Thursday, November 20, 2014

Why Belize? – 35 Reasons to Invest Far beyond the obvious and compelling reasons to invest in Central American real estate, Belize offers amenities which no other country can match.

• Rest easy knowing that Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America.
• Experience a seamless transition in your daily activities at the English-speaking markets.
• As a result of its native tongue, Belize and its citizens enjoy higher education levels.
• North American customs and courtesies are much more prevalent in Belize.
• If English is not your native language, Belizeans also speak Spanish and Creole.
• Due to the melting pot of cultures that make up Belize, social tolerance levels are high.

Secluded, Not Isolated
• The flight from Miami, Florida to Belize City is a mere two hours.
• Enjoy direct flights from seven U.S. cities, Toronto, and Cancun.
• Belize presents an investor’s dream and is in the “Path of Progress.”
• City expansion to include a new airport makes Belize highly accessible.
• Lucrative real estate opportunities exist all over Belize as development increases.
• Coastal islands offer more opportunities than even mainland Belize.

Cost of Living
• Your purchasing power is double that in the U.S.
• The purchasing power in Belize is greater than that of Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rica.
• Following suit with a cheaper consumer market, Belize’s real estate is also a bargain.
• Belize’s location isolates it from the hurricane zone, experiencing only one storm per four years.
• Belize’s world class barrier reef diminishes the wear and tear from the saltwater air and winds.
• American “Baby Boomers” are investing heavily in the Caribbean and in Central America.

Undiscovered Beauty
• The beauty of Belize is still relatively unknown, making it “Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret.”
• Forty percent of the country contains protected wildlife reserves and national parks.
• There is an abundance of ecotourism attractions due to the protected parts of the country.
• Unbeknownst to most, the Belize Barrier Reef is the most active in the Western Hemisphere.

Clear Title
• Citizens and non-citizens possess the same property rights across Belize.
• Individual, joint, corporate, IRA, and trust ownership opportunities are available.
• You have the ability to insure your clear title with U.S. companies such as American Title.
• Clear title rights are not common across Central America and other world vacation locations.

Political Stability
• Belize boasts a stable government.
• The peaceful nation maintains friendly relationships with its neighbors.
• Belize achieved its independence from Britain in 1981.
• The democratic political structure with the establishment of a parliament compares to Canada.
• Belizeans pride themselves in keeping their country safe and welcoming to others.

Retirement Program
• Tax breaks exist for those wanting to invest and live in Belize full or part-time.
• The QRP program permits those 45 and older who live more than 30 days these breaks.
• Qualified retirees may be eligible to receive expedited residency status.

Exchange Rate
• Belize pegs their currency 2:1 to the U.S. dollar, locking exchange rates.

The only question to ask yourself is why haven’t you already invested in beautiful Belize?

As soon as you decide that it is time to move to Belize, it is essential that you head right over to Orchid Bay. This housing community offers everything you could possibly need in a dream home.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

11 Reasons to Invest in Belize

The Top 11 Reasons to Invest in Belize Real Estate, and How They Benefit You…
  (…in no particular order)
Stability.  Belize has a stable, democratic government, the economy in Belize is stable and balanced, the currency is pegged to the US dollar, the legal system is based on the British legal framework, and Belize is still an independent member of the British Commonwealth. Along with Costa Rica, Belize has the most stable political system in the region.  Belize has always been a very peaceful nation.

Property Rights.  As a Commonwealth country, property rights are protected in Belize through the traditions of English Common Law. In Belize, private property is respected and protected.  Foreigners can own property in Belize, with exactly the same rights and protections as exist for Belizeans, with 100% fee simple title.  There are absolutely no restrictions on foreign land ownership.  Along with the USA, Canada and the United Kingdom, Belize shares a legal system based on English Common Law – a familiar system for most investors.

Language.  You don’t have to learn a new language, because English in the official language.  Belize is the only English speaking country in Central America, making business and real estate transactions easy to navigate for English speakers.  Everything from street signs, restaurant menus and newspapers, to official government documents and real estate contracts are in English.  This makes Belize hugely attractive to English speakers as a second, retirement, or vacation home destination.

