Why We Changed Our Retirement Plans to Move to Belize

Scott and Michelle Lyons planned to move to Mexico when their kids went to college. But when Michelle went on a cruise that stopped in Belize…their plans changed.

“When I discovered that English was the language in Belize, I knew I had found something that would work for us,” says Michelle.

The impossibly blue waters, soft sandy beaches, and wonderfully warm climate of beautiful Belize also helped win the couple over. From the sparkling sea filled with palm-lined islands to the verdant jungles teeming with wildlife, Belize beckoned with an enticing blend of relaxation and adventure…a tropical paradise.

Scott and Michelle had a great life back in Boise, Idaho, but like so many other couples they fell into a “keeping up with the Joneses” lifestyle. “Scott owned a construction company and worked so hard that he missed out on much of the life he helped create,” explains Michelle. “He wasn’t able to go with me to visit prospective colleges with our son. He even missed that cruise I took that stopped in Belize.”

These days, they enjoy a much more relaxed lifestyle and Belize is so affordable that the Lyons keep two homes there…one on the mainland and one on the tropical island of Ambergris Caye with its white-sand beaches.

They chose San Pedro, on Ambergris, to set up a shipping business which helps expats to relocate, and built an apartment there for themselves to enjoy. When they’re on the island, they take full advantage of life on the water.

“We spend our time on Ambergris boating, fishing, snorkeling, diving, or whatever else we choose,” says Michelle. “On the mainland in Ladyville, we love to go zip lining and cave tubing. We enjoy visiting the Belize Zoo and the Baboon Sanctuary. And the nearby eco park has one of the prettiest pools in the country. You can go horseback riding, river kayaking, or visit the butterfly habitat there.”

Belize is popular with a large number of expats and Scott and Michelle now have a great circle of friends.

“We look forward to our monthly wine club with friends,” says Michelle. “And, honestly, some of the best times happen on our patio where we share drinks with friends…it’s always five o’clock somewhere!”

Day-to-day expenses are remarkably low and Michelle loves shopping at the local fruit and vegetable stands.

“I can buy an entire bunch of bananas for 50 cents,” she says. “My favorite stand always has onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, pineapple, and carrots. The treat is to see what’s different each week. Sometimes there are gigantic grapefruits, sometimes eggplants and squash. You just shop first and plan meals after.

“Pork and chicken are inexpensive in Belize and both are completely natural without added hormones and preservatives. I have learned 101 things to do with chicken…all of them delicious!”

Their home in Ladyville has an abundance of fruit trees…banana, mango, guava, lime, lemon, and pomegranate. They keep a vacation rental next to their house, which supplements their income even further.

“Back in Boise, Scott suffered from constant heartburn from the stress of his career,” says Michelle. “He never left the house without a bottle of antacids and would go through a bottle every other week. The bottle we brought with us when we moved to Belize hasn’t been touched.”

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