April Femrite is a Business Broker and licensed Commerical Real Estate Professional at Coldwell Banker Commercial Fisher Group in Mankato, Minnesota, USA. She has many years of experience as a business founder, owner and manager along with a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) from Minnesota State University, Mankato. April has completed her designation as a Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) from the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA) which less than 10% of all the Business Brokers around the world have achieved. She provides professional, knowledgeable representation to clients during the process of selling or buying privately held businesses. April specializes in representing sellers and buyers of resorts, hotels, lodges, businesses, and investment properties in the country of Belize through a co-brokering partnership with Belize Sotheby’s International Realty. Our unique relationship provides our clients with international exposure through agents working in both Belize and the United States. April is well traveled in the country of Belize, developed buyer contacts all over the world and can successfully navigate clients through the legal and financial process when selling and purchasing real estate in Belize.
Villa Verano is a 5 star luxury beachfront destination in the charming town of Hopkins, Belize. The Villa has a total of 10 exquisite rooms with 13 bathrooms and accommodates up to 38 people for extended families and groups. Purchase as a resort or a single or multi-family home. The Villa currently operates as a boutique hotel featuring a rooftop deck with spectacular ocean and mountain views, a billiards room, galley entertaining kitchen and hot tub. Additional amenities include a library, fully equipped air conditioned fitness room and a 70 foot beachfront pool with the spacious, furnished deck overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
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Rare opportunity to own a year around resort in the Toledo area of southern Belize. Located on approximately 25 acres along the beautiful Rio Grande River with almost a mile of river frontage, The Lodge at Big Falls consists of nine units with the addition of three new elegant hardwood cabanas, exotic gardens, pool, tour service and full service restaurant.
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This 3,000 acre development site is located 12 miles north of San Pedro Town on the island of Ambergris Caye. At 4.5 square miles, this is the largest single parcel available for sale on the island. Ambergris Caye is 26 miles long and borders the southern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula (Mexico) as well as the second largest barrier reef in the world. Tourism is rapidly growing in Belize with over half being generated on Ambergris Caye.
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This Belize Spice Farm & Botanical Gardens, located at the foothills of the Maya Mountain was developed in 1990 as a cacao and citrus farm. Now this 541 acre Golden Stream Plantation includes spice plants, exotic fruit trees, teak and mahogany trees and ornamental plants and is home to one of the largest black pepper and vanilla farms in the country. The farm is adorned with varieties of beautiful trees including teak, mahogany, ziricote, Santa Maria, rosewood, sacred banyan trees and sandalwood. The land has 441 acres dedicated to citrus and hardwoods, 50 acres to spices and 50 acres for the owner's private residence.
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Here is your opportunity to own a piece of island paradise! Profitable Cabana's in popular Caye Caulker have grown in popularity and occupancy rate! You do not need to reside in Belize to own these rental units, with a trusted property manager and housekeeper/maintenance trio who live full-time on the island; your only concern is when to visit! There are three 2 bedroom and one 1 bedroom units within the fenced property surrounding a pool and bbq/outdoor dining area. To aid staff efficiency, there is a separate building for storage, supplies, and washer/dryer. Each Casita has a full kitchen, wifi, cable TV, hardwood floors, tiled shower, and air conditioning. Near the beach, shopping, dining and more...it's easy to see why the relatively new Caye Caulker Cabana's are already a profitable rental business!
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Investment opportunity in San Pedro, on the island of Ambergris Caye, in Belize Central America. Nearly 10,000 sq. ft. of profitable space with retail, warehouse, and residential units. Ground Floor/Retail: Storefront space with 3300 sq. ft. includes 3 individual offices with Pergo type floors, each with a/c units. Common area, bathroom, and additional 800 sq. ft. of bonus storage. Remaining space is an open floor plan with high ceilings and sturdy concrete flooring. New 5 ton a/c unit recently installed. Large corner lot on a thoroughfare with foot/vehicle traffic to neighborhoods and other businesses. Retail space currently leased to a reputable, long-term business.
