Why Life is Simpler, Saner, and Less Expensive in Corozal


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An eternal optimist, Liu-Yue built two social enterprises to help make the world a better place. Liu-Yue co-founded Oxstones Investment Club a searchable content platform and business tools for knowledge sharing and financial education. Oxstones.com also provides investors with direct access to U.S. commercial real estate opportunities and other alternative investments. In addition, Liu-Yue also co-founded Cute Brands a cause-oriented character brand management and brand licensing company that creates social awareness on global issues and societal challenges through character creations. Prior to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Liu-Yue worked as an Executive Associate at M&T Bank in the Structured Real Estate Finance Group where he worked with senior management on multiple bank-wide risk management projects. He also had a dual role as a commercial banker advising UHNWIs and family offices on investments, credit, and banking needs while focused on residential CRE, infrastructure development, and affordable housing projects. Prior to M&T, he held a number of positions in Latin American equities and bonds investment groups at SBC Warburg Dillon Read (Swiss Bank), OFFITBANK (the wealth management division of Wachovia Bank), and in small cap equities at Steinberg Priest Capital Management (family office). Liu-Yue has an MBA specializing in investment management and strategy from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Marketing from Stern School of Business at NYU. He also completed graduate studies in international management at the University of Oxford, Trinity College.

By Lynn Armstrong, International Living,

Today we have a hotel-resort in Corozal, Belize. But I didn’t start out here… or in this business. I’m originally from Mahomet, Illinois. I was a dental hygienist for 30 years and worked 16 of them in the Florida Keys.

I left the North originally because I love being by the water, and I love warmer weather. I was lucky enough to work for a dentist who let me take off four months during the winter the last five years that I worked for him. During those months, my husband and I would go sailing around the Bahamas.

After 16 years living in the Keys, we ended up buying and building in the Bahamas. But then about four years ago, we decided we wanted to do some more exploring. And we wanted a simpler, less-expensive way of life.

We’ve found it. Belize is a small country and people speak English. It doesn’t take long to go from one end to the other and there’s a lot to explore… so here we are.

Corozal, where we’ve settled, is a quiet town.

International Living Postcards

But it’s growing in a good way. Lots of expats live in the area, which keeps you as busy as you want to be. There are Garden Clubs, Women’s Club, Men’s Club, Yacht Club, water aerobics classes, art in the park, monthly social gatherings, weekly cocktail hours…the list goes on. The people here are very friendly.

And the prices are still low. The cost of living in Belize is less than in the Bahamas or the States. All sorts of things cost less, from property taxes to medications.

We chose Corozal over other places in Belize in part because it is close to Chetumal, Mexico which has a Sam’s Club and other shops where we can get those items we love from the States, but can’t find in Belize.

In Corozal, life is simpler, slower. For example, when you need to see a doctor, there’s no calling ahead and then waiting for an appointment. You just show up and they see you. You even get lab results the same day. Plus the doctors and staff spend time with you.

The weather is great in Corozal. It doesn’t rain as much as in Southern Belize, yet the plants grow lush. Being on the bay, we get a constant breeze and beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

When we were looking for a place here, we came across an incomplete shell of a building right on the water. It seemed like it had lots of possibilities and potential, so we bought it. We’ve turned it into a home for us and have a hotel (the Almond Tree Resort), restaurant and bar attached. (We’re hoping that someone will approach us and run the restaurant.)

The biggest challenge in this endeavor has been finding the best way to train the staff. Belizeans have different standards than what I was looking for. I’ve had to learn how to explain things in a new way to make sure I’m understood.

But it’s been more rewarding than frustrating. I love chatting with our interesting guests and hearing the compliments they give our staff. Yes, this place is “behind in the times.” But for us, getting things done isn’t our first priority. It’s our quality of life and inner peace that is important. And we’re enjoying both in Corozal.

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