market for exotic farm animals, including guinea fowl, rabbits, and exotic fish.

Beekeeping is also feasible for the more adventurous—you don’t need much land to have dozens of hives, which would produce enough for you to sell honey, wax, and even royal jelly.

Or go full-scale and farm livestock… chicken, beef, pork, lamb, and fish are all popular here. Thanks to the naturally ideal growing conditions of Belize, you might not even have to buy any feed.

Growing And Producing

Consider yourself a green thumb? Put it to use in Belize—a grower’s paradise.

Speciality, novelty, and decorative fruits, vegetables, and herbs can command a premium price in Belize for the resort market. Ghost peppers, edible flowers, and rare fruit are all good options.

a plant bursery with a wide variety of cacti and plants
Opening a nursery could be a source of income and a hobby if you have a green thumb

Household plant nurseries are few and far between in Belize, as are landscaping services.

Essential oil plants and biofuel stock can grow abundantly in Belize, so oil production of all kinds is feasible.

Likewise, the oversupply of wild, locally available fruits means great opportunities for brewing wines for the local market—a fun and rewarding endeavor.

Forestry is a viable industry in Belize. If you’ve got the space, growing seedlings for resale or growing fruit and/or spice trees to sell the products from them can be a great business.

Brick-And-Mortar Ventures

If you have an attractive property with extra rooms or cabins, rent out units by the night or week on Airbnb, or by the month or year using local rental managers or managing it yourself. 

Or perhaps you only have one house and don’t want to rent out rooms but you’ve got abundant land. A campground could be your answer.

A juice and/or smoothie bar in a main tourist area would be a fun, easy, and cheap option. Either open a small stall or make batches to order.

Start a tour operating company and employ local staff to run it for you.

Got an eye for the artistic? Grow or buy some flowers and make a fortune supplying resorts with arrangements—with guaranteed windfalls every Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and other flower-friendly holidays.

a man ziplining through trees
In a tropical paradise like Belize, adventurers love the trill of flying through the trees

Zip-lining through the jungle canopies is a hugely popular tourist draw and only a few companies offer it. If you have a suitable location, this or other “built” tourist activities like climbing walls, bungee jumping, etc., could become a large draw—especially if you locate it within an hour’s drive of the Placencia or Belize City cruise ship ports that receive over a million tourists, all desperate for on-land adventure activities. 

With only a handful of storage facilities in Belize, this is a service many potential expats ask about. You’d have to choose your location carefully because your clients would mostly be expats. 

Or, if you’re not looking to get too creative or figure out much of the preliminary work yourself, you could open a foreign distributorship. I know people who have acquired the dealerships for solar system manufacturers, Harley-Davidson franchises, tools and equipment distributorships, green technology, specialty foods, and more. Plus, there are plenty of niches Belizeans have never heard of yet. It’s all about identifying a niche and doing the research to see if there is a viable market. 

Services To Offer

Are you a chef at heart? Try private catering. Whether it’s catering events or baking pies, cakes, and lasagnas to order, there is room in this cottage industry for more suppliers of quality goods.

Hire a shipping container and sub-contract it out to friends and clients who want items brought from up north directly to their door. You handle the shipping company, customs paperwork, and delivery from the port to the client’s district and charge a premium for the service.

a colorful stack of shipping containers
On an island there will always be a demand for importing goods not locally found

Or start an import-export service. There is a host of items that, with a little knowledge in the area and research into local demands, you can import and resell locally for a profit. Common items include used vehicles and boats, cell phones, computers and tablets, makeup and accessories, clothing, power tools, TVs and other electronics, furniture, and innovative building materials. Go the opposite direction by buying local crafts and artisan products and shipping them to sell at a premium back home. You don’t even need a location for that—just create a website or use Etsy or some other online forum. 

Vehicles are very expensive to rent in Belize. I know several people who make a good side income bringing down secondhand vehicles in good condition and renting them out short- or long-term. The condition of the non-paved roads in Belize varies greatly and can be quite hard on vehicles, so a good maintenance provision would be a must. 

Take advantage of the resources you’ve got by offering private taxi services—no extra purchase necessary, just use your own car. With long-distance taxis or shuttles around the country being expensive, I and many others have made money in our spare time by driving tourists to the airport or borders. 

If you have local knowledge or interests, you could provide real estate tours of areas for those on initial scouting trips around Belize. Or brush up on your local knowledge and offer touristic trips.

Referring tourists to guides for a commission is even less work! You could also do that for real estate referrals. Referring clients to real estate agents can earn you 25% of their commission (up to 10% in Belize); that’s up to a 2.5% commission just for sending clients to your agent. If you make a sale for the agent without them having to do anything, you can often negotiate a 50% commission split (up to 5% of the sale price).

children's toys on a pink rug
If you are good with kids, you could earn an income without even leaving your home

Like kids? Want to take care of other peoples’ during the day? A home day care is another idea that requires little additional setup. There are only a few safe options in some places and if you’re a kid person—maybe missing the grandkids?—it could be fun.

You don’t even need your own home to offer house-sitting services. While rarely a paid service in Belize, plenty of owners of high-end homes want someone reliable to house-sit for them during some or most of the year. If you can manage to organize it year-round, you could save a fortune in rent while living in some of the most sought-after places in Belize.

There are few properly trained masseuses or chiropractors in the country. The spa industry in Belize is generally underdeveloped, so you could collect a decent clientele if you give good manicures, pedicures, and the like. 

Got other skills? Put them to use—either practice them or teach them.

Got a charitable bent? Start an NGO or nonprofit. Whether you wish to start your own tax-deductible foundation or trust, or seek international funding for a charity you wish to run yourself, Belize has several company structure options that could be useful for your needs.

Online Options 

Content creation is easy no matter where in the world you are. Get writing or snapping pics for travel magazines, websites, and blogs. Or take photos for local magazines, newspapers, or events.

If you dabble, or would like to learn to dabble, in day-trading in the stock or currency markets, Belize has the technological infrastructure you’d need from your condo in San Pedro or jungle villa in Cayo.

If you’re a buff on any topic, collectables, equipment, or other, buying and selling on eBay can be a fun wheeler-dealer lifestyle. 

Advertise your or other companies’ products by creating marketing or informational videos. A buddy of mine here uses YouTube videos to sell restaurants, land, lots, and farms.

Con Murphy
Belize Insider