Currency.  The Belize dollar is fixed 2 to 1 with the US dollar making it a very stable currency.  The U.S. dollar is accepted anywhere and everywhere in Belize, and the Belize dollar has been pegged for decades at the current exchange rate of 2 Belize dollars to 1 U.S. dollar. Anything of substantial value, such as real estate, is priced in U.S. dollars. This means that prices in Belize are more stable for American dollar holders than they would be if the Belizean currency floated against the dollar.

Tax Friendly.  Belize is a tax haven.  The offshore financial services industry in Belize is highly regarded and well regulated; it is also quite advanced and well supported by the government.  In addition, those who own real estate in Belize pay no capital gains or estate (inheritance) taxes.  Property taxes are very low – just a fraction of what they are in Canada or the USA.  Rental income is taxed at only 1.75% of gross receipts.  Just for emphasis…no capital gains tax, and no inheritance tax!

Location.  Belize is highly accessible from the US and Canada, and now from western Europe as well.  Its proximity to Canada and the US creates short travel time and there is no jet lag due to time differences.  (Belize is on Central Time.)  Direct flights to Belize depart from Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte, Newark, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and Toronto (seasonal).  With the expansion of the runway completed at Belize International Airport, long-haul direct flights from Canada and Europe are expected to begin service in the very near future.  International arrivals to Belize have been increasing drastically in the last 6 years – at an annualized growth rate of 11.1% (which is the highest in Central America).

Natural Beauty & Eco-Tourism.   Belize has the 2nd largest and most fascinating and beautiful barrier reef in the world.  The diving and snorkeling are consistently rated among the very best in the world.  Over 46% of Belize is dedicated to National Parks and Marine Reserve, including United Nations World Heritage sites such as the 27,000 acre Balcalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve on Ambergris Caye.  Belize is home to thousands of species of trees and flowers, hundreds of kinds of birds and butterflies.  It has reefs and tropical rainforests, beaches and mountains, over 600 sites of Mayan ruins, and many rivers teeming with wild and rare flora and fauna.  From diving to fishing, cave tubing to zip-lining, snorkeling to sailing, and exploring Mayan ruins, Belize is an ecologically diverse, unspoiled paradise.  Also, Belize is one of the least densely populated countries in the western hemisphere.

Excellent Retiree Program.  The Belize Residency Program enables foreigners to retire to Belize under a very favorable set of guidelines, with status as a Qualified Retired Person.  This simple process exempts people from the payment of all taxes and levies on all income or receipts which accrue from a source outside of Belize (whether income is from work performed or an investment).  This program also provides a duty & tax exemption on new and used personal and household effects (inc. motor vehicles, boats and aircraft).  You must be over 45 to qualify, and be able to substantiate monthly income of at least $2,000 (USD).

The Qualified Retired Persons Incentive Act, passed by the Belize legislature in 1999, is being implemented by the Belize Tourist Board, offering foreign retirees some of the most competitive incentives in the world. The program is designed to attract more retirees to Belize. Anyone at least 45-years-old, from anywhere in the world can qualify for the program and may also include his or her dependents in the program.  Run by the Ministry of Tourism, this unique, Belize retirement program is simple and user-friendly.

Friendly People.  Belize is home to the most genuinely and sincerely friendly people to be found anywhere in the world.  You will hear this time and again from everyone who visits to Belize, and for good reason.  While Belize is often referred to as “Mother Nature’s Secret”, and most people think that Belize’s natural resources are its greatest asset, the Belizean people are in truth the greatest asset Belize has to offer.

Tropical Climate.  The climate ranges from sub-tropical to tropical all year long, similar to that of South Florida.   As long as you’re comfortable with warm to hot temperatures, perhaps tempered by cooling breezes from the sea, you’ll like Belize weather. As a bonus, if you are on the Cayes, you’ll enjoy those cooling breezes even more so, and will find that the temperatures are cooler than on the mainland and the humidity less of a factor.
urist and retirement destination in Belize for exactly the same reasons it got there in the first place.

