May 23, 2024


I’m Megan Rodden and my husband is Phil Nagengast.  We had been your average suburban 30-somethings, living the typical North American existence in New Jersey but dreaming of a life a little more exotic and a routine a lot less monotonous.  So, after much research, planning, and saving; we quit our 9-to-5’s, sold off our possessions, and moved our son Mitch to Placencia, Belize- a quaint coastal village in Central America- to build a different future for ourselves and relish the present.

We’ve been living fulltime in Belize since 2017, when we bought our guesthouse, Driftwood Gardens, and put down roots in this cool and quirky beach town.  We picked Belize for many of the same reasons an increasing number of expats choose it (I call this Gringo Bingo- how many boxes can you tick haha!): proximity to the US, relative ease of immigration, cost of living (if you think of Belize in Caribbean terms it’s the least expensive place to live, but if your think of it in Central American terms than it’s the most expensive), English as the official national language, subtropical climate, abundant natural beauty,  low population density and a lack of superstores, franchises, and chain restaurants.  Belize is almost the exact same size as the state of New Jersey (just a 135 square mile difference!) but has just around 400,000 residents.  It is wild, but the whole country has a “small town” feeling to it- everyone knows everyone (or has a cousin that does)! I also love that Belize is a young country; they only gained their independence in 1981 and yes, its developing, but there’s real civic pride and excitement surrounding the country’s future- its contagious, and I wanted to be part of it!  It is thrilling to make these new discoveries, have these novel experiences, learn and bend and grow in to this life here; and while it isn’t always perfect or pretty, it is always exciting.

This blog is for others contemplating a similar move, people with ties to the peninsula’s communities, and anyone interested in the wild, unique, and beautiful country of Belize.  I chronicle expat life in Placencia and local happenings, family friendly activities and other adventures around the country, amenities, excursions, dining, cost of living, healthcare, and the triumphs and challenges we encounter as we settle in to our new normal.  I hope you find it helpful and entertaining!