Paddleboarding, Kayaking, and a Perfect Income in Belize

Sue and Carlos Vasquez grew up in the harsh winters of Chicago and Wisconsin…and, eventually, they had enough of them. When their son reached adulthood, and the economy went south in the U.S., they decided to head south themselves.

That was five years ago and they have no regrets about making their new home in Belize.

”We dreamed for years about living in the Caribbean. We pinch ourselves every day that we are actually doing it,” says Sue. “I walk out my front door every morning to watch the sunrise over the Caribbean Sea. I couldn’t imagine a better way to start my day.”

Sue, 49, and Carlos, 50, have taken up paddleboarding and kayaking in their tropical, paradise home.

“In a typical week I find myself on the paddleboard several times for a 15 minute paddle out to Placencia Caye. I get to snorkel among beautiful coral and tropical fish,” says Sue, who recently found herself paddleboarding next to a manatee.

Last week, they posted pictures online of dolphins near their shore.

When they first landed in Belize, Sue and Carlos stayed in Ambergris Caye, an island in northern Belize that is very popular with expats. They found it an easy place to network. Their dream job was to manage a beachfront resort and, after spending their first year managing a pool supply store, they found the opportunity they were looking for. They relocated to Placencia, further south, to manage a thriving, beachfront, boutique resort.

Although they initially missed the busier action in Ambergris Caye when they moved to slower-paced southern Belize, the new opportunity allowed them to move into a beachfront condo on the property, where their typical day involves activities—like paddleboarding—that they only dreamed of in the indoor climate of the northern U.S.

Sue and Carlos find that they are so much more active than they were in the U.S. Although their new role came with a vehicle, they love using their bicycles to peddle to town for groceries or for a night out. They enjoy their year-round tans and have found themselves more fit than they were—without even trying.

They love spending the afternoon shopping around the farmer’s markets in town, where they find exotic produce that is not only organic, but more affordable by about 40% compared to the U.S.

A typical dinner for them now is locally sourced chicken (grilled outside) with organic salad or rice and beans. Food in Belize is non-processed, whole, and organic, and they love getting away from processed and fast foods.

“In a typical week we go to the farmer’s market to pick up our fresh veggies and fruit,” says Sue. “Then we swing by the pier when the fishermen come in with the catch of the day.”

Sue and Carlos are still huge Packers fans, but they love the changes that have come with living in a tropical climate. Now, during the games, they grill outside and take a dip in the water during half-time.

Their other social activities include getting together with other paddleboarders on the water…stopping for a beer at a bar that you can kayak or paddleboard right up to…and going hiking in the many exotic and challenging routes in the nearby Maya Mountains.

They take long bike rides to visit friends throughout the 14-mile peninsula…and go fishing in the Caribbean. They also love entertaining new guests and introducing them to the village.

“We have the life now that we used to daydream about,” says Sue.

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