The Belize Tourist Board, a department of the Ministry of Tourism, is aggressively marketing and promoting Belize to the North American and European markets now that the airport can accommodate long-haul direct flights.  While annualized growth at 11.1% (over the last 6 years) is the highest in Central America, overnight visitors to Ambergris Caye totaled 200,000 visitors.  In comparison, that is the number of visitors to Cancun in any single month of the year!

In August 2008, Islands Magazine rated Ambergris Caye as one of the Top 10 Island is the world to live on.  In September 2009, Islands Magazine rated Ambergris Caye as the #1 Island in the World to retire on.  Now is the time to discover Ambergris Caye…

Friday, October 3, 2014

This summer at Orchid Bay has been amazing; the weather has been perfect. A typical year in Belize sees heavy rains from July to October with a small reprieve in August.  The rains generally cause mountain run-off into the bay, which causes it to lose its beautiful color from mid-September to October.   This year has seen very little rain; the bay is gorgeous, the roads are great shape, and the community is very active.

The above photo has clouds, but this summer has seen many cloudless skies – here is how clear it was just last weekend.

 Speaking of last weekend, did you hear about the weddings?  Orchid Bay hosted its first wedding on Saturday September 27 and then hosted its second on Sunday September 28.  Our very own Tradewinds restaurant proprietor, David Berger, was married on Saturday to Damaris Tzul of Chunox Village and on Sunday Ivanir Patt, your favorite bar tender at the Tradewinds, married Esmiri Mendez.  The weddings were beautiful and are a testament to the strengths of Orchid Bay.  Back-to-back weddings is no easy feat and everything has to be perfect – we did it! Many Orchid Bay and local Chunox, Copper Bank, Progresso and Little Belize community member joined together to celebrate the happy couples. To see photos from both weddings just visit Orchid Bay’s Facebook page,

As many you may have heard, Laurene Honeybill has joined her husband Stephen at Orchid Bay and is working with Stephen to run the Crimson Orchid Inn.  Stephen and Laurene were waiting for their daughter Morgan to graduate from high school before Laurene would join him at Orchid Bay.  Congratulations Morgan and Laurene! 

Laurene has already made an impressive impact on the Crimson Orchid Inn.  She’s brought a new level of hospitality and finish to the Inn that makes it a beautiful location for any bride.  Below is a photo showing how well Esmiri was hosted during her wedding preparation.

On the site development front, work continues to focus on the Seafront Condominiums.  The first two buildings will have their exterior and all sold units completed near end of this year with the unsold units staged for two-month delivery upon sale.  Landscaping will be performed in early 2015.  The second two buildings are under construction and are likely to complete in the first half of 2016.  There are first and second floor Condominiums available in the first two buildings.  Check out the view from the second floor porch.

 Below is a sunset view from the beach the seafront condos.

Further development and planning is happening in Cazadores Park.  This neighborhood will include a number of villas and substantial landscaping.  Initial details are scheduled to be released in November and further details in the following months.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Belize, A Truly Natural Choice

Commonly referred to in travel circles as "Mother Nature's Best Kept Secret", Belize is truly a tropical paradise. An exotic tropical paradise that now opens it's doors to all your dreams of adventure and new experiences.

Everyone around the world dreams about traveling to an exotic, tranquil locale, complete with sun-drenched beaches and limitless activities on land and in beautiful tropical waters. Belize boasts all this and more, not only for retirement, but as a family destination as well.

Belize is well known as a travel destination around the world for its tropical climate, the official language of Belize being English and of course, world class diving. Belize also prides itself in providing schools with high academic standards and a reputation for excellence, excellent health care facilities, historic homes, convenient local shopping and most importantly warm and welcoming neighbors.

Belize is on the Caribbean coast a short drive south of Cancun and offers an intriguing mix of tropical forests, an extraordinary mix of wildlife, unbelievable mountains, Maya temples, diving and fishing experiences beyond comparison.

With the inception of the Retired Persons Incentive Program, Belize is rapidly becoming known as a fabulous and affordable retirement destination. Belize’s natural environment, as well as the culturally diverse and warm people, are only few of the reasons to retire in Belize.

