As we bobbed in the warm cerulean sea off the coast of the Dominican Republic, a stately row of palm trees on the beach our only companions, we couldn't help thinking about how misguided Christopher Columbus had been.
So, you're thinking of retiring to Latin America, are you? Then you'd best learn some Spanish. At least a little, por favor. Pantomime works, yes, but only so far -- and at what damage to your self-respect?)
The poshest and most popular Central Valley destination -- for foreigners and locals alike -- is Escazú, just a few miles west of San José. Several foreign embassies are located here, as are the residences of the U.S. and British ambassadors, and you're as likely to hear English spoken as Spanish.
Residency and citizenship are not the same things. This is one of the most common causes of confusion we've found among future expats. You don't give up citizenship in your home country when you move to another country.
Over the past 12 years, we've begun to wonder why more people don't take advantage of this simple idea... that living abroad in the right place can save you money and improve your lifestyle at the same time.
Moving to another country with a lower cost of living is a great way to make a fixed income go as far as possible... but you may also find many opportunities there if you don't have a sufficient fixed income stream or simply want to keep working and earning no matter where you live.
Granada's current popularity as a tourism and entertainment destination certainly brings more people and services to the city, and for many of the people who live here -- including many of the expats that call Granada home -- that's a good thing.
When it comes to quality of life -- which is, after all, the thing that most people are looking for when they investigate retiring or living abroad -- we find that comparing countries is far too blunt an instrument.
"Cheap" should never be the only factor to consider when it comes to something as important as choosing where to spend your time. After all, you've got to live in the place. And it's important to like where you live.
There are satisfactions other than a pay check, being important in your company, or being always the provider. There is another identity. You can retire and simply be happy, inspired, and full of the joy of life.
Retirement in the States is getting more expensive all the time. But in the right places overseas, you can upgrade your lifestyle and live better than you can at home for a small fraction of the price.
If you're willing to live like the locals, among the locals, shopping where the locals shop, eating where the locals eat, and speaking whatever language the locals speak, you can live well on a limited budget in Ecuador and Nicaragua.
With 75 million aging Baby Boomers and conflicting political opinions surrounding the role of the government in caring for those who are aging, the community driven Village Model offers promise as the preferred the wave of the future.