The Cheapest Places to Live – 2010

Quito, Ecuador - one of the cheapest places to live

Quito, Ecuador - one of the cheapest places to live

Each year I put up a post on the cheapest places to live and inevitably the comments gravitate to arguments over renting vs. buying, gold versus stocks, working overseas or slogging it out in your home country, and whether it’s a scary world out there beyond your own neighborhood or not. (See the cheapest places to live, 2009 to see what I mean.)

All that goes to show, I guess, that you can’t choose a place to live on cost alone. Otherwise nobody would be living in New York, London, Stockholm, Moscow, Shanghai, Dubai, Malibu, or Tokyo. I can’t say what’s right for your situation and maybe you have a really good reason for living in one of those places. If costs matter though, here are some places to think about.

Stressed-economy Europe

If you’ve always wanted to buy a home in Europe, this may be your year to move there for six months and go shopping. The euro is bouncing around it’s lowest point against the U.S. dollar in half a decade and I can’t ever remember a time when Canadians have had this much buying power there. The exchange rates are loonie! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Many experts say some markets are still way overvalued—especially England and Ireland—but it’s probably a great time to buy in places on the brink of disaster, countries where wage cuts and austerity measures are hitting hard. That would include Greece, Portugal, Spain, and most of Eastern Europe. In the countrysides especially, you can get a lot of ye olde Europe for your dollars.

On the rental side, locking in the rent when it’s 1.25 euros to the dollar is certainly a lot less painful than signing a lease when it’s 1.6 to the dollar, as it was not so long ago. The British pound has dropped from a level of 2-to-1 to 1.44 to the dollar. Again, for Canadians this is a historic point.

Post-bubble U.S.

If you want to buy or rent a cheap house, how do you feel about Detroit? OK, so it’s not quite as easy now to buy a house for less than the price of a car like you could last year, but it’s still a buyer’s market: the median asking price there is just over $100K and there are 37 thousand homes for sale—not counting the ones banks haven’t put on the market. Check out that house to the right. Gorgeous isn’t it? Built in 1919, 5 bedrooms, 3 baths, and the price is…drumroll please—$59,000. Really! Here’s the listing.

It’s a similar story throughout the rust belt. If you are a work-at-home freelancer, or you have a band that needs a big house with rehearsal space, or you’re an artist that needs a studio, look to places that were built on manufacturing jobs. Pull up the real estate ads in cities like Terre Haute, IN; Columbus, OH; and Saginaw, Michigan—where the median sale price has doubled, to all of $60,000.

But let’s just say you want a bargain in a place you’ve always wanted to live. Well this article from U.S. News & World Report says the deals right now on property are at historic low levels in Santa Fe, Fort Meyers, Las Vegas, and Bend, OR. In some cities you can rent a foreclosed home or condo for about 1/4 to 1/2 less than what it would have gone for two years ago.

Stable Latin America

Unthinkable a decade ago, Latin America is now looking like the most stable region in the world economically. (Apart from Chavez-cozying countries that is.) Brazil, Chile, Peru, Panama, and Uruguay have great balance sheets and strong growth ahead of them.

There are some property bargains in these places if you go beyond the obvious, but the best opportunities are elsewhere. Look for regions where new highways going in are making it easier to reach the beach. This is a trend currently opening up opportunities in southern Costa Rica and coastal Ecuador. Also, prices have leveled off or temporarily declined in Mexico and parts of Central America that were in some small part linked to the property bubble in the U.S. Things have definitely cooled down on the Pacific Coast as California money has dried up, including in Nicaragua.

If you rent, you can take advantage of a dollar that is generally strong or stable outside of Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay. In most other Latin American countries, the rate does not fluctuate a whole lot. My buddy Andy Graham of HoboTraveler is currently paying $150 a month for a furnished room with fridge, TV, and internet on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. (Pictured to your left.) He says a furnished apartment would be $180 and “I’ve seen $200,000 houses renting for $300 a month because there’s just not much demand.”

Prices are pretty similar in Honduras and with the country being in the news much of last year, lots of places tourists would rent are sitting empty on Roatan and Utila. The story is the same in Mexico, where drug violence along the border has put a serious dent in the tourism numbers all over the country.

