Located about three hours northwest of San José, Costa Rica's capital, the Arenal region has been drawing eco-minded travelers in search of opportunities in wildlife watching, jungle hiking, water sports, and other activities for decades. But in recent years it's become much more than a tourist destination, attracting an increasing number of expats interested in making permanent homes here. The area is dominated by the 33-square-mile Lake Arenal. Also, looming above the landscape at the east end of the lake, is the 5,479-foot Volcan Arenal, a cone-shaped volcano that is active but not dangerous
When I talk to my friends in the U.S. about my life in the Orosi Valley, they say I live a perpetual vacation. That’s pretty much true. My life here couldn’t be more perfect. This area offers me all the things I was looking for in an overseas retirement—a laidback lifestyle, a low cost of living, and an abundance of things to do and places to explore.
Recent years have seen the small South American country of Ecuador attract many foreigners to its borders. The low cost of living, diverse geography, and ease of immigration are just a few factors that make this equatorial nation appealing.
The beaches of Costa Rica are world famous. They’re a major reason the country gets so many tourists each year—2.66 million in 2015, a new record. And why thousands of expats live on or near the beach…that laidback lifestyle is irresistible to many.
You’ll find colonial towns and cities all over Mexico. It’s a legacy of its long history as one of the most important colonies in the Spanish Empire until its independence in 1821.
Whether you’re looking for a bustling beach resort town with plenty of restaurants, chic boutiques, and nightlife…or you’d rather string up your hammock between two palms and fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves and not see another person all afternoon…you can get it in Costa Rica.
Corozal sits on the expansive Bay of Corozal. This traditional Belizean family town is a throwback to the 1950s, with residents that are friendly and a pace that’s laidback. A growing number of expats are choosing to relocate to this region, appreciating the simple, serene, and relaxed Caribbean lifestyle. A major attraction is the reasonable cost of living. Food, entertainment, and everyday expenses are affordable; and there are plenty of real estate bargains to be found. Also, while the weather is subtropical—with an average temperature in the upper 80s F—balmy breezes blow off the bay, keeping it comfortable.
Development is coming to Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast, also known as the Southern Zone. But this region, known for its vast rain forests, jungle-covered mountains, and untamed beaches, remains unspoiled and full of natural beauty and wildlife. While a trip to the Southern Zone used to mean a long and cautious drive along a bone-jarring, potholed, dirt road, thanks to the Caldera Highway the Southern Pacific coastal areas are now more accessible than ever before.
Nicaragua is one of the most beautiful countries in the Americas, boasting a dramatic Pacific coastline, Caribbean beaches, colonial cities like Granada and León, as well as First-World cities like Managua. Although not as well established as its neighbor Costa Rica, Nicaragua is starting to attract retirees in search of a new, better life abroad. The quality of life in Nicaragua is excellent--and the cost of living here is so low.
Situated on Nicaragua’s southern Pacific coast, San Juan del Sur is a funky beach town—with around 1,500 expats from all over the world. Stroll through town, and you’ll see colorful buildings of all different sizes flanking the ocean. They house surf shops, bakeries, beach clothing stores, hotels and hostels, from basic to top-dollar. Buy hand-made jewelry from artists from every continent. Take a swim in the beautiful bay; watch the multi-colored sunset.