Thailand is one of Asia’s most popular countries for expats. It’s safe, women can travel alone without problems, the cost of living is low, and getting a retirement visa is simple. But buying property is tricky. Which is why so many expats in Asia rent instead of buy. Renting is easy, affordable, and sometimes the only way to live in a country. Plus, if you want to move on and try out a new place, you just pack up and hit the road.
After a lifetime of cold weather in Alberta, Canada, retired couple Rick and Peggy Stewart were ready for a change. And they found a perfect climate—and many more benefits—in the rural community of Santa Eulalia about 20 minutes outside of the small town of Atenas, in Costa Rica’s Central Valley. From their new home in the tropics, they can’t help but rub it in with friends and family back home.
When my now-grown son was a little boy I used to take him to Baskin Robbins for a cone. He would stare and stare at those 31 flavors. They were all so tempting, and I watched him grow physically agitated as he agonized over his decision. Inevitably he would always pick—chocolate chip. The same thing can happen now to folks scouring the Internet for possible retirement locations.
- Spend a Month in Granada, Nicaragua (All Expenses Paid)
Posted on March 3, 2013 by Len Galvin
We’re looking for someone to spend a month in one of our favorite retirement havens: Granada, Nicaragua. With new cafes, restaurants, boutique hotels and art galleries opening up all over the city, Granada has been transformed over the past five years. That’s why we want to send someone (plus a spouse, partner, or friend) there—on us. We’ll pay for the round-trip flights, accommodation and give generous living expenses.
- Granada, Nicaragua: Why Tourists and Expats Flock to This Colonial Gem
Posted on March 1, 2013 by Dan Prescher
Today Granada is one of Nicaragua’s most popular tourist destinations, even for Nicaraguans. People from Managua can drive down on a well-maintained four-lane highway to get away from the capital for the weekend and socialize along Calle la Calzada, the pedestrian street lined with bars, cafés, and restaurants just off the city’s main plaza.
My grandma, a legendary green thumb, once tried her hand at growing bananas. She was successful, producing exactly one banana… from a plant in a pot, in her living room, in Wisconsin, in the dead of winter. The bad news? I didn’t inherit my grandmother’s green thumb. The good news? Living in Vilcabamba, Ecuador, I don’t need it. And neither will you because the area has such ideal growing conditions that anybody can be successful, even with little or no experience. Here’s what you need to know to get started:
Nicaragua is on the cusp. It’s being gussied up. Yet it remains—for the moment—a place for in-the-know travelers and adventuresome expats. They’re drawn to the elegant colonial towns and the natural beauty of the Pacific. Then there’s the super-low cost of living, real estate for a fraction of what you’d pay in the U.S. for similar locations, and the opportunity for a new way of life.
- Up to 50% Off Property Prices in Boquete, Panama
Posted on February 26, 2013 by International Living
Now is a good time to buy in Boquete, Panama if you’re looking for a second or retirement home. The market slowdown is throwing up some nice discounts and deals. A dozen years ago it was little more than a sleepy mountain town. But its cool climate and low cost of living attracted expats and retirees. Word got out and Boquete boomed. Located in Panama’s Chiriquí province, the town is also known for its expat community.
At home we’re fed a distinctly flavorless view of the “rest of the world.” When we get news of foreign locales, it’s most often about tragedy or macroeconomics. We have a poor understanding of what’s really “out there.” Here at International Living, we aim to help you build a richer and more nuanced understanding of the kind of life you could embrace abroad—and why you’d want to.
About a year ago, we sold our home and began a new chapter in our lives in northern Italy. We rented an elegant two-bedroom apartment one block from our favorite lake, Maggiore, for just under $1,000 per month. Verbania, Italy, where we live, is home to about 31,000 people. It sits on the western shore at the southern end of the long lake, which snakes up into Switzerland. An esplanade skirts the lakefront, with cafes and bars galore.
It’s sunset at Waihi Beach. Earlier, its six miles of glorious beach were almost as white as sand could get. Now the sky’s reflections are brocading the wet shoreline into orange and blue, pink and lilac. One of New Zealand’s North-Island gems, Waihi Beach is a laid-back community on the Bay of Plenty.
