There are plenty of valid reasons to rent a home before you buy when you relocate overseas. For those who choose to live in Panama’s Western-most province, Chiriquí, one major reason is to check out the weather in various locations to find what suits you best. Despite being a small country in the middle of the tropics, you’ll find Panama has a variety of climate zones and even within the province there are variations in temperature, rainfall, wind, and cloud cover.
If you don’t have thousands of dollars to pour into a Galapagos cruise, consider Isla de la Plata (Silver Island), affectionately termed the Poor Man’s Galapagos. The island supposedly derives its name from the centuries-old buried treasure of Sir Francis Drake, but my husband, Mark, and I haven’t found it—yet. Isla de la Plata is about 25 miles—an hour’s boat ride—from Puerto Lopez in the Machalilla National Park and contains some of the same flora and fauna found on the Galapagos…except the price tag is far less. In fact, the total cost for the day’s “cruise” is only $25 to $35 per person.
There are many reasons my wife Jen and I love living in Costa Rica. We enjoy the slower pace compared to the busy lives we led in the U.S. We enjoy the pleasant temperatures provided by living in the mountains of the Central Valley. But mostly, we love the abundance of nature and wildlife that exists all around us. I enjoy taking a hike each morning. I usually do one of three hikes I have found that take me through coffee farms, over rivers, and up into the mountains that surround Poas Volcano, near where I live.
Since I moved to rural Burgundy, France more than two years ago, I have discovered that a Frenchman and his money are not soon parted. This is a culture where attention to centimes is ardent…every resident can tell you the exact price of a baguette, a coffee, or a liter of gas. My wife and I have done our best to adopt the techniques of the locals, always searching for bargains, especially when it comes to food and wine.
Do you want to retire in one of those places that looks like a postcard? I know you've seen those picture perfect cards with the turquoise waters, white sands, and a single palm tree stretching towards the bluest sky. Those places do exist, even without the aid of Photoshop. Not only are they real, but there are many countries in Asia where you can find those beaches. I spent three weeks exploring some of the best beaches in Thailand and found three beach areas where you could send home those kinds of postcards, but with pictures you’ve taken yourself.
Santa Catalina is one of those out-of-the-way beach towns with its own quiet charm. As you walk through town along one of the two narrow streets you pass young men with their surfboards under their arms, headed for the break. Kids on bicycles roll past, avoiding a dog or two. The bus from Santiago arrives and a few backpackers get off, hoisting their loads as they're passed down from the top of the bus.
With 17 miles of continuous golden-sand beaches, a low key, laidback Caribbean lifestyle, a small population, and plenty of top notch restaurants and funky beach bars, it’s not surprising that expats are pulling up stakes to move to Belize’s Placencia peninsula… In February of 2014 Laura and Dave Diffendal left Cleveland, Ohio, for Placencia Village...
To sit on a porch in the tiny mountain town of Cerro Azul is to experience true serenity. That's how I feel as I relax in an old Adirondack-style chair, gazing at hillsides carpeted in green. A single pick-up truck is the only vehicle that trundles past. Though I don't know him, the driver gives me a friendly wave. Earlier in the day I took a mini-hike to a hilltop mirador (lookout point) and caught far-off glimpses of both the Pacific and the Caribbean. Now I sit sipping my coffee and watching a pretty blue tanager swoop around the garden.
I wake to the sound of the rooster crowing outside my window, the Vietnamese city of Bien Hoa already buzzing with activity. My stomach rumbles, and I decide it's time for breakfast; conveniently enough, my favorite spot in the city is directly below my balcony. The cafe is small, family owned, and serves my favorite breakfast in the city—a papparoti (coffee bun). The buttery sweetness of the pastry accompanies my usual order of strawberry-tinged green tea, the flavor made all the more pronounced by the fresh morning air.
Southeast Asia is a prime destination for foreigners from all over the world. From pristine beaches to towering mountains, ancient temples to super-modern cities, there is something for everybody here. It’s possible to live quite comfortably in Southeast Asia for a fraction of what it costs to live a comparable lifestyle in the U.S.. Housing, groceries, utilities, dining out, transportation, and dental care are just a few of the major bargains. Costs aren’t less because the quality is less either. Your money goes a lot farther than you would expect.