Belize is a little country with a population of fewer than 350,000 people, most all of whom speak English. Part Caribbean, part Central American, it's mostly wide-open spaces with a long coast and a sprinkling of small islands just offshore fringed by white sand and swaying palms.
This is one of the least densely populated places on earth. In Belize, you enjoy plenty of elbowroom ... and plenty of opportunity.
Belize is also peaceful, democratic, and stable. The country has generally no beefs with the rest of the world. Really, few other than scuba divers, sports fisherman, and Caribbean sun-seekers give Belize a second thought.
The country flies under the radar, and Belizeans (and those of us who appreciate what it has to offer) like it that way. Belizeans are fiercely independent folks, proud of their young democracy. More than 70 percent of registered voters turn out for every election. The political process in this country is dynamic, grassroots, and underfunded. That last being an especially good thing. Underfunded politicians are the best kind.
Maybe the reason Belizeans are so engaged in their political process is because they prefer to be in charge of their own destinies and aren't interested in handing over any real power to government. This translates to few laws and little restriction.
Definitely Belizeans take a hands-off approach to living in general. Nobody interferes in his neighbor's business.
Here are other reasons I like Belize as much as I do:
- It's a quick flight away from North America. It takes 2.5 hours to fly to Belize City from Miami or Houston...
My favorite part of Belize has always been its interior Cayo region of rivers, rainforest, and Mayan ruins. However, I do also appreciate the quintessential and affordable Caribbean lifestyle on offer out on Ambergris Caye. This little white sand-fringed island is home to an established and growing expat population in San Pedro Town and has long been my favorite place to kick it in the Caribbean, as they say.
Infrastructure in Belize isn't a strong suit; however, this country has figured out a great air system for crisscrossing it. You can get from the Cayo to Ambergris, from Placencia to Corozal, and from Belize City to anywhere with the help of frequent, quick, and affordable in-country flights. I guess they thought they had to do something given the limited options for getting around down on the ground.
I've often shown up at the airport and bought tickets on the spot for flights leaving within the next 20 or 30 minutes for wherever it was I wanted to go. I've even had the experience, more than once, of the airline holding a flight for me when I called to say I was on my way to the airport ... almost there ... please can you wait? It's not that I'm special. They do it for anyone if they can.
Belize's super-easy approach to traveling around it by flying over it has given me an idea. My husband and I bought a piece of land in Cayo where we're planting trees and gardens and building a farmhouse. What if we coupled that with a little beachfront condo out on Ambergris? We could hop a flight from Cayo to the beach anytime the inclination struck ... and rent the place out when we weren't using it ourselves. The rental market in San Pedro is active and expanding, and I like Belize in general as a place to park capital long term.