Where I’m moving to this summer in central Mexico, the 3BR/2 bath house I’m probably moving into with my family is $800 a month. That’s hefty by local standards, but it is furnished and has Wi-Fi, a fully stocked kitchen, and a roof deck with a panoramic view. If I were staying longer, I could easily find an unfurnished house of the same size for under $500.

The real key though, is most everything you spend money on after arrival is cheaper in Latin America, especially food and labor. You can easily cut your expenses by a third upon moving to Mexico, by half (at least) by moving to Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, or Nicaragua. Plus if you move there for good, there are all kinds of incentives and tax breaks that come with your visa, especially if you’re of retirement age or you exceed the required income levels—which are not very high.

For some ideas on retiring south of the border, if you’re in that age bracket, check out this Kiplinger’s article with a slideshow: besides Mexico and Panama, they highlight Cuenca (Ecuador), Punta del Este (Uruguay), and Buenos Aires.

Attractive Asia

The dollar is holding steady in Asia and once again, if you’re Canadian you’re in historically good shape here. The main problem in trying to live in Asia, however, is much shorter windows for tourist visas and much tighter restrictions on property ownership. In cheap Indonesia, you pretty much have to leave every  month or two and you can’t buy property unless you have a local corporate partner or an Indonesian spouse. As I noted in this post on living in Malaysia, the incentives are great in their My Second Home program, but the income/assets requirements are quite high.

Besides the visa and property issues, getting to this part of the world requires a longer and more expensive flight, which adds to the woes when you have to keep doing border runs and can’t just settle down for a year or two. So in my opinion, the cheapest parts of Asia are better suited to vagabonds than permanent residents. There are exceptions if you are willing to take all the right steps though. Thailand will allow you to stay longer if you go through the right application process and you can legally buy a condo (not a house) on your own there. Something tells me demand has probably dropped off lately, so there may be some great bargains around.

The Where and the How

All of this info is based on where you live, but remember that it’s also all about how you live. There are people spending less each month to live in New York City than others spend to live in San Miguel de Allende. Some people manage to spend less in Europe each month than others spend in Thailand. You can blow through five grand a month almost anywhere if you insist on living a first-world lifestyle with big cars, big energy bills, and a big house. To get the full benefit of local prices, you have to leave some of the consumerism trappings behind and adapt.

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Comments
  1. Robert

    I recommend the Philippines!

    • Carlos hernandez jr.

      Tama ka mas mura sa Pilipinas, it’s the cheapest nation in the world in the price of food, movie ticket, and price of one vote in election. But Philippines is the 2nd to the must expensive nation in the price of electricity. Do you want to eat in the must expensive city in the Philippines?, go and visit Makati City/Manila City or Metro Manila

    • george

      yea, no country is complete without a biennial coup d’etat.

      • kidcanvas

        that was a good one ! hahahaha ,i was there when marcos was el president. it is a beautiful country and the people are just wonderful.

  2. gary

    Tim,

    Another great article. I think it all comes down to your last paragraph, in terms of adjusting expectations, along with the attitude of living to DO things, versus HAVING things. To this day, my most memorable and enjoyable travel experiences were the ones I spent the least amount of money on.

    g.

  3. Andy Graham

    This is Andy Graham of HoboTraveler.com, I have been to 88 countries now in my 12 years of continuous travel. I am changing my method of travel, I think the reason is this, I like to have a Kitchen.

    I am going to bounce from country to country and find apartments to rent for one or two months. I will always target all utilities paid with Internet IN the room so I can wake at 5:00 am and work as I normally do.

    Lago Atitlan is a no-brainer, high or low economy a person can rent a house here for less than 250 U.S. Dolllars per month. There is now highspeed Tigo Cell Phone USB thumbdrive access in Guatemala, so I truly can live anywhere now, but the 8 Gig stops me from some things…. hehehe

    I am going to go to Ceiba, Honduras next I think and do the same thing, but could end up in Granada, Nicaragua. I will move south until bored, then bounce over to either Africa or Philippines.

    Again, I am going to search only for 200 dollar per month apartments and prove I can do this anywhere, I think I can do in the USA or Europe without a problem.

    Adjusting our expectation? I am not sure, I am in Paradise, 1500 Meters above sea level in the tropics, I have upped the quality of life five times outside my room.
    You can follow on my Blog.
    Andy Graham on Lago Atitlan, Guatemala
    http://www.hobotraveler.com/blogger.html

    • tim

      Thanks for the details Andy. You’re an inspiration to a lot of people, showing it’s possible to be live a full life for far less than being a couch potato.

