Three years and 45 pounds ago, I moved to Costa Rica with my wife. We left corporate America behind, searching for a healthier and happier life; we found it in the hills of the Central Valley. As the name implies, living in the Central Valley means living in an area surrounded by mountains. The valley includes many popular expat locations such as San Ramon, Atenas, and Grecia. The region also incorporates the country’s largest cities: the capital San José, Alejuela, and Cartago. Nearly three quarters of the country’s population live in the Central Valley.
Much has been written about Ecuador as one of the most ecologically diverse countries on earth, with near-perfect climates to choose from and landscapes including plains, mountains, coastal, and everything in between. For a country about the same size as Wyoming, this is impressive. Choose the weather and terrain you like best, and most likely you can find the ideal spot in Ecuador.
It's another hot day in Battambang, Cambodia and what better spot to linger than at a downtown sidewalk bistro with a platter of cheese and a chilled glass of French wine... Cambodia's second largest city moves at a slow and lazy pace. Maybe it's the heat, but I get the sense that Battambang is like this every day of the year. People stroll down the sidewalk, taking time to stop and chat along the way. No one is in a hurry.
Having grown up a military brat, I was no stranger to living overseas. After working for corporations for over 30 years, when retirement came around my wife Mary and I had become unhappy with the way things were going in the U.S. So we decided to find somewhere else to retire to. We made a list of 15 countries including some in Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand, and Asia. We spent a year doing research, eventually settling on Ecuador. We took a couple of scouting trips and finally moved to Quito in February 2015.
As they conquered and colonized Latin America, the Spanish conquistadors—and later settlers—certainly left their mark. Using the old cities of Spain as a model, they built imposing cathedrals, well-tended public squares, large homes, and other structures. Throughout the region, from Mexico to Argentina, and everywhere in between, you can find these historic districts often covering dozens of city blocks, full of ornate buildings.
There are plenty of valid reasons to rent a home before you buy when you relocate overseas. For those who choose to live in Panama’s Western-most province, Chiriquí, one major reason is to check out the weather in various locations to find what suits you best. Despite being a small country in the middle of the tropics, you’ll find Panama has a variety of climate zones and even within the province there are variations in temperature, rainfall, wind, and cloud cover.
Lake Chapala is a snowbird’s paradise that is home to a large and welcoming expat community. And that’s not all. In my opinion, Lake Chapala has the best-value real estate you’ll find in any of this country’s expat hubs. Sitting at an altitude of 5,000 feet in west-central Mexico, Lake Chapala (the country’s largest freshwater lake) boasts one of the best climates in the world.
“We have horses, pigs, geese, dogs, and one chicken,” says Deb Swansburg. Caring for so many animals may not sound like a relaxing retirement to everyone, but for Deb it’s the perfect life. Deb spent the last 20 years in New Mexico...
I'm sitting on my roof terrace looking out at the beautiful Pacific Ocean. It’s an absolutely picture-perfect postcard kind of day here in my new home of Olon, on Ecuador’s coast. And I'm basking in the feeling of being on a permanent vacation. If I turn around, I can see the coastal mountains awash in various shades of green. While much of the coast here is desert-like, the weather is perfect most of the time, creating a micro-climate that is quite pleasant for people, animals, and the large variety of birds that fly in and out of the terrace and the garden below.
Long stretches of deserted and undeveloped beaches, on the Caribbean and Pacific Coasts…dense jungles teeming with exotic wildlife…towering volcanoes, lush green valleys, and hundreds of crystal-clear lakes, rivers, streams, and waterfalls… mesmerizing sunrises, sunsets, and star-filled evening skies…all these things, and much more, are drawing IL readers to Costa Rica.