“I never imagined I’d be staying in the homes of people I didn’t know, taking care of their pets and valuables in exchange for free accommodation,” says Denny Rudin. “If someone had mentioned it to me five years ago, I would have thought they were crazy.”
As the managing editor of International Living's Daily Postcards, I hear from our editors and correspondents on the ground in the world’s top retirement havens on a daily basis about what makes these countries perfect…their affordability, the great weather, good-value real estate…the friendly people.
The highland areas of Panama are favored destinations for expats, retirees, tourists, and local residents alike. The combination of spring-like weather and stunning rainforest scenery are an unbeatable attraction for many.
The dense jungle thinned a bit as I approached the first river. I shifted into a lower gear and locked my rugged, 30-year-old Daihatsu into four-wheel drive. The rutted, muddy trail fought to yank the steering wheel from my grasp as I pitched and rolled my way up the slippery incline.
I'm writing to you from a beach where the sand sparkles like stars. Locals tell me it's the volcanic matter in the sand that makes it dance in the sunlight. And this region, known as Panama's Dry Arc, is a mecca for sun seekers.
International Living editors and correspondents are constantly on the road seeking out the best-value retirement havens. All that travel means they’re pretty savvy when it comes to getting the best deals and saving money while on the road.
By now it’s no secret that Ecuador is a very affordable place to live. In fact, my life in the little mountain town of Cotacachi is so inexpensive that I can support my family of four as a part-time freelancer.
On the Eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, 80 or so very special miles of palm-infused, sugar-sand beach is known as the Riviera Maya. This postcard-perfect stretch of paradise is bathed by the warm, turquoise-green, clear waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Living in the tropics is a dream for many, and Chiang Mai, Thailand, is still a popular destination for those seeking a year-round hot climate, along with a low cost of living. Although far from any white sandy beaches, Chiang Mai still has plenty of activities to keep you busy, both in the city and the surrounding countryside.
“I’m going to write a book about living in Arenal,” Christine Baskin told me. “And I’m going to call it 50 Shades of Green. I mean, just look at all those colors,” she exclaimed as we drove around the huge Lake Arenal.