    • jeff grabow

      I lived at Lake Atitlan. Think about it for a second: there is no waste treatment plant, from the toilet to the lake. From the lake to the shower. Kinda gross, dirty, Panajachel. Spent 4 moths there living in Paxnax which is accessed only by shuttle boat. Beautiful area. Scenic views of the volcanoes, birds and nature abound. Two week visit would have been fine. Don’t think about living there, just not what it is portrayed to be!

  4. TJ

    I WOULD NEVER LEAVE THE U.S. TO LIVE IN ANY COUNTRY (LEAST OF ALL EQUADOR, BRAZIL, GUATEMALA, THESE SOUTH AMERICAN COUNTRIES ARE MIGRATING TO COMMUNISM, BUYER BEWARE IF ANYONE MOVES TO THESE PLACEE AS A U.S CITIZEN YOU ARE RISKING YOUR LIVES.

    • Leonel Hernandez

      Hahahahaha you are hilarious !!! You definitely watch too much T.V. buddy. I live in Chicago, IL. and I come from a Latin American country, you have nothing to worry about. I don’t think people are migrating to communism at all, I think they are migrating to the United States !! The issues involving the NAFTA the IMF and the impacts that American Corporations have had on other countries are things you should really look into before you start pointing fingers, and getting people scared.

      • white tiger

        You just made the point of the blogger you’re criticizing!
        Better knock off the grass while you’ve still got even a few brain cells left.

    • Geraldinje

      Are you nuts the guy who would never leave the US – brainwashed do Americans not realise how brainwashed they are??? You have more crime than here in Mexico believe it or not!! The locals are very sympatico, always friendly and loveable – You must live beyond your bubble!!! Sad

      • crazytraveler

        I have found the people of Mexico extremely friendly and helpful. I have never had a problem while traveling there. I never stay in the tourist areas because they are to expensive. I like the area down around the Veracruz area. Yea its hot but the area is great. As far as traveling and living outside the US. You are what you are. I mean if you act like a stupid american you will be treated as such but if you go and enjoy your new live and try and get along and blend in you will be fine and make more friends in other countries than you could ever imagine

    • Bruce

      I only listen to people who have actually visited these places and know what they are talking about first-hand.

      TJ sounds like a whack-job who has never travelled from his home than the local bar…

    • Bill P

      After spending 5 months travelling the coast in Ecuador, I really cant imagine why anyone would live in the US. Except for people that have their head so far up their arse they cant see daylight. If you have not been there, sorry you are not allowed to voice any opinions.

  5. Adaire

    I would never trust anyone who writes in all capital letters to make their case. Thanks Tim for your article and food for thought on what is possible.

    • Peter John Andros

      Really, really you wouldn’t trust anyone who writes in caps…are you a comedian or just a jerk. People who write in caps do so because they want to, like farting. You need help.

      • Joshua Roy

        Seriously??? In my experience everyone I’ve ever met online who wrote in all caps a). were idiots, b). were overly emotion, c). were overly religious or d). all of the above. Rational people generally can make their case in plain, properly capitalized, language, and there is a big difference between capitalizing a portion of your sentence, LIKE THIS, and writing in all caps like above.

        • austin cindy

          Some people write in all caps because they are not big on computer communication, as i was told it is as if you are shouting. He might have been shouting his point. As for what he said, i saw many service members when i was stationed overseas that hated being in a foreign country. They griped about the locals speaking a foreign language (the nerve of those Germans, right?) or about the lack of fast food or Budweiser (seriously in the land of Delicious beer and food.) I figured it was their lack of adventure and hate of change/difference. I laugh at Americans traveling abroad now that look for the comforts of the USA or compare it all to the USA. Hopefully it means they will just keep their narrow minds home.

