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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The country that takes the number-one spot in the Annual Global Retirement Index 2012 is also the clear winner in our cost of living category. A couple watching their spending here can live well on $800 a month.
Look at the right places beyond our borders today, and you’ll find you have more good choices than ever for a comfortable—even a pampered—retirement. In any one of our top 19 havens for 2012, a lifestyle well beyond your reach in the States could be yours for pennies on the dollar.
No matter where you choose to live in the country that takes top honors in IL’s 2012 Annual Global Retirement Index, there is no better retirement haven in the world. Across all eight of our crucial categories it scores strongly. It outright wins two.
The quiet turquoise waters of the Caribbean…a mountain retreat with views of snow-capped peaks…an elegant pied-à-terre in one of the world’s most historic cities…where is your ideal “live overseas” location? Take our 45-second quiz and instantly discover your ideal overseas haven. Plus, you’ll get a free country report you can use right now. It takes less than a minute.
Richard Brady goes by Ricardo these days…he’s been in Panama since 2001 and has no plans to return to Florida. That’s probably because he spends his days surfing at one of the best sites in the region. When he’s not surfing, he’s out on Elizabeth, a gleaming white 25-foot skiff, from which he’s spotted everything from manta rays to howler monkeys.
“It’s my favorite wave on earth,” says Jon Hanna, a championship surfer who’s seen more than a few waves in his travels around the world. He’s talking about Santa Catalina, a little surf town in Panama that was once a well-guarded secret.
Erica and Kevin Moore didn’t want much…a quiet setting where they’d be able to run a business and be a part of a welcoming community. In Panama, they found dozens of towns with potential…but the tiny village of Santa Fe de Veraguas called to them.
Years ago we’d talk confidently about the benefits of Mexico versus Argentina…or Ecuador versus Costa Rica. I’m finding that we don’t do that as much these days.
It’s easy to find yourself surrounded by lush green jungle, a kaleidoscope of flowers, and a menagerie of animals. You can have this in your backyard if you wish. For me, this is a huge part of the magic of Costa Rica and the main reason I chose to live and work here.
We’re closed for Christmas Day. All your editors will be spending the holiday with family. Wherever you find yourself today, we hope you’re among friends and family, too.
When my wife, Suzan Haskins, and I visited the Ecuador coast recently, one of the nicest surprises was Bahia de Caraquez. It’s hard not to describe this little city of 20,000 people as a gem.
The icing-sugar sand is cool against your feet. The turquoise sea pushes perfect ruffled whitecaps gently up on the beach. Sitting in the shade of a coconut palm, an exotic cocktail in your hand, you fall in love with Caribbean living.
I never imagined breakfasting outdoors in December. Not in Europe. Then again, I’ve never visited the Murcia region before.
It’s impossible to compare and contrast the merits or disadvantages of entire countries. It’s not because there aren’t differences between entire countries… there are obvious and, sometimes, major ones. The visa choices and requirements of Belize may be a better match for you than those of Nicaragua. Panama’s tax laws may meet your needs better than those of Costa Rica right now.
The approachability of all the speakers, the many tables set up with displays relevant to the presentations, and the absolutely priceless opportunity to mix and mingle with people who have actually made the move to South or Central America, and had nothing to gain by giving their opinions, completely demolished my skeptical view about International Living.
The best beaches in the world are in Brazil. Ask a Brazilian and he will tell you Brazil’s best beaches are in the northeast, centered on Fortaleza. Miles of wide and deep white-sand beaches connect little fishing villages and kite surfing outposts.
You can fly from Florida to Cancun, Mexico in less than two hours. And right now, the round-trip airfare for the end of February is only $262. That’s with American Airlines from Miami. Another cheap flight at the same time is from JFK New York with Delta—$333 round-trip.
Healthier and happier. We hear that over and over from IL readers who move to Costa Rica. Ben Hill says “I was a junk food junkie…stopping at every 7-11 and buying a bag of chips and a coke, a candy bar…but now I eat healthy food, I feel better, I’m more flexible and I weigh a lot less than I did back in California.”
If you followed the scouting trip to Costa Rica I made with my wife Suzan earlier this year, you’ll know that this is the best time to buy. Here are some of the highlights:
With long stretches of sand along the coast, jungle-clad hills, beach towns that range from sleepy to surfer-central, Costa Rica is a great place not only to retire, but also to vacation. Even better—that trip can be free. Through an online contest, the Costa Rica Tourism Board is “gifting” $1 million in week-long vacations to people throughout the U.S. and Canada. Each winner and a guest will spend eight days…
West of Fortaleza on Brazil’s northeast coast, wide white-sand beaches stretch to the horizon. You can drive for hours along these beaches. Charming fishing villages with cobbled streets and well-maintained town centers sit just off the sand.
A couple of years ago a friend came to visit us in Ecuador. Once here, he realized that the biggest expense of his trip was his airfare. With nice hotel rooms priced at $30 a night (including breakfast); full meals, including beverage, for $2.50; and beers for $1 or a glass of wine for $2, he was hardly spending anything to kick around the country.
