We all dream of one day retiring to a tropical paradise, buying a second home in a quaint beach town where it's summer all year round, or relocating our lives to an island in the sun. But it can be more than just a dream…your tropical island or beach life can be a reality.

If you like the idea of getting away from it all on an island surrounded by crystal-clear waters, where the pace of life is slow and the lifestyle affordable…or would like to be near a beach that has all the amenities you could wish for…or perhaps you’d like a tropical climate where you can throw away your winter clothes and live year-round in a sunny paradise. Whatever your dream looks like, there are plenty of destinations that can match it.

In countries like Belize, Uruguay, Panama and the Dominican Republic you can live an affordable lifestyle. In these tropical paradises, your dollar will go further and you can live a better life for a lot less that you might imagine.

Find out more about tropical destinations around the world—where you can be by the beach, enjoy perfect weather, sip cocktails while swinging in your hammock, and generally lead a laid-back and stress-free lifestyle. Sign up for IL’s free daily postcards in the box below and we’ll also send you a FREE REPORT: The World’s Best Island, Beach and Tropical Retirement Destinations. (We value your privacy. You can unsubscribe at any time.)


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Summer Nights in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Since our arrival in Nicaragua nearly two years ago, my husband Gordon and I have made many changes to our lifestyle…but one thing that hasn’t changed is taking time to enjoy a night out together. Although we live in the small beach town of San Juan del Sur, there’s no shortage of unique…


So Many Reasons to Love Nicaragua…

There’s a lot to be discovered in Nicaragua… A country bursting with opportunity, culture and magnificent wildlife, it’s a place that’s been overlooked by the majority of tourists and expats.

After Miles of Sandy Beach, I Found This...

After Miles of Sandy Beach, I Found This…

The beach town I’ll tell you about today is a special place. When the first visitors came over the hills on donkeys a couple of decades ago, all they found were fishermen’s colorful beachfront huts.


My Grandfather’s Advice Makes Me Money

It was something my grandfather said that made me decide to buy a vacation rental property overseas. A small-town barber, he said that the smartest/luckiest thing he did was to pay cash for a new car…just one month before the 1929 stock market crash.


How to Fund a Part-Time Life in Costa Rica

Over the years, Barry and Claudia Leon lived happily all over the States. They both had full and varied careers in psychology, college teaching, business, and biology.


A Very Profitable Vacation Rental…

My “home away from home” is on a small, exotic island in the South Pacific. Most people in my adopted hometown of Asheville, North Carolina, don’t really know where it is. On this side of the country, we tend to go toward the Caribbean or Europe.

In Chiang Mai, Thailand, $2,000 a month buys you royal treatment and a relaxed lifestyle among a friendly local population with a vibrant expatriate community.

Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia: Three Great Destinations to Live in Southeast Asia

Living in Southeast Asia is a lot easier than you probably think…it’s easier to get around, to get what you need, to find a community that will welcome you. While the distance may be intimidating, the reality on the ground is much less so than you may imagine. Expats living in this part of the world report that life is at once exhilarating, comfortable and affordable.

“Everyone is friendly” and English is widely spoken on the Philippine island of Boracay. © Jessica Ramesch

Tropical Boracay: A Diver’s Paradise

I’ve heard about the sunsets here. At first, rays of gold and fuchsia shoot down from the sky. White deck chairs, cabanas, and boardwalk bars are thrust into a rose-tinted world. At the last minute, the setting sun changes from tangerine to blood orange…then a lurid flicker of red disappears out on the horizon. A 50-minute flight from the capital, Manila, the Philippine island of Boracay is a place of in-your-face beauty.


Making Money from Water Sports—Get Paid to Sail, Surf, and Dive

Would you love a life on the water? If you spend your weekends fishing, surfing, diving, sailing, or kayaking, have you ever come home wishing it could be like that all the time? Maybe it could. You could wear a wetsuit to work, use your boat as an office, and spend your days showing vacationers your favorite reefs or rapids.