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This drinking and dining establishment has been a popular tourist destination in the Caribbean for over 25 years. Purchase price includes structure, 367' dock, all equipment and appliances, liquor license, trade permits, pier permit and licenses, tax and social security numbers, and government sales tax ID. Name is highly recognized and is registered and trademarked. This bar has been featured on International House Hunters, Caribbean Travel Magazine, Fodors, Moons and has a Trip Advisor "Certificate of Excellence". A cash offer will provide over a 10% return on investment for the new owner. $2,800,000 USD
Turn-key boutique resort with 4 cabanas, coffee shop and spacious home currently configured as the owner’s apartment and two income producing rental suites. A fifth cabana is currently used as an office but can easily be transformed into additional rental unit. This profitable business is a consistently a top rated establishment. Only steps from the beach and aquamarine Caribbean Sea, this bed and breakfast offers an on site coffee/smoothie shop and bakery along with a dipping pool and daily maid service. Kitchen staff, housekeeping and security guard will stay on board and work for new owner. All business licenses, trade name and corporate registration, bank account numbers in addition to 2 golf carts included in the purchase price. The two parcels of land total 0.25 acres and buyer will receive title absolute. A cash purchase offers buyer a 10% return on their investment. $1,300,000 USD
Newly built PADI Dive Center located on the beach. 21' Mako Boat is rigged for 6 divers - Private Charter Specialists. 36' Pelican Dive Boat with hard t-top and sunbeam canopy *will need engines. Turn Key with 5 staff. Owner lives outside of Belize 80% of year. (16) sets of NEW gear (40) Snorkel sets(4) deep sea fishing rods (4) Hawaiian slings (2) Webpages, Social Media, Merchandise - Rash guards, t-shirts and hats, Flat screen T.V.s, Computers, tablets, appliances. Office in Paradise, living the dream! This VERY unique opportunity on Belize’s #1 destination for diving and Snorkeling. Hotel Partners – Receive 20% commission on all accommodation bookings. 5 minutes from the second largest Barrier reef in the world and 10 minutes from world class marine parks. Owner will also consider partnership investment in addition to full sale of business. $350,000 USD
Transfer of Ownership/Closing Process
A Belize attorney handles the closing by completing the title search and facilitating the transfer of ownership. You may have your broker, agent and/or attorney from your home country complete the initial “Offer to Purchase” or “Letter of Intent to Purchase” and any seller financing documents but it is advised to work with a Belize attorney for the final “Purchase Agreement” to ensure an accurate transfer of title and/or corporate registration. Most business operations in Belize are set up and registered as a Belize Corporation, Chapter 250. A new owner would purchase the shares of the corporation and have the Belize bank account, tax ID numbers, social security registration, trade name, all business licenses, trade permits, real estate and personal property transferred to their name. Annual property taxes are extremely low and there are no capital gains tax in Belize. Instead, the Belize government imposes a “Stamp Duty” or “Stamp Tax” on all real estate transactions. At time of ownership transfer, the buyer pays a 5% tax on the purchase price for a corporate transaction and an 8% tax on residential real estate.
Mortgage or Seller Financing
If you are offered seller financing you can choose to either file a mortgage and receive title to the property at closing or state in the purchase agreement that you will not receive title until the seller provided loan is paid in full. In order to record a mortgage, there is a 1.5% fee of the total amount financed and then a 0.6% fee to discharge the mortgage. If the buyer defaults on loan payments to the seller, the seller can exercise its power of sale under the mortgage or the purchase agreement can stipulate that the seller could terminate the agreement and the property reverts back to the seller. A Belize attorney determines how much of the deposit/down payment the seller gets to keep which is dependent upon the period of time the buyer has occupied the property.
Business tax is paid monthly equal to 1.75% of gross receipts (not including any GST or Hotel tax collected) and is paid to the Government of Belize (GOB). Hotel operators collect a 9% accommodations tax from guests and is paid to the BTB (Belize Tourism Board). A 12.5% GST (general sales tax) is collected on all goods, food, and beverages and paid to the Belize income tax department. Tour operators collect a 6% tour tax from guests and is paid to the GOB . File annual tax return by March 31 of each year. At time of business sale, you would want to get a Certificate of Clearance from the Belize Tax Commissioner verifying all business tax has been paid to date.
To establish a local bank account, customers must bring in two (2) Bankers References from established institutions, along with his/her passport or a notarized copy, and one other form of identification. The customer also must bring in a recent utility bill (not older than 3 months). Recommended banks for real estate lending are The Belize Bank and Atlantic Bank. Belize banks are able to grant commercial loans for a maximum of 10 years with interest rates ranging from 8.5% to 12%. The client is expected to contribute 40% equity and the bank can consider providing funding of 60% of the total cost of the investment. If you purchase a Belize corporation, you will not need to open a new bank account, the corporate account number along with tax I.D. numbers will transfer to the new owner.
