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International Living Magazine
- Secrets of the South of France: The Most Affordable Regions, Towns and Villages
Posted on April 8, 2014 by International Living
We’ve created Secrets of the South of France so you won’t have to waste time struggling to discover these hidden gems on your own…it’s more fun to spend the time trying to choose between one beautiful place or another.
And believe us, you’ll have a world of choice.
Inside this Issue…
Romance and Adventure in Guatemala’s Southern Highland;
Mexico’s Low-Cost Pacific Coast;
Housesitting Know-How: Score the Best Stays;
Discover Ibarra-Ecuador’s “White City”;
How to Open a Foreign Brokerage Account…
And Much More.
Download the April 2014 issue here.
As this idea of living better for less overseas tiptoes into the mainstream, newspapers and magazines mention places like San Miguel de Allende in Mexico or the Central valley in Costa Rica. These communities have long attracted foreign retirees. They’re the “old guard” in expat havens. You can slide into them easily, what with active expat groups, supermarkets, and plenty of homes to rent. They’re convenient, proven, attractive.
Sitting alongside the banks of the River Garonne in southwest France, the red-tile-roofed city of Toulouse hosts its annual Flamenco Festival from April 1 to 15, with local venues filled with music and dance throughout. Another marathon-length event to consider begins its 18-day run in Jaipur, India, on April 2.
- Belize Chocolate Festival, Britain’s Best Pub, Turtles Nesting…and Much More
Posted on by International Living
The Santa Catalina arch is one of the most famous landmarks of Antigua, Guatemala. And for a compact town of 40,000 people, there are a lot of them. Antigua was once the capital of Spanish Central America, and its cobbled streets are lined with the grand mansions and ornate churches of the colonial golden age.
More hot water pours out of the earth in Beppu, Japan, than in any other city in the world. Located in southern Japan on the island of Kyushu, Beppu is home to over 2,000 hot springs, which means Japanese-style baths (onsen) are never more than a short walk away.
If you want to increase your future returns while reducing your risk, you should add some emerging-market stocks to your portfolio. It may surprise you that adding riskier, emerging-market assets to a portfolio will reduce overall risk, but it shouldn’t. These markets do not move in lockstep with the U.S. market, which hit a series of all-time highs in the fourth quarter of 2013.
We discovered our Colonial Highland home by accident. We were on a year’s sabbatical, exploring the popular expat haven of San Miguel de Allende, when a couple we knew invited us to join them on a day trip to the nearby town of Guanajuato. We climbed the steps from the underground parking lot to a view of lively plazas, colonial-style buildings in bright orange and turquoise, and plentiful pedestrian areas.
Of all the places I’ve visited in Costa Rica, the Nicoya Peninsula is the one that feels most like the frontier. It’s a somewhat isolated region, with mile after mile of untouched coastline along the blue Pacific, craggy hills, vast cattle farms in the interior, and mazes of what are often dirt roads running through forests and fields. It’s also one of the world’s Blue Zones, where researchers have found that locals live longer on average due to a combination of diet, climate, and lifestyle.
Gary Thompson first fell for Mexico at the age of 12, thanks to a classmate’s slideshow of a family trip south of the border. “I was overwhelmed by the beauty and diversity, and that sensation stayed with me,” he says. “Even today, I never get tired of the green mountains and ocean views around me.”
Do you want to travel and sample different retirement lifestyles, but have a limited budget? Housesitting may be your answer. Our first housesit was 20 months ago. Since then we have lived rent-free in Tuscan farmhouses, French vineyards, Spanish casitas, English heritage homes, luxury Costa Rican villas, and a jungle retreat in Belize.
There’s no shortage of natural beauty in northern Thailand. There are dozens of rivers like the Mae Ping, which originates in the forest-clad Daen Lao mountain range and flows down through the temple-laden city of Chiang Mai. Waterfalls gush into fertile valleys like Mae Sa, where you’ll find elephant camps, orchid farms, and miles of lush jungle.
