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Living the Good Life
At ages 67 and 72, we became senior nomads. We had taken stock of our lives and realized that we were happier on the road than anywhere else—and that becoming home-free would give us the flexibility we needed to experience life in other cultures. Since then, we’ve lived in nine countries, and we have no plans to stop until the wheels fall off!
- “We Have Luxuries in Nicaragua We Could Never Afford Back Home”
Posted on May 1, 2013 by Jason Holland
When Roberto, 63, and his wife Réjane Rojas retired in 2002, they were looking for a retirement destination with warm weather, a low cost of living that would allow them to live well on their savings and pension, and easy access to both North and South America. “We visited most of the Central American countries before we decided on Nicaragua.”
I’m making my way down the cobblestones of Arch Street, on my way to meet friends for a glass of wine at Tabacos y Vinos. As I arrive, the bells of the 17thcentury cathedral ring in the hour. Antigua, in the Department of Sacatepéquez, Guatemala, is one of Latin America’s best-preserved colonial towns.
So there I was, on the back of a motorbike flying down the Vietnamese highway at nearly 80mph. On one side of me, the sun was setting over the distant jungle and vast Mekong river. On the other, farmers were clearing their rice paddies. Coming to Vietnam was one of my best decisions. Ever.
From the Via Costeira (Coastal Way), I descend the dirt path to the beach. Kicking off my sneakers, I jog barefoot south toward the breakwater. The near-white sand is so soft that it squeaks under foot. Though only 8 a.m., the sun is high, announcing yet another beautiful day.
My husband Tim and I are living proof that older people can learn plenty of new tricks. And our errors have been almost as much fun as our home runs. In 2011, we sold our comfortable California house, dumped the furniture, put our small treasures, art, and clothes in storage, and kissed our four daughters and seven grandchildren goodbye. At ages 67 and 72, respectively, we became senior nomads. We had taken stock of our lives and realized that we were happier on the road than anywhere else— and that becoming home-free would give us the flexibility we needed to experience life in other cultures.
There’s a slight chill to the breeze here in Castelldefels, on Spain’s Mediterranean coast. But the sun is bright and warm. It’s a perfect day to enjoy the long stretch of beach, just 30 minutes south of Barcelona, which is now my backyard. On a typical summer day, my Catalan neighbors would join me for a few hours of sun bathing, but at this time of year children are still at school, parents are busy at work and vacationers are just beginning to arrive.
A tamales vendor rides through town blasting his sales pitch over a bullhorn, zipping past rings of children playing marbles on the sidewalk. An old woman sits in a doorway enjoying the cool breeze, as smitten teenagers walk hand in hand to an ice-cream parlor.
- A Little Mountain Town in Panama You’ve Never Heard Of…
Posted on April 12, 2013 by Suzan Haskins
I’m Suzan Haskins, reporting from International Living’s 2013 Fast-Track Panama: Lifestyle and Opportunity Conference in Panama City.
The Internet is a wonderful thing. From a small condo high in the Ecuadorian Andes Mountains, my wife, Suzan, and I can view properties for sale in Omaha, Nebraska. (Which, by the way, is the perfect way to see properties in Omaha at this time of year if you no longer own a parka and mukluks…)
If you’re ever in the Arenal region of Costa Rica there is one activity you have to make time for: a dip in one of the natural hot springs. Known locally as “aguas termales,” the 90 to 110 degree Fahrenheit waters are naturally heated by volcanic activity. In fact, most of the hot springs have a great view of the Arenal volcano from the pools.
- Lifestyle in Tamarindo, Costa Rica: Beach Living at its Best
Posted on April 4, 2013 by Jason Holland
You couldn’t accuse it of having a secluded, deserted beach. But living in Tamarindo, Costa Rica certainly has its rewards. As one of the country’s most popular beach towns with a large expat community, Tamarindo has a lot of advantages and amenities. You’ll find a variety of options when it comes to housing, from low-cost apartments and condos to large ocean-view homes
- Video: Los Chorros: A Spectacular Waterfall in Costa Rica’s Central Valley
Posted on by Jason Holland
Thanks to Costa Rica’s mountainous terrain and abundance of rivers, there are spectacular waterfalls throughout the country. In the video below, International Living Costa Rica Correspondent Jason Holland highlights a waterfall, known as Los Chorros, just outside of the village of Tacares. From the center of Tacares you’ll see large signs directing you to the waterfall, officially known as Los Chorros Parque Recreativo, which is three kilometers outside of town
Costa Rica’s Central Valley has been an expat haven for decades. For good reason. It’s got one of the world’s best climates, averaging in the mid-70s year-round. And most towns are within short driving distance (30 minutes to an hour-and-a-half) of the amenities of the capital, San José, and its suburbs like Cariari and Escazu. We’re talking North American-style shopping malls and multiplex movie theaters (with movies in English), plus the country’s best private hospitals.
Alajuela, just 13 miles or so from Costa Rica’s capital, San José, is in many ways the country’s second city. It is second in size, with a population of 50,000. And it is also the home to La Liga, one half a bitter soccer (here known as futbol) rivalry with San José’s team, Saprissa. The country’s main international airport is in Alajuela. And it’s the birthplace of national hero Juan Santamaria.
I didn’t know where I was. Well, that’s not totally accurate. I had decided to walk home through a neighborhood I’d never visited before. I was aware of my general location and direction, and I had a sense of how long it would take to be sitting at the dining-room table… so I didn’t need to know my exact coordinates to enjoy my spontaneous exploration.
In Ecuador we found one of the most beautiful and bio-diverse countries in the world. And with a low cost of living, a government that leaves us alone, and some of the friendliest people you’re ever likely to meet, Ecuador more than exceeded our expectations.
- My Friend in Ecuador Couldn’t Believe it When I Told Him This…
Posted on March 28, 2013 by Edd Staton
A friend and I were enjoying a few adult beverages together recently. He lives in Paute, a small village about a 45-minute commute from Cuenca that is growing increasingly popular with expats.During our conversation he asked me if I would ever consider moving there. I told him that I enjoy walking around the city for another reason. Being out and about keeps me connected.
- Living in Santa Ana, Costa Rica: One of San Jose’s Top Suburbs
Posted on March 27, 2013 by Jason Holland
San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital, is full of small towns and villages that have merged over the years into the greater metro area as the city grew. One of those is Santa Ana, population of about 11,000. At one time known mainly for its ceramics and pottery, this once sleepy hamlet is fast becoming one of San Jose’s top suburbs.
The Manuel Antonio area on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast has been a long-time favorite of visitors. Just two hours from the capital San Jose on a well-maintained modern highway, Manuel Antonio is the site of the country’s most popular national park. In 2011, Forbes magazine named it one of the world’s best.At 4,000 acres, it’s a relatively small refuge and one of the smallest national parks
Those looking for a beautiful, unspoiled beachfront setting, as well as a sizeable community of expats, should find living in Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica to be a good match.Playa Flamingo is located on the northern Pacific Coast, in the heart of what is known as the Gold Coast.
- Laid-Back Líbano: A Simple Life in Colombia’s Coffee Country
Posted on March 25, 2013 by Michael Evans
Atamales vendor rides through town blasting his sales pitch over a bullhorn, zipping past rings of children playing marbles on the sidewalk. An old woman sits in a doorway enjoying the cool breeze, as smitten teenagers walk hand in hand to an ice-cream parlor.
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