THE BLOG
11/03/2014 09:39 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

5 Amazing Cities for Raising a Family (and They Aren't Where You Think)

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Photo Credit: Viva Tropical

Sometimes life isn't what we expected it would be, you've spent your entire existence wondering which suburban neighborhood in your Connecticut town would host the house of your dreams, that would come complete with a fine backyard, a dog and two kids. You've always imagined, even as a teenager, that most of your days would be spent commuting from the aforementioned suburban paradise to your workplace, so that you could just to come back home and do it all over again the next day. There's nothing wrong with that, that's some people's ideal way of living. Sometimes, though, "midway on our life's journey," things don't go as we planned or, simply, things aren't as exciting as we thought they would be. A change of heart suddenly makes adventure seem like a possible exquisite reality.

Nowadays, many families follow their instinctual hunger for traveling and exploring and decide to embrace a trip that could realistically last a lifetime. They move to destinations that wouldn't normally be on the list of places where Western children are raised, but that are, in their wilderness and attractiveness, amazing locations to give families opportunities they wouldn't have anywhere else. After all, technology has truly made the chance of living abroad more than just a hope: when keeping in touch has never been easier, so has remote working.

Finally, raising your kids abroad, can help them become outstanding adults. Third culture kids, this is the name given to children who have spent a great part of their developmental years abroad, have a third dimensional view of the world that will make them more tolerant and respectful of different cultures and realities. According to a study conducted by researchers Lee and Bain (2007), because of their third culture experience, these kids have enhanced creativity and high problem solving skills.

So, where could you move, with your family, were you willing and had the chance to?

Nosara, Costa Rica

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Photo Credit: Anthony Doudt

Low cost of life and houses in Nosara, Costa Rica, along with high waves and great weather, make for a relaxing ever-growing community of health and nature lovers. Crystal waters and organic markets tend to be a major magnet for families. This destination is also preferred, among others, because of its small but well settled education system, with two bilingual private schools and tons of activities designed especially for children, from horse back riding to kids yoga and surf camps. Yoga represents a city trademark, The Nosara Yoga Institute in Playa Guiones, in fact, has been attracting tourists for decades thanks to its incredible teaching programs. Could it be the right location for you?

Cuenca, Equador

Cuenca has an incomparable international flavor and it is the ideal spot for families who love history and don't want to give up what big cities have to offer. The affordable health care system, added to the richness of the local cuisine and the breathtaking surrounding mountains, give Cuenca a down to earth and yet beautiful touch. Nevertheless, expats often tend to get homesick, Cuenca has been home to foreigners for many years, collecting, this way, tons of English speaking welcoming and helpful individuals that will make you feel like you're home. A big pro: Equador's currency is the US dollar!

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Photo Credit: Viva Tropical

Boca Chica, Panama

Forget the city, forget your old habits: Boca Chica is a tropical paradisiacal island that has a special spot reserved in the Gulf of Chriqui. Don't think for a moment you will be lost somewhere in the ocean, should you decide to settle here: Boca Chica is only an hour away from the city of David and it's also less than an hour away from an airport that is soon connecting this area to the United States. When you get tired of this island, (although it would probably take you a lifetime to) just visit another of the fifty gems that are all around it!

Granada, Nicaragua

Granada is a colonial town that went unnoticed for many years, until a group of tourists "finally discovered it" and realized why its charm can never be forgotten. Rising directly from the shores of Lake Cocibolca, Granada's pastel colored buildings and calm streets hide numerous lively cafes, markets and shops. The town is a melting pot of local and international residents, who quietly enjoy their surroundings in an extremely peaceful environment. Because of its diversity, families with kids often choose to enjoy this destination for a few months, see if it actually fits their needs and desires, before making the permanent decision of moving here and fully immerse themselves in the big volunteering community of already settled expats.

Boquete, Panama

Mild year long temperatures, rainbows and mountains are what attracts families to Boquete. The hundreds color of the sky are reflected in the natural flora that, like a carpet, covers the town with lilies, hibiscus, roses, carnations, sunflowers, and orchids. The town is home to incredibly friendly locals and a great community of expats who make sure to maintain its traditions alive by supporting the indigenous groups who populate the nearby mountains. Boquete is the perfect example of how traditional and modern can coexist!

Are you ready to move, just yet?