Michelle Jacobs, 50, moved to Belize with her husband and opened a small business called The Melt CafÃ©. Having completely settled on Ambergris Caye, a place that she says she adores, Ms. Jacobs offers some handy tips about what other expats living in Belize can expect.
Ambergris Caye is a small island, and some might worry that they will become a little claustrophobic living in such a small space; however, water taxis offer easily accessible travel, so you never feel stuck on the island.
In addition, there is so much to do and see, particularly if expats are going into business, that there is rarely a moment to become bored. When people do have time on their hands, there is a beach-side hammock waiting for them.
One of Ms. Jacobs' top tips is that expats cannot expect the conveniences they had at home, although this is actually part of BelizeÂs charm. There are grocery stores available, but they wonÂt stock all the brands and delicacies that might have been available in the US. There are no malls or major chain stores either, so residents have to understand that by moving to Belize, they are embracing an entirely new way of life, from what they eat to how they shop. This does not create a major problem and new residents find that they quickly adapt to the new and more relaxed lifestyle.
Foreign brands are still available, of course, and Ms. Jacobs and her husband buy a number of things online at sites such as Amazon.com However, the lack of US-style outlets can be a huge pleasure for many people.
Another tip offered by the co-owner of The Melt CafÃ© is that if expats are feeling restless and want to explore new territory, it is only a short flight over to Mexico. If people want to land back on US ground for a while, it is easy to head back to Houston or Miami. However, a nice thing about Belize is that no one is forced to leave every month. In fact, all that is required is an additional passport stamp. Not having to leave on a regular basis is a huge benefit, particularly for those running a new business or individuals who want to completely immerse themselves in Belizean life.