I awake to the sound of gentle rain on the roof. Its chilly but not cold. It's never cold. Even sweat pants give way to shorts by mid-morning on most days.
At dawn I wake up to the sounds of the active toucans and howler monkeys being near our house in Costa Rica. I truly love it here: the people, the relaxed approach to life, and the spectacular natural beauty.
There’s a steady breeze blowing. The sand is black—it’s volcanic—flecked with small crystals that twinkle in the sunlight. The sand is quite hot too in the heat of the day…best to wear flip-flops.
Sitting at a lower elevation than Cuenca, Loja's climate tends to be a little warmer. It also has a much smaller expat population, probably only a few dozen scattered around town and in the nearby farms, so if you're looking for a place to live among North Americans, this is probably not for you. However, if you know some Spanish or are willing to learn, it can be a very rewarding home.
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.
Ecuador…the small South American country that sits right on the equator…is blessed with many advantages—particularly its diverse, gorgeous terrain, and fantastic climate. No matter what you're looking for…from lush rainforest to majestic mountains to sun-kissed beaches, you'll find it here. And about that climate…daytime temperatures in the Sierras—along the Andes Mountains range that cuts through the country from north to south—rarely top 75 F. On La Costa—the coast—temperatures typically top out in the mid 80s F. El Oriente (the eastern rainforest) fares about the same.
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.
Imagine stepping out on your balcony and taking in the deep blue waters of Panama Bay. You can see some of the city's most iconic towers across the water. In the distance, there are a few boats, perhaps making their way to the famed Panama Canal. Glance down and you see your building's gym and spa area…the sun-warmed pool beckons.
I'm starting to daydream again about living in Valencia. It's one of my favorite cities in Spain…and whenever I daydream about living in Spain, Valencia is the first place I dream of. And no wonder: There's a lot to like about Valencia. First, there's the location and climate. It sits right on Spain's eastern Mediterranean shore. That means urban beaches and a temperate climate that is spring-like much of the year. Next, it's a major city—Spain's third-largest—with all the big-city amenities I like, including an international airport, plenty of culture (it's especially famous for music), and great restaurants, bars, and cafes. Yet Valencia is reasonably small—about 800,000 in the central city, and around 1.6 million in the urban area—so it's manageable.
Cathy Pegolo loves cities with theaters, music, restaurants, and culture. And she has found all that and more in her new home of Bologna, Italy. Cathy’s Italian heritage inspired her to visit the “old country” and she and her husband, Paul, traveled widely in Italy before finally deciding to buy a place of their own there.