A Wyoming couple who moved to Belize several years ago to take over a small newspaper on Ambergris Caye Belize, has been featured in a story on the International Living website. International Living promotes retirement in exotic destinations and runs tours and sells reports and guides on retirement living.
While some commentators say International Living’s stories are firmly framed by rose-tinted glasses, the article on Ron and Tamara Sniffen who run the San Pedro Sun, is not too heavy on the fluff. In the article, Mrs. Sniffen describes in her own words how she and her family ended up living the expat life in Belize:
“What inspired us to make the move to Belize was the hope of simplifying our lives,” says Tamara. “And we wanted to give our son (13 at the time) the opportunity to live abroad like I did at that age.”
Tamara had been introduced to everything an overseas lifestyle has to offer at a young age. Her parents were one of the first families accepted into the Peace Corp program in the early 70s.
“The experience of living in Venezuela and Costa Rica had a huge impact on me during my impressionable early teen years,” says Tamara. “After the Peace Corp my parents began traveling to Belize and in 1981 they purchased a beach house on Ambergris Caye and the island became a second home.”
Having spent so much time in Belize over the years, the decision of where to move was easy for Tamara – San Pedro on the small island of Ambergris Caye.
“We had always wanted to live here but had not figured out how to make that happen,” Tamara explains. “But when we saw that the local newspaper, The San Pedro Sun, was for sale in 2004, we knew that was our opportunity.”
Ron was from a newspaper family and he had worked in news media since he was 14. Tamara had owned businesses previously and also had writing experience. “Buying the newspaper made living and working here possible,” says Tamara. “Belize was where our heart was. It helped that English was the main language. I do speak Spanish, but not well enough to print a paper in it!”
“Daily things are a pleasure… like riding my bike to work or driving my golf cart—the main mode of transportation here,” says Tamara. “You’re always outside in the sun and the sea breeze.”
Just about everything about life in Belize is different than their life in Wyoming. “Familiar yard critters like squirrels are replaced with iguanas,” says Tamara. “The tree-top view in my bedroom is of coconut trees.” They buy fruits and vegetables at the local markets, cook with propane and commute in a golf cart instead of a car.
“I love the water. Snorkeling the nearby Meso-American Barrier Reef is my favorite past-time without a doubt,” says Tamara. “Life is different here.”
Nine years later, Tamara, Ron and their son are still living their dream. “Living here allows me to travel extensively and write about all the adventures and cultural experiences Belize has to offer,” says Tamara. “From snorkeling, diving, birding, jungle excursions or indulging in chocolate at the annual Cacao Festival in Toledo, I have not only ‘been there, done that,’ I’ve done it again and again!”
The San Pedro Sun is based on Ambergris Caye that has a heavy concentration of expats and is one of the leading tourism destinations in Belize.