This all began last year when we thought about buying a house in Vegas. The more we looked at it, the more we realized that if we did, we’d be taking on an obligation that meant sentencing each other to continue working at the same pace until we dropped dead at our desks.

We've shared a longstanding desire to live at the beach, which is completely out of reach in the US. I hate cold weather, and even the sunny Winter in Vegas gets to me. I’d prefer never to see a temperature below 75.

When we visited Costa Rica, we loved it, but it’s not cheap; 25 years of US expats have driven up costs. Because Zdeni’s family is in Europe, we looked at Spain’s Costa del Sol, and Southern France near Montpellier. Both are beautiful, but both countries’ immigration process is onerous, complicated, and expensive. Plus, we’d lose 21% of our money to the dollar/Euro exchange rate. And, we’d have to pay the Spanish or French income tax, less whatever we paid the US.

We’ve read a lot about Mexico, and it has a lot of attractions, but we’re not comfortable with the level of violence there now. We looked at Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador, and Belize (where we’d vacationed a few years ago). It was no contest.

Belize:

  • It’s the former British Honduras, so English is the official language.
  • Tropical climate; location is pretty well protected from hurricanes
  • On the coast, yet a short distance from the rain forest (which is Zdeni's passion)
  • The 2nd-best reef in the world, for diving, snorkeling, etc. You can SCUBA dive not far off any beach. 
  • Simple, welcoming immigration rules. 
  • It’s inexpensive to live there. We can live on Social Security alone.
  • No tax on your global income. However much I can make in the US, no Belize tax.
  • No health insurance cost. You walk into a hospital or clinic, and they treat you. You might have a small co-pay, e.g., $20.
  • Belize dollar is pegged to the US dollar @ 2:1, so no vulnerability to unfavorable exchange rates.
  • 10 miles from Corozal to Mexico border, with its free trade zone, and the city of Chetumal (pop. 250,000), where you can buy whatever you need.

We’re going there April 9-22 to find a place to live and sign a lease. With any luck, we can move at the end of May, when our Vegas lease expires.

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We’re focusing our search on Ambergris Caye, which is a small island just off the Belize coast. It's a 20-minute flight from San Pedro (the only town) to Corozal, which is close to Chetumal, Mexico, and large-scale shopping.

Ambergris Caye has everything that's important to us: beautiful beaches, fresh fish, fruits, and vegetables every day, spectacular diving and snorkeling, music and night life. No congestion or pollution; the primary means of transportation are walking, bicycle, and golf carts.

Beaches

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San Pedro town

 San Pedro is a change from The Strip in Vegas, eh?

San Pedro is a change from The Strip in Vegas, eh?

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Food

 Fresh fish daily

Fresh fish daily

 

Dining

 Or something nicer for the evening

Or something nicer for the evening

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Festivals

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 Beautiful, uncrowded beaches, crystal clear water.

Beautiful, uncrowded beaches, crystal clear water.

Diving, snorkeling

 The Blue Hole is a destination dive site for people all over the world.

The Blue Hole is a destination dive site for people all over the world.

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 Really, really fresh

Really, really fresh

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 This redefines "truck stop." All golf carts.

This redefines "truck stop." All golf carts.

 Casual dining on the beach

Casual dining on the beach

 Or even elegant

Or even elegant

bars & Music

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history & Culture

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 Mayan ruins

Mayan ruins

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Y'all come visit, hear?

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We haven't seen many visitors in the time we've been in Vegas. We hope that will change once we're living on a tropical island.


As you can see, there are many reasons why we decided to do this, and why we're so excited to get everything done here and move there. Which brings us to:

Empty the las vegas house

We're taking almost nothing with us. A few clothes, some kitchen stuff, dive gear. That's about it. Everything else is for sale. Unfortunately, we can't ship anything to the East. We simply don't have the time or money to pack and ship goods. It's amazing how much stuff you accumulate without even trying. Now, we have to un-accumulate it, and in fairly short order. It's a big job.