Belize, Best Place to Retire in Central America
20 years ago, you would’ve been hard pressed to find anyone who could locate Belize on a map. Today, Belize is one of the hottest growing vacation destinations in the region, and attractive residency laws are encouraging more people to retire in this beautiful country that many are calling Nature’s best-kept secret.
Although Belize is approximately the same size as Massachusetts, it has the lowest population density of any country in Central America, just 360,000 people total. Belize is also the country in the region where English is the official language, meaning you’ll never have to rely on a translation app to get around and talk to people.
Once hard to get to, Belize is now just 2-5 hours’ flying time from major cities across North America. All four of the biggest airlines in the United States fly non-stop to Belize from cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, and Denver. In the last year alone, Southwest has added three non-stop flights to Belize, and two of Canada’s biggest airlines started flying to Belize beginning in late 2016, making it easier and more affordable than ever for retirees to stay in touch with friends, family, and business concerns back home.
Belize may be physically small and largely rural, but it has five highways that crisscross the country, making it easy to get to just about anywhere in three hours or less. The government of Belize warmly welcomes retirees, offering qualifying individuals age 45 and older and their families the ability to import all personal goods and property (including vehicles) completely tax-free. Belize also imposes no restrictions on foreigners buying, selling, or renting property, and there are no taxes imposed on any income earned outside the country.
The most popular destination for retirees is the country’s northern Corozal District just a few miles from the Mexican state of Quintana Roo (home to the resort town of Cancun). Corozal is blessed by cool winds that blow in from the north. The most prominent feature in Corozal is the enormous Chetumal Bay that connects to the Caribbean Sea and the popular tourist island of Ambergris Caye.
Corozal Town is a lovely community with three churches, a public library, and a little town square where you can enjoy a coffee or a tea at one of the many sidewalk cafes. Just steps from the town center lies the ancient Maya ruins of Santa Rita, once an important trading post that connected a vast empire that stretched from Mexico down to El Salvador.
Orchid Bay is a great place to retire in Belize.