A few more reasons to consider Belize...
•Tax Breaks
•English Speaking
•Good Educational System
•Sub-tropical Climate all Year Long
•Easy Access to Land for Development and Construction of Retirement Home
•2 hours from the US
•Strong Stable Currency
•Abundance of Natural Resources
•Breathtaking Beauty

To attract foreign investment Belize has created a program to reduce taxes and simplify residency for North Americans who wish to live part-time or full-time in Belize. The program is called the Qualified Retired Persons (QRP) program. You only need to be 45 to take advantage of the incentives and are only required to live in Belize for a total of 30 days each year which can even be split across multiple visits. Qualified retirees are eligible for benefits including expedited residency status and various tax exemptions. If you are not quite ready to retire, but want to buy in Belize, learn how to use your IRA to own in Belize.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.

You betta Belize it!
    Orchid Bay
   +1 313-454-3113

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Belize has earned the title "Mother Nature's Best Kept Secret" and is quickly becoming the top destination for eco-tourism and vacation homes. On the Northern coast of Belize is Orchid Bay, a luxurious private community committed to the environment.
Orchid Bay recently announced the release of its phase III properties with 0% financing. This announcement is on the heels of news that a private airstrip is being added to Orchid Bay allowing residents to enjoy day trips to Belize's cayes and reef.
Orchid Bay boasts a walkable community where amenities are less than a five minute by foot from every home. Properties are delicately placed between gardens and parks that highlight the beauty of Belize. Swimming pools, beaches, boat slips, and the equestrian center are available for all residents to share.
The luxury of Orchid Bay is affordable with private home sites starting at $44,000 USD and beach homes at $179,000 USD. The community is comprised largely of North American families who seek a vacation home in a private setting where family and friends can gather. People are also making Orchid Bay their full-time residence and some are opening businesses such as Pilates studios and bed & breakfasts.
Orchid Bay's architecture pays tribute to Belize's environment and history. Thatch roofs on the Mayan inspired beach casitas integrate with the surroundings. This aesthetic addition also helps insulate the roof to reduce air conditioning needs. Homes are designed to provide both grid and solar electricity.

Casita with thatch roof

Hardwood ceiling and loft in Casita

The newest addition to Orchid Bay is the Seafront Condominiums on the central beach in the communities prime real estate. The Condominiums feature a British Colonial architecture paying homage to Belize's British heritage. Outdoor living is a theme across Orchid Bay and the Condominiums include two large balconies and French doors connecting the living room with the front porch.

Orchid Bay's CEO, Ari Kahn, notes that " Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America and is 2 hours from Miami so it will not be a secret for long, but I still expect the environment to be preserved. Nearly 40% of the countries land mass is in protected status. Environmental sensitivity and eco-technology have advanced since the Costa Rica was discovered 20 years ago. Like Costa Rica, property prices will rise, but communities like Orchid Bay will keep the environment pristine."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

International Living Blows the Lid on Belize

We’re Blowing the Lid on Belize

International Living Postcards—your daily escape
Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010

Dear International Living Reader,

I don’t get it. Belize should be heaving with North American tourists and residents. But the rich and famous seem to have the place mostly to themselves.

Which doesn’t make sense—because the prices here are low enough that almost anyone can afford a Caribbean beach house.

Belize (including its islands) is fun, friendly, laid-back, and easy, with lots of beach. The entire country (300,000 people) is the same size as Massachusetts (6.5 million people). Maybe its size is why so many people don’t know about it.

Anyone who has heard of Belize may think it’s too expensive. After all, there are a lot of million-dollar homes along the coast. It’s not too hard to find a new house that comes with a 100-foot-yacht slip as standard.

Hollywood celebrities own islands and hotels here. A couple of weeks before my recent visit, Charlie Sheen was in town.

Yet on the same stretch of coast, you can buy a lot and build your own beach house for $100,000 total. If you want something already built, you can easily find it for less than $200,000.

But affordable beach is only a small part of the real Belize story.

It’s easy to fit in—everyone speaks English (it’s the official language).

They hate taxes—and consistently defend their asset protection laws in international courts.

It’s easy to get residency—they want to attract more North American expats.

For all these reasons and more, we’re calling this upcoming week “Belize Retirement Confidential” week. We’ll blow the lid on everything you need to know about this country. Stay tuned.

Len Galvin
Managing Editor, IL Postcards