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Manta, Ecuador

This Ecuador Beach Town Has Everything For a Happier Life Overseas

As an airline employee, Brian Yates traveled to many places during his career. It wasn’t until he hit retirement age, however, that he considered living abroad. After visiting South America three years ago, he realized Ecuador had everything he was looking for—low cost of living, amazing coastal lifestyle, affordable healthcare, political stability, and an amazing sense of community. Brian chose to live in the small city of Manta, on the Ecuadorian coast, which has hot weather all year round (averaging 85 F during the warm season and 80 F during the cold season), and offers an amazing coastal lifestyle at a low cost.

County Mayo, Ireland

The 10 Best Things About Ireland

Maybe it’s the music. Or the breathtaking landscapes. Or the witty humor and long, effortless conversations. Even without a drop of Irish blood in your veins, it’s easy to fall in love with Ireland’s charms, traditions, and strong sense of community. The recession that followed the Celtic Tiger boom hasn’t altered the essentials that make the Emerald Isle special.

Cotacachi, Ecuador

Rent For $450 a Month in Captivating Cotacachi

What attracted me to my husband, Kim, was the fact that he loves adventure as much as I do. We’ve lived in eight cities in Florida and four states from Florida to Washington. Not to mention living and traveling aboard our boat for seven years, during which time we lived in Trinidad and Venezuela. I thought we finally found our cozy little retirement home when we bought our last house in Florida…but my husband still wasn’t ready to settle down, even though we were now retired. He began investigating living overseas and said he wasn’t ready to stop discovering the world or having adventures because we were retired.

Otavalo, Ecuador

Why You’ll Never Be Bored in Ecuador

“What do you do to stay busy?” It’s a question I am asked frequently about life in Ecuador. There seems to be a fear that once you arrive, get settled in, and explore a bit, you’ll run out of things to do and soul-sucking boredom will set in. But I don’t know a single expat who struggles to fill their time and here’s why. Aside from the day-to-day activities of life—grocery shopping, household chores, and paying bills—the country holds a myriad of ways to fuel your interests and keep you occupied.

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

“Retirement in Costa Rica is Better Than We Imagined”

“I love that our life is so different than I ever thought it would be,” says Pokey Sherman, 65. “I grew up in Pittsburgh. And my parents retired to Florida. I thought, ‘Is that all there is?’ I think the idea of retirement should be to change your lifestyle.”
“It’s a real joy to wake up and come out here and realize what we’ve done,” she adds, referring to their fifth-floor balcony. Their condo is set on a hill overlooking a low-key beach town, verdant forest, the glittering Pacific, surfer-filled waves, and river to the north.

Salinas, Ecuador

How Much Has Ecuador Changed My Life?

It has been almost three years since my wife Rita and I first purchased our oceanfront condo in the popular beach town of Salinas, Ecuador, and just over two years since we moved here to live. Sometimes it’s a bit mind-boggling when we stop and think about how different our lives are now. If I had to pick one of the biggest changes we’ve made that has had the biggest impact on our lives, I would have to say it’s living without a car. Let’s put aside the obvious effect on our pocketbook—to be free of the expenses of car payments, car repairs, maintenance, insurance, and gas—and look at the change it makes in our lifestyle.

Chiang Rai, Thailand

Appreciating Life in This Enchanting, Low-Cost City

“I found myself out of work a few years back and, at my age (62), it wasn’t looking like I would find anything suitable, so it was a bit of a dilemma,” explains Paul Jones.
“Fortunately, I made a few small property investments, which I was able to get a decent return on, so there was enough cash in the kitty to explore my options. I could have stayed at home but I’d had enough of big-city living and was looking for something different.”

Lagoon at Chankanaab, Cozumel

A Relaxed, Caribbean-Island Retirement Without the High Price Tag

Cozumel is a perfect blend of laidback island life with tons of activities to enjoy. Here you can have as relaxed or active a retirement as you want. You can park yourself on a perfect stretch of white-sand beach for the day, listening to the waves as you read the latest best-seller, or don a snorkel to explore the world’s second-largest reef system, just offshore. Clear waters make it easy to see (and photograph) sea turtles, rays, and colorful clown fish. You can even make arrangements to swim with giant whale sharks.

Roatan West Bay, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

Beach-Town Living on Roatán for $2,000 a Month

On the western end of the pristine, laidback Caribbean island of Roatán, there’s a growing community of contented, beach-loving expats. The beach here is perfectly protected from the island’s prevailing southeastern breezes. This leaves the turquoise waters calm and still, perfect for a refreshing swim or snorkel. For many residents, a people-watching stroll on the white sands with a cold beer in hand is a daily routine.

