A Life on the Beach in Corozal, Belize

Kyler and Gerard Cordts relish living in the home they designed for themselves on their personal beach. Their expansive living room affords a view of the sparkling, tranquil bay.

Just a few steps beyond their doors they can enjoy a quick dip…or take their Hobie Cat out for a spin. “We rarely see a boat go by. We have total privacy here,” says Kyler.

Before moving to Belize, the Cordts lived quite a different lifestyle in New York and New Jersey. They owned several successful clothing boutiques in New York and were involved in the local Greenwich Village scene. Their historic home, in nearby New Jersey, was a 15-minute commute from work. They were engrossed in the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan lifestyle, surrounded by 9 million others.

Over time, the cost of the high-end Manhattan lifestyle took a toll. With four daughters, the college and wedding bills eroded the Cordts’ nest egg. Kyler says, “We realized that we couldn’t afford to maintain that same lifestyle once we retired.”

Then they saw an enticing ad. “We decided to take a three-day jaunt to Corozal to check it out. We hadn’t researched other countries, nor did we visit other regions in Belize. We bought our beachfront property during that first trip, after falling in love with the water and the view. The price was $100,000 for two-thirds of an acre on a private bay. It seemed a perfect spot to build our retirement home, where we could swim and sail in warm, pristine water,” says Kyler.

They flew back to the East Coast, sold their classic home, packed up their favorite belongings, and quickly moved to Corozal. That was over four years ago.

Kyler notes, “We tend to shoot from the hip. It worked well for us in business. We took the same approach when we bought the property in Belize, sold our East-Coast home, and moved to Corozal.”

Kyler personally designed their three-bedroom, three-bathroom home. They used the proceeds from the sale of their New Jersey home to purchase the property and finance the construction. (Cost of construction in Corozal ranges from $65 to $85 per square foot.)

One especially satisfying aspect of their new lifestyle is the time they spend teaching local Belizean children to sail with the Corozal Bay Sailing Club. “I love what the club is doing. My husband Gerard is the Commodore, and he’s having the time of his life helping the local kids,” says Kyler. During sailing-club competitions the kids travel to other towns they would otherwise never see and they gain self-esteem in the process.

And “we have such a diverse circle of friends. We don’t care what they did for a living in the past. And we don’t talk about religion and politics.” Many of the Cordts’ friends are Oregon and California transplants. They also have close Belizean friends, some of whom they met through the sailing club.

The Cordts set aside time to visit with their daughters and grandkids in the U.S. about three times a year. Their daughters and families come to visit them in Belize.

Kyler had never owned a dog before moving to Belize. Now the Cordts enjoy the company of their two Belizean “potlickers”—Hoboken and Hackensack.

The couple has clearly adjusted to living in Corozal, where they manage comfortably on their Social Security income. Kyler emphatically states, “This is now my home. We’ll never move back.”

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