6 Tips for Living in Belize
Those who dream of moving to warm and welcoming places know how easy it is to develop expectations. I’ll spend all of my time in the sun, you promise. My working days are over! Then, you move. Ex-pats who moved to Belize and became part of Orchid Bay community have been there and done that! These six tips for adjusting to the Belize lifestyle are based on their experiences.
Tip #1: Pick a Belize community that is already home to like-minded people with whom you can make fast friends and enjoy services approximating the ones you enjoyed back home. When shopping for a home, tour villas, condominiums and peruse vacant land in an established community like Orchid Bay to find one that ideally suits your space requirements and budget. Since English is Belize’s first language–and currency exchange is simple ($2 BZD per $1 USD)—buying your new abode will be as easy as getting rid of your winter coats!
>> Read also:10 Reasons to Retire in Belize Right Now!
Tip #2: Take advantage of everything Belize has to offer soon after relocating, including neighborly advice. If you moved here because Belize’s Qualified Retirement Program attracted you, document everything associated with the goods you exported to your new home—furnishings, vehicles and personal belongings–so you have accurate records for tax purposes. Ask neighbors to walk you through services you require to maintain your lifestyle: cable TV, power, landscaping, trash collection, health and dental resources and banking hours. Ask them about volunteer opportunities if you enjoy giving back to your community.
Tip #3: Adopt a laisse-faire approach to Belize weather. Sure, you moved here for sun and fun, but you’ll grow accustomed to the green season and rain showers that appear out of nowhere (and disappear as fast). Make this transition seamless by accepting seasonal change as part of the modest price you pay for perpetually heavenly temperatures and lush surroundings.
Tip #4: Don’t be surprised if the budget you crafted before moving to Belize doesn’t exactly match your “guesstimate.” If you recall previous moves, you know that location determines cost of living and you had to adjust to pricing changes. Some of your Belize expenses may be a bit higher, but when you factor in Belize’s low cost of living, fresh, inexpensive food, cheaper health care, affordably-priced medicines, and subtract expenses that once ate up your earnings—a car, car insurance, auto maintenance, etc.—it’s almost impossible not to come out ahead financially!
Tip #5: It won’t take long to get the lay of the land. Belize is a small nation that’s easily navigated, so you will quickly discover where Ambergris Caye, Turneffe and Placencia are located, and you’ll even adopt local lingo, like referring to the district as only “Cayo,” because that’s what everyone calls it. Make Orchid Bay your new home and it won’t take long before you find yourself giving directions to newbies who ask how to get to the airport for a flight home, where to purchase a golf cart that serves as Orchid Bay’s popular form of transportation or where to go for the best haircut in town.
Tip #6: Busy lives and heavy demands made on North Americans, especially in bustling cities, often result in people feeling lost, disconnected and without roots. Moving to Belize will present you with the unique challenge of interacting with folks who are so friendly, helpful and downright neighborly, you’ll wonder why you didn’t move here long ago!