The beach here is often voted one of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Snorkeling from shore is easy, and the coral reef around this island is among the most beautiful in the world. The reef’s proximity to shore, the amazing visibility in the crystal-clear waters, and the versatility of healthy coral reef and vibrantly colored fish make for the easiest and most awe-inspiring diving. There are many dive shops on the beach here, all offering affordable dive packages for lessons or fun diving—at dive sites all within a few minutes from shore.

Medellin, Colombia

Irresistible Medellin: The City That Has Something For Everyone

The city of Medellin, Colombia is many things to many people. For some it is the “City of Eternal Spring” where the weather is always just right and the songbirds are hard at work in the flowers and trees that line the streets.
For others, it is a city of innovation where local universities churn out award-winning projects and top-notch students. And for yet others, it’s a place of historical treasure with a past full of gold, colonialism, and a stunning recovery after decades of turmoil.

Corozal, Belize

“We’re Content in Belize…And Don’t Plan on Moving”

Sue and George’s interest in Belize was piqued in 2010, while still living in Los Angeles. Sue read an AARP article about retiring in Belize and George watched an International House Hunters program about building a home there. George had long dreamed of building their ideal retirement home. But the Paolettis knew that it would be exorbitantly expensive to do so in Southern California.

Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama

The Best Way to Explore Panama…With Insider Guides

“When you get here, I’ll pick you up from your hotel and show you my favorite parts of the city”…this was a message I got from IL Panama Editor Jessica Ramesch when I told her I’d be visiting Panama City last week. I’m off the plane having spent 10 days exploring all that Panama has to offer. And it offers so much…the cost of living is affordable; I know couples who are enjoying life on $1,600 a month. Good-value real estate abounds…you can pick up a three-bedroom house, with a swimming pool, in a Pacific coast beach town less than an hour from Panama City, for $150,000. And then there’s the stunning beaches, picturesque mountain towns, and the best retiree benefits program in the world…all reasons why we picked Panama as the world’s number one retirement destination for 2016. And the reason I came here.

Doi Saket, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Three Day Trips from Chiang Mai, Thailand

Get out into this spectacular countryside, where Lanna culture is king, and see all its hidden treasures first-hand. Whether you rent a car or scooter, hire a driver for the day, or sign up for an organized tour, plan on a trip outside Chiang Mai’s city limits while you’re in the area.

Cuenca

An Insider Tour of Cuenca’s Culinary Delights

Dining out is perhaps the favorite activity of gringos. (That’s what expats are called by locals, and it’s not a derogatory term here as it is in other parts of the world.) That goes for Cynthia and me, too. So I’m excited to take you on an all-day culinary tour of Cuenca to highlight some of our favorite places to eat.

Panama

Discover the Best of Beach and City Living in Panama’s Dry Arc

The sun is setting, giving the beach a golden glow. Moments ago the water was a cobalt blue, and I could see the tail feathers of the seabirds gliding above. Now a single cormorant bobs close to shore. I kick off my sandals and walk along the surf, letting it roll over my feet. The water is the perfect temperature. A bit cooler than the air around me, it feels refreshing…inviting.

Boquete,-Panama

What it Really Costs to Live in Panama

Each year, my husband and I spend six months of the year living in Panama’s Chiriqui province. One of the many reasons we decided to live our snowbird lifestyle here was the lower cost of living. And it’s something I often hear from expats…affordable and good-value cost of living was one of the main factors in their decision to live here.

Santa Catalina, Panama

A Laidback Beach Life for $1,500 a Month on Panama’s Pacific Coast

Santa Catalina is not one of those cute little towns you’re likely to stumble across as you explore Panama. That’s because it’s literally at the end of the road where the pavement meets the sand of the Pacific shoreline. From Santiago, the capital of Veraguas Province, it’s about a two-hour drive to get to the town of Santa Catalina. But why would you want to go? I visited there myself recently to answer that question.

Ecuador

In Pictures: Ecuador’s Most Affordable Beach-Town Getaways

Just a few months after getting settled into life in Guayaquil, Ecuador, back in 2013, I discovered one of my new favorite pastimes—going on viaje (a short vacation). Guayaquil is a fantastic city to live in if you’re looking for a base for weekend excursions. In the last three years, I’ve never had trouble finding the perfect spot for a trip.

Since Ecuador is known for its rich biodiversity, finding an interesting destination is as easy as throwing a dart at a map. But from Guayaquil, the beaches are definitely the most convenient and relaxing destination.

