My husband Paul and I first traveled to Costa Rica’s Central Valley in 2008 with the intention of discovering whether or not we might want to retire there. We visited big towns and small towns, looked at apartments, condos, and houses…some very basic and some built to U.S. standards.
A good friend emailed me the other day to say he was disappointed in me. He’d just visited a Latin American city and had fallen in love with it. He went on for several paragraphs about how it reminded him, not only of one of his favorite mountain towns in Italy, but also of one of the Paris neighborhoods he loves the best.
Do you long to laze on a sunny Mediterranean beach? Explore historic buildings and ground-breaking architecture? Or just indulge in a simple cup of coffee, paired with a tasty churro? Then maybe Spain is the perfect place for you.
Graham Cooper first became an expat when he moved from his native England to Toronto, Canada in 1972, to pursue what would be a long and prosperous career in mechanical engineering. When he became eligible for retirement after 30 years with the same employer at the age of 55, he didn’t hesitate. “I figured, why would I work any longer if I can retire now,” Graham reflects. “My company offered me a nice retirement package including my pension and health benefits until I die, so I took it and planned to pursue my passion for travel.”
What makes for a good retirement destination? For those on a budget (and those who aren’t) a place with a lower cost of living is key. But it’s not only about the money. You want to be comfortable and feel safe. Modern services like high-speed internet, top-notch medical care, and good value real estate are also important. And if you’re from a northern climate, the benefit of warm weather year-round (no more coats, no more snow tires) might be the biggest motivator.
It’s another leisurely morning in paradise for Helen Murphy, as she strolls through the garden of her tropical-island home. She repots her plants and reorganizes her purple orchids. She has all the time in the world to spend, as she plants new seeds in her nursery and takes photos of the latest blooms to post online later.
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.
There are many places in Costa Rica’s Central Valley where you can experience what the country is all about, maybe too many. When my wife and I have friends visit, we often have a hard time deciding what to show them. That being said, we always save one day for what I call the dynamic-duo of the Central Valley—Poas Volcano and La Paz Water Gardens. These two iconic destinations are close enough to each other to visit in the same day and they provide a wonderful experience.
As attorneys in Detroit, my husband Kurt and I worked excessive hours. But we always had a plan to retire early to paradise. We traveled extensively around the world in search of that paradise and Costa Rica had what we were looking for.
With a low cost of living, picture-perfect white-sand beaches, friendly locals and fascinating culture, Southeast Asia are so much more than exotic vacation spots. Enticing expats and retirees from around the globe, they still beckon with the promise and rewards of an exciting life overseas. Imagine never having to buy a new coat or pay for home heating ever again. Untouched by our idea of “winter”, each of the countries in Southeast Asia delivers warm, tropical weather and the chance for beach-side relaxation all year round. For many expats, it’s paradise found.