Belize Country Profile

Passport Ranking
105/198
Passport Score
55.6
Visa-free Countries
86
Show More
Region
North and South America
Capital City
Belmopan

Largest City
Belize City
Currency
Belize dollar

Languages
English, Spanish and Creole (widely spoken)
Population
430.2 thousand

Life Expectancy
75.8 years
GDP (nominal)
$2.7 billion

GDP/Capita
$6,220
Cost of Living
Climate
Safety
Pollution
English Proficiency
Inexpensive (3/7)
Average (3/5)
Very Dangerous (6/7)
Average (3/5)
Native

Taxation Type: Territorial

Sovereign Research's take:

Various retirement-oriented magazines are correct about Belize: It can definitely be a great place to retire. The natural scenery is simply spectacular.

And despite being located in Central America and surrounded by Spanish-speaking neighbors, Belize is English-speaking. Moreover, culturally speaking, it is much closer to English speaking island nations, than, say, to Mexico.

It is also located close to the United States. 

Belize boasts the world’s second-longest Barrier Reef, consisting of around 450 islands and islets. They are called “cayes”, pronounced “keys” (like the Florida Keys).  

The largest of these, Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, are favorites among expats and tourists. Life is relaxed there, and the scenery is amazing.

What the magazines don’t really tell you, however, is that Belize City (the country’s largest city) is a dangerous, dirty dump. You generally wouldn’t want to spend a single day there.

Belize is also surprisingly expensive relative to what you get for the price.

We estimate that the general cost of living in Belize is very comparable with Poland, Lithuania, or Chile. But in Belize, you won’t get nearly the same level of development, sophistication or amenities as you would in any of these countries.

And Belize’s real estate market is far from a screaming bargain, too. If you decide to buy a property there, it should be for lifestyle reasons, not for appreciation potential.

(The Belize dollar is firmly pegged to the USD, which explains at least some of the cost of living distortions.)

Now, let’s talk about Belize’s financial sector.

We can’t recommend that you bank in Belize or form a company there.

The problem isn’t really Belize itself – the country has enacted some of the best asset protection legislation in the world, and hosts several banks catering to international clients.

But the banking sector in Belize is small and immature. And the country is awash with lawyers, fixers and dealers with very questionable reputations.

As a result, a bad reputation follows the country everywhere.

All in all, Belize can be a great place for retirees, or just a pleasant place to spend some time in, but we wouldn’t consider it for just about anything else..

Service Providers available in Belize in Sovereign Research's Rolodex:

  • Corporate services (company formation, etc.)
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