Jerez, Spain

Test-Drive a New Life in Spain This Year for $2,000 a Month

On a sunny spring day last year, I spent a pleasant hour or so shopping at my local market. The produce was fresh and appealing, the fish and seafood incomparable. My produce included goodies like ripe tomatoes; big bunches of fresh greens; tender artichokes picked so young that they have no fibrous choke; and juicy oranges and plums. On top lay my purchases from the fish hall: a pound of small shrimp and another of freshly caught tuna, from which I got three thick tuna steaks. I filled two large shopping baskets with food, for a total cost of about $18.

Salinas, Ecuador

Happier, Healthier, and Wealthier in Beach-Town Ecuador

Just three years ago, I would not have believed it possible. In spite of a family income of six figures, we were still not able to put much toward retirement. We were living in a great waterfront condo in Maryland, but at a cost. Our monthly expenses were over $6,000. Our HOA fees alone were almost $900. On top of that, property taxes were about $5,000 a year. We were happy living there, but I was resigned to working until I was 65, at least.

Malaysia

Is This the Best Foodie Haven in Southeast Asia?

When you meet a local in Penang they’ll ask you two questions. Firstly, “How are you?” And then “sudah makan?” which roughly translates as “Have you eaten yet?” It’s asked when you get a haircut…when you get a taxi…when you shop at the market… And they truly want to know. If you answer yes, they will ask “What?” and “Where?” and then proceed to tell you their favorite food and where to get it. It’s a conversation, not just a question. Food is that important in Penang. (And don’t worry, people speak English…you only need to know a few words of Malay.)

Panama City

The Insider Tips You Need to Know to Spend Less in Panama

Life, as we all know, is full of contradictions. Even here in Panama City—my little slice paradise. I’ve been living here since 2005, ever since I quit my job sailing the world aboard luxury cruise liners. For my money, there’s no better location and no better value anywhere in the world.

Panama City, Panama

There’s Always More to Learn About Panama

With another Fast Track Panama Conference under our belts, I’m amazed once again by the appeal and the staying power of this magical country for U.S. and Canadian expats. I get to come here every year for our Fast Track conference, and I’ve heard many of our presenters, experts, and expats tell their stories of life in Panama before. But sure enough…with an audience of several hundred folks soaking up the information and opinions about retirement in Panama for the first time…it’s almost as if I’m hearing it for the first time myself.

Corozal,-Belize-(2)

Living in Stress-Free Belize on 66% Less Than in the U.S.

If you drop by Dan and Mary Elizabeth Crofts home in Corozal, Belize, you might find Dan indulging in one of his favorite new pastimes…feeding the local iguanas. Mary Elizabeth explains, “We have a family of three that we have named: Greta, Gary, and their son, Genghis. They love bananas and we have a video of Dan feeding them”.

Puerto-Morelos-1

“Living My Dream Retirement in Caribbean Beach-Town Mexico”

Frank and Dale Reams took their first vacation to the quaint fishing village of Puerto Morelos on Mexico’s Caribbean coast in 1998 and knew, instantly, that they belonged there. “We fell in love with this area and after several more vacations, we decided that Puerto Morelos would become our retirement home when the time came,” says Frank.

Ometepe-Island-Lake-Nicaragua-Nicaragua

“I’m Happier Living in Nicaragua…You Could Be Too”

Forget what the scientists tell us about the five happiness factors. I’ve lived in Nicaragua for eight years and I can easily explain why I am much happier here than I ever was in the U.S. Don’t get me wrong, my life was fine in San Diego, good even. But now that I see how life can really be for a retiree, there’s actually no comparison. Here’s why:

Don’t get me wrong, my life was fine in San Diego, good even. But now that I see how life can really be for a retiree, there’s actually no comparison. Here’s why:

Apartment in Paris

An Easy Way to Live and Work in Paris

I work in Paris, France with plenty of free time to explore this amazing city with my kids, because of my career. As a copywriter, I work about five hours a day, three or four days per week, and I can think of no better place to live. “Hey look Mama! It’s the Eiffel Tower!”

“Hey look Mama! It’s the Eiffel Tower!”