Residency and Citizenship
Many expats apply for permanent residence in Belize. The primary reason is that as a resident you can work in Belize without needing a work permit. Having your residency also makes it easy to travel in and out of the country. You must live in Belize for 50 consecutive weeks before you can apply for permanent residence. To do this, enter the country on a tourist visa and then renew your visa every 30 days until you reach 50 weeks. At that point, you can submit your application for permanent residence. It can take a few years to receive approval and your residence card.
If you want to apply for permanent residence, talk to the local Immigration official early in your trip. Explain that you plan to live in Belize for 50 weeks so that you can apply for permanent residence. If the Immigration official tells you that they won’t approve your visa beyond six months, hire a Belizean attorney to write a letter for you, to support your residency process.
To become a resident, U.S. and Canadian citizens pay a non-refundable fee of $1,000 with their application. Most other nationalities pay a higher amount that covers the cost of a return ticket to their country of origin. Once you complete the residency application form you’ll submit it to the Immigration and Nationality Department. After you’ve been a permanent resident of Belize for a minimum of five years you can apply to become a Belizean citizen. Foreign business owners may still own a Belizean corporation without permanent residence. You just need to have your visa renewed if you stay in Belize more than 30 days at a time and will also need to obtain approval through Central Bank, which a Belize attorney can assist with.
Belize, the only English-speaking country in Central America, offers a unique combination of richly rewarding experiences that make it unlike any destination on the planet. Tourists are attracted to and keep returning to the area because of its white beaches, friendly people, and the world class diving, snorkeling, fishing and sailing.
Swim with exotic sea life along the Western Hemisphere’s largest barrier reef. Explore the fascinating mysteries of the largest concentration of Maya sites in the region. Hike thousands of acres of unspoiled forest, including one of the only jaguar preserves in the world. Escape to any of the more than 400 tropical islands and three of the Western Hemisphere’s four atolls (ring shaped islands formed by coral), surrounded by pristine turquoise waters. Discover the highest waterfall and the most extensive cave system in Central America, and dive the captivating Blue Hole.
The harmonious blend of Maya, Mestizo, Creole, Garifuna, East Indian, Mennonite, Arab and Chinese creates distinctive cultural traditions, including cuisine just waiting for you to discover.
Ambergris Caye is Belize’s largest island at approximately 25 miles (40 km) long and 1 mile (1.6 km) wide. Located next to the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere, Ambergris Caye is a top worldwide destination for water related adventures. Visit once and you will see why it has been named one of Time Magazine’s places to visit in 2017.
From cobblestone streets of bustling San Pedro outward to the northern and southern ends of the island, there is a wide assortment of accommodations and activities to suit all budgets. The island boasts free live music and festivals—many of which are on the beach—a sophisticated wine and cheese bar, several espresso cafés, supermarkets, art galleries, yoga and fitness studios, and a variety of fine restaurants, ethnic eateries and beach cafés. Enjoy the island at your own pace and it only takes 20 minutes to fly to the mainland for a change of scenery.
Southern Belize (Toledo District) is known by many as “The Forgotten Land,”Southern Belize’s undiscovered landscapes serve as a threshold for lushrainforests, ancient Maya artifacts, fascinating cultures and enough eco-adventures to impress even the most discerning traveler. Punta Gorda is the gateway to everything from off-shore fishing, to river trips, as well as caving, birding and Maya archaeological sites. Not to mention, some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.
Western Belize (Orange Walk District) is home to many archaeological sites, like Cahal Pech. Other points of interest include the Butterfly Farm and the Rainforest Medicinal Trails and the Benque House of Culture in Benque Viejo Del Carmen. For the more adventurous traveler, Nachuch Che’em Park is known for its cave tubing and zip-lining offerings. And for everything from Maya temples to caving to hiking to kayaking or horseback riding, San Ignacio is definitely the place to be in Western Belize.
Southeast Coast (Stann Creek District) is a blend of culture and adventure. From the Maya Mountains views to the golden-sand beaches, this region has something for everyone. Dangriga, a laid-back Garifuna seaside community near Hopkins, is a great beach destination and Placencia is known for water activities like kayaking, snorkeling and diving. Inland is full of adventures, like Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Mayflower Bocawina National Park and Blue Hole National Park. This coast has it all.
Central Belize (Belize and Cayo Districts) is home to the howler monkeys and many rare bird species, Central Belize is perfect for travelers looking to get into the wild bringing together some of the country’s best features, including Maya sites, dense jungles, rushing waterfalls and extensive caves. The Central Coast is also home to Belize City, the cultural and business epicenter of Belize.
