“I never, ever want to go through another cold, Canadian winter again,” says Sue.
Sue, 49, and her husband, Steve, 54, left Toronto, Canada, for Ambergris Caye, Belize in September 2012.
“We love the weather in Belize, with sun and the warm temperatures all year round,” says Sue. “We certainly don’t miss the rat race of our past life in Toronto, and the crazy pressure to always follow the latest trends, and spend all our time working just to buy more ‘stuff.’ We may not make the money we did back in Canada, but we happily get by with less.”
Sue and Steve estimate that their cost of living has dropped 50% in Belize. And they also have a wonderful recreational life.
“We love being out on the water,” says Sue. “The aquamarine color of the Caribbean is my absolute favorite, and the island looks most beautiful when seen from just offshore. We’re lucky enough to have a couple of friends with boats, so we get out to the reef, to snorkel, or around Ambergris Caye on a regular basis.
“Recently we’ve started sea kayaking, which is a great way to exercise and enjoy the water on a calm day.”
The Blairs have also enjoyed traveling in other areas of Belize.
“A great memory from last summer was approaching Caye Caulker—a smaller island to the south—and encountering a pod of dolphins that swam and played around our boat for a good 45 minutes.
“We also had a wonderful time in Placencia, a while back. The trip there from Belize City was quite the experience. Placencia is a lovely village, with a much slower pace than San Pedro. We got to bowl at the only bowling alley in Belize and eat at the best restaurant in the entire country, Maya Beach Bistro.”
Prior to moving Sue was on the Ontario Film Review Board, while Steve had a long career in the music industry as a booking agent. Not yet close to retirement age, the Blairs began their adventure by searching for a viable business…which led them to a little bar on the beach on north Ambergris Caye, called Coco Loco’s.
“Who doesn’t want to own a little beach bar somewhere?” says Sue. “We felt that we could really make something of it. And we did. We took it over in October of 2012, gave the place a complete facelift, and started serving pizza and pulled pork sandwiches.”
After two years they received an “offer we couldn’t refuse” to buy the bar. They accepted and slowed their pace down even more. Now the Blairs have begun looking around for their next adventure. With more time on her hands, Sue has started baking bread…and her friends began asking her to bake bread for them, too.
“While I had never envisioned myself doing this as an actual business, it’s now a possibility I’m considering,” she says. “We enjoy spending free time on the beautiful island of Ambergris Caye. But we always keep our eyes and ears open for niches that need to be filled.”
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