Retirement in Belize touted in AARP article

Original Article

Best Places to Retire Abroad


A Central American paradise that offers beaches, beauty and a fast track to residency status.

by: Barry Golson | from: AARP The Magazine | September/October 2010 issue

Let’s fast-forward to Belize’s unique appeal to U.S. retirees: It’s the only south-of-the-border country whose official language is English. Until 1973 it was called British Honduras, and was a crown colony of the U.K.; it was granted full independence in 1981 (although Queen Elizabeth II is still head of state). Another goodie: It’s catching up to Panama and Costa Rica’s retiree perks. Its Qualified Retired Persons program, known as the QRP, offers benefits and a fast track to residency status.

Squeezed between Mexico’s Yucatan coast and Guatemala to the south, sparsely populated Belize is a Central American paradise, with tropical jungle flora, endless white beaches, an aquamarine Caribbean sea, some of the world’s best reefs for snorkelers, fishing to die for, Mayan ruins, and even casinos. Most expats settle either on the largest island, Ambergris Caye, or in Corazol Town on the mainland’s northern tip. Ambergris Caye has the fancy restaurants and condos, including million-dollar properties. It can be as expensive as South Florida (Leonardo Di?Caprio bought an island west of Ambergris Caye). The Corozal district, a few miles’ drive from the Mexican border, is far more affordable. Corozal expats live a laid-back life, with year-round outdoor play (boating, hiking, swimming, diving), but are still only 20 minutes from the malls and cineplexes of Chetumal, the capital of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.

After many visits to Belize, Atlantans Walter and Terri Fisher, 55 and 49, built a “concrete ranch house” with a water view for $125,000, including the lot. “The house was finished in 2007,” Walter reports. “Last year we sold our house in the States, got off the corporate treadmill, and moved here. I drove down in my truck on my own, and Terri—and five cats—flew down. We’re completely happy, though it’s tough being this far from family.”

A former educator, Audrey Shabbas, 68, moved to Corozal from Berkeley, California, with two of her four children three years ago. “We looked at Nicaragua, but Belize had what we wanted—water all around,” she says. “We bought a home with one-third of what we got for our Berkeley house—and it’s three times as wonderful. I’m very blessed to be here.”

4 comments for “Retirement in Belize touted in AARP article

  1. Susanna Gust
    April 11, 2011 at 12:51 am

    I am traveling to Caye Caulker -will be there a few weeks in June- my older brother travels there twice a year. I am possibly looking at moving to Caye Caulker part time after August- What do you know about Caye Caulker for living there? Are there some ex-pats that live there. I am on a budget-looking to find a place to lease safe & cheap there. Do you have any suggestions ? I am really looking forward to it. Thanks , Susanna Gust – Anderson, Texas..

    • belizedragonfly
      April 11, 2011 at 8:26 am

      Hello Susan,
      I have a friend who may know some expats on Caye Caulker. I don’t personally know anyone. I will find out from her and email you directly. I’ve only passed through Hopkins a couple times so I don’t know a lot about that area but it was always nice when I went through. Thanks for the comment!

    • July 4, 2012 at 8:20 pm

      We did altun ha mayan ruins with them. Donald Ramirez was our tour guide. He was very kind to the? kids and took care of us. He told us about Belize Mayan History, Medicinal Plants, and the History of the Belize people. This guy is a wahsuoree of knowledge. I recommend them too.

  2. Susanna Gust
    April 11, 2011 at 12:57 am

    My email is – I am traveling to Caye Caulker for 2 weeks in May-looking to move there part time after August- Do many expate live there-looking to lease a house there after August- do you have any suggestions for a safe/clean place ,cheap place to lease? Looking forwad to it. my folks have friends that live in Belize half the year near Sienne Beight/ Hopkins-what is that like ? Looking so forwaed to my trip to Belize. Thank -you , Susanna Gust , Anderson,Texas,PO BOX 565-anderson,tx. 77830…..

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