24 Small Things I Love About Living In Belize: A New Way to Look at “Real Life”

The battle in Belize over oil exploration vs. NO OIL exploration along the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world continues…

Our reef system, residents LOVE for the country, authentic experiences and the fact that so much of Belize has been conserved is the reason many pick to visit Belize over other, often lower prices destinations throughout the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America but I want to take it down to a simpler level.

I’ll reel that in for now and talk about my gratitude for living in Belize.

Here are some of the small things (and not so small things) that I love about making Belize my home.

Sign at the RC Primary School In San Pedro

Sign at the RC Primary School In San Pedro

 1. After living in Manhattan, NYC for 10 years, I realize each day that I love a small town

2. I have my vegetable store, my fruit lady, my Annie’s Cart for pastries or snacks, my breakfast taco spot, my lunch deli.  Mine all mine.  Sure I used to have “my” Starbucks or “my” Whole Foods but it wasn’t because of my love of the owner and our daily chats or because they knew how I liked my food.  Now, even if I don’t ask, someone helps me pick out the best pineapple in the bunch.

3. I can often buy a freshly cut gallon of coconut water from my friend Bruce while golf carting home  $10bzd for one gallon of the most thirst quenching liquid on earth


I’m pretty much happy for the coconut period.  Coconut oil is SOOO good when roasting veggies…

4. I can spot INCREDIBLE birds just being out and about – The last two days have been a prime example.  I’ve spotted a Great Horned Owl, a handful of Orioles, a Reddish Egret, lots of spoonbills and a gorgeous Common Black Hawk just driving home on the golf cart.

great-horned-owl-ambergris-caye my-hawk

5. Rice and beans  Many Belizeans eat them every day.  I’d say I eat them 3 to 5 times a week.  This seemingly simple mix of rice, kidney beans and coconut milk is hearty and delicious with just about everything.  ESPECIALLY cole slaw or potato salad.  I’m so thankful how this plate below is one of life’s perfect combinations of food.


6.  Saying hello or mawnin’ to just about everyone you pass on the street  I always do this automatically when I head back to the states.  Just this year, many in Providence, Rhode Island looked at me like I was a crazy person.

Whatever!  I like saying “hi” and having someone say it back to me.

7.  My dog and I like to look for bonefish, sting rays and crabs while taking a walk


8.  I can take a siesta on a REALLY hot day  The summer and early fall here are hot.  A walk around town to do my errands easily leaves me soaked in sweat and always leaves me sleepy.  On some days, I can take a nap at 3pm.  Shhhh…don’t tell anyone.


9. I see the sun shine just about 365 days a year  Fall/the rainy season brings her grey and rainy days but there are only a handful throughout the year where the sun does not come out at all.  Down here those days are often jokingly called ‘Baby making weather’


10. Wooden Piers And Swim Platforms  I ALWAYS considered myself a beach girl.  Adult winter vacations were made for a trip to the Caribbean SO NOT for skiing.  But Ambergris Caye made me fall in love with “docklife”.  I would almost always rather lay on a sun-faded dock, listening to the sound of the ocean and just smelling that faint wood/salt/sunshine-y smell rather than the sand.

My view from the dock at Victoria House

My view from the dock at Victoria House

It’s so incredibly peaceful.

Swim Platform at Cayo Frances Farm & Fly

Swim Platform at Cayo Frances Farm & Fly

11. If walking, I can hitch a ride with a friend or a visitor in a golf cart or sometimes on the back of a mo-ped

12.  The first question asked is:  Where are you from?  Not Where do you work?  What a change from the states!  You are from Orange Walk…oh I was just over there!  I am from NY…how cool, my brother lives in the Bronx.  And so the conversation begins.

13. Hand painted signs and colorful wooden houses  There are SO many great signs in this country, here’s just one.  Click here for more.


And while many homes on Ambergris Caye are being replaced with cement, you can still many cute wooden homes here and lots more throughout the country.