I had just polished off an al fresco meal at an Argentine steakhouse with my family, and was relaxing to the mingling sounds of several street musicians, when the bill arrived. Though I’ve been in Ecuador for some time, I still suffer from reverse sticker shock. A similar meal for four at a restaurant of the same caliber in the U.S. runs well over $100.
It’s easy to miss Monteverde, high in the Tilarán Mountains. There’s only a small sign directing you to turn right off the PanAmerican Highway and begin your slow ascent. You pass through tiny villages along the way. Dairy cows clamber on near-vertical terraced hillsides.
It’s the “slap, slap” sound of contentment: Women making tortillas by hand as I sip a Gallo beer and look out over the water. I can hear a marimba and see children splashing happily on the sun-kissed lakeshore. Several old women in native dress are passing by, carrying large parcels on their heads…hands free.
Colombia has been on my radar for some time. For big oil and banking, the action is in Bogotá. But it’s getting expensive there and the city is already bursting. I prefer to focus my efforts in this part of world in Medellín, and in the El Poblado area in particular.
The old notion that “when America sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold” is fading. U.S. businesses and consumers no longer rule the globe. And for smart investors everywhere, the message is clear: For solid profits, you must put some wealth to work in markets beyond U.S. borders.
In 1994, billionaire entrepreneur Bill Gates spent $30.8 million on 18 pieces of paper. His purchases weren’t paintings or artwork—at least, not in the traditional sense. They were manuscripts, handwritten 500 years ago by artist, inventor, and genius Leonardo da Vinci. Bill Gates wanted to own the Codex Leicester because he wanted a tangible connection to one of his heroes—and he’s not alone.
It wasn’t one thing that attracted expats Veronique Marconnet and Julie Foley to Guanajuato. It was a whole bunch of them: superb colonial architecture, vibrant cafés, live music, art…and opportunities to make a living doing something they enjoy. “Guanajuato offers possibilities,” says Veronique. “And you can have a good quality of life at a relatively low cost, too.” Monthly expenses including rent average $1,500.
When Michael Allen, 54, joined his wife Connie, 51, for a vacation on Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast back in 2000, he made a startling discovery. “She had arrived there two weeks before me and had bought some land near the town of Ojochal, which is a hub of expat activity in the region,” says Michael. “I remember saying, ‘What did you do! Are you out of your mind? It’s in the middle of the jungle.’”
Panama’s artisans are perhaps the best-kept secret in the world of handicrafts. In every region you’ll find master craftspeople quietly selling their wares in small stores and on roadsides. Little-known festivals celebrate their skills. And Panama’s oldest families pass their creations on to their children…from the fine linen and Valencian lace of the dress known as the pollera, to the instruments needed for the distinctive sounding tipico music.
Six months from now, you could be living in paradise… for much less than it costs you to stay home. In the best destinations overseas, your dollar just goes further…first-class health care is affordable…you can keep a housekeeper or gardener…and live better than you can back home for a fraction of what you pay now…
Asia beckons for many reasons. Tropical islands with white-sand beaches, lush rain forests filled with fragrant blooms, tree-covered misty mountains, and—if you’re more a big-city type—some of the most frenetic cities on earth, a heady mix of the ultra-modern and exotic traditions.
It seems a lifetime ago when my husband David and I began our journey toward going overseas. In addition to taking care of the necessities that come with moving we spent a lot of time imagining what adventures lay in wait. Dreams of leisurely roaming the cobblestone streets of mountain villages floated through our minds.
- The “Retirement Bonus” for the Rest of Us: The Getaway Nation Where You Can “Live Rich” on $1,700 a Month
Posted on February 24, 2014 by International Living
You deserve a dignified, comfortable retirement. And that’s becoming harder and harder to come by these days. You can have one, though…Because when you take advantage of this “retirement bonus,” it’ll no longer matter that the Fed is keeping interest rates at near-zero.
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