Suzan Haskins

Author Image for Suzan Haskins

For more than a decade, Suzan Haskins has been on the lookout for the best “best-of-all-worlds” places to call home…for International Living readers as well as for her husband, Dan Prescher, and herself. During that time, they’ve traveled to nearly every country in Latin America and lived in Lake Chapala, San Miguel de Allende and Merida, Mexico; Quito and Cotacachi, Ecuador; Panama City, Panama; and San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. They’ve owned real estate in all of those countries, too, as well as in Argentina. Suzan’s no neophyte to serial relocation. Born in Oklahoma, she grew up in Kansas, North Dakota, and New Jersey, before landing in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1976 where she spent 25 years, everyone of them chanting “not another winter here…” In 2001, she and Dan hit the road and haven’t looked back since.

Suzan and Dan have just written the Amazon Best-Seller: The International Living Guide to Retiring Overseas on a Budget.

Suzan also regularly contributes to International Living's Ecuador Facebook page.

Archives

May 2014

For better or worse, we bring our culture and customs with us when we move overseas. Although, I’d argue that some of them have preceded us and are infiltrating the world in spite of us (thanks to that wicked beast called television).

April 2014

If you haven’t visited Ecuador yet, you now have a bit more encouragement…and possibly a lot more company.

mexico-tulum

When You’re Spoiled for Choices Overseas, How Do You Choose?

“We’re looking at retirement options,” she wrote, “and I’ve appreciated your insights, particularly on Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, and Uruguay. I know that seems like a lot of countries, so I’m hoping you can help us narrow it down. We plan to take a trip to at least two of these this year; one country at a time. Which country would you suggest we visit first? And can you please suggest some travel itineraries?”

Mexico

What Regrets Do I Have About Living Overseas?

We’ve been living overseas since 2001. We’ve lived in seven communities in four countries (and purchased property in a fifth). We’ve bought, renovated and sold two homes in Mexico and bought and renovated a condo in Ecuador, where we now live. We’ve tried out beach life, mountain life, and both big-city and small-town living. So we know something about the expat life…

Salinas

Why We Couldn’t Retire in Ecuador

When Gary and Kathryn Kelly, both in their 50s, moved to Ecuador from Sargent, Texas, in 2011, they expected this would be where they spent their retirement years. They bought a house at Punta Carnero Beach, about 10 minutes’ drive from the popular Ecuador beach resort town of Salinas, and began refurbishing it.

Salinas

Why We Couldn’t Retire in Ecuador

When Gary and Kathryn Kelly, both in their 50s, moved to Ecuador from Sargent, Texas, in 2011, they expected this would be where they spent their retirement years. They bought a house at Punta Carnero Beach, about 10 minutes’ drive from the popular Ecuador beach resort town of Salinas, and began refurbishing it.

Ecuador

Who Will You Be Friends with Overseas?

The couple to my left, in their mid-70s, was a “good-ol’-boy” Texan and his pretty, soft-spoken wife. Both were raised as the children of sharecroppers. Across from them, the octogenarian of the group was a nuclear submarine engineer in his native Canada. And at the end of the table sat a former automotive repair-shop manager from California and his accountant wife.

Kathryn and Gary chose the the beach town of Salinas, Ecuador for retirement but couldn't resist a business opportunity.

A Taste of Home on Ecuador’s Pacific Coast

When Gary and Kathryn Kelly, both in their 50s, moved to Ecuador from Sargent, Texas, in 2011, they expected this would be where they spent their retirement years. In Texas, Gary had owned a property tax management company and Kathryn worked as his executive assistant. In Ecuador, they hoped to laze away the days on the beach in front of their home…

If quiet beaches and fresh seafood are your thing, Playas in Ecuador has both.

Where Ecuadorians Go to Escape the City…

“Don’t worry, you won’t have a problem finding a place to stay,” said my friend as we drove into General Villamil Playas (commonly just called “Playas”), the closest beach town to Guayaquil. “The hotels here never fill up.” He should know. He owns a condo in Playas and drives there easily in just over an hour from his home in Guayaquil to spend weekends and holidays at this beach town on Ecuador’s southern coast, named by some as the “sunniest beach” in the country.

Ecuador

Find the Perfect Place to Live…and Put Some Money in Your Pocket

Figuring out how to make some extra money doing something you love is a wonderful thing. And many of my fellow expats are doing exactly that. If you’re looking for inspiration, I’d like to share some of those stories with you. In fact, we know of so many such stories that my husband Dan and I devoted an entire chapter of a new book we’ve written to this exact topic. (More about that in a moment.)

pan-beach

Life Lessons from 12+ Years’ Experience Living Overseas

As we approach our lucky 13th year of living overseas, my husband, Dan Prescher, and I are fortunate to have shared so many wonderful, memorable experiences in so many far-flung corners of the world—from Southeast Asia to Europe, and nearly every country of Latin America. We’ve lived in Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, and Ecuador… In fact, we’ve lived in more than one destination in some of those countries. We’ve learned to speak Spanish, we’ve bought and sold property…

Ecuador

“Enough is Enough—We’re Going to Ecuador”

“Who remembers the economic tsunami of 2008?” Edd Staton asked. “Well, that’s how we got here. Before 2008, we had great jobs and were pulling down good money. Our retirement account was growing steadily and we had big plans for our retirement…which we thought was a long ways off…”

Ecuador

The REAL Cost of a Good Life in Ecuador

For three days now, I’ve been telling you that in Ecuador, you can have it all…but at what price? What must you give up to make a good life here? International Living is, at times, accused of seeing the world through rose-colored glasses…of overlooking the bad and omitting the blemishes. If you’ve been here in Quito the past few days, I doubt you’d agree with that.