The Relaxed Freedom of Life in Belize

Living on a hillside in San Ignacio, Belize, just a short car ride away from the Guatemalan border, Michael and Amanda Cyphers have finally found the simplicity they looked for so long. “I wake up every day and think, ‘What do I do with all this freedom?’” says Amanda. “At home, we had to do, we had to perform. We had bills to pay, places to go, schedules to keep. So much so that we were up at night worrying about how to get it all done.”

Costa Rica is one of the most bio-diverse and beautiful countries—you find deserted beaches and vast national parks like Manuel Antonio.

Best Places to Live in Costa Rica: Five Top Expat Havens

It’s the friendly and welcoming people, the natural beauty, and the tropical lifestyle that will really steal your heart. “Costa Ricans are a gracious people,” says Rene Aoki, who has lived in the Arenal region for 19 years. “It’s an easy place to live where you can make close friends.” New expats find well-trodden ground and benefit from the experience of those who came before them.

In Pictures: Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast

Costa Rica’s southern Caribbean coast is a world apart from the rest of the country. The region is populated by Afro Costa Ricans, descendants of Jamaican immigrants who came to the area starting about 100 years ago

Life in This Beach Town Keeps Getting Better...

Life in This Beach Town Keeps Getting Better…

With our toes in the sand and mojitos in hand, my husband Gordon and I clink our glasses to another spectacular San Juan del Sur sunset. The sky is a brilliant hue of orange, yellow and red.

Ingrid Anderson saw that expats and tourists on the southern  Pacific coast of Costa Rica needed a place to be pampered, primped, and  peeled.

Costa Rica’s Southern Zone Is Open for Beauty Business

Starting a successful business overseas is much like starting a business in your home country: Find a need and fill it. California native Ingrid Anderson, 41, saw that expats and tourists on the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica, in the beach community of Uvita, needed a spa and salon—a place to be pampered, primped, and peeled.


How To Run Your Own Beach Bar for Profit

As a busy carpenter and contractor in his native Canada, Steve Quinn, 52, relished his regular trips to Costa Rica with his wife, Lisa, to relax and unwind on the beach. After six years of short visits, he decided to make this beach lifestyle permanent. He took over a beach bar and restaurant in Tamarindo, a funky surf town on the country’s northern Pacific coast. He’s leasing the property for three years, with an option to buy, which is a great way to test the waters without committing to purchasing property right off the bat.

Perfect Coastal Life in Nicaragua

Perfect Coastal Life in Nicaragua

It sounds a bit corny but… it’s been a long time since I’ve seen so many stars. It’s a good indicator of just how undeveloped, quiet, and sparsely-populated it is on the southern Pacific coast of Nicaragua.


Laid-Back Life in Small Town Costa Rica

When Valerie and Gaylord Townley first visited Tamarindo, it was a simple fishing village. The only visitors were pioneering surfers (Gaylord was one of them) and sport fishermen. There were a few small hotels, only a few phone lines, and no TV. The number of permanent expats could probably fit in one of today’s larger restaurants.


Costa Rica’s Five Best Expat Havens

Sandy beaches with tumbling surf, peaceful lakeside living, bio-diverse tropical jungles, cool highland areas with modern cities. . . Little Costa Rica offers plenty to choose from. And for decades, expats like me have flocked here, making it one of the world’s most popular locales for good living abroad.


IL’s Calendar of Events: Explore Green, Clean Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one country that may truly have it all: A year-round tropical climate, modern cities, Caribbean beaches, Pacific coastline, rainforests, lush valleys, and majestic mountains.


Americans Have Overlooked This Beach Gem

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


How We Found Our American Dream on the Spanish Med

There’s a slight chill to the breeze here in Castelldefels, on Spain’s Mediterranean coast. But the sun is bright and warm. It’s a perfect day to enjoy the long stretch of beach, just 30 minutes south of Barcelona, which is now my backyard. On a typical summer day, my Catalan neighbors would join me for a few hours of sun bathing, but at this time of year children are still at school, parents are busy at work and vacationers are just beginning to arrive.


Caribbean and Pacific Coast Fishing in Costa Rica

Fancy a few hours battling a half-ton striped marlin Hemingway style? The fish can get so big off the coast of Costa Rica that the skipper straps you into a chair to fight them. The waters of both coasts, the Pacific and Caribbean teem with legendary fish like marlin, dorado, and tarpon that, for decades, have drawn serious sport fishermen (and women) from around the world eager for record-setting catches.


