For some 80 miles, extending south from Cancún, the warm turquoise-green Caribbean Sea gently bathes the sugar-sand beaches of Mexico’s eastern shore. This spectacular stretch of bleached-white coastline is known as the Riviera Maya and has become the Caribbean’s most popular vacation destination. With year-round temperatures typically in the 80s F, plenty of sunshine, modern infrastructure, and first class healthcare, the Riviera Maya is also home to those who have discovered their retirement paradise here.
Belize is a charming little country with one foot planted in the Caribbean, the other in Central America. In addition to an abundance of natural beauty, the offshore World Heritage Mesoamerican barrier reef, and a multitude of Maya ruins, Belize offers expats an outstanding residence program for retirees. Another plus, English is the country’s primary language. For these reasons—and others—an increasing number of expats are moving to this laidback, democratic country.
One of the coolest things I get to do for International Living is call expats all over the world and interview them about their lives. I’ve been doing this for years, and one thing I’ve noticed is that the expats who describe themselves as “retired” seem to be the busiest ones of all.
The southern part of Mexico’s Caribbean coast is a mostly undeveloped stretch of stunning, isolated beach called the Costa Maya. Unlike the tourist-driven beaches of the Riviera Maya further north, this length of coastline snuggles up against lowland jungle for some 62 miles and is largely inaccessible by road.
What makes for a good retirement destination? For those on a budget (and those who aren’t) a place with a lower cost of living is key. But it’s not only about the money. You want to be comfortable and feel safe. Modern services like high-speed internet, top-notch medical care, and good value real estate are also important. And if you’re from a northern climate, the benefit of warm weather year-round (no more coats, no more snow tires) might be the biggest motivator.
Deserted white-sand beaches, lush jungle-covered mountains, and a bustling UNESCO-listed capital…welcome to the island of Penang. I had heard that this was an island rich in tradition and culture…but it really does have to be seen to be believed. As I wandered around the bustling market streets of the capital George Town, I saw the melting-pot heritage that Penang is famous for.
"When I moved to Chiang Mai, I unearthed the rich and colorful life I thought was lost," says Pam Manning of her new life in Thailand. Chiang Mai is famous for being a town of artisans and Lanna (Northern Thai) culture. It's a place of flowers, temples, fruit, joyful festivals, and color is everywhere...velvety maroons, popping pinks...
There are many places in Costa Rica’s Central Valley where you can experience what the country is all about, maybe too many. When my wife and I have friends visit, we often have a hard time deciding what to show them. That being said, we always save one day for what I call the dynamic-duo of the Central Valley—Poas Volcano and La Paz Water Gardens. These two iconic destinations are close enough to each other to visit in the same day and they provide a wonderful experience.
I was hurtling down a mountain, on a narrow two-lane road, surrounded by jungle…while avoiding the deadly scratches of a terrified animal. How did I get here? Let’s go back to the beginning. I had traveled to Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast to check out the expat communities there.
One of the truly great things I've discovered about living in Malaysia is that it's the perfect jumping off point for exploring some of the region's most stylish destinations. Whether you're in the mood for a mini-break in a bustling city like Bangkok or a beach retreat in Bali, you can get there quickly, cheaply, and in style.