A Bit About My Move to Belize
Originally from Canada, I made the life-changing decision escape winter for good after one three week vacation. I have been living on the tropical island of Ambergris Caye since 2006.
I waited the required year to become a resident becoming and started tacogirl.com the Original Belize Blog Since 2007. Through my blog, I provide useful information to help people worldwide plan and get the most out of their Belize vacation with local discounts on Tropic Air flights, accommodations, golf carts, tours and food. My writing is also beneficial to future expats who are planning a move to Belize.
If you are planning on moving to Belize (or anywhere) I suggest you do your research and include a scouting trip. At the same time, if it is meant to be for however long, you will feel it. I know people that have moved here sight unseen and with very little research and are really quite happy here.
3 Childhood Memories That Shaped my Desire to Move to the Tropics
- Sailing in the Virgin Islands
- Seeing a rainbow out the window of an island hopper as we flew from Virgin Islands to Puerto Rico
- Christmas in Hawaii
My Favorite Role Model
Sir Richard Branson. He has greatly inspired me in life. His philosophy says a lot about why I like him: “Just do it, think yes not no, challenge yourself, have goals, have fun, make a difference, stand on your own feet, be loyal and live life to the fullest.”
I have discovered some interesting things we both have in common: Both of us are dyslexic, we have both published our own magazine, enjoy tropical Islands, (only difference is, he owns his) we both write stuff down in school notebooks, we both walk on the road less traveled.
My Favorite Hobby and Most Frequently Asked Question
One of my favorite hobbies is Hula Hooping. It is actually on requirement list as far as living accommodations are concerned to have a big enough space to hoop inside without having to rearrange my furniture too much. I time myself with music and so far my record is being able to hoop for 45 minutes straight. I am also learning a few tricks.
Hands down the question people ask me the most is how I got the name tacogirl. The answer; not long after moving here I found the Ambergris Caye Belize message board and needed a nickname to join. My first choice was beach girl but it was taken. I thought to myself “what else do I like besides the beach” and of course, food was the next thing that came to mind. Immediately “tacos” popped into my head and instantly I decided on tacogirl. It was a split second decision that changed my life in ways I could not even begin to imagine.
It never ceases to amaze me that as part of my Life in Belize, I ended up becoming a writer. Growing up Dyslexic and having ADD, school was just not my thing. Since starting tacogirl.com I have worked hard to bring attention to, grow my blog worldwide and be a great Belize resource. Since its inception tacogirl blog has been published in Islands Magazine three times, two Belize Guide books, Belize News Exchange Magazine three times. I have also done a series of writing with pictures for the Belize Tourism Board.
2004 – First visit to Belize and I fell in love the minute I walked off the plane. By the end of my 3 week vacation I was sold and ready to move.
2006 – Moved to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye from downtown Toronto. January never looked so beautiful.
2007 – Started tacogirl.com and it was an instant internet hit with people who were missing their beloved Belize. At the time there were very few bloggers and everyone was hungry to see more.
Since then my blog has continued to expand and grow a strong following. Along with this I have had some great opportunities come my way. I have won public vote for Lonely Planet blog awards, been listed as a resource in 2 guidebooks, been published in Islands Magazine 3 times and Belize New Exchange Magazine 3 times.
Marketing and Branding
I work very hard at branding and marketing the tacogirl.com name. In my writing I tend to use a more personal storytelling style, as many of my posts are about what life is like in Belize. From a tourist and expat standpoint, it is important to find the right way of saying things without sugar coating issues. I prefer to take an education and awareness type approach instead of coming across too harsh and negative or sweeping issues under the carpet.
I signed up to be critiqued and got two thumbs up on my blog design. Chris from Authority Blogger said “tacogirl.com, slideshow pictures make you want to be in there and the style is fantastic.”
While I was very pleased with such great feedback from a well known blogger, I believe that one is never done learning. I continue to study so I can keep improving my blog. This includes SEO training, research on tourism trends, social media, bloggers groups, courses, webinars and books.
This year I was asked to be a judge for the 13th National Belize tourism Awards and the presentations hosted on Aug 1, 2015 by the BTB. This way was extra special as it was also the celebration of 50 years of tourism in San Pedro.
