Those considering retiring in Belize must be aware there will be differences from living in the US. That having been said, there is nothing that cannot be easily dealt with and it is really just a case of becoming used to a more relaxed and different lifestyle.
Highways & Roads
One difference that will be noticed are the roads. The US has a very sophisticated system of well-maintained highways, whereas Belize has roads designed and maintained to cater to the transport needs of the population. Do not expect super-highways in Belize.
There are four major highways in Belize; the other roads are secondary routes and not all have a tarmac surface. Many residents use four-wheel drive vehicles if they have a need to go off the beaten path and out into the more rural parts of the country.
As an alternative means of getting around, Belize does have a very good public transportation network. The buses are an affordable and safe option and access to them is available in most parts of the country.
Taxi services are available but the cars do not have meters. Negotiating fare is a skill that will be quickly learned and is readily accepted by the drivers; haggling is expected. Local districts, such as San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, are creating a more structured taxi service with licensed vehicles designated by color.
Obtaining a Belize License
Individuals that already have a US driving license can drive in Belize for up to a year without taking a driving test. When the 12-months are up, it is essential that expats apply for a Belizean driverÂs license. Both a written and practical test is required, and there is a small fee to pay.
When the new license arrives, it will have a picture of a mythical goblin of Belizean folklore called Tata Duende depicted on it. According to Belize legend, Tata Duende lives in the jungle to protect it and the animals that live there.
Driving around Belize to explore can be a delight, however, the driving experience will be different for someone that is used to driving on US roads.