Panama vs Belize

What's the difference between Panama & Belize? I understand Panama is dirty but, what about Belize--does Belize have a garbage disposal problem? What's the difference between the beaches (Panama vs Belize)?

Have travelled extensively through both countries.
Very hard to compare as very different.
Better retirement benefits
Better health care services
Cheaper services i.e. food / taxis
Better beaches (except Cayes of Belize)
Panama City is metropolitan with awesome historical architecture and new skyscrapers
Better Variety of Shopping Items

Real estate has appreciated tremendously last  5 years - expensive
More important you know some Spanish
A little longer flight to from North Amerca


Reef for diving better than Panama
Very friendly people
Predominantly English speaking
Less commercialized than Panama

Most of imported things come from China(some of quaiity is weak)
Variety of food items is weak and expensive if don't eat like Belizean(nonimported foods)

Both countries have beaches that there can be alot of washed up garbarge on shore.

Crime similar in both countries.  Panama City and Belize City I would be very cautious being in some neighbourhoods and would avoid some altogether. 

Both countries costs have appreciated in last decade however Panama much greater in real estate due to both Canal and the retirement darling it has been marketed by IL and other media sources due to its retirement benefits.

Thanks for your reply. The cons for Belize can be avoided by shopping in Mexico---right?   Are there ANY clean beaches to enjoy in any of the two countries? Or is it just a big garbage fest on the beaches in both places?

Yes, Mexico is a good option to pick up some items that aren't available in Belize to those that live in Northern Belize.

Yes there are clean beaches in both countries.  The Cayes and Placencia in Belize can be clean however more times than not sea grass blows in or garbage from offshore.  Residents do there best in inhabited areas to keep clean however it is a losing battle at times and sometimes no battle at all.

Personally, Panama has more and better beaches however the reef and the pristine crystal turquoise water of Belize draws me.

Additionally, you would have a difficult time in Panama without speaking some spanish.  Our first trip we nearly got on the wrong bus to a destination simply because we didn't speak the language.  Just part of the advernture......

Are you saying Panama does not have crystal, pristine, turquoise  water to float around (can't swim) in? What do you mean by better beaches in Panama?

if you are going down there with a standard social security retirement you cannot afford any beach property, you would be a few blocks inland.  You need to adjust your expectations alot.  you are looking at third world countries so garbage disposal is often a luxury or culturally not understood.  El Salvador does not have a single sewage treatment plant in the entire country.  Lake aitlan is highly polluted.  Belize is better than most at garbage pickup but it does wash ashore from neighboring countries.

Although the beaches in Belize are not always great for swimming, in San Pedro for example they are kept pretty clear of sargassum in the high season and of garbage that floats ashore too. As you live here you will find places that are good to swim, maybe at the end of one of the docks that get you out past the problem, or by the bridge North of town, and so on.

Mexico may be a shopping solution (if one is required) depending on your plans once you are here, for example if you wish to apply for permanent residency, you are not permitted to leave for more than 14 days total which would need to be factored into that equation. If your plan is to come and immerse in the culture, the price of foods will not be an issue, however brand name packaged US foods, imported meats, chocolates, etc. will stress the budget. Most things produced here are very reasonablely priced compared to Canada and the US (more so on the mainland than on the Cayes) with some exceptions like milk.

Can't speak to Panama.

Locally grown and made food in Belize is pretty cheap stuff that is imported does have a pretty good tariff on it another way to do shopping is to buy stuff off of people that are returning back North.

Be nice and adjust your assumptions. I've said nothing about beachfront property.  My only concern at this time is trash on beach. No need to address my financial situation--I'll be fine. K?

Thanks for all replies to my questions.  It seems Belize has the same garbage problems as Panama.

True you didn't ask about property but you did ask about the about the beach so grow up and take the information as it comes

But you're giving unsolicited information based on your assumption of my financial situation.  Now stop it and don't be mean.

Well you're the one that's making an assumption about what I think or don't think you're welcome for the information

Oh, I'm sorry, my bad. I thought you were the one that said something about not being able to live beachfront if retiring on standard social security.  I must have you confused with another. At any rate. Enjoy your day.

Apology accepted

But you WERE the one who mentioned retirement on social security!


Hi Its not difficult to compare each region. Panama is a richer and larger country than Belize, Panama has a bigger coastline than Belize and there are pristine beaches. Belize beaches are also lovely, down south and on the Cayes. Rubbish disposal is a problem in belize with few litter bins about, local town councils collect rubbish from beaches and the public, and business owners beachside also try to keep their areas clean. Regards :)

I have spent a lot of time on Ambergris Cay over the last 10 years and have been to Panama (as recently as this past February). Panama is a much larger & diverse country which uses the US dollar as it's currency & has a good variety of imported goods including food, alcohol, telecommunication and medical facilities available at very reasonable prices. Belize on the other hand has much higher prices on everything imported and unfortunately does not produce much domestically. Medical care is ok for minor emergencies but anything more serious could require going to another country for treatment. Beach trash is pretty much the same in both countries, diving & water clarity much better in Belize and fishing better in Panama. If you don't speak some spanish it is more difficult in & around Panama City but not so much of a problem in the more touristy less populated areas on both costs, most everyone speaks english in Belize. Both countries are very nice and most of the residents are friendly and helpful to tourists. It just depends on what you are looking for but I find Panama to be more culturally diverse, less expensive with more of a South American influence vs Belize which can be a more laid back experience for an expat

Well communicated Ken.  I agree with your perspective of both countries in comparing.

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