White sand beaches with bright green palms, ringed by turquoise waters… Glittering swirls of volcanic sand, slender white sea birds soaring above, and dramatic coastlines… Tiny islands that look like little pearls against a backdrop of deepest sapphire blue…
I was born in the 50s, so magazines played a huge role in my life. Of course, I cut my teeth on the magazines my parents always had around…Life, Reader’s Digest, Look, Mechanics Illustrated, Field and Stream, and the like.
Recently, we had some friends visit us in our home in Cuenca, Ecuador. They only had one day before leaving for Lima, Peru, so we did our best to show them around our beautiful hometown in less than 24 hours...
Biggest, longest, deepest, best—there are few places that offer foreigners as much as Vietnam. This long, slender country covers about the same area as New Mexico, yet stretches over 1,000 miles from north to south.
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.
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.
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.