Living Rent Free and Earning an Income by the Beach in Belize

Fifty-year-old Sue Vasquez grew up in the harsh winters of the Midwest. She wanted nothing more than a life where she could spend more time with her husband, Carlos, enjoying sun and warmth. “We were drawn immediately to the laidback culture of Belize, and sunny days all winter long,” says Sue.

Being years away from retirement, and still needing to work, Sue looked into moving to a place where she could work less and be steps from the beach. “I wanted to wake up each morning on the sea,” says Sue.

After trying several different places, she discovered the small, tropical country of Belize six years ago, and hasn’t left since. “I love the perfect stretch of uncrowded beach, right on my doorstep, and the beautiful turquoise water.”

Sue managed a few different businesses in Belize but always kept her sights on her dream of managing a small resort. Tourism in Belize is growing every year, and after three years, she found her perfect fit. She now manages a boutique micro resort located within Placencia village. It’s common here for managers to live right on site, so she now has a brand-new beach apartment where she can see the water from her front door. As this is part of her employment package, she lives there with no rent or bills.

She loves her new career and has ample opportunities to kayak, paddleboard, swim, and bike. She woke up this week to watch dolphins swimming 20 feet from shore, and last month found herself paddle boarding with a manatee underneath her board. “Since moving to Belize, where biking and walking are our main transportation, Carlos and I have lost 25 pounds, and kept it off,” says Sue.

Her job requires her to be a people person, but for her, this is a perk. “I love that my job allows me to connect to people from all over the world,” says Sue. “I love making coconut drinks fresh off the tree for guests, showing them where to kayak around the Cayes for the best snorkeling, when to visit the pier to watch dolphins, buy fresh fish, or watch the fishermen come in.”

She says another fun part of living in Placencia has been finding the best local food spots. “Our local favorites are Mim’s for stewed chicken, Cozy Corner for the view, Dawn’s for awesome local food, and Mr. Q’s for barbecue.”

Sue loves biking to several farmer’s markets in the village and sampling the different exotic produce that is brought in throughout the week. “Yesterday, I bought papaya and starfruit,” says Sue. “In the U.S. these are at a premium, but for a few dollars here, I can fill a small grocery bag.”

“I see all the pictures of the snow that my friends are posting on social media and all I can think is how much I don’t miss it. I never get tired of my Caribbean life,” says Sue. “My health and energy are better now than ever. This is common for those who move here because of the climate and natural living.”

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