Video: The Cloud Forest of Monteverde, Costa Rica

Video: The Cloud Forest of Monteverde, Costa Rica

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January 7, 2014

Just three and a half hours or so northwest of San José, Costa Rica's capital and site of the main international airport, is a unique mountain community. Monteverde, with its main town Santa Elena, is the site of a large protected swath of land, including the cloud forest the area is best known for. This is a type of high-altitude rain forest where the clouds sweep through the trees, leaving a lush, moisture-rich environment. Trees are covered in orchids, moss, and bromeliads.

Best Place For Climate when Retiring Overseas

Best Place For Climate when Retiring Overseas

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January 5, 2014

Tired of shoveling snow, braving the torrential rain or wrapping up against the bitter cold? If so, check out these top three places to retire for a better climate as ranked in International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2014. With a perfect score of 100 and for the second year in a row, Ecuador comes out top in the Climate category and is the overall runner up in this year’s Global Retirement Index. Lying directly on the equator, it enjoys 12 hours of direct equatorial daylight 365 days a year.

Save Big on Benefits in the World’s Best Retirement Havens 2014

Save Big on Benefits in the World’s Best Retirement Havens 2014

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January 5, 2014

International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2014 has just been released, detailing the top 24 countries in the world to retire to. In the Special Benefits for Retirees category in the Index, we consider whether retirees get a good deal for health care, importing goods, entertainment, airfare, utilities, tax rates, residence and more. Panama, Ecuador and Costa Rica have topped the list in this category.

California to Costa Rica: “I Can’t Help But Think How Lucky We Are…”

California to Costa Rica: “I Can’t Help But Think How Lucky We Are…”

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December 27, 2013

While my wife and I were on our daily walk the other day, 400 feet from the deserted Bejuco beach, we were stopped short by a white-faced capuchin monkey who raced gracefully across the bridge, then launched himself into a tree on the other side of the water. His family trailed close behind. Looking around me, I can’t help but think how lucky we are to have so much nature in our everyday lives.

A Tuscan Christmas

A Tuscan Christmas

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December 24, 2013

Back when my husband and I started to have children, a dear friend began giving us beautiful Christmas village houses every year to collect and someday pass on to our children. Every year, as we unpacked the village, one building at a time, we would imagine what it would be like in a place like it. We would place the china characters carefully, connect the cobblestone paths, and talk about what the crunch of the snow sounded like on Christmas Eve. When it was set up perfectly, we would turn out the lights and the amber glow would pour from the windows and lanterns casting an ethereal radiance befitting the holiday season.

How to Blog Your Way to a Beachfront Income

How to Blog Your Way to a Beachfront Income

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December 23, 2013

The ocean breeze blows in through the open door as I sit in my rocking chair—a surprisingly favorite Nicaraguan furnishing. Sunlight glitters on the ocean, almond and coconut trees sway in the wind. This is my office for today, a four-bedroom house right on the beach that we rent for $350 a month. Previously we spent time on the shores of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, beneath the shadow of three majestic volcanoes...swimming in one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, shopping in the local markets, and interacting with the indigenous people who still wear their traditional clothing and speak Spanish as their second language.