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 several magazines. I have also done a series of writing with pictures for the Belize Tourism Board.
Moon Living Abroad in Belize- Guidebook submission ‘Laid back living on Ambergris Caye’. As a blogger I feel it is important to be a good resource to readers. Not only do I write for tourism, I write for the many people that come to Belize, fall instantly love and want to move here like I did.
Belize News Exchange – Three separate articles and photos on destination weddings, crocodile excursion and the benefits of aquafit. It is important to help Belizeans that have moved abroad stay connected with their country. This magazine is published every 3 months and sold in L.A., NYC and Belize.
Islands Magazine – 20 Best Islands to Live On. In the Top 5 Islands for smooth transitions area, I informed readers about Belize currency and entry fee Marco Gonzalez Maya Site. I also shared how rush hour is mostly bikes and golf carts and beach is 10 minute walk from almost anywhere.
Great Destinations Belize Guide Book – Featured resource. It is rewarding helping travelers take the guess work out of travel and have a wonderful vacation in a foreign country. Thanked in the acknowledgements. Also listed as an insightful online resource and the place to go for discounts.
Islands Magazine – 20 Best Islands to Live On. Published in the What’s for dinner? section. I provided both tourists and future expats delicious local food options. I also shared a few things I missed from my other life and let everyone know I had no regrets in moving to Belize.
Islands Magazine – 10 Best Islands to Live On Feature article Affordable Paradise in the Caribbean. I wrote about the life of an Expat and moving to Ambergris Caye, Belize. I shared my personal experience with readers on falling in love with Belize, the process of moving, and how I still love it just as much years later.
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. With this I have had some great opportunities come my way. Along with being listed as a resource in 2 guidebooks, published in Islands Magazine 3 times and Belize New Exchange Magazine 3 times, I have also won public vote for Lonely Planet blog awards.
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.
To actively market Belize tourism and help Belize businesses, I have enjoyed working with the Belize Tourism Board.
In 2015 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 about 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
Laurie Norton aka tacogirl by Karen Brodie Photography
Bloggers are often called upon to write guest posts or to provide a few sentences of information for another writers article. Below are a few places that I have been accepted and published.
March 2016: USA Today Travel –World’s best picnic spots: Travel bloggers’ picks. This was a fun piece to submit and was based on my write up The Cave Beyond Secret Beach, which is about a little-known underwater cave just beyond a favorite island picnic spot.
November 2015: Pink Pangea – Do you have a travel blog? Rachel Sales from Pink Pangea travel writing site critique: “tacogirl blog looks great and very valuable for travelers to Belize.” Pink Pangea would love to feature my experiences and they asked me to answer some questions which you can read by clicking through on the link above.
October 2015: Len Penzo dotcom – How to Take the Vacation of a Lifetime Without Spending Your Life Savings. Since it’s inception in December 2008 Len Penzo dotcom blog has garnered almost 4 million unique visitors and nearly 8 million page views.