Paula has been in love with San Miguel, an artsy town in Mexico’s Colonial Highlands, ever since she first visited in 2012. The town’s vibrant arts scene, colonial architecture, and temperate climate kept her coming back for years before she moved down permanently last year.
Before my recent visit, I'd heard a lot about the "small-town" feel of Pedasí, Panama. You hear that about a lot of places...and I've gotten skeptical over the years.
Clear, turquoise water rolls gently onto a white-sand beach. The sea is calm here thanks to the reefs just off shore. Small boats (water taxis and dive boats, mostly) are anchored here and there, bobbing in the swell.
"I've always wanted to travel the world. I love visiting new places, tasting new food, experiencing new cultures. The ability to go ahead and just do it is a dream come true," says Erica Ridley.
On Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast is one of the country’s most visited tourist destinations. And it’s popular with expats too. It’s called Manuel Antonio, and its white-sand beaches, wildlife-filled jungle, and dramatic scenery of mountains looming over the blue ocean is the stuff of postcards.
Jutting out into the Pacific on the country’s northwest corner, the Nicoya Peninsula is set apart geographically from mainland Costa Rica. It’s more than an hour’s drive to the nearest sizable city, Nicoya. And from the capital, San José, and the main international airport there, it will take the better part of a day and include a mix of rough dirt roads and pavement winding through forest, farmland, and mountains. One route, to the southern tip of the peninsula, even includes a ferry crossing.
It’s Happy Hour in Roatan’s West End…or at least it’s five o’clock somewhere, as the saying goes. Eddie is serving up the drinks, and the blender is running. First-timers get a tequila shot—on the house.
You’ll enjoy some of Mexico’s ﬁnest quality of living for a fraction of what you’d pay in the U.S. or Canada. All told, a couple can comfortably call this paradise home for around $2,500 to $3,000 a month. Simple meals in local restaurants will run you $5 or less. One of my favorites, ﬁsh tacos, can be had for $1.50 each in the no-frills beach restaurants. And in stores, you can expect to pay prices similar to those in the U.S. for imported foods, but fresh produce is a bargain…try a pound of tomatoes for 65 cents or two pounds of fresh fruit like mango for $1. There are big savings on property taxes and healthcare, too. And where else can you enjoy life in a two-bedroom condo a stone’s-throw from the beach, in a premier beach town, for under $700 a month rent?
For Ray and Michele, the year-round temperate climate of Costa Rica’s Orosi Valley leaves them with no need for heating or air conditioning. Temperatures stay in the 70s F most of the time, which means that they can get out on their farm all year-round.
Ahhh…the Caribbean Sea. If you live in the U.S. or Canada, it’s paradise practically on your doorstep—just a short flight away. The perfect escape from blustery winter weather.