Northern Belize (Corozal District) is a destination for those wanting to get closer to Mother Nature, avoid large crowds or experience everything from the archaeological wonders of the Maya sites to exploring the jungles, rainforests and lagoons. If you’re looking to get off the grid, head here.
Belize Reef (Islands) As the largest and most intact reef system within the Northern Hemisphere, the Belize Barrier Reef comprises seven key marine reserve zones. The reef’s crystal blue waters are a haven for its marine community and an enticing exploratory region for SCUBA divers and snorkelers. Discover the over five hundred species of fish, seventy hard coral and thirty six soft coral species among the plenty of aesthetic views both above and below water. In 1996, this reef was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its significant habitats and natural development. Add the cultural appeal of Belize and skilled guides, and you’ve got yourself the dive trip of a lifetime.
Tourist arrivals to Belize are heavily increasing with a 43% jump since the year 2000 and a 29% increase between 2010-2015. Approximately 95% of arrivals into Belize are for leisure travel and with new non-stop flights from the US and Canada, it makes for an easy vacation destination.
Belize has had a 13% increase in overnight tourist arrivals from 2015 to 2016 resulting in $377 million USD being spent annually by visitors. Travel and tourism capital investment is expected to increased 8.4% from 2014 to 2015 and is expected to increase another 9.6% this year.
The latest tourism statistics for the first quarter of 2018 indicate that Belize’s popularity as a must-visit destination in Central America continues to set unprecedented records. For the first time ever, there were over 55,000 overnight visitors during the month of March, representing an increase of 24.8% over the same period in 2017. Cruise ship arrivals also registered an upward trend during the first quarter. There were 143 cruise ship calls and almost 400,000 cruise passengers arriving in Belize, representing an increase of 4.6% more visitors than 2017.
Overnight arrivals for March 2018 increased by 24.8% over 2017, which represented over 55,000 visitors arriving in Belize in one month. This is a record high for any month of the year and marks the apex of the tourism high season in Belize. There was a 22.5% cumulative increase in overnight arrivals over the first quarter of 2018 when compared to 2017.
More information on tourism growth can be found at:
In 2013 and 2014 Ambergris Caye won back-to-back Trip Advisor members awards as the “best island” in the world to visit.
The World Travel Awards named Ambergris Caye, Belize as the leading destination in Mexico & Central America for years 2015 and 2016.
Time Magazine top 52 world places to go in 2017
Financial Times awarded “Best Tourism Location of the Future 2017/2018”; with distinctions in “Best Investment Awards – Hotels”, “Best Enhanced Airlift”, and “Best Sustainable Strategy”
Belize currency exchange is extremely easy for United States Dollar conversion. The Belize dollar is locked at $2 Belize = $1 USD. Most accommodations and tours are listed in USD prices, and most restaurants, and shops are listed in BZ$. Nearly everyplace readily accepts USD currency.
Travel to Belize is now easier than ever as Southwest, American, Delta, and United fly to Belize from major cities across the United States, with a travel time of just 2-5 hours. Canadians too can now enjoy Belize as both WestJet and Air Canada now offer non-stop service from Toronto.
Getting to Ambergris is easy because both of Belize’s domestic airlines—Tropic Air and Maya Island Air—have hourly flights to the island. It takes only 20 minutes to fly from the international airport in Belize City to San Pedro. A water taxi is also available for about $15 USD and takes 90 minutes to travel from the mainland to San Pedro.
Belize is a former British commonwealth and adopted English as it’s official language. While you’ll hear familiar words of the English language, a large population of Belizeans, speak an English-based Creole (Belizean Creole or Kriol) during most informal, social and interethnic dialogue.
From the moment you arrive in Belize – whether you are an adventure traveler, part of a family trip or in the country for a relaxing beach vacation – Belize people and culture make you feel as welcome and comfortable, like nowhere you’ve ever visited. In Belize, our traditions and customs are varied and represent more than eight diverse cultures. For generations, the people of Belize have demonstrated a cultural commitment to preserve the country’s unique charms. This enduring promise to the land, the waters and you, our visitor, inspires all to achieve a genuine and intimate connection to a variety of extraordinary experiences.
One of the nicest things about visiting Belize is the weather. With an average yearly temperature of 84° F (29°C), it’s always warm, yet comfortable. Costal sea breezes as well as our jungle and rainforests keep you cool even in the hottest summer months while winters can be cool but never very cold. In short, the climate is pretty much near perfect. Even in winter (November-March) the temperature in Belize rarely falls below 60°F (16°C), while the summer (May-September) is around 86°F (30°C). Humidity is also fairly consistent at around 85 percent.