Kathleen Peddicord Writes About Cayo Belize – One of The World’s Top Retirement Havens
Over the past three decades I’ve been writing about Belize. I’ve regularly borrowed Morley Shafer’s line from the mid-80s, when he traveled to Belize City to film a segment for 60 Minutes.
“The good news from Belize,” Morley said looking up from a little wooden boat in the middle of the Belize River, “is no news from Belize.”
True then, true since, and true now, though maybe a little less so. This month I returned to Belize’s Cayo, where I found news worth reporting.
Read also: Retire At The Peninsula Club of Belize
The main town in this part of this country is San Ignacio. For the first 20 years I knew San Ignacio, it was a tiny roundabout with concrete benches, a main drag with hostels and hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and a river launch that was little more than a muddy hillside that you could slide down or drag yourself and your canoe up.
In more recent years, there have been more shops, more restaurants, more small hotels. Still, San Ignacio was San Ignacio, a middle-of-nowhere hub charming for its simple way of life but nothing worth writing home about. Now, San Ignacio is being spruced up. A town square has been created, with a park in the center surrounded by more high-caliber enterprises than I ever might have imagined for this spot, including Fuego, legitimately one of the best restaurants I’ve eaten in anywhere in the world with daily $2 Happy Hour specials (I recommend the watermelon mojito).
Next-door is a pastry and sweets shop with a pink-and-white striped awning and a floor-to-ceiling display of oversized mason jars filled with gumballs, gummy bears, jawbreakers, and other candy you’ll recognize from bygone days.
Read also: Ultimate Guide to Belize Retirement
These developments aren’t accidental.
Over the past decade, this region of Belize has built a reputation for great resort product, both budget and ultra-high-end, including places that go for as much as $1,500 per night. Many of these jungle resorts — Chaa Creek, Blancaneaux, and Ka’ana, for example — have made names for themselves. They are established destinations. People from all over the world seek them out. However, Belize’s regions and towns themselves remain unknown. Nobody plans a trip to San Ignacio or anywhere else on the Belizean mainland.