A friend planning to retire to Belize pointed me to certain threads on various chat boards. I have mulled over the “paradise” meeting “realities” position in one of the threads. There are many ex-pat stories in Belize and we each have one of them. Belize has been paradise for us (US ex-pats) and we have had many positive, happy, blessed years here. We vacationed in Belize for 9 years, purchasing Ambergris Caye land during that time frame because of much better beachfront prices compared to FL and TX and because of the beautiful water and nature that would be the center of our lifestyle. We built our home 16 years ago and have lived on the island full-time. We have always loved the sea, the Belizean people and the areas/people where we could contribute. The relationships with both our ex-pat friends and our native Belizean friends have been wonderful for our lives. Sure, there are trade-off’s (“realities”) living in a developing country and on an island, but for us and many ex-pats we know, the trade-off’s have been well worth it. Friends and family visiting us here consistently compliment the nature, quietness, no bumper to bumper traffic, friendly people, healthy environment, enjoyable climate, varied activities, etc. We have had hurricane winds twice, been through an emergency hospital operation (successful medically and financially), managed the extra steps for major purchases, stayed on top of home/property maintenance and seen island growth – these factors may be “realities,” but they never outweighed the numerous positives for us. Life is attitude, planning and flexibility. We know many full-time and part-time Belizean ex-pats who are quite happy on the cayes, in the Cayo and in southern Belize – some rural, some in towns/cities. Many ex-pats move here financially independent while others earn enough money in Belize for the lifestyle they choose. No place is perfect. Belize is not paradise for everyone, but it is a paradise lifestyle for many of us.