IL’s Calendar of Events: “Jet Fuel” for Your Overseas Plans

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 healthcare is affordable… you can afford a housekeeper or gardener…and live better than you could back home for a fraction of what you pay now…

Freedom and Joy of Life in Belize

Freedom and Joy of Life in Belize

Michael and Amanda Cyphers retired early partly to give their 14-year-old son, Colin, a better way of life, away from the hustle-bustle of their Las Vegas suburban home. They find they have more quality family time now in Belize. “I have more time with my husband and son, because I’m away from the 101 things, the 3,800-square-foot house, the cars, everything we had.” We live a humble life here.

In Pictures: Laidback and Affordable Belize

For many years Belize has attracted people from all over the world who want to live in the sun while taking advantage of the country’s real estate bargains, low cost of living, protection of assets and terrific fishing and diving.


A New Start in an Unusual Home in Nicaragua

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…

Lifestyle in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Lifestyle in Tamarindo, Costa Rica: Beach Living at its Best

You couldn’t accuse it of having a secluded, deserted beach. But living in Tamarindo, Costa Rica certainly has its rewards. As one of the country’s most popular beach towns with a large expat community, Tamarindo has a lot of advantages and amenities. You’ll find a variety of options when it comes to housing, from low-cost apartments and condos to large ocean-view homes


A Perfect Day in Tropical Boracay, the Philippines

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.


Affordable-Living by the Beach in Placencia, Belize

“In 2004 we’d looked at property in Belize and decided to let the euphoria settle down while we really thought it out. But then a day came when it took me two hours to go 60 miles on the Florida Turnpike and cost me $13 in tolls. That was the final straw. I had it. That was the turning point. I called Kim and told her to contact the real estate agent.”

Living in Jaco, Costa Rica

Living in Jaco, Costa Rica: A Favorite With Expats and Tourists

Located in the heart of the Central Pacific coast region of Costa Rica, Jaco (pronounced: ha-ko) has long been a favorite of vacationers and expats.
This lively beach town features several large resorts, as well as many options for longer-term residents, like condos, gated communities, and lots for building.The wide range of housing options in all price ranges, from budget to luxury, as well as many amenities and comforts of home, make living in Jaco, Costa Rica a great choice for lifestyle and retirement overseas.

Living in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Living in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

The Manuel Antonio area on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast has been a long-time favorite of visitors. Just two hours from the capital San Jose on a well-maintained modern highway, Manuel Antonio is the site of the country’s most popular national park. In 2011, Forbes magazine named it one of the world’s best.At 4,000 acres, it’s a relatively small refuge and one of the smallest national parks

Living in Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica

Living in Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica

Those looking for a beautiful, unspoiled beachfront setting, as well as a sizeable community of expats, should find living in Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica to be a good match.Playa Flamingo is located on the northern Pacific Coast, in the heart of what is known as the Gold Coast.

Affordable Properties in the Best Areas of Punta del Este, Uruguay

Affordable Properties in the Best Areas of Punta del Este, Uruguay

Believe it or not, you can still find a nice condo in a coveted Punta del Este neighborhood for less than $150,000. There’s a secret to buying affordably here. And it’s simple. Folks from North America determine a property’s value by three factors: location, location, location. But in Punta del Este’s condo market, a property’s location is less important.


The Relaxed Freedom of Life in Belize

Living on a hillside in San Ignacio, Belize, just a short car ride away from the Guatemalan border, Michael and Amanda Cyphers have finally found the simplicity they looked for so long. “I wake up every day and think, ‘What do I do with all this freedom?’” says Amanda. “At home, we had to do, we had to perform. We had bills to pay, places to go, schedules to keep. So much so that we were up at night worrying about how to get it all done.”


Enjoy the Secret Beach Life of Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast

Sunlight filters through swaying palm fronds. My feet are in the sand, I have an ice-cold Pilsen beer in hand, and I’m savoring my lunch: a heaped plate of rice, beans, plantains, and chicken that cost just $6. Coconut milk and a secret blend of spices are commonly used in Caribbean cooking and it’s delicious.

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