A light rain is falling outside as I use the time I would normally spend enjoying a dip in the translucent turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea to contemplate my experiences as an expat over the last four years or so.
When Fred and Linda Gruenert took off their military uniforms for the last time and decided to retire, they soon realized that their California lifestyle was too pricey. Linda served over 20 years in the U.S. Navy as a journalist, half active duty and half as a reservist.
“All the Bolivians I have worked with stood out in my mind as exceptional in their politeness and kindness. So naturally, when I was approaching retirement age and looking at becoming an expat, Bolivia was among the first countries that came to mind.”
Unless I’m catching an early flight, I never need an alarm clock. The sun rising over the Caribbean is perfectly framed in my oversized bedroom window and delivers its warm, penetrating rays directly onto my face. I merely have to open my eyes for a spectacular view of the languid, aquamarine waters grooming the powder-white sands only yards away. As I finish my first cup of coffee, I peer around gently swaying coconut palms to watch large, pouch-billed Pelicans fold their wings and splash into the gentle surf capturing their bright, wriggling breakfasts.
Countless people dream of retiring in France—and for good reason. France offers a seductive blend of old-world sensibilities and modern living, all wrapped up in one beautiful package. While it’s true that most people don’t retire to France to save money, life here can nonetheless be surprisingly affordable.
White sand beaches with bright green palms, ringed by turquoise waters… Glittering swirls of volcanic sand, slender white sea birds soaring above, and dramatic coastlines… Tiny islands that look like little pearls against a backdrop of deepest sapphire blue…
Just 10 minutes’ drive south from the popular tourist destination and expat hotspot of Playas del Coco, is an escape. Playa Ocotal is one of the prettiest beaches on Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast. It’s a little out-of-the-way but definitely worth the journey to get there.
Nancy, 63, has nothing but good things to say about Boquete, the popular expat retreat in the highlands of Panama’s Chiriqui Province that she now calls home. She and her husband Don, 61, moved here from the Kansas City area in 2010 with their two sons.
Often, when I’m on the road scouting out real estate, I find myself in the evening sitting and reflecting on what I’ve seen and the opportunities I’ve found. These quiet moments are rare on a scouting trip.
I have to shield my eyes from the bright sun to really take in how stunning it is. On the shore of the white-sand beach, the Pacific Ocean laps at my feet. This beach is part of a national park—development is forbidden by the Costa Rican government.