The difference between coming to Belize with money, and living here without money, is substantial.
Belize has staggering statistics.
It has the highest incidence of HIV in Central America. It has twenty to thirty percent unemployment. The doctor per patient ratio is among the worst in the world. 30-40% of the population lives in poverty and is dependent on agriculture and fishing for subsistence. Crime is familiar. Infrastructure is minimal. A high birth rate is matched by a high infant mortality rate. Housing and public utilities sputter.
Still, people from worse economies in Guatemala and Nicaragua come to San Pedro Town to look for work.
San Pedro Town has the barrier reef, tourist accommodations, things to do, an influx of money. Ambergris Caye, economically, supports the rest of Belize on its long narrow shoulders.
As a tourist, good overcomes bad. As a resident, bad is what bites at your heels.
Visiting and staying here are different as dogs and cats.