“‘Do you have any regrets about moving to Belize?’
“That’s the question we’re probably most frequently asked, both by our neighbors here on Ambergris Caye and also by friends and family back home in the States,” writes Belize Correspondent Anne Kuffner.
“Without hesitation, my husband Mike and I answer, ‘No. No regrets. Not a one.’
“The folks back home often find it baffling that we could be as happy–in fact, happier–living here in little San Pedro Town than we were living in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“Initially, we invested in property on Ambergris Caye because of our love for the Caribbean Sea and the laid-back tropical lifestyle on this island. Even today, years later, we’re still thrilled to be surrounded by so much beauty, color, and nature.
“But there’s another attractive aspect of daily life on Ambergris Caye that kept drawing us back to this low-key Caribbean retreat: The people and the strong sense of community we perceived here from the start. I’d never experienced anything like it before. In a big metropolitan area, like the San Francisco Bay Area, one can easily feel lost in a sea of bodies. It’s difficult to get to know your neighbors.
“On my first return trip to Ambergris Caye, I was greeted again and again by people who remembered me from the prior year! Everywhere I went, on the beach and around town, people recognized me and reacted as though they were seeing a long-lost friend…even though I’d met them only once before! It was a revelation for me. I seemed to have more friends in San Pedro than in California, where I’d been living for so long.
“And even if they don’t know you at all, people in San Pedro Town smile and wave as you pass. The people here are friendly, welcoming, and helpful. They’ll go out of their way to lend you a hand, as a matter of course.
“Volunteering is common in San Pedro. Almost everyone gives back to the community in some way. There’s always a fundraiser being planned or taking place—maybe for the Saga Society (Humane Society), the Holy Cross School, Green Reef… Sometimes the goal is to raise money to help a particular family or friend in need. This has really touched me to see neighbors helping neighbors in such a real way.
“Mike and I are living at Grand Baymen, a condo development we’ve been involved with from the start. We describe it as a ‘Caribbean Community.’ The owners and investors who spend time here are more than mere neighbors. They have become our friends, our very like-minded community. We see them and enjoy their company regularly–at the pool, on the beach, in restaurants, in town…
“I find it comforting, at this time of economic and political upheaval and uncertainty worldwide, to live in a place where everyone knows me and my husband, where we are part of a happy, contented community of people who are not worried over their futures because they have taken control of their futures. We’re all here building new lives together. We lend a hand to help each other any way we can. We all look out for one another.”