Getting Paid to Be on Permanent Vacation in the Caribbean

“I guess I was just sick of the corporate stuff. I felt like if I didn’t make a move to get something going…it would never happen,” says John Dykes.

John and his wife, Mimi, were doing pretty well. They had a nice home in Texas where John was running a large automotive supply store and Mimi had her own staffing agency.

“But it was a hamster wheel and I wanted off,” says John.

So the couple moved to the Caribbean coast of Mexico.

“In 2001, I found a dive shop for sale here in Cancun and bought it,” says John. “Then I went home, we sold all our stuff and moved down in less than a year. That was the beginning of a major life improvement. We shouldn’t have waited so long!

“Being out on the water, watching the sun come up over the Caribbean as we head to the reef with a boat-full of eager clients, is a life I used to dream of. The dive shop is doing great. We’ve recovered our initial investment many times over and have reinvested in a restaurant,” John said.

John and Mimi love their new lives.

“We know that many of our divers go back to some boring office job, a long commute, and cold weather and snow,” Mimi says. “I sometimes think of them when we’re eating freshly caught lobster or grouper and drinking a margarita watching the sun set over the lagoon.”

Mimi describes diving the reef as like swimming in an aquarium. “There are tons of fish,” she says. “Most days, we can see at least 50 different varieties along with turtles and rays. The colors are amazing! You don’t even have to dive deep. Snorkeling is wonderful and the visibility is awesome.”

John says he can do that every day if he wants. “I can’t help but feel sorry for my customers when they tell me they only have three or four days left of their vacation.

“I started the restaurant, Blue Gecko Cantina, so my diving clients would have a place to eat breakfast before we headed out to the reef…and then grab a few beers when they returned. I had no idea it would take off like it has. Now, the Gecko is making more money than the dive shop and the place is usually packed most nights with happy faces. I already have a spot secured for another location just down the coast.”

Clearly, Mexico has presented John and Mimi with plenty of entrepreneurial opportunity. But their overseas move is much more than that.

“Getting out onto the warm, blue waters of the Caribbean is my job now. Sometimes, John and I can’t believe it. I don’t think I could ever live in the States again,” says Mimi with a huge smile. “The stress was tough to handle and there was nothing fun about our jobs. Now, between the restaurant and the dive shop, we get to meet happy people every day. They are having fun and we get to help them.”

“This is our life,” John concludes. “It’s almost like we are getting paid to be on a permanent Caribbean vacation.”

©iStock.com/Lisa Thornberg

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