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- Small Town Life in Atenas, Costa Rica’s Central Valley
Posted on May 23, 2013 by Jason Holland
“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.
- All You Need on Your Doorstep: Costa Rica’s Central Valley
Posted on May 19, 2013 by Jason Holland
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.
- A Relaxed Pace of Life in a Tropical, Colonial City
Posted on May 16, 2013 by Helen Korengold
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.
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.
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.
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
- What Life as an English Teacher in Thailand is Really Like
Posted on May 3, 2013 by Chris Clancy
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.
- “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.”
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.
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.
- A Comfortable Retirement in Panama for Less Than $2,000 a Month
Posted on April 22, 2013 by International Living
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…
- Three Little-Known Havens in Italy, France and Spain
Posted on April 17, 2013 by Steenie Harvey
If you’re in love with classic Europe and its history, romance and culture, take heart: Spain, Italy and France aren’t only for the vacationer who saves for months just to visit. Each one of these three countries has numerous small towns and villages that lie under the radar—places with enticingly affordable properties to rent or buy
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.
Lee’s biggest business is advising people how to build eco-friendly homes out of shipping containers, throwing in alternative-energy systems, like solar panels, if they’re interested. He’s also the go-to guy in San Juan when expats and business owners have computer trouble. And he helps fellow expats transition to life in Nicaragua…
With a love for Latin American culture and an itch to travel, Jaime Johnson struck out for Panama four years ago. His life took a turn when he met a “special someone”—and a year later he found himself living in her hometown of Bogota, Colombia. “That first year, I traveled throughout Colombia,” he recalls. “In Medellin I found one of the most progressive cities I’d ever visited.
As I meet more and more people who are interested in moving here, I think back to the day in 2008 when I made the decision to move to Malaysia. It wasn’t that I was unhappy—in fact, far from it. I just made a conscious change in the way I saw things, the way I thought about my life.
- The One Thing Everyone Should Know Before Moving Overseas
Posted on April 9, 2013 by Dan Prescher
Over the last 11 years of living throughout Latin America, my wife, Suzan, and I have missed lots of things we had back in the States. The first one for me was roasted red peppers. Eight brands in the supermarket back home… none in the first two countries we lived in. (For Suzan, it was Triscuits.)
“Pase al frente”… “Go to the front.” That’s the phrase I hear most when I’m with my Dad, who is 75 years young. When I was a kid in Oregon, I don’t remember there being a particular emphasis on respect or special courtesies for our elders. Now we live in Panama, where I’ve discovered that locals have very specific notions about how to treat mature citizens.
In my mind, there’s nothing better than watching a sunset in a beautiful location, drink in hand. Fortunately, in my new home of Costa Rica, there’s plenty of opportunity to do just that. There’s 780 miles of Pacific coast–prime sunset-watching territory, as well as several spots inland that give you a great view.
My teenage daughter, Sarah, and I were enjoying an afternoon at a beautiful spa near Cuenca after a full morning of shopping. Sinking into the warm mud, I couldn’t help thinking, “I’m getting paid to do this.” Perhaps I should back up. I began importing gorgeous, unique goods from Ecuador five years ago with no experience.
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.
- The Best Things in Life Are Still Free in Montevideo, Uruguay
Posted on April 2, 2013 by David Hammond
Somehow, in my adult life, I developed the belief that I needed money to have a good time. However, living in Montevideo reminds me that’s just not so. Here, there are so many public spaces, celebrations, and ways to socialize… all for little or no money. In fact, the idea that the finer things in life should be available to all is so important to Uruguayans that they dedicate a whole weekend to it every spring.
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.
- A Perfect Day in Tropical Boracay, the Philippines
Posted on March 30, 2013 by Jessica Ramesch
A 50-minute flight from the capital, Manila, the Philippine island of Boracay is a place of in-your-face beauty. There’s no waiting to get to the beach to see if the stories are true. The minute you step off the plane, you can see that the postcards don’t do it justice. The sands are as white as they say, if not whiter…a pearly glitter that stays cool under your feet.
We love living part of the year in the province of Chiriquí, in Panama’s southwest corner. Chiriquí is so diverse. Cerro Punta is a mountainous area where most of the vegetables are grown for the entire country. Coffee plantations, orange groves, banana plantations, and cattle ranches are scattered throughout.