International Living Daily Postcards
Each day we uncover some of the most desirable--and cheapest--retirement havens on earth. In International Living's free daily postcards, you'll learn about retirement, property, travel and lifestyle opportunities from around the world.
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If you fall in love with Uruguay, as I did, one thing you’ll appreciate is the high-quality, affordable health care. In Uruguay, medical equipment is modern and doctors highly trained. There are two medical schools in Montevideo, but many senior doctors in Uruguay were trained in the United States, Germany, and Brazil.
The case for owning farmland as a strategy to safely grow or preserve your nest egg has never been stronger. Increasing populations and wealth in emerging economies is the primary driver
I’m a city boy through and through. When I moved recently to Escazú, a suburb of Costa Rica’s capital San José, I figured I’d be enmeshed in urban culture. This is, after all, the biggest city in the country, and the surrounding area is home to three-quarters of the country’s citizens.
Since becoming an expat, my behavior has changed. I don’t greet friends with a handshake anymore; I kiss them on the cheek.
I’m sitting in a few inches of water, eagerly anticipating the next big wave. When it comes, it’s far stronger than I expected it to be. I’m slapped in the face, knocked off my rear and whipped around by its power
Imagine, for a moment, waking up to the sun bursting through a canopy of leaves… the song of tropical birds the only sound piercing the stillness of the morning air….
I love Costa Rica’s easygoing pace of life. It’s a place where people can’t help but slow down.
It was hard to tell over the phone. But I think my mother was in tears when I broke the news that we were moving to Costa Rica. Most of our friends were shocked.
Real estate values have fallen so far in Ireland…that today, $27,000 puts you in the game. (Spend that much and you get a traditional-style, semi-detached cottage in need of some modernization.) Spend a little over $45,000 and you won’t have the hassle of home improvements. That amount gets you a modern condo.
If it’s Spanish Colonial charm you’re after, you can’t do much better than Granada, Nicaragua. The place is steeped in it.
Patty and Mike Grimm have been in Ecuador for nearly three years. During that time, “we have pretty much covered the gamut of medical care, including dentistry, eye exams and glasses, emergency rooms, colonoscopy, mammogram, gallbladder removal, treatment for ulcers (endoscopes), and serious back treatments,” says Mike.
I checked out of the traditional career path—the “rat race”—about 10 years ago at the age of 35. On the surface, life in Texas was great for me. I’d graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in journalism and worked in the advertising business as an account executive (a “suit”) for about 10 years.
When you live in Costa Rica’s Southern Zone, the beach and the blue Pacific become a focal point. Surfers and beach combers hit the shore.
Locals who live in Granada, Nicaragua, are used to tourists—maybe now more than ever, especially since The New York Times recently named Nicaragua #3 on its list of “Places to Go in 2013.” It’s not hard to understand what makes Granada so popular. Less than an hour after landing at Nicaragua’s international airport in Managua…
“I knew when it was time to retire we’d move to the tropics. I was bored with the predictability of life in the U.S….the politics…the franchises,” says 70-year-old Roberta Laidman.
Perhaps the happiest expat couple I’ve met in Ecuador came here with what fit in their suitcases and only two things that didn’t—a guitar and a fiddle.
When you live in Costa Rica’s Southern Zone, the beach and the blue Pacific become a focal point.
You’ve probably heard the old joke that the best way to make $10 million in the wine industry is to start with $20 million. But these days in Argentina, nothing could be further from the truth. Unlike other winemaking nations, Argentina is now exporting almost all the wine it can produce. Brazil, the United States, Canada and England are favorite destinations…
Expats have been flocking to the Central Valley for decades. Despite the name, it is actually a high-altitude plateau—above 3,000 feet—that is surrounded by tall mountains. In the middle you have Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose.
For many reasons, Cuenca, Ecuador earns top billing as one of the world’s top expat destinations. The cost of living is low—three-course lunches start at $2.50—the weather is great, usually around 65 to 70 F during the day, and it’s never too cold or hot.
The restaurant, Villas Mombacho, overlooks the lake and the views are of the many little islands and the local fishermen at work. Distant volcanoes fill the horizon and my friends and I are surrounded by palm trees and flowers.
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
I’m from Florida, where a day at the beach means fighting for parking—often for an outrageous fee—struggling to find a bare patch of sand, and spending the day listening to loud music and shouting kids.
Belize has a lot going for it. For a tiny country, it packs a big wallop when it comes to charm and scenery. For the would-be expat—especially if you’re looking for real value—there are many places that deserve your attention. Places where you can live the laid-back, Caribbean lifestyle of your dreams.
Since moving to Belize full-time in 2012, empty nesters Christine Cotten and her husband Tom ease into their day. Morning time for them on Ambergris Caye starts with a coffee on the pier in front of their beachfront condo, watching the sun rise, golden and glowing, in a purple sky.
Their vacations in tropical places left Denice and Robert Key wishing for more out of life and thinking, “What if…?” The couple had traveled throughout the Caribbean and Mexico when they were younger, and they could never quite escape the itch to retire early and move to a warm, exotic destination—something completely different from their Colorado home.
We’d finished dinner almost an hour earlier. But we were still in the restaurant. Our host was back after a few weeks away and it seemed the whole town wanted to catch up.
So there we were, my husband David and I, retired in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, we had a lovely home in a great development and spent our time remodeling, doing volunteer work, and getting on with our lives.
For such a small country, Belize packs a big punch in terms of what it offers expats. It tops IL’s list for ease of integration, with expats reporting that they fit easily into the local community there.
Steve Kamb left his native Oregon last year on a round-the-world trip starting in Los Angeles. Over the course of the next 10 months, Steve spent time in Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Dublin, Madrid, and Buenos Aires
When I hear people talk about Boquete, in Panama’s Highlands, I’m reminded of the parable of Plato’s Cave. In that allegory, people sit in a cave watching shadows going by from outside.
Work doesn’t start until nearly 8.00 a.m. but I’m an early riser so I like to get up around 6.00 a.m. I’m greeted by the sun shining in my window.
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.”
“This may sound a little chauvinistic, but I think every man has the desire to build a home for himself in the wilderness with his bare hands,” says Elbert Greer. It was this desire, to carve out a place in paradise, that led the former teacher to his new life on Ambergris Caye, a Caribbean island just off the northeastern tip of Belize. After many years teaching vocational education…
It feels like the highland town of Boquete is Panama’s fastest-growing relocation destination. There are a lot of “new things” around here…a new market, new theater, new library, and a new hospice are just a few
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.
Here in the Azuero Peninsula, paradise overlooks the Pacific and the fishing is renowned worldwide. The eastern region is more developed, with a mix of old cities and new developments.
When Aaron Bradford first traveled to Southeast Asia in 2008, he had no idea he’d wind up staying. He visited Thailand…Laos…Vietnam…Malaysia…and Indonesia. He explored undiscovered beaches, wild jungles, and ancient temples. He tasted exotic cuisine. And he made new friends from all over the world. His original plan had him returning home once the trip was over.
Panama is well known for its friendly people…and that includes both expats and locals. It’s easier than ever to find like-minded people who are willing to make friends, include you in their activities, or support you in starting something new.
Comfortable retirement. That’s an oxymoron for anyone living in the U.S., Canada, or Europe these days. If that’s you, listen up: there’s a tiny little country where all your retirement dreams can come true: Panama. That’s right. Panama… the squiggle of a country that connects two continents…