Low cost single 50 year old woman who loves outdoors and beaches?

Hello, all!

I could use some advise. I'm a single 50 year old woman who is adventurous and loves the outdoors and beaches. I am at a point where I'm changing careers and want to lower my overhead/ expenses so I can build my business.

I am looking for a nice but affordable furnished studio or one bedroom on a beach for $300-$400 a month. I need reliable internet and would prefer an English speaking country or at least a big expat community that does. It would be great if I was In walking distance to shopping, beach bars, restaurants...

I can do a 3 to 6 month lease.

Can anyone suggest a place?

Thank you in advance for your feedback!! So appreciated:)


Suzan Haskins - IL Editor

Your budget will make it tough. I'd suggest you look at Nicaragua, Ecuador and Colombia if cost of living is critical. You might also take a look at Mexico (Puerto Vallarta or down the coast to Manzanillo--lots of expats here) which is very affordable right now thanks to the low value of the peso. None of these, of course, are English-speaking destinations. For that, you might try Malaysia.

Jason Holland - IL Roving Latin America Editor

Hi Stacy,

Costa Rica has great beaches and great beach towns where you can walk to everything with plenty of English-speaking expats like Tamarindo, Jaco, or Playas del Coco. You can get by easily without much Spanish, although it's always best to learn some key phrases and learn more as you go. Costa Rica is also well-known for its outdoor activities like nature hikes, watersports, and more. There is also good Internet that's reliable.

But.... you won't find the rentals on the beach for that price. In popular beach towns plan on paying at least double that. There are some places inland that have rentals like that but you'll be at least an hour from the beach and in a more traditional Costa Rican region.

Bonnie Hayman - IL Nicaragua Correspondent

Nicaragua would fit the bill except you're looking for a place where English is spoken. There are a lot of expats in all the major cities of Nicaragua, however, you'll have a hard time communicating with shopkeepers, doctors, lawyers, police, etc. anywhere but possibly Managua. Many expats live here without speaking Spanish, but it depends whether you would be comfortable with the challenges that they face sometimes because they don't know the language.

However, as far as your living requirements, you CAN find a furnished one-bedroom apartment here (near the beach, not ON the beach) with WIFI, water, electricity for $400 a month. For that you would have to come here and look for the apartment yourself. If you look online, everything will be more expensive. If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Ann Kuffner - IL Belize Correspondent


With the amount you expect to pay for rent you'll find few countries that will meet your expectations. I'd suggest that you save money before you make a move and be sure you have enough to sustain yourself for at least a year. Trying to build up a new business overseas, without the familiar infrastructure you are used to, is challenging. Most expats find that it takes at least a year to break even in any business, but especially for an overseas business.

Belize is English speaking and we have a variety of nice beach communities on islands and on the mainland. There are active expat communities and quite a few singles. But a rental for $300-$400 on a beach is impossible here, at least in my experience. On the islands you can expect to pay $850/month to start, on the beach. On the mainland, you might find a funky apartment in Corozal Town for $350/month, but without air conditioning, or a washer and dryer, or built in closets. Corozal is on the bay, but the shoreline is rocky, but with nice parks in town.

Reading Bonnie's post, even in Nicaragua your price range is too low. Nicaragua has the lowest cost of living in Central America for a country where it is safe for a woman to live alone. You might want to consider Asia, such as the Philippines, or Thailand. But English is not the primary language in those countries.

I've known a few expats who moved to Belize without having enough savings to sustain themselves.These folks ran out of savings and left Belize with a bitter taste in their mouth.

Asking questions on this forum is a good start. Use these responses to adjust your expectations and then do more serious research on the various countries IL covers. Note that we have cost of living info posted for almost all the countries we recommend, in the sidebars on the country web pages. Many of them include an example cost of a rental in key areas.

Kirsten Raccuia - IL Malaysia Correspondent

Hi Stacy,

I think your budget is too low for beach rentals in Penang. A short term lease here will be more expensive than if you signed for a year or two which makes it even harder. There are furnished rentals here for around 650 that are within a stone's throw of the beaches but they aren't directly on the beach.

Most people in Penang speak English and the internet is not too bad. Depending on where you live it can be slow, but other than that it works.

If you can save up some funds and raise your budget a bit, Penang could work.

Good luck!

Jessica Ramesch - IL Panama Correspondent

Hi Stacy,

Thanks for visiting the IL Community Website. As IL’s Panama Editor I can tell you that in this country short-term rentals are usually much more expensive than that. However, in smaller towns like Las Tablas (which is relatively close to a variety of beaches…Uverito beach is just outside the town limits, about a 15-minute drive) you can rent long-term for as little as $300 a month...you could try to get this rate for a short-stay but it’s possible they would want your word that you would stay at least 6-12 months. Legally here tenants can break their leases with a month’s notice. You might lose your deposit if you leave early. In parts of Panama where you can rent for as little as $300 a month you would need a fair bit of Spanish to get around. Supermarket clerks, transport personnel, etc do not tend to speak English in Panama. Since your budget is so limited you might try a volunteer/work for lodging type deal. You would have to pound the pavement a bit to find one but I hear about similar opportunities here from time to time.

Hope this helps and you find a place that works for you.


IL Panama Editor Jessica Ramesch

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