Build a business in Belize

Belize is booming!  Both as a vacation destination and as a haven for retirees seeking to spend their golden years in a warm climate with a relatively low cost of living.  Foreigners, especially Canadians and Americans, are flocking to Belize as snowbirds and as more permanent residents.  In fact, Belize consistently ranks high as a top destination to retire to ( 

But not everyone who wishes to move here can afford a perpetual vacation; not all of us are retirement-ready, what then?  How easy is it to make a living here?  The answer might surprise you!  It’s not all that difficult to build a business in Belize. (This article has a great infographic of the 6 simple steps to take to get in business, and if you need in-country assistance I recommend talking with Alpha Belize)

If you’ve done even a little bit of investigation on employment prospects in Belize, you’ll know that work permits are challenging to obtain and are meant to be granted to specialized professionals; strictly given to positions that can not be filled by a national.  This means many foreigners find the path of least resistance is self-employment via their own business and its fairly easy to start one.

I walk, jog, and bike past this adorable little cottage multiple times a day and it is hurting my heart to see it sit vacant.  As an independent agent with the Property Shop, I’m arguably the worst property specialist they’ve had- I’ve sold zero things and my advice is always ALWAYS to rent first.  But loads of people on online forums are chomping at the bit to relocate to Placencia and are curious as to what gaps in the current market they could fill.  For fun, here are some of my ideas:

Medical Office

I think this would make a perfect Physical Therapy center!  I’ve floated the idea past my husband over and over again but he just doesn’t want to do it, he doesn’t want to replicate his life and career from the US here in Belize and I can understand that BUT there’s precious few PTs in Belize and NONE in the southern districts.  If you are a PT, OT, or Chiropractor it would be super simple to become self-employed and licensed with the Ministry of Health.

Moped Rentals

Placencia has boomed in the past decade and swelled in population size and density.  I’m willing to bet the number of cars and golf carts on the peninsula has at least quadrupled but no one has done much community planning and parking is problematic.  Many Caribbean countries use Mopeds as a cheap and easy mode of transportation and it would make so much sense for whipping around Placencia but no one rents out Mopeds and I can’t understand why!  A modest fleet of motor scooters would be much less costly than golf carts and just as fun for the tourist’s experience (and they’d be able to find a place to park them!).

Fish Market

Placencia was historically, and to a degree, remains a fishing village but it’s notoriously difficult to buy fish here.  If you don’t catch it yourself (and I sure as heck don’t) you have to know someone who does and arrange to buy surplus from them or hang around down by the pier at a certain time of the afternoon and see what catch is brought in that day but you’ll be haggling alongside restaurateurs and others so there’s no guarantee you won’t walk away empty handed.  There is a fisherman’s co-op but as I understand it, that inventory rarely makes it to local markets as it fetches a higher price for exports.  I would love if Placencia had an actual seafood market where the Average Joe could purchase fillets, conch, lobster, crab, etc. 

Specialty Restaurant/ Bar

I hesitate to suggest this because over half of eateries fail and there’s already so many dining options on the peninsula and it’s almost 100% tourist based- which if 2020 has taught us, is mercurial.  BUT if you were so inclined- you could get creative!  As a former British colony, you would think Belize would have some proper fish ‘n’ chip shops… Placencia does not.  My friend Jana runs the funky and fashionable Little Wine Bar that serves small platters of meats and cheeses in a comfortable chic atmosphere.  Could there be room for something else like it in the village but maybe with handcrafted rum and arancini?  What about a high-end deli with prepared foods for take away?

What would you do with this little commercial space?

Click here for the full listing and if you want more information on this or other properties in Placencia- reach out! I may not be the best in the biz but I do have a lot of time on my hands.

About the author

Megan Rodden

never met a vacation she didn't like. Megan is a self-centered, snarky, unambitious derelict... like most of her peers.

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© 2014 Megan Rodden and Phil Nagengast.