Retiring in Belize: a complete guide

1 min readLast updated April 30, 2024by Rachel Carey

Explore the retirement programs, cost of living, healthcare, taxes, visa options, and ideal retirement locations in Belize.


  • People retire to Belize because of the low cost of living, beautiful landscape, welcoming locals, and Qualified Retired Persons incentive program. 

  • Limited public healthcare and infrastructure can be a challenge for retirees in Belize. 

  • On a monthly budget of between $1,200 and $1,500, a couple can settle comfortably in Belize. 

  • Find a financial advisor who can offer you the best retirement advice for your unique circumstances.  

Is Belize a good place to retire? 

Nestled between the Selva Maya rainforest and the Caribbean Sea, north of Mexico, Belize offers numerous benefits that make it appealing for retirees and expats.  

Belize boasts a combination of affordable living costs, natural beauty, a tropical climate, an English-speaking community, and various retirement programs, making retirement there an attractive prospect for US citizens. 

What are the pros and cons of retiring in Belize? 

It is important to consider the pros and cons before you emigrate to Belize in your golden years: 


  • English-speaking country: Belize is a British Commonwealth country, making it easy for English-speaking expats to transition and communicate with locals. 

  • Diverse lifestyle choices: Belize offers a variety of lifestyles, from tranquil beach living in Placencia to vibrant, party-style life on Ambergris Caye or an off-the-grid experience in Cayo. 

  • Tropical climate: Belize has a warm, tropical climate with summer weather throughout the year, providing an outdoor living experience and opportunities for water activities. 

  • Affordable living: Retiring in Belize has lower living costs compared to the US, especially for housing and food. 

  • Friendly people: Belizeans are known for their hospitality and warmth, making expats feel very welcome in their new home. 

  • Retirement programs: Belize offers various attractive retirement programs like the Qualified Retirement Program (QRP), which allows retirees in Belize to move to the country tax and duty-free.  


  • Limited retail options: Belize has limited shopping options, with no big chain stores like Wal-Mart, Costco, or Sam's Club.  

  • City crime: In certain urban areas, like Belize City, crime rates have been on the rise recently. 

  • Limited healthcare and other infrastructure: Free public medical care services are somewhat limited, and access to private clinics may be difficult. The country also experiences periodic water and power outages, making backup power sources essential. 

What are the best places to retire in Belize? 

Belize offers a range of attractive retirement locations, each with its own unique benefits.  

These are some of the best places to retire in Belize: 

  • Ambergris Caye: Known for its idyllic Caribbean island atmosphere, Ambergris Caye is a popular choice for expats. However, real estate prices here can be high. 

  • Corozal Town and surrounds: This region has among the lowest living costs in Belize and is close to Mexico, making it an affordable and convenient option for retirees. 

  • Cayo: Ideal for those who want to retire in Belize and have land for growing fruit trees or keeping horses, Cayo offers a more rural and peaceful lifestyle. 

  • Placencia and Hopkins: These areas boast some of the best beaches in Belize and provide a relaxed, beach-oriented lifestyle. 

What age can you retire in Belize? 

Although the retirement age in Belize varies, retirement typically begins at 55.  

Also, if you emigrate to Belize, you may be eligible to participate in the Qualified Retired Persons Incentive Program, run by the Belize Tourism Board, if you are over 45 and meet certain requirements. 

Some benefits of the Belize retirement program for US citizens include: 

  • Residency and tax benefits 

  • Financial incentives 

  • Import duty exemptions 

What is the average cost of retirement in Belize? 

The cost of retirement in Belize varies depending on your location and lifestyle.  

However, the average cost of living is 31% lower in Belize than in the US.  

A monthly budget for a couple of between $1,200 and $1,500 can give you a comfortable retirement, depending on your housing, food, and transportation choices.  

Do you pay taxes after retirement in Belize? 

Belize offers a favorable tax environment for retirees, with most not being taxed on anything other than purchases and real estate.  

However, as a US citizen living in Belize, you may still have to pay US taxes for expats

The country's Qualified Retired Persons (QRP) Program provides tax exemptions on all income earned outside Belize, whether earned or passive, and whether or not it is remitted to Belize.  

The benefits of the QRP program for retiring in Belize include:  

  • 0% tax on international income (including US Social Security and retirement funds) 

  • 0% capital gains tax 

  • Option to maintain an international bank account in Belize  

  • Option to import personal and household goods without having to pay import duties or taxes during your first year in Belize 

In terms of property taxes in Belize:  

  • Real estate taxes are relatively low 

  • Foreigners enjoy the same property rights as citizens in Belize 

What programs are there for emigrating to Belize? 

Belize offers several programs for emigrating, particularly for retirement in Belize.  

The most popular program is the Belize Qualified Retirement Program (QRP). 

To be eligible, you must have a pension, Social Security, or other provable, reliable income of at least US$2,000 a month and deposit US$24,000 a year into a Belizean bank account.  

Belize also offers a Permanent Residence program, which requires you to spend 50 out of 52 weeks in Belize before submitting your application.  

What visas do I need to retire in Belize? 

Belize does not require US citizens to have visas to visit Belize.  

You can remain in the country for up to a month for no fee, with a $100 USD renewal fee for monthly extensions of up to six months.  

In the long term, you can apply for the Belize Retirement Visa as part of the QRP program.  

Once you have lived in the country for a full year without leaving for more than 14 days, you can also apply for Permanent Residency.  

After five years, you may be eligible for citizenship. 

What are my healthcare options in Belize? 

The country offers a dual healthcare system, consisting of public and private sectors, which cater to the medical needs of its residents, including retirees to Belize.  

The public healthcare system provides basic medical services, but wait times for serious conditions can be long at public hospitals.  

Private hospitals offer a wider array of services but are more expensive. For example, a day's stay in a private hospital costs around US 200 out of pocket, and surgeries range from USD 500 to USD 5,000.  

Get expert retirement advice 

With its diverse lifestyle choices, tropical climate, stunning scenery, affordable living costs, friendly people, and enticing retirement program, retiring in Belize is an attractive option. However, you should consider challenges like poor public healthcare, limited infrastructure, and city crime before making a decision. 

If you want to retire in Belize, Unbiased can match you with a financial advisor who will offer expert retirement advice to ensure you prepare properly for your golden years.  

Senior Content Writer

Rachel Carey

Rachel is a Senior Content Writer at Unbiased. She has nearly a decade of experience writing and producing content across a range of different sectors.