January 2014

There’s been some talk in the last number of weeks about changes to Ecuador’s national health plan provided by IESS, Ecuador’s social security administration, and about how much you should be paying for it. We’re keeping an eye on the situation and will keep you posted on any news that may affect you as an expat in Ecuador.

December 2013

Ah, Christmas. When I lived in the U.S., this was not my favorite time of the year. So many expectations.

October 2013

By Suzan Haskins You may remember I told you last month that I was spending some time along Ecuador’s Pacific south coast. As promised, in this month’s monthly Ecuador Insider news I’m going to share with you some of the discoveries I made. Discovering Coastal Ecuador “Don’t worry, you won’t have a problem finding a […]

September 2013

On our first trip to Ecuador, in 2001, my husband and I both remarked about how clean the city of Quito seemed to us. We were comparing it to other Latin American destinations where we had spent time.

August 2013

Moving overseas is a two-way street. Not only are people from the U.S., Canada, Europe, and elsewhere moving to Ecuador in search of opportunities, but Ecuadorians are heading to our countries for the same reason.

June 2013

My home town, Cuenca, continues to be a top location for expats. Whenever I’m in El Centro I see folks wandering around with a map in their hands (if they’ve got on shorts they’re definitely tourists!) trying to figure out where they are. Of course they want to see the sites, visit some neighborhoods, maybe drop by a mercado.

May 2013

Are prices going up in Ecuador? Yes. They never go down anywhere, do they? Unless, of course, there is a housing crisis such as the U.S. experienced in recent years.

April 2013

We’re often asked about the protocol for tipping in Ecuador. And when it comes up in conversation, we’re always surprised at the difference in opinion people have about this subject.

March 2013

Two big events occurred here in Ecuador last month.

January 2013

This country never ceases to amaze me with its welcoming attitude to those of us expats who live here. Not only are our neighbors kind and generous (one of ours brought us a very sweet Christmas gift this year…a delicate porcelain figurine and a bag of chocolates), but those who work in the service industry are happy and pleasant to deal with.

ecuador-hills

Dream About Your New Life Overseas…Then Do It

Not long ago, I received a note from a high-school friend I haven’t seen in many decades. “Did you follow a dream to South America?” he asked. “Yes,” I replied, “but I’m not finished. I’m still following my dreams.” The thing is, I don’t know where my dreams will take me. I have a very full bucket list of places I want to visit. Who knows how long I might be seduced into staying in any one of them?

Salinas, one of Ecuador's best-known beach towns, still has reasonably priced real estate.

Sun, Sand and Good Living in Ecuador’s Top Beach Town

Outside the window of the condo I was renting, two huge pelicans sat nodding in the sun. Or so it seemed. Because in an instant, and in perfect synchronicity, they leapt from their perch, pulled in their wings, and dove headfirst to the emerald water below. No small feat since we were 20 floors up. Hmm, I wondered, what’s for dinner? Because, as the pelicans know, these waters are rich with a choice of seafood or every kind.

Salinas, one of Ecuador's best-known beach towns, still has reasonably priced real estate.

Sun, Sand and Good Living in Ecuador’s Top Beach Town

Outside the window of the condo I was renting, two huge pelicans sat nodding in the sun. Or so it seemed. Because in an instant, and in perfect synchronicity, they leapt from their perch, pulled in their wings, and dove headfirst to the emerald water below. No small feat since we were 20 floors up. Hmm, I wondered, what’s for dinner? Because, as the pelicans know, these waters are rich with a choice of seafood or every kind.

Crucita, a little fishing village about 40 minutes north of Manta, Ecuador’s largest coastal city is full of sun, sea and sand.

Small-Town Beach Life in Ecuador

Crucita is about 40 minutes north of Manta, Ecuador’s largest coastal city. But while Manta is big and busy and full of shopping and social opportunities, Crucita is the opposite. It’s a little fishing village with a produce market, a fish market, but no supermarket… You can get eggs, bread, beer, toilet paper, soap and other necessities of life at some of the local mom-and-pop shops, but for anything more exotic than that, you’ll need to go to Manta or the closer town of Portoviejo.

