1. Ambergris Caye (La Isla Bonita), a 25 mile long island paradise 12 miles off the coast of Belize is home to the second largest barrier reef in the world and is a diving mecca. The Meso-American Reef system is approximately 700 miles long and runs along the coasts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. What makes this reef truly amazing is its close proximity to land, which means easy access for all you diving aficionados. The reef itself provides a natural storm surge barrier when, on rare occasions, tropical storms or hurricanes come calling. Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 diving destinations in the world, Belize is also home to the world-renowned “Blue Hole”.
2. English is the primary language spoken in Belize. In fact, Belize is one of the only English-speaking countries in Central America which makes it easy for Canadians and Americans to work, live, or retire here. Ambergris Caye, Belize is home to genuinely friendly locals and expats that always make you feel welcome. Although the beauty of Ambergris Caye and the rest of Belize is undeniable, the greatest asset the country has is it’s people. Once you come to Ambergris, you will want to come back. I meet people on a daily basis who have vacationed here for years and dream someday of calling this home.
3. Water temperatures average 82 degrees year round and the water is crystal clear. Amazing underwater visibility combined with “bath-like” water temperatures make the beautiful island of Ambergris Caye one of the most desirable water sports destination in the world. Combine that with a climate that averages 80+ degree temperatures year round and cooling Caribbean trade winds and you can see why Ambergris Caye is the dream life for many expats.
4. Ambergris Caye, Belize was Rated as the “Top Island in the World” for 2013 and 2014 by Trip Adviser and the “Best Island to Retire To” by Islands Magazine. With publicity like this, it is easy to understand why Retirees are flocking to Belize. The Belize Qualified Retirement Program offers great incentives to those looking to retire in Belize. The QRP, as it is called, is available to anyone 45 years or older. Some of the benefits include importing your personal effects and approved transportation free of all import duties and taxes including a motor vehicle, light aircraft, and even a boat for personal use. Additionally, a QRP in Belize is exempt from paying all taxes and duties on income earned from any source outside of Belize.
5. No crowds on Ambergris Caye. With 335,000 people in the entire country and some 22,000 on the Island of Ambergris Caye there is plenty of room for everyone. The country of Belize is sparsely populated relative to other countries and almost 46% of Belize is National Park and Marine Reserve. Ambergris Caye itself has approximately 27,000 Acres of National Park and Marine Reserve. The people that do live here are very friendly and welcoming to tourists and expats alike. Belize is a virtual melting pot with more than 10 diverse cultures made up of the Maya, Mestizo, Creole, Garifuna, East Indian, Mennonite, Arab, Chinese, as well as European and American expatriates. Although English is spoken everywhere, other languages spoken include Kriol (Belizean Creole), Garifuna, Mandarin and Spanish.
6. Belize is a Top Rated T8 Tax Haven. Privacy banking, asset protection, offshore wealth preservation, & low taxes are just a few of the benefits. Ranked #1 on Barber Financial Advisors Annual list of the World’s Best Tax Havens and Offshore Banking Centers. Belize has no Tax Information Exchange Agreements with the U.S. or Canada. Criteria used for evaluating a tax haven were: Tax structure, political and economic stability, exchange controls, treaties, government attitude, modern corporation laws, communications and transportation, Banking, professional and support services, legal system, secrecy and confidentiality, International incentives and opportunities, location.
7. Life costs less on Ambergris Caye and transportation is easy. Possessions matter very little in Ambergris Caye. There is not the same consumer culture as in many parts of the world and the general population does not judge you based upon your stuff. There are no big name stores on the island and you learn to live a more simple life with what you truly need. Spend less, live more is more the norm. The primary modes of transportation on the island of Ambergris Caye are golf cart, bike, or walking. It is not uncommon for children on the island to ride along with you in your golf cart to get to where they need to go. There are no traffic jams or traffic lights and the pace of life is relaxed and easy. Real estate is lower priced in Ambergris Caye relative to other Caribbean destinations and foreigners can own property in Belize without restrictions.
8. Ambergris Caye is Belize’s number one tourist and retirement destination. With miles of white sandy beaches, barrier reef and world class scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing, it is no wonder Ambergris Caye is a top-rated destination in the Caribbean. Belize set a new record for tourist arrivals in 2014 with a relatively small marketing budget compared to other Caribbean hot spots. New flights to Belize and the lower than average cost of living in Ambergris Caye continue to attract vacationers, retirees, and expats to this beautiful island.
9. Ambergris Caye is easy to get to. Belize is only a two-hour flight from the US. It is also easy to get to Belize from Canada and Western Europe as well. Direct flights to Belize are available from Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Toronto, Charlotte, Miami, Newark with more being added all the time. Once in Belize City, Belize, Tropic Air has frequent flights daily to and from the Ambergris Caye. The flight to San Pedro Town takes only 15 min and is provides an amazing view of Ambergris Caye. Water transportation is also available if you prefer to come by boat.
10. Belize has a stable, democratic government, property ownership is encouraged, and the exchange rate with the US dollar is static. Belize is an independent member of the British Commonwealth. As such, property rights are protected in Belize through the traditions of English Common Law. Foreigners own property with the same rights as Belizean citizens and there are no restrictions on foreign land ownership. The US dollar can be spent just like Belizean dollars however real estate is priced in U.S. dollars. The exchange rate is simple and easy to convert in your head. 2BZ = 1US. As a peaceful nation, Belize also has the most stable political system in the Central American region.