Belize is a nation with a population of approximately 375,000 and is located on the Eastern coast of Central America with Mexico to the north, Guatemala to the west and It is separated by sea from its neighbor to the Southwest, Honduras. Belize has the Caribbean Sea on the east and beautiful forests, jungles and rivers to the west. The massive Belize Barrier Reef which runs along the entire 180-mile coastline is dotted with hundreds of low-lying islands called cayes. Belize was a British colony known as British Honduras, which declared independence in 1973, and full independence was granted in 1981. As such, English is the official language of the country although the majority of citizens are bilingual and chose to speak Spanish as their primary language. Belize is an easy of transition for North Americans to a Central American, the governing and legal systems are based on the British parliamentary system, and a stabilized currency is tethered to the United States dollar. In addition, property buyers are given full ownership by way of a Land Certificate and there are numerous tax incentives for individuals and business. Belize has become one of the most popular Caribbean and Central American tourist destinations primarily driven by the countries unique and welcoming culture and the diverse environment of Mayan Ruins sites, the forests and jungles of central Belize and the Belize Barrier Reef with its world-famous scuba diving and snorkeling sites. Belize’s is also home to several Mayan ruins like Caracol, renowned for its towering pyramid, lagoon-side Lamanai, Altun Ha, just outside Belize City and Xunantunich an ancient active Maya archaeological site in western Belize. Tourism visits exceeded 489,000 in 2018, a 14% increase over 2017. At the same time Belize has taken some of the most assertive stances on environmental protection with more than 25% (2.6 million acres) of Belizean land and sea preserved within a total of 95 reserves. Belize is a unique melting pot of different native ethnic groups including Maya, Creole, Garinagu, Mestizo and immigrant groups including Americans, Canadians, Chinese, German Mennonites and Lebanese. This mix makes for a deep cultural experience and has evolved to a very welcoming environment.
Belize is subtropical, with a mean annual temperature of 80o F. The climate of Belize is characterized by two seasons: a rainy and a dry season. In Belize, most of the year’s rainfall occurs during the period June to November, that is, the rainy season and also the Hurricane Season.
During winter months, temperatures may reach the low 60’s while it is not unusual to have temperatures in the mid-90’s on the mainland in the hottest part of summer, generally from mid-August through mid-September. During most of the year, trade winds blow along the coast and on the Cayes, keeping temperatures pleasant. Water temperature averages between 79 and F. 83
Belize’s economy is a small and essentially a private-enterprise economy. The country’s economy is aided by tourism, which helps Belize earn foreign exchange; even more than its exports. Belize has oil reserves as well. The monetary unit is the Belize dollar, which is fixed to the US dollar at a rate of 2 Belize dollars to 1 US dollar. Tourism is the number one foreign exchange earner, followed by exports of marine products, citrus, cane sugar, bananas, and garments.
The Gross Domestic Product per capita in Belize was last recorded at 7824.40 US dollars in 2017, when adjusted by purchasing power parity (PPP). The GDP per Capita, in Belize, when adjusted by Purchasing Power Parity is equivalent to 44 percent of the world’s average. GDP Per Capita in Belize averaged 7159.16 USD from 1990 until 2017, reaching an all-time high of 8127.70 USD in 2015.
Taxation and property taxes in Belize
Belize is one of very few countries in the world that are a tax ‘safe haven’, even offering tax free living to qualified retirees from any country in the world. There are no capital gains taxes and property taxes range between 1% – 1.5%. Closing costs are typically around 1% and transfer taxes are usually around 8% and paid by the buyer. Long considered a smart strategy for asset protection and tax reduction, investing in Belize Real Estate is a viable solution to long-term tax and portfolio planning goals.