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Most budget travellers stay in Belize only briefly and are, usually, in transit between Mexico and northern Guatemala (either heading south or north).

There is a good reason for this: Belize is expensive and it is not within GRANDPAcker price range.ambergris-pedros-beach-view-north

Tours are expensive / overpriced and you may want to spend that money on tours in other countries, where you will get more bang for your buck.

To ‘top it off’, the Belize government joins in with the locals and ‘clips the ticket’ on every opportunity … even charging people US$20 to leave the country by land border. More by air.



Belize is part of the longest barrier reef system in the western hemisphere; it stretches 750 miles from Isla Contoy (on the tip of the Yucatan, Mexico) to the Bay Islands (Honduras).

With 185 miles off offshore inlets and cayes, Belize offers one of the world’s best and ultimate dive site.


The convenience of Belize sets it apart – the official language is English, it’s very easy to get residency status and they offer tons of special benefits to retirees.

The Caribbean ‘rasta vibe’ and the ‘Bob Marley’-style English-speaking locals are a nice change from other Spanish-speaking countries.

However, in some places (like Ambergris Caye and Belize City) this can be a disadvantage … as yet can understand the ‘snide’ remarks that some of the locals make about you and other tourists as you walk past.


The main town on the island, San Pedro, is about 1.5 miles long and 1 mile wide. A sort-of-sandy beach lies along the ocean side of the island and mangroves stretch along the mainland side. The problem is that most of the waterfront around the residential areas is ‘retaining walled’ to prevent erosion.

On the whole, items cost an extra 25–60% more than on the mainland.

For more detailed information, read my posts on Ambergris Caye – Information and Ambergris Caye – GRANDPAcking Costs.

This will allow you to properly share in my disappointment.


Caulker Caye is smaller and less developed. But, nowadays, costs are not far behind Ambergris Caye.

Caulker Caye doesn’t have any nice beaches and the nightlife seems to revolve around getting drunk with Backpackers in one of the 4 main bars.

For more detailed information, read my post on Caye Caulker – Information.

Again, this will better allow you to share in my disappointment.


In desperation, I abandoned the Caye Islands and headed down the Caribbean coast to Hopkins and Punta Gorda.

Hopkins is said to be another ‘up and coming’ retirement destination.

For more detailed information, read my post on Hopkins & Punta Gorda – Information.

Yet again, this will allow you to better share in my disappointment.


Placencia is an 11-mile long skinny peninsula which is said to be ‘of long, sleepy stretches of white sand shoreline and turquoise water which is as good as the coastline of southern Belize near the Guatemala border‘. These are said to be Belize’s best beaches – without the bustle of Ambergris Caye.

This is not what I found. I stayed in the Maya Beach area and the beach was very average.

The beach in Placencia Town seems to be the best beach … but the Town is totally overpriced in every respect.


I found no GRANDPAcking Retirement Locations in Belize.

Prices for a bit of sand on Ambergris (the most developed of Belize’s islands) are through the stratosphere, and values along the mainland, especially south around Placencia and north at Corozal, are following suit.

You may want to look inland in, say, the Cayo Region. But why?

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