12 July, 2007

It Costs How Much?

Cost of Stuff in Corozal, Belize

I've listed costs for a lot of things here in Corozal Town. We may not have the flash of Ambergris Caye, and life is certainly slower up here on the Bay. Lan Sluder, a writer who has produced several good, factual books on Belize (Dianna and I have used and still use them for reference), seems to imply luxury is only available on Ambergris. I don't think that's necessarily true. We have several luxury houses in town and, of course, many more up at Consejo Shores (what we refer to as Little America).

The average expat - and here, I'm referring to the many-faceted expat culture we have up here in Corozal - are not just from the US, but hail from all over - Canada, Australia, England, South Africa, Austria, and Holland are just a few of the locations that come immediately to mind, can live here minimally on perhaps a Social Security monthly income, has to watch expenditures closely, turning off fans when not absolutely needed, etc., or they may have investments that, along with retirement income, etc., allows them to live a more up-scale lifestyle. We're all over the map.

I think the so-called traditional view that “Belize is the most expensive country in Central America” is simply not true. The availability of certain goods, or lack of, is true. That is what puts Corozal Town at a convenient location. Being close to Chetumal, Mexico, (9 miles away) provides ready access to several Mexican big-box stores, a genuine Walmart (called Bodega Hererra) and Sam's Club (called Sam's Club), and a bit further afield up toward Cancun, Home Depot and Costco (a few hours away), making the local unavailability of certain items relatively easy to deal with.

What we do have is an extremely relaxed way of life here. Genuinely friendly locals that are willing to deal with you straight up. That is, if you go to the Corozal marketplace to purchase your veggies or fresh fish, the stated price is the price that everyone pays – whether a local Mayan from Ranchito (a village just on the southern edge of Corozal where we live) will pay the same price as a Canadian tourist visiting for a few weeks. In the time we have been here we have not detected the price-gouging foreigners have come to expect simply because they are foreigners and that is so popularly believed to occur everywhere.

Most expats here tend to choose a life style that is comfortable and somewhat unassuming, preferring to blend in as much as possible with the local culture as is possible for Yanks and Brits and Canucks and everyone else in the expat community to do so.

What follows is a list of representative prices for stuff in Corozal. All dollar amounts are listed in US dollars, although at 2:1, what could be an easier conversion rate?
  • 1-kilowatt hour of current (electricity): $0.25
  • 10-minute call from Corozal to Belize City: $1
  • 7-minute daytime call to U.S.: $3.53
  • Avocados: 6 for $1
  • Baby Powder: 22 oz. $1.80
  • Bananas: 20 for $1 (Free if you grow 'em)
  • Beer by the case, delivery to your house: $24.38 (with an empty case to return)
  • Bleach, Sno-Brite, 1 gal: $2.35
  • Bottled water, delivered: $50 cents to $2.50/gallon
  • Bread, Whole Wheat, Loaf: $1.00
  • Broom, plastic fan-type: $4.41
  • Bus from Corozal to Belize City: $5 regular or express
  • Butane, 25-gallon tank, filled on site (called for delivery on Sunday – 15 minutes from call to truck showing up in driveway): $6.50
  • Calamine Lotion, 120ml: $2.13
  • Candle Lighter, Bic: $7.20
  • Canned soup (Campbell’s Chicken Noodle): $1.15
  • Cat Litter, Litter Guard – 25 lb. Bag $3.25
  • Cat Litter, Fresh Step Crystals – 4 lb Bag $11.80
  • Cereal: $5
  • Chicken: $1 per pound
  • Cigarettes (Independence Belize brand): $2.63 a pack
  • Coffee (Belize, Gallon Jug brand): $6.50 per pound
  • Coke, Coke Lite (Diet Coke) and bottled water delivery are also available. $12.50
  • Construction of reinforced concrete home: $40-60 per sq. ft.
  • Cotton Swabs 400 Ct: $1.25
  • Cookies, McVitties Digestive Ginger Nuts, 200 g: $1.90
  • Crackers (Premium Saltines): $3.32
  • Diphenhydramine Expectorant: $3.63
  • DSL Internet access: $50 to $200 a month
  • Eggs, 1 dz. $1.20 dz; 5 for $0.25 Brown eggs only, white are illegal.
  • Electrical service for 1000 KW monthly: $210
  • File Folders, Manila, 10 ct.: $1.20
  • Garbage pick-up: $10 a month (they come to collect the bill)
  • Lawn Mower Repair, Briggs & Stratton: $12.50
  • Lean ground beef: $1.50 per pound
  • Linguine, Mueller's, 18 oz: $2.21
  • Liquid Plumber, 80 oz: $8.51
  • Lobster dinner: $22
  • M & M's Minis: 1.08 oz: $0.59
  • Motorcycle Helmet, Small, Adjustable: $26.51
  • Motorcycle Helmet, Large, Heavy Duty: $46.76
  • Movie DVD (pirated): $4 – 7.00
  • Muriatex Muriatic Acid, 1 Lt: $1.95
  • Music CD (pirated): $5
  • Napkins, Delsey, 125 ct: $0.63
  • Off Aerosol, 9 oz: $7.96
  • Office visit, private physician: $10
  • One-way airfare from Corozal to Philip P. Goldson International Airport, Belize City: $21.10
  • Onions: $0.40 per pound
  • Peanuts, Salted 12 oz: $2.07
  • Pizza, Corozal Town: $12 delivered
  • Pork chops: $2 per pound
  • Post Office Box Rental, 1 yr: $32.50
  • Potatoes: $0.50 per pound
  • Red beans: $0.60 per pound
  • Residential lot with bay view in Corozal: $36,000
  • Rice and Beans with Chicken or fish at local restaurant: $2.50
  • Rum, liter (Belize One Barrel brand): $6.82
  • Rum (Belize One Barrel brand) drink at bar: $1.50 to $2.50
  • Secret Deodorant, 1.6 0z: $4.98
  • Shampoo, Local Caprice Brand 900 ml: $2.50
  • Syrup, Aunt Jemima, 12 oz: $2.54
  • Taxi within Corozal Town: $2.50
  • Taxi, Cancun to Corozal Town: $400.00 (5.5 hr trip)
  • Toothpaste, Aquafresh, 50 ml: $0.90
  • Tomato Sauce, Med. Can: $0.78
  • Tomatoes, Local 1 lb: $1.00
  • Tomatoes, Imported from Mexico 1 lb: $2.50
  • Trash Bags, Glad 13 gal/22 ct: $6.01


guest1 said...


What does what the pricing look like now in(2014)compared to then (2007)


Dave Rider said...

Hi Eddy,

Good question, as they say. I don't have the answer right at hand. It's going to take a day or three to gather all the answers. But, I'll get it and post a new 'What's it Cost' comparing the two.

Thanks for asking.