Pedasi

The Tranquil Panama Town That Loves to Throw a Good Party

Pedasi is a sleepy kind of town. It consists of a main road, a central park, and several blocks of residences and businesses…I toured the town on foot in a couple of hours. It’s primarily a fishing village but has seen an upsurge in outside interest in recent years, resulting in a small but growing expat community.

cottages in morgex france

A Charming Life in Italy’s Alluring Alps for $2,000 a Month

“We are living in paradise,” say Sonya Saldana and Adam Bowman about the town of Morgex, Italy, where they moved less than two years ago from San Diego, California. “Some of the most beautiful spots in the Italian Alps are a short walk away from our house.”

romance

The World’s Most Romantic Retirement Havens

It’s that time of year again—the birds are singing, love is in the air, and hopeless husbands are trawling gas stations for that last bunch of flowers. It must be Valentine’s Day—that special day when you spoil the one you love, devote your attention to one another, and escape momentarily from the humdrum of everyday routine. It can be a wonderful time, no matter where you are, but it’s undeniable that some locations have a certain je ne sais quoi that adds that something special to the occasion.

Placencia

Why I Stand By Our “Crazy” Decision To Move to Belize

When my husband Dave and I first visited Belize we were blown away by the island lifestyle and culture. We loved seeing swaying palm trees and white-sand beaches everywhere we looked. We loved seeing people actually enjoying their day, walking to get their groceries, the lack of materialism, and the fact that we could be outside 12 months a year.

Corozal Belize

“Let’s Sell the House and Move to Belize”

“Our day begins early, the local birds love to greet the sun and wake us up so we enjoy the sunrise over the water, too,” says Lynn Lawson. “Add a cup of fresh coffee and warm breezes, and we are totally relaxed. We take morning walks, greeting our neighbors and their pets.”

Isla-Mujeres

Dreaming of Tropical Islands in the Sun…

My wife, Suzan Haskins, and I do a lot of traveling. So we often find ourselves on the way to places. We find ourselves in airports. In taxis and shuttles. In planes and buses. In snow-bound cities and towns for holidays and family functions.

Pereira-Colombia

Rent for $130 a Month in Colombia’s Low-Cost Coffee Region

“Pereira is a small city with just about everything you could want from a large city—an airport, theaters, more shopping than you could ever need,” says Mollee Thermos. “But it’s still not as developed as Colombia’s bigger and more well-known cities of Medellin or Bogota and I like it because of that.”

georgetown-malaysia

Modern Conveniences and Rents of $650 a Month in Colonial Malaysia

Sitting on my balcony just off the living room, I’m completely surrounded by 100-foot-tall, 200-year-old trees. Sipping my coffee early in the morning, there is one tree that always holds my attention as it’s surrounded by fireflies. I’d never seen them before moving here and they’re quite magical.

Manzanillo-Costa-Rica

Seven of the Best Beaches in Costa Rica

With 912 miles of coastline on both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica has plenty of beaches. And you get a wide variety of looks, too. Some of these beaches are all natural, Robison Crusoe-style tropical escapes that you’ll have all to yourself. You can sit in the shade as you watch clear water lap against the shore on a lazy afternoon. Others are places to enjoy a cold drink in hand, toes in the sand, listening to music and people-watching. There are even large resorts and bustling beach towns with plenty of nightlife.

Cuenca,-Ecuador-580x300

“Bravely” Living a Life of Luxury in Ecuador on $1,300 a Month

At least once a week, I receive an email with the words “you’re so brave.” I chuckle to myself because everyone back in the States thinks my husband, Mark, and I are so courageous. In reality, I think exactly the opposite… What’s brave about retiring at age 55 to one of the world’s top retirement destinations—Cuenca, Ecuador—with spring-like temperatures all year long (lows in the 50’s and high 70’s) and not having to work unless I absolutely want to (I’m a freelance writer).

Puerto Vallarta

Moving to Mexico Allowed Me to Quit My Job and Retire Early

After nearly 10 years of marriage, my husband and I decided it was time for a change. We’d lived in a Minneapolis high-rise apartment with spectacular views of the Mississippi River and downtown for seven years, and while we loved our apartment, we didn’t love the weather (for six months of the year anyway). And I didn’t love my high-stress job or the fact that our cost of living seemed to be getting higher.

France

A Healthier Lifestyle and Affordable Healthcare in Wine-Loving France

Would you become healthier if you lived in France? Maybe.

France is one of the healthiest nations on earth, if average life expectancy is any indication. According to the most recent data from the World Health Organization (2013), France comes in at #9, with an average age life expectancy of 81.6 years. This puts the country well ahead the United States, which ranked #34, with a life expectancy of 79.

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Sign up for our free daily Postcard e-letter and we'll immediately send you a FREE RESEARCH REPORT on the most desirable —and cheapest— retirement havens available to you today.

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