Nicaragua is going mainstream. A country that war and conspiracy made infamous in the Reagan years is today home to eco-lodges, spas, and restored colonials. It’s at the top of the New York Times’ list of places to see in 2013. Food and Wine has pronounced it “affordable, safe and undiscovered.” Outside magazine declares, “it feels like Nicaragua’s moment is now.”
That belief in freedom is still driving people today—and some have chased the American dream all the way to Ecuador. Take Cynthia and Ron Kelley. They didn’t want the identikit big house with the white picket fence. They wanted something unique to them—but they could never have afforded to build such a home in the U.S. In Canoa, Ecuador, however…
When my husband, Dan, and I were first married and first started thinking about living overseas, we pored over every issue of International Living and we read every International Living e-postcard. We compared and contrasted, planned and dreamed…Certain we would live in an exotic tropical destination, we wanted it to be relatively close to family and friends back home in the States…
Great boulders in the distance, half wet, half dry…cobalt-blue waters scrubbing sands of downy gray…white seabirds soaring above, their cries for fish occasionally audible above the sounds of the surf. This is Coronado Beach, Panama’s most popular Pacific coast destination.
“You know what?” my new friend said. “You need to tell this to young people.” We were having coffee during one of the networking breaks here at the Fast-Track Ecuador Conference, and my new friend was much like me… much like the majority of our attendees… nearing or at retirement age and finally ready to have the overseas adventure she always wanted.
In Ecuador, you can have it all…but it doesn’t come without sacrifice. At times, International Living is 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, you surely would not agree with that.
“These are the best years we have left, and we don’t want to waste a single one of them.” That’s Edd and Cynthia Staton’s philosophy. During their 35+ years of marriage, they raised two kids and enjoyed long successful careers. But a few years ago, while living in Las Vegas, they were smacked hard, as many of us were, by economic recession. They both lost their jobs.
Boquete, in Panama’s Chiriquí province, is known for its expat community. Rated by the AARP as one of the world’s best retirement destinations, Boquete blipped onto the expat radar around 2001 when International Living first started writing about it. Its artsy social scene has been growing ever since. I first visited this highland town in 1998 with my family. Though you can fly an hour to the Chiriquí capital of David…
“No matter what kind of lifestyle you’re looking for, you can find it here in Ecuador,” I told about 350 people today. It may be a small country, but the variety it has to offer is huge… From palm-lined beaches… to tranquil living in small mountain villages… to modern cosmopolitan living in sophisticated cities like Quito and Cuenca, both of which have historic centers that are UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Local legend tells that the two volcanoes are lovers, and when there is snow on Cotacachi’s peak, it means that Imbabura has visited her in the night. The valley between them cradles Otavalo, a city about 34 miles north of Quito, Ecuador.
There are thousands of expats living in Panama: Americans, Canadians, Europeans, and many more from around the globe, who come here for the beautiful weather, the tropical beaches, low cost of living, and because Panama makes it easy to start a business.
After four years of 70-plus hour weeks in the cruise ship industry, I was ready for peace and playa. And of all the countries that could offer me that, I chose Panama. Why? For a lot of the same reasons so many first-time expats have chosen to move here.
- Enjoying Panama’s Cafes, Culture, and City Life (at a Discount)
Posted on February 3, 2013 by Jessica Ramesch
“On an ideal day, I get up, sit on my balcony, and read a bit. Then I exercise or take a swim in the pool, and come back for breakfast. I might check my email or go for coffee with a friend. Later I might play bridge, or go to the National Theater, or meet with one of my clubs. There are just endless things to do,” says Joyce Perrin.
Do You Know Where a “Car Payment” Could Fund Your Whole Life?In the right places overseas, what you’d pay for a typical car payment… could fund your whole life. Sign up for our free daily Postcard e-letter, and we'll immediately send you a FREE research report to help you find your perfect, affordable retirement destination. .