Alfredo and Yvonne Villoria were just another fast-paced, career-minded couple in Los Angeles. But money-making wasn't enough. "We felt that something was missing," says Yvonne. "In 1976, we decided that 1980 was the cut-off year. In 1980, we would leave the United States. All we were doing was chasing the dollar. We wanted more. We thought there had to be more to life than just working and owning things.
Over the years, Barry and Claudia Leon lived happily all over the States. They both had full and varied careers in psychology, college teaching, business, and biology.
Life was good in the States. We had a big house, two cars, and a community of friends in our Pennsylvania hometown. We had meaningful work and our weeks rushed by in a whirlwind of activity for both us and our children. We espoused the American view of “work hard, play hard.” But something was missing. The lifestyle we were living was too stressful, too busy, too unhealthy, and too expensive.
Since moving to Belize full-time in 2012, empty nesters Christine Cotten and her husband Tom ease into their day. Morning time for them on Ambergris Caye starts with a coffee on the pier in front of their beachfront condo, watching the sun rise, golden and glowing, in a purple sky.
Michael and Amanda Cyphers retired early partly to give their 14-year-old son, Colin, a better way of life, away from the hustle-bustle of their Las Vegas suburban home. They find they have more quality family time now in Belize. “I have more time with my husband and son, because I’m away from the 101 things, the 3,800-square-foot house, the cars, everything we had." We live a humble life here.
“In 2004 we’d looked at property in Belize and decided to let the euphoria settle down while we really thought it out. But then a day came when it took me two hours to go 60 miles on the Florida Turnpike and cost me $13 in tolls. That was the final straw. I had it. That was the turning point. I called Kim and told her to contact the real estate agent.”
Tired of the risks and weary of working for someone else, Craig dreamed of opening his own beach bar. "I was sick of jumping out of bed each day to an alarm clock and fighting the crazy traffic. And each year, when the weather began to turn in the fall, I found myself wishing for the warmth of a tropical climate," Craig says. So when a friend suggested he look into Belize, he did exactly that. "My friend had heard it was a great place to make a fresh start..."
Five hours of driving on paved highways with jaw-dropping views of mountains and farmland brought us from the international airport in Belize City to our destination: Monkey River Village in the Toledo District, the southernmost area of Belize. We parked our truck and hopped on a boat taxi for the five-minute ride to our new but temporary home, a two-story Caribbean-style home...
When my husband and I first started dreaming about taking a six-month "family sabbatical" with our four young kids somewhere in Central America, we'd considered Costa Rica and Panama as well as Belize. But then I met a British couple who lived in southern Belize. We stayed in touch and they often gave me advice about our unfolding plans.