January 2013

By Suzan Haskins This country never ceases to amaze me with its welcoming attitude to those of us expats who live here. Not only are our neighbors kind and generous (one of ours brought us a very sweet Christmas gift this year…a delicate porcelain figurine and a bag of chocolates), but those who work in […]

crucita2

Small-Town Beach Life in Ecuador

Crucita is about 40 minutes north of Manta, Ecuador’s largest coastal city. But while Manta is big and busy and full of shopping and social opportunities, Crucita is the opposite. It’s a little fishing village with a produce market, a fish market, but no supermarket… You can get eggs, bread, beer, toilet paper, soap and other necessities of life at some of the local mom-and-pop shops, but for anything more exotic than that, you’ll need to go to Manta or the closer town of Portoviejo.

salinas3

Where Ecuadorians Go to Escape the City…

“Don’t worry, you won’t have a problem finding a place to stay,” said my friend as we drove into General Villamil Playas (commonly just called “Playas”), the closest beach town to Guayaquil. “The hotels here never fill up.” He should know. He owns a condo in Playas and drives there easily in just over an hour from his home in Guayaquil to spend weekends and holidays at this beach town on Ecuador’s southern coast, named by some as the “sunniest beach” in the country.

montanita

Two of Ecuador’s Best Coastal Towns

If there were ever two towns that complement one another perfectly, they would be Montañita and Olòn on the coast of Ecuador. About an hour north along the coast from Salinas—one of Ecuador’s best-known and most popular beach destinations—these two beach towns each offer a very different vibe. Montañita is named for the “little hill” that sits at its north end and separates its picture-perfect golden-sand beach from Olòn’s picture-perfect golden-sand beach. It’s less than a five-minute drive from one to the other, and a taxi ride will cost you just $2.

A Confession: I Misjudged This Ecuadorian City...

A Confession: I Misjudged This Ecuadorian City…

When I first arrived in Ecuador in 2001, a local friend told me that “money is made in Guayaquil and spent in Quito”: Guayaquil being the commercial center of Ecuador and Quito the country’s governmental center.

Puerto Lopez is a busy fishing town, but by mid-afternoon, you'll often have the beach to yourself.

Beach Towns in Ecuador: Which is Best for You?

Where is the best beach town in Ecuador to hang your hat? Well, that depends entirely on the lifestyle, climate, and environment you’re after, of course. Because not every beach town is created equally. That’s especially true in Ecuador, where every journey along the country’s 530–mile long Ruta del Sol coast, from the border with Peru northward to Colombia, takes you through several diverse eco-systems.

cuenca-colonial

In Photos: Something for Everyone in Ecuador

In Ecuador, there’s something for everyone…from the die-hard adventurer who wants to follow the path of British mountaineer Edward Whymper up the slopes of 20,702-foot Mount Chimborazo to those who want to learn firsthand why Charles Darwin’s 1835 voyage to Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands is called “the most famous few weeks in the history of science.”

An eco-resort is being built on Little Corn, a result of The Corn Islands being a national tourism heritage site.

Corn Islands: Nicaragua’s English-Speaking Caribbean

If you like peaceful beach living, white sands, and blue seas, then you might want to check out Nicaragua’s Corn Islands. Reminiscent of Belize’s Ambergris Caye 30 years ago or Honduras’ Roatan island 25 years ago, this is a spot for pioneering castaways.

Placencia is one of Belize's most desirable locations.

Five Top Places in Belize Where Expats are Moving

There are a lot of reasons you might want to be in Belize right now… For a tiny little country (only about the size of Massachusetts), it has much to offer, especially when it comes to scenery. Turquoise waters and white, silky sand beaches… Fertile farmland… Rolling hillsides dotted with pine forests… Amazing Maya ruins…

Puerto Lopez is a busy fishing town, but by mid-afternoon, you'll often have the beach to yourself.

Beach Towns in Ecuador: Which is Best for You?

Where is the best beach town in Ecuador to hang your hat? Well, that depends entirely on the lifestyle, climate, and environment you’re after, of course. Because not every beach town is created equally. That’s especially true in Ecuador, where every journey along the country’s 530–mile long Ruta del Sol coast, from the border with Peru northward to Colombia, takes you through several diverse eco-systems.

It's easy to fall in love with the lifestyle in Panama.

Operator, This is Love Calling…

My friend Sarah Booth is a real estate investor who lives in Panama. She owns various types of property in several Latin American countries that she rents short-term to vacationers and others. These visitors come to spend a week or two…or even a month or more…in one of her seaside apartments in Mexico, or in her longer-term rental in Panama City, or in one of the casitas she has built on the grounds of her home at Playa Coronado on the coast about 70 minutes from Panama City.

You could fund your life overseas somewhere new like Costa Rica.

A New Life Overseas – No Hard Work Required

Want to move overseas but not sure you can afford it? Good news: there are plenty of places in the world where you can live happily and comfortably on a small amount of income. Places where palm trees sway in the sunshine and where you’ll never again see snow. Sounds pretty decent, doesn’t it? But maybe you’re worried about that “small amount” of income—worried that what you have is just “too small”?

Meet the Expats who Set Up Low-Cost Businesses – and Prospered

Meet the Expats who Set Up Low-Cost Businesses – and Prospered

Imagine the place you want to be right now. Maybe it’s swinging in a hammock overlooking turquoise waters, your toes dug into silky-soft, white sand…perhaps you’re sipping wine in a sidewalk café in Paris…or you’re walking in the path of the ancient Incas in an Andean mountain valley.

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