Where do you want to live?
The question of location is vastly different for everyone
and depends on which surroundings will make you
happiest. If basking in the sun on a secluded white beach,
surfing 16 foot waves or exploring underground caves sounds
like paradise, then Puerto Rico could be your destination. A
cabin in the Costa Rican rainforests can bring to life that book
that has been brewing in your mind for years with nothing to
distract you, but local wildlife. If romance is what you desire,
make a honeymoon last a lifetime in mountainous St. Lucia
and live your days in the Caribbean islands surrounded by the
clear, turquoise waters of the ocean.
How much will it cost?
Your budget may be the biggest factor to consider, but only in deciding between living comfortably
within your means or lavishly for much less than you
are accustomed. Many people are in luxury for as little as $2000
a month or live quite nicely on their social security checks. If
you are content living a frugal lifestyle, you could live on as little
as $600 to $800 a month or even less, including housing. Your
electricity could be as little as $10 or $20 a month if you can live
without air conditioning which is reasonable in Latin American
climates. If you learn to live like a local by buying food in the
fresh markets, your food cost will probably be 50% or less than
you now spend. If you have a limited budget, the best option is
to avoid tourist cities and search in the outlying towns. On the
other hand, if you prefer a luxurious high-rise condominium
with a housekeeper and all possible amenities, it will be much
easier to live in that style.
What accommodations are available?
You could buy a luxurious four bedroom Mexican-style home in Jalisco, Mexico for only $79,000 or
rent a small apartment for as little as $150 a month.
A beautiful Central Valley Costa Rican mountain home with
three bedrooms for $120,000 would seem impossible to North
Americans, but commonplace in South America. If you plan to
experience the diversity this country has to offer, renting might
be a better option. Most rentals are furnished with everything
you need to live making relocating a breeze. Imagine a two
bedroom rainforest villa totally furnished with everything,
which is walking distance to a pristine Caribbean beach, fresh
markets, grocery stores, restaurants, music and entertainment,
all for $700 a month, including utilities. Instead of searching
for accommodations through the internet, it is advisable to
travel to the location you are considering. You can frequently
get a much better price in person. Many of the rentals are
not advertised, the owner simply puts up a sign. It will also
give you the opportunity to spend some time in your chosen
destination to make sure you are where you want to be.
What kind of climate can I expect?
Will I be able to earn a living?
Most parts of Central and South America are
mild year round with no summer or winter tem-
peratures, rather temperatures ranging from around
72 to 89 degrees. There is typically a dry and wet season with
the dry season starting in December and ending in April.
You are allowed to own a business. Yoga studios,
horseback riding, dive shops and bed and breakfasts are some of the popular businesses owned by
Americans. In general, you cannot take local jobs with a few
exceptions. Due to a large demand for English teachers, many
expatriates are working in public and private schools as well
as teaching English to business employees.
Should I bring a vehicle?
Many people sell or leave their vehicle behind due
to the high cost of fuel and the low cost of public
transportation in Latin America. The main forms of
transportation are taxis and buses. Rates will vary depending
on your location, but are much lower than in the United
States. Surprisingly, buses are quite modern and comfortable
with air conditioning, reclining seats and movies.
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