Ignacios Cabins on Caye Caulker

Ignacios Cabins on Caye Caulker

14. Elbert Greer of White Sands Dive Shop’s daily photos of the sunrise (follow him here)  Every single day of the year, except during a brief vacation or two, Elbert takes an amazing photo of the sunrise.  Often over the sea, sometimes over a dock or over the lagoon, rain or shine they always make me smile.  And realize daily that I should get up earlier.

Sunrise earlier this week by Elbert Greer

Sunrise earlier this week by Elbert Greer

Maybe tomorrow 🙂

15. Being wowed by clouds (yup…clouds) every day  I’ve become a connoisseur of clouds – I like
to predict a nice sunset or just admire a strange shape or group of shapes.  Strange?  I don’t know.  Belize brings it out in you.

This time of year seems to bring the most spectacular.


16. Coke Light and for many, Coca-Cola  Both products are made differently here.  Coke Light with a different sweetener, Coca-Cola with cane sugar rather than corn syrup.  Both taste infinitely better than their US counterparts.

An array of the other favorite brand down here.  Did you know that soda from glass bottles tastes SO much nicer than plastic?


Fanta: Rootbeer, Ginger Ale, Grape, Orange, Pineapple, Tonic, Fruit Punch

17.  I can take a boat or bus or short plane trip to the jungle, or the savannah, to a Mayan site or a tiny atoll caye  Here’s a picture of Caye Caulker.  Just 20 minutes away by boat.

The split from above…


…and from the ground.


18. Almost every day someone tells me that I am SO LUCKY to live here  I’m not EXACTLY sure that it’s luck.  As a young adult, I traveled as much as I could, I happened (quite randomly – after seeing a “Better Belize It” shirt) upon a spot that I fell in love with and I decided it was now or never to try it out.  It hasn’t always been a smooth road (what place is?) but I am SURE GLAD I LIVE HERE.  Now.  At 43.  Rather than waiting for my 60s or 70s.

19. Sure…English speaking made things easier…but I love Kriol and the fact that almost everyone is tri-lingual  I’ll admit it.  I am WICKED jealous of those who grow up speaking more than one language.   And most Belizeans know 3 languages or more.  English (the language of schools), Kriol and Spanish (often the language at home) and sometimes Garifuna or Maya.

It’s beautiful to hear kids and adults switching back and forth in one conversation – or even blend the three together.  And there is something about the rhythm of Kriol that makes me very very happy.

20. The cutest kids in the world  I’m totally sure of it.

New back-to-school haircuts

New back-to-school haircuts

And the fact that kids wear cute uniforms to school only exacerbates it!

21. That I Never Have to Live a Life without Fry Jacks again  Thick homemade flour tortilla dough deep fried.  Best.  idea.  ever.

My usual at Estels.

My usual at Estels.

22. The incredible love of music  Belize’s music, punta and Garifuna drums, make even the stiffest person tap her feet.  But this country loves an amazing array of music – and you can experience it just about everywhere.  Riding on a bus, at a baby christening and on the street.  Classic American country, 80s pop, reggae and all sounds Caribbean…

It’s all embraced.

23. Ridiculous flowers year-round  All of Belize is an explosion of tropical colors.  Hibiscus, orchids, bougainvillea, poinsetta bushes, birds of paradise, ginger and so many more.  Here is what I like to call a pom-pom flower.


At Cayo Frances Farm and Fly

Amazing Green Orchid at Grand Colony

Amazing Green Orchid at Grand Colony

24. That my definition of “the real world” has changed  (okay…not such a “small thing”)

There was a time when I would wake up well before dawn, travel in the subway, arrive at work and leave work in the darkness.  All in the pursuit of “real life”.

My “real life” seemed to be about work, saving for retirement, blowing off steam on WAY TOO SHORT weekends and my happiness was planning twice a year vacations to places like Belize and everyday views like this.


Why can’t “real life” be different?

Now I live here and rarely set my alarm.

Am I rich?  Far from it.  But am I happy?  Yup…most of the time.  And Belize, I have you to thank for lots of that.

Please pin it for future reference.

Moving to Belize:  24 Small Things that Make Me Happy Each Day and Have Changed my view on "Real Life"

Moving to Belize: 24 Small Things that Make Me Happy Each Day and Have Changed my view on “Real Life”

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