Since moving to Belize full-time in 2012, empty-nesters Christine Cotten and her husband Tom ease into their day. Morning time for them on Ambergris Caye starts with a coffee on the pier in front of their beachfront condo, watching the sun rise, golden and glowing, in a purple sky. The salty air competes with the aroma of flowers as they plan the day ahead.
After walking their two dogs and getting some exercise in the cool of the morning, they make breakfast—usually a smoothie made of fresh papaya or mango, soy milk, and frozen cranberries. This meal is like all the others they’ll share today: bright, healthy, and using all the fresh ingredients so plentiful in Belize.
After breakfast, sand still between her toes, Christine gets to work.
(Work for this Texas native means sitting at her kitchen table, looking out at the Caribbean, helping others plan custom itineraries to her beloved adopted country.)
As she works, she savors the sounds of tropical birds, boats, golf carts whizzing by, and small planes coming and going off the island.
Christine probably has one of the world’s best “offices,” overlooking beautiful vistas where she can feel the breeze through open windows. Most months of the year are cool enough that she doesn’t even need to run air conditioning.
“I like to wrap up my work day by 4.00 p.m. to take the dogs for another walk. I love dawn and dusk on the beach,” Christine says. “Evenings we go to a local restaurant for delicious lobster or snapper. Or we head to our favorite wine spot. Other times, we simply stay home, grill fresh seafood and vegetables, have some chocolate—made locally in San Pedro. We then sit on the pier, sip wine as the sun sets and watch the moon rise. It’s one of my favorite times of day.”
Most of their friends live right in their neighborhood. Often, they’ll get together for diving, snorkeling, beach barbecues and bonfires, or time out at their favorite nightspot.
“It’s difficult to get bored here,” Christine says. “Belize has so much natural beauty in the form of waterfalls, caves, Maya ruins, rivers, the Caribbean Sea, and the jungle. On the island, we enjoy kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, or bicycling about. We often go inland to hike and explore. I love seeing all the villages throughout the country and experiencing things from unique cultures, like Garifuna drumming and Maya chocolate making.”
Although Ambergris Caye was once a quiet little island, things are hopping on the Caye these days. The Cottens live on the quieter south end of the island, and go into bustling San Pedro to visit the restaurants, art galleries, shops, and entertainment spots.
“We’re fully enjoying every minute of our lives here in this wonderful country,” Christine says.