A significant and growing number of Americans are packing up and moving to Belize. Families from across the United States are not skipping town for a tropical vacation, however; they are relocating for the rest of their lives. Belize is becoming known as a prepper’s paradise. The extremely low cost of living, inexpensive real estate, and a prevalence of English speaking residents, are the primary reasons many preppers are moving to the island nation in Central America.
Belize is only about two hours from the United States (also a plus for expatriates and their relatives), and Belize City is about 961 miles from Houston. The U.S. dollar equals about two Belize dollars. The inflation rate of about .9 percent is also considered quite a plus for relocating preppers and off-the-grid fans. Solar power can work anywhere, but having such warm temperatures year-round would seem like another huge benefit.
“Move to Belize” ads are becoming far more prevalent both on the radio and online. The Off Grid Belize website details how Americans moving to Belize are moving to a country that more resembles the America of yesteryear. I confess, I am far more of an “America: love it or change it” kinda girl and not a “love it or leave it” mindset subscriber—but I can understand the frustration which is driving some to relocate to the land of palm trees where liberals appear to be in the minority.
The favorable tax climate in the country and inexpensive real estate are also major attractions for many American preppers. The economic downturn in America and fears about a collapse of the dollar are frequently noted as one of the many reasons scores of citizens are leaving the country. About 40 percent of the country speaks English, so the transition to life on the island would be fairly simple.
The Off Grid Belize website had this to say about why Belize has become such an attractive spot for preppers:
“I do believe, and know, our way of life in America has already taken a definite turn for the worse… with very few signs whatsoever of it getting any better. To the contrary, all signs point to things getting worse… I could go on and on. But I don’t see the need. Anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear can easily recognize that living ‘The American Dream,’ has become harder and harder … and could rightly be referred to today as ‘The American Fantasy.’ I don’t know about you, but all these things have definitely rattled my sense of security.”
The sales pitch sounds like the usual real estate tagline, but nice properties are starting at about $99,000 in Belize right now. Some lending companies are offering financing options starting around $599 per month. Such a low rate will raise eyebrows, but agents have to make relocation sound extremely attractive to convince Americans to begin living under another flag.
“For the last few years I have been visiting and studying a quaint little country that is the perfect ‘just in case place’ should you desire safe harbor abroad. The fact that it’s also a tropical paradise doesn’t hurt either. In fact, while I really like living here in my home country, I must confess, I’m in love with this little country. And my family loves it too. So much so, I’m already a ‘resident’ and I’m planning to open up a Solutions From Science solar office there to serve that part of the world,” Bill Heid of Off Grid Belize also stated.
A couple can easily live for less than $2,000 per month in Belize. That relatively small price tag includes regular dinners out and a housekeeper. The “Belize Just in Case Place” course offered by Off Grid Belize includes fifteen essentials tips to know before you go—or buy. The Off Grid Belize guide also describes the health risks associated with living in Belize, and how to avoid such problems.
The country’s climate is extremely conducive to year-around farming and boasts an atmosphere which appeals to both families and young off-grid enthusiasts. During a recent episode of National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers, a man named Kevin decided not to move his family to a secluded patch of land somewhere in the United States, but to a sandy spot in Belize. The Doomsday Preppers segments are very short and therefore highly edited, so it is impossible to know how much time Kevin and his family actually spent preparing for the move.
The clips shown during the episode did detail plans to learn a second language, discover how to live off the land, and just generally embrace the concept of living a far simpler life. Even though Kevin’s preliminary homesteading skills shown during the segment left something to be desired, the excitement to begin anew in a land less governed was somewhat contagious.
Belize is widely considered to be the easiest country to relocate to for both Americans and Europeans. The similarity between the U.S. and Belize legal system is a major bonus for relocating preppers. The system mirrors British Common Law, which was the foundation for the U.S. legal system. The government in Belize is a combination of the parliamentary and democratic models.
A residency visa is not required to come and go in Belize. A tourist visa has to be renewed once a month (per person) for $25. After a year it is possible to become a resident or continue with the tourist visa process. The Qualified Retired Persons program permits participants the opportunity to earn funds outside the country tax free. When relocating you can take up to $15,000 worth of personal items into the country both tax and duty free.
Moving to another country is an extremely big decision, perhaps the biggest decision of an entire lifetime. You would have to truly believe there is no hope left for America in order to move to the tropical paradise. Part of me abhors such an unpatriotic idea. But another part of me feels that those who made the decision to put the safety of family above all else may have made a very logical choice.
Fears about the breakdown of society after either a man-made or natural disaster are very valid concerns. Living in a rural area gives my family an advantage. But as so many others have noted before, it is the marauding hordes from the cities which pose the greatest danger. There are approximately 3 million preppers in the United States, according to the latest statistics. I feel those figures are likely low, considering many folks aren’t willing to share such personal information during a telephone poll. Working together to prepare as a community or with a group of dedicated and like-minded people is more preferable to me personally than relocating to another country.
I love the beach and like the earth-friendly and self-sustainable lifestyle options prevalent in Belize—but I am not ready to give up on America just yet. I would never judge harshly a parent who did what they felt they needed to do to protect their family, but I think I will pass on an inexpensive life in a tropical paradise—for now.