It was total bliss…I was sitting in a restaurant, steps from the beach, eating delicious freshly cooked fish, with a cold beer in hand, the turquoise ocean just feet away, and a cool light breeze drifting in…I wondered, could it get any better? There was glittering sandy beach as far as the eye could see, swimmers splashed in the Caribbean waters, and sunbathers took in some afternoon rays…while down the beach, kite surfers made use of the wind.
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.
After a vacation in Spain, Karen McCann and her husband returned the following year to study Spanish. The Ohio residents were especially enchanted by Seville. "We spent four spring vacations in Seville, staying for longer and longer periods," says Karen. "Of course, moving abroad—or moving anywhere—has its challenges. But you don't have to wait until all the stars are aligned, the dog passes away, the grandkids are all happily married, and you win the lottery."
Since I moved to rural Burgundy, France more than two years ago, I have discovered that a Frenchman and his money are not soon parted. This is a culture where attention to centimes is ardent…every resident can tell you the exact price of a baguette, a coffee, or a liter of gas. My wife and I have done our best to adopt the techniques of the locals, always searching for bargains, especially when it comes to food and wine.
What makes a particular spot a “perfect" retirement haven? Usually the answer depends on who you ask. Admittedly, one person’s heaven on earth could be the last place in the world another would choose to live. But there are a few special places on the planet—undeniable favorites with travelers, expats and retirees—that are so extraordinary, they are often described as being “heavenly” or “like paradise.”
When Toni Munoz, 53, visited Panama in 2014, she did what no one should. "I came just to look around, but I ended up buying a house!" she says. Conventional wisdom says it's best to visit a couple times and maybe even rent for a while before buying but Toni's spur-of-the-moment decision to buy in the beach resort of Coronado turned out to be a good thing. "I just fell in love with the community," she says.
In 2007, Robin Moulyn and her partner, Rob "literally sold the farm" near a small town in British Columbia to move to Ecuador. "We decided we needed an adventure," says Robin. Rob had done some research and found that Ecuador offered a low cost of living and ranked highly in terms of safety and medical care. For six weeks, they traveled the country, visiting all the likely places they might want to live.
Do you want to retire in one of those places that looks like a postcard? I know you've seen those picture perfect cards with the turquoise waters, white sands, and a single palm tree stretching towards the bluest sky. Those places do exist, even without the aid of Photoshop. Not only are they real, but there are many countries in Asia where you can find those beaches. I spent three weeks exploring some of the best beaches in Thailand and found three beach areas where you could send home those kinds of postcards, but with pictures you’ve taken yourself.
As a retired expat and current resident of Mexico, I frequently get asked if Mexico is a safe place to live? Media outlets in the States are fond of highlighting occurrences of cartel-related violence near the U.S. border, leading many to conclude that all of Mexico is a scary, unsafe place. Further, the U.S. Department of State does a great job of issuing real-time warnings to travelers regarding upticks in violence in various Mexican locations.
With 17 miles of continuous golden-sand beaches, a low key, laidback Caribbean lifestyle, a small population, and plenty of top notch restaurants and funky beach bars, it’s not surprising that expats are pulling up stakes to move to Belize’s Placencia peninsula… In February of 2014 Laura and Dave Diffendal left Cleveland, Ohio, for Placencia Village. They now live an entirely different lifestyle, as Laura explains, “Exactly two years ago, I was sitting on my couch in snowy Cleveland. Now we’re having weekly adventures, spending days on the beach, afternoons in farmers’ markets, and living a life we would only have tried out on vacation once a year if we had stayed back home.”