Living In Belize And Choosing The Location That Best Suits You

There Must Be Something In The Water—Retired Life
On The Caribbean

There’s something in the water, or rather, I should say, there’s something about the water.

I moved from the States in October 2014 to the town of Punta Gorda, located along the southern coast of Belize. There were several reasons for this move. First, I had tired of the cold and brutal winters in the Northeast that kept me cocooned for too many months. Second, being retired, I wanted to spend quality time making a positive difference out in the world, and I could hardly do that if I was stuck in the house. And, last but not least, Punta Gorda was the only place I had been invited to stay in Belize.

After making the decision to try out a new life in Belize, I was part of a miraculous series of events that led me to board with a lovely lady in the town of Punta Gorda. There are residences to fit any lifestyle in Belize. The house where I stayed was quite unusual for Punta Gorda. It had six bedrooms, four baths with modern plumbing, and a host of other amenities that made living there quite pleasant. But this is not what kept me boarding there for eight months. There was something about the water.

Fresh from the farm
Fresh from the farm

Driving into Punta Gorda, as soon as you made the turn into it, your eyes were delighted by the Caribbean Sea. Its vastness and charm drew me almost daily to that seaside where I would meditate or greet the friendly passersby. I often went into town and socialized with the locals and villagers who had come into town by the busloads to display and sell their beautiful homemade items and foods from their farms. Punta Gorda is really laid back. Several times, I was nicely told that I could “slow down now.” I felt like I had found a new home… for a while.

Corozal town square
Corozal town square

After a few of months, I realized that I had met most of the townsfolk, had seen pretty much all of Punta Gorda that I was interested in, but still had not found the community in which I had hoped to make a positive difference—the deaf and deaf-blind communities. I also wanted to have more selection of goods to purchase. Much of what Belize has to offer has to be imported, and Punta Gorda in off-season seemed to be stuck with leftovers. But that worked for a while for me. Then I started inquiring about another part of Belize where I might settle down. I mentioned that this place had to have a larger population and more opportunities for shopping, cultural events, etc. And I always said that this place had to be near the water. There’s just something about the water.

Just about every Belizean I spoke with told me the same thing: Corozal Town is very much like Punta Gorda.

So I pulled out my map and saw that Corozal Town was indeed on the northern coast of Belize at Corozal Bay. I was delighted to hear that it was like Punta Gorda in its makeup. I liked Punta Gorda, but I just needed more of what it had. So I contacted someone in my network in Belize and obtained the contact information for an appropriate guide in the Corozal Town area. As a senior female traveling alone, I wanted to be assured of hiring the right person for my lifestyle. (My white hair is the result of wisdom, not worry.) I contacted the person, explained what I was looking for, and we settled on the dates he was available to help me to scout out Corozal. He was working as a teacher and had grown up in Corozal. He spoke English, of course, and Spanish as well. English is the official language of Belize, but a lot of Spanish is spoken there because of its close proximity to Mexico, only 9 miles away.

I made the necessary domestic flight arrangements with Tropic Air and arrived in Corozal on the specified date. But, on the way, there was a layover in San Pedro, Belize, a popular tourist spot. The fast moving pace of the people and the golf carts increased my energy level right away, and I went shopping during the time that I had. Once the plane took off again, Corozal was only a 20-minute flight away.

The shores of Corozal
The shores of Corozal

A taxi picked me up at the airport, which is about five minutes from Corozal Town, and headed me toward my hotel. But, on the way, we passed alongside the beautiful Corozal Bay and its mighty waves… a welcoming sight. I mentioned to the driver that I was in town to check out housing, and he took me to the exquisite community of Consejo Shores. I was impressed by the diverse architectural styles of the homes and the upscale condos I was shown. However, I knew that my income was not quite that upscale, so we headed for my hotel.

Clock in Corozal Central Park
Clock in Corozal Central Park

My guide had recommended the perfect hotel for me. It was modern and had everything I needed. It was also right at the outskirts of town and only about two blocks from Corozal Bay. I could walk there whenever I wanted to, and I did. I felt safe and almost immediately at home. The immediately at home part came as I strolled through Corozal Town’s charming Central Park. It in itself was quaint, but the large clock that sounds on the hour added a special touch. Across the street, vendors sold plenteous fresh fruits, vegetables, and other items. Nearby grocery stores sold refrigerated and frozen foods aplenty. The multicultural and thriving population was similar to Punta Gorda’s in the friendliness that abounded. There were just more of them and it. I had learned that there were even persons in the special needs community I was hoping to find.

While in the Corozal area, I took a day trip to Chetumal, Mexico, where I was treated to shopping options galore, many Americanized. I saw a variety of fashionable stores, shopped at a Wal-Mart and passed by a McDonald’s. Living in Corozal, I would also be very close to the States in case I wanted to head there, and Cancún is only a five-hour drive away. I had just about made up my mind to move to Corozal.

However, before I made a final decision to look for a place to stay, I spent some time by Corozal Bay. I knew I would come to the right decision there.

Then, my knowledgeable guide showed me a quiet expat community that was right outside of town and close to some great restaurants, one of which delivers. It was also on the shore of Corozal Bay.

I am now living in a wonderful apartment on a resort that is very affordable for me. I have access to a swimming pool and a Jacuzzi. But the best part is that, from every room in my home, I can see Corozal Bay and enjoy its gentle breezes.

There’s just something about that water…

B. Zallito
Belize Insider

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