I was also invited to be a panelist at the first ever Digital Marketing Summit in Belize. The vent was held October 20, 2015 held at the Kings Room, Ramada Princess Hotel & Casino Belize City Belize.
Both were great experiences and I look forward to continued work with the Belize Tourism Board.
Since moving to Belize, I realized volunteering is a large part of life here. Over the Years I have have blogged many local organizations to help them get the word out. I was selected to represent Belize in 2009 to do a winter/spring guest blog term for a well known volunteer site Idealist.org. That was a great learning experience. In 2012 Belize Red Cross found me through my blog. They asked me to help reactivate the San Pedro Branch. This has been keeping me very busy ever since, with the First Aid program, quarterly blood drives, volunteer vacation planning and developing community programs.
Hi. I am very glad I found your blog and Facebook page. We are visiting Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye for 3 weeks in October. We basically knew nothing about those areas. While guidebooks, maps, internet searches, and trip advisor are wonderful resources, your articles, photos, and links have brought the area to life. I particularly enjoyed your articles on Red Cross work. The recent water article was very helpful and I enjoyed the Marco Gonzalez site article, too. I also saw the discounts available for Tropic Air, golf carts, and for Changes in Latitudes which we could use. We decided to visit Caye Caulker October 6-10. (Enjoyed your article and photos about a day visit there) Thank you again for your very enjoyable articles. BTW, I thought you handled your purse being taken very well. The way you wrote about it was great and inspired me to want to read more in your site. Which turned out to be a very good thing! Finding your blog has been a GREAT help in gearing up for an unexpected trip to an unknown (to me) foreign country. Mary Lookabill
I did a little digging around the internet, and it seems that you are the best at helping folks figure out the best and cheapest way to travel. I would love your insight on our upcoming trip. My Soon-to-be wife & I will be on our Honeymoon in late September. Carlo Ciotoli
Your blog has been wonderful in helping us get a lot of our trip figured out – following it has given us a pretty good sense of where we want to go for eats and such and where we want to spend our time while there.” Deborah Gagnon | Vice President, Operations Denny’s of Canada
“My girlfriend and I are traveling to Belize San Pedro from southern California at the end of the month. I’ve been enjoying your blog for the last few weeks; it’s by far the best one I’ve seen from San Pedro.” Samuel Hicks Holthouse Carlin & Van Trigt LLP
“A gal I ‘met’ on a SCUBA forum sent me your blog address. I just have to tell you how very much I enjoy it every day.” Becky
“I enjoyed reading your story in Islands magazine. I must say it has triggered my interest in Ambergris Caye. I have emailed a real estate agent about property on the island. Thank you much for your time. I’m planning a visit to San Pedro soon.” Tina B.
“I would like to thank you for all the time and effort you have dedicated to your website and blog. It has been very helpful to me in researching San Pedro, while still at home in the states. Many Thanks.” DC
“Hi Tacogirl, I want to thank you for writing such a great & helpful blog. I am planning to be down in San Pedro the end of March for a Tropical Medicine Conference being hosted at the Banana Resort, and although the meeting is only a week long, because of your blog I plan to stay at least a month and explore the area as a place to live.” Barry Cornell
“Hi Tacogirl, I looked around your blog site tonight for the first time, found your web address in a magazine article telling about the best islands to live on. For many years, my wife & I have had this idea that we would like to retire early & live on a Caribbean island…we’ve visited many, which only fuelled the fantasy even more. Back to your blog…I am looking for info that explains how to make a move from the US to an island such as Belize. I will start reading your blog entries to get a feel for the island. Thanks & take care!!” John
“I have been checking out your blog for a few months now. You make me laugh. I read your blog to get a taste of island life. I am one of those that have been dreaming of living in the Caribbean for many years. That time is getting very close for me. The reason I am writing to you today is – While sitting in the airport, waiting to catch a flight home after spending a week in Vegas attending my class reunion, I was perusing the current issue of ISLANDS. My hopes were to see that Ambergris Caye was written up as one of the ‘best islands to live on’. Happily seeing that it is, I was even more excited to see that Tacogirl is the contributing island resident. What a great boost for your blog. By the way, I like the updated site. We have a web based business and absolute plans to reside in Belize eventually. I keep up with various blogs and online newspapers. We also have plans to visit for a month. Thanks and looking forward to the Island Life.” Dee from Texas