I’m in northern Tuscany’s Lunigiana, the “Land of 100 Castles”. Originally built in the late 12th century, Fosdinovo is one of its best. Crowning a hilltop, it’s a square, fortress-like structure with inner garden courtyards and gorgeous tapestries. Incredibly gruesome stories, too.
About nine years ago I traveled to Thailand for a vacation…and I immediately fell in love with the place. The food, the culture, the beaches, the friendliness of the people…but most of all, the weather. Thailand is known as the “Land of Smiles.” I think the Thais are so happy because every morning when they wake up they see the sun shining in their windows.
There’s even more to Uruguay than beautiful beaches, attractive riverside towns, vibrant capital, friendly people, and profitable property investments. If you’re looking for an environment where your money is safe, you and your family can feel secure, and taxes are low, this country should be on your short list.
Old beliefs die hard—but we’re doing our best here at IL to speed them on their way. From Penang, Malaysia to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico…Dublin, Ireland to the Pacific coast of Nicaragua…from Bilbao, Spain to Mérida, Venezuela…this month’s issue of International Living magazine is packed with boots-on-the-ground revelations about destinations you may think you know…
There may be no better place in the world right now to buy beachfront real estate than Ecuador. But don’t just take it from me. In its annual International Home Price Comparison Index, global real estate giant Coldwell Banker has named Ecuador as the lowest-priced real estate market in the world for the past several years.
As far as I’m concerned, Ecuador rocks. It may be a small country, but it has more to offer than you can imagine…great cities and quiet villages….the majestic snowcapped Andes mountains…impossibly beautiful beaches…and the glorious Amazon rainforest. Importantly, Ecuador has a low cost of living and some of the world’s lowest real estate prices.
Fourteen years ago, while on a Caribbean sailing trip, I decided that some day I would find my own place by the ocean. As time went on, that dream became ever-more important. I was sick and tired of corporate greed and useless politics in the U.S. It was time to make my dream a reality and check out moving overseas.
I moved to Uruguay full-time in 2006. And since then I’ve explored more than a dozen different countries, from Spain to Argentina. I’ve lived in Brazil, have a second home in Colombia, and bought property in Nicaragua. Yet Uruguay is where I call home; and I can’t think of a better place to be right now. The lifestyle is unbeatable, and the cost of living and of properties is reasonable.
I am bullish on Ecuador’s north coast—and have been since 2009. It’s Ecuador’s nicest stretch of coast. And now a new highway joins the new coastal highway at Pedernales, opening up the seaside area around Jama—classic Path of Progress. It’s stunning here but real estate prices stayed low because it was difficult to get to. This coast is hotting up. An owner who got in two-and-a-half years ago has been able to resell his lot in a project I recommended. He sold for close to double what he paid. Not a bad return. Don’t worry. You haven’t missed out. This opportunity is only getting started.
Even travel writers need escapes. One of my favorite getaways is Alicante, a city on Spain’s Costa Blanca. Yes, I know I’ve disparaged “the Costas” in the past. Spain-without-the-Spanish…paunchy northern Europeans overdosing on sun, sex, and cheap booze…hideous plastic donkeys…concrete jungles…acres of lookalike vacation homes. So why Alicante? Well, there’s a big difference between seaside cities and purpose-built resorts. Alicante is lively, sunny, and inexpensive, for sure. But it’s also charming, fairly sophisticated, and its ambiance is as Spanish as that of Madrid.
In Boquete, Panama, you want a really good camera. That’s because the mountain views are lavish and rainbows appear nearly every day. Karl and Liz Parker fell for this landscape when they first arrived. Now they live in Panama part of the year, spending the rest of their time traveling or back in the U.S. with family.
This isn’t five days a week; it’s closer to seven with 12- to 14-hour days. The stress has mounted, your health has suffered, and forget a personal life. You think constantly of retirement, but it is five years in the future. Sound familiar? Fifteen months ago, that was my life…and it was certainly not my own.
If you’re looking for an overseas dream home in a place that has great weather, unspoiled beaches and a more relaxed lifestyle…on a tight budget…no problem.
I was at the International Living Live and Invest in Ecuador Seminar 2011 that wrapped up about a week ago. I wish you were there, too. We learned why Ecuador makes so much sense for anyone looking to find a way to stretch their modest savings and social security checks…and yet enjoy a high quality of life.
I’ve rarely seen such an explosion of interest and exploration in a country after one of our international events. The promise and potential of Ecuador has fired the imaginations of a huge percentage of our attendees here.
Andrea Gingerich started out as a world-traveling biologist. But she had much more fun taking photos of turtles in Belize…and snaps of insects in Costa Rica. Better yet—these are photos she can sell. In fact, Andrea spent most of last year traveling and living off of the royalties from her photos.
When Patrick Robinson lived in Hawaii, he made a snapshot list of what the perfect society might look like. The more research he did the more convinced he became that this place was Ecuador. One place in particular jumped out at him. But still, he wasn’t sure he should go off on this adventure. After all, he was more than 80 years old.
“In 2007, we had great jobs and were pulling down good money. Our retirement account was growing steadily,” says Ron Moore. “Then, it seemed like overnight, everything changed.” The car dealership where Ron and his wife, Terresa, were both part of the executive management team, went out of business. As the economy down-spiraled, so did the couple’s savings.