Having grown up in Chicago, I never thought it would be possible to live in a big, First World city for $1,000 a month. That much wouldn’t even cover my mortgage for a month back home.
With a skyline that wouldn’t look out of place in Miami or Dubai, Panama City is the epitome of a modern metropolis. Impressive towers overlooking the Panama Bay are home to many well-heeled locals, as well as an ever-growing community of expats.
Cusco, in a valley high in the Peruvian Andes, has a history going back centuries. Starting in 1400, it was the capital of the vast Incan empire.
When my husband David and I decided to retire, we had no idea where we would end up. We purchased one-way tickets from the U.S. to Hong Kong and planned to travel, staying in each place until it wasn’t fun any longer.
Nestled in the Panamanian mountains along a rocky road, off the paved highway, is the home of Dr. Dave Ahrend. To get there, you drive up a newly constructed freeway for about 45 minutes before turning off onto a paved road that takes you up into the mountains.
“I didn’t realize how easy living here would be. How easy it is to get around, to buy food, to go to the beach—things that make it so livable. Everything is so easy here—it’s remarkable.”
One of the bonuses of living in Panama is that you’re never very far from the coast. Surprisingly, most of the Caribbean and Pacific coastlines are undeveloped or even inaccessible.
My wife and I went out to lunch the other day, which isn’t extraordinary in itself. We go out to lunch all the time. But the other day, lunch was extraordinary in several ways. First, this lunch was in Mexico in December.
"I'm glad we didn't have enough money to retire in the U.S." says Kris Cunningham, who moved to Panama with her husband Joel in 2012. "If we had, we would have missed out on our wonderful life here."
For the last seven years, my husband Gary and I have been enjoying a snowbird lifestyle. For six months each year, we wave goodbye to family and friends in cold, snowy Canada and set out for our home in Panama’s Chiriquí province.