We often hear that the cost of living depends on your lifestyle. While that is true, I understand that having a basic idea of the price of essential goods, renting a home (if you don’t own one), and the cost of utilities in Belize; is a valid question.
1. Renting a Home in Belize
Depending on where you decide to settle, you can expect to pay as low as US$500 per month for a two-bedroom home in San Ignacio, which is inland Belize, or no less than US$1,200 for a one-bedroom condo on the coast in Placencia and Hopkins, or on the island of Ambergris Caye.
Alternatively, you can purchase a home in the Cayo District, and it may cost you less than US$150,000 for a 2 or 3 bedroom home with a garden.
It is often said that electricity/hydro is expensive in Belize. The residential rate is $0.45 per kWh.
A couple living in a 2-bedroom home with no air conditioner and a large deck will pay about US$50 per month, while a couple running A/C in both bedrooms at night may see their bill averaging around US$150 per month. Running air conditioners all day can quickly escalate your electric bill as well.
City water is inexpensive, and rain catchment is a great alternative. A couple can expect to pay anywhere from US$20 – US$50 per month.
Internet ranges from US$25 – US$80, for speed that is enough for emailing, streaming news, Netflix, etc.
Cable TV is US$30 per month, and you will be able to enjoy channels such as HBO, Food Network, CNN, Fox News, and all sports channels for no additional cost.
3. Vehicle Insurance, License, and Fuel
Third-party insurance, which is mandatory in Belize, is approximately US$200 per year, while Vehicle License is US$100 per year, and driver’s licenses US$30 per year.
Vehicle fuel is relatively expensive in Belize ranging from US$4 – US$5 per gallon for gasoline, while diesel tends to be cheaper most of the time.
4. Residency or Qualified Retirement Plan (QRP)
If you plan to become a Belizean citizen, you will need to go through the residency process. You will need to renew your tourist visa every 30 days. That will cost you $100 USD per month. After one year of living in Belize full time without leaving for more than 14 days, you can apply to become a permanent resident. After five years, you can apply to become a Belizean citizen and gain nationality.
Alternatively, The Qualified Retirement Program (QRP) was designed by the Government of Belize and allows qualified individuals age 45 and older to retire in Belize with some benefits. You can import all personal items, including vehicles without paying any taxes or duty. The application and processing fee is approximately US$1,350 plus US$750 for any dependents (spouse or children under 18). However, under this program, you will not be able to work in Belize or become a Belizean. Also, you will need to show proof of US$2,000 per month into an account in Belize.
5. Daily expenses
Again, depending on where you live, the cost of fruits, vegetables, meat, and poultry will vary. Here is a list of prices for essential food items in San Ignacio (all prices in USD):
- Wheat Flour – $0.60/LB
- White Flour – $0.50/LB
- White Rice – $0.50/LB
- Whole chicken – $1.25/LB
- Breakfast Links – $4/pack
- A gallon of Milk – $3
- Coke – $2/litre
- Dr. Pepper – $1.25/can
- A loaf of Bread (Wheat) – $2
- Mozzarella/Cheddar Cheese (locally produced) – $2.50/LB
- Pork Chops – $2.75/lb
- Eggs – $3.50/flat
- Bananas (8) – $0.50
- Apples – $0.50
- Watermelon – $0.30/LB
- Fish Fillet – US$6/lb – snapper, grouper
- A loaf of Bread (White) – US$1.50
According to the Statistical Institute of Belize, the average household income for a Belizean family of two adults and two children is US$700 monthly. However, you should bear in mind that Belizeans aren’t “picky eaters” and are comfortable eating a dinner such as rice & beans, baked chicken, potato salad, and fried plantain daily.
A couple coming from North America can probably survive on US$800 per month (assuming you have your own home). However, US$1,200 would be more reasonable.
Compared to the USA, the cost of living in Belize is at least 50% cheaper according to testimonials from my ex-pats friends and clients who have moved to Belize.
Are you interested in learning more about Belize, or have any questions? Feel free to contact me at email@example.com or give me a call at +5016784000.