Each morning Tennessee natives Bobby and Becca Vines are greeted by views of two stunning volcanoes. Small-town life in Cotacachi, Ecuador, is never dull, and the couple spends their days viewing international films, enjoying live music, and visiting with the locals.
I love living in Nicaragua. In fact, after almost 10 years, I constantly thank my lucky stars that I have had this opportunity. You might think I love Nicaragua because I was able to buy a wonderful ocean-view home that I could never afford in the U.S.
Surfers from all over the globe flock to Costa Rica each year, and it’s debatable among natives whether surfing or futbol (soccer) would be considered the most popular sport. While there are plenty of great surf spots in the land of Pura Vida, Tamarindo stands out from the crowd.
"This is the place to be if you're going to be in the dive shop business," says Lara Alasia, co-owner of Divers UnderGround in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. "It's a well-known and uber-popular dive destination.
Life is easy in Madrid. Each day begins at the local coffee shop for a steaming cup of espresso with a dash of milk. The owner knows just how much milk to add, and always does so with a smile. My coffee costs just $1.30—a small price to pay for starting my morning off right.
Belize is well-known for its famous Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. For decades adventurous scuba divers and anglers have vacationed in Belize, in pursuit of their favorite marine sports. But this tiny country also has some fine beaches. But they aren't always obvious to the first-time tourist. Fortunately, the majority of Belize's beaches are public and accessible. The 60-foot strip of beachfront adjoining the Caribbean Sea is usually public property.
The best beaches in Mexico are just 70 minutes down the coast from Cancun. Some are still deserted, dotted only with coconut palm trees and curious iguanas. Seabirds duck and dive overhead. It's a place of utter beauty and tranquility—azure blue water and total silence except for the roar of the surf. But it's not just about white-sand beaches here.
"In Arizona, it was hot in the summer and in the winter we got snow," says Beverley Scherberger. "I love the outdoors, but I never wanted to actually go out because of the weather."
"I'm kind of a social butterfly," says Linda Flierl Hooks, owner of The Donkey Den Cafe and Guesthouse in Santa Marianita, Ecuador. At 71 years old, Linda's life is socially active and satisfying.
As I wander through bustling streets, the soundtrack changes with each turn I take...first jazz plays, then hip-hop, rock, even a full gamelan (a traditional Indonesian percussion instrument) orchestra...