  6. tennisfolks@hotmail.com

    While many of these South Amer. locations, and other “off shore” sites seem like reasonable places to reside from a pure economic dollar standpoint; the truth of the matter is that aside from a few countries in Europe, the Australian continent, and that shining city in the sky, (the United States of America), most of the world is a left leaning cesspool composed of greedy dictators, socialistic politicians, and citizens with the education of the 8th grade and no one in their right mind would spend their numbered days on Earth, much less their retirement years, living in these countries while fighting the dreaded Bot Fly, yellow fever, malaria, or other infection in these disease ridden, third world, countries. Lest we not forget, this is why we live in the Greatest Country in the World, because even with some of the scum and their ideas of Socialism, we have made America a heaven on Earth. I am a lucky lady to be living in the USA…

    • Leonel Hernandez

      Yes you are a lucky lady, and more than likely beautiful as well. I am not sure if many the people living off the Gulf of Mexico would agree with your statement of heaven on earth, or how many of Katrina’s survivors would say they experienced a moment of Zen as their houses disintegrated before them, yes we are lucky, but this is something we should be thankful for not take for granted. We can only hope that our elected officials do whats best for us all as a society, as a collective being, because we all share this world, and it takes all of us to keep it running smoothly.

    • Tolu

      America is not really a good place to live for your enjoyment. most people only go there to make some little ‘sweat money’. There is so much hustling that people are forgeting about basic life needs like a good diet, rest, nature, love, and care. People are living very selfish lives and are swimming in debts. You all talk about cheap places to live in. Did you consider Africa? You can turn someone’s life around with just 50 dollars. I dont think you re lucky living in America as it justs makes u one of the ‘ordinaries’ with no real challenges in life. And dont under estimate the quality of education you get from these other countries you look down on. infact America has more illitrates than most of these countries. Or permit me to say ‘educated illitrates’ But the only luck you should boast of or allowed to boast of is your president Obama.
      From the way you talk, i dont think you have travelled well enough. The word “paradise” is different for every person and while ‘Tahiti’ may be a man’s paradise, a woman may find the place disgusting. So think carefully next time before posting anything.

    • Tam

      @tennisfolks@hotmail.com Wow…..prozac? seroquel? You must be watching **x news and a lot of Disney. I live in reality in the EU and it is friggin great here. If I lived in the states I’d be dealing with union busting jerks in the political scene and with lower than deserved wages for my line of work and with prohibitively expensive health care and education. I’m glad you got a fair shake.

    • austin cindy

      There are many reasons people enjoy traveling. Then there are people who go abroad to bring knowledge and love to others that are in perilous circumstances. Your ethnocentrism is the reason you don’t understand the value of all cultures on the planet. Not everyone in this “greatest country in the world” thinks we have the right to step on others to climb on top. I think Jesus traveled, too!

  7. tennisfolks@hotmail.com

    While many of these South Amer. locations, and other “off shore” sites seem like reasonable places to reside from a pure economic standpoint; the truth of the matter is that aside from a few countries in Europe, the Australian continent, and that shining city in the sky, (the United States of America), most of the world is a left leaning cesspool composed of greedy dictators, socialistic politicians, and citizens with the education of the 8th grade and no one in their right mind would spend their numbered days on Earth, much less their retirement years, living in these countries while fighting the dreaded Bot Fly, yellow fever, malaria, or other infection in these disease ridden, third world, countries. Lest we not forget, this is why we live in the Greatest Country in the World, because even with some of the scum and their ideas of Socialism who reside in the USA, our forefathers; and our efforts, have made America a heaven on Earth. I am a lucky lady to be living in the USA…

  8. John Benitez

    Would you look at all those capital letters up there! Looks like another case of acute blind patriotism and a severe media frenzy brainwash to me. :p

    I have been to many of the countries suggested by this article and none but Venezuela, and believe me it even caught their citizens by surprise… has become communist. I doubt any other South American country would want to cut itself (commit suicide) from the benefits and partnership of democrat countries. Specially now. If I had to chose, I´d pick Uruguay. They have all the same infrastructure that many European countries offer. No wars and no conflicts.

  9. Mar

    TJ do you look as stupid as you sound? Geez! Where the hell did you go to school? Did you learn anything at all?! Before you go making ASSumptions, idiot, first of all, Guatemala is in Central America. U moron you! Second of all, to each his own, I know of many people who are quite happily living in the very countries you named but get your stats/facts straight for Heaven’s sake b4 u go on looking like a fool.

  10. Danny Real

    Well for 800.00dollars you could live in a condo apartment with the view to the whole city. 3 bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms. And for 500 you could have the same thing that you are talking about for a nice un fernished apartmment on the other side of the city. With 3 bedrooms and 2 bathroom if availiable. The food is ok and you could live with 300 for food…And that place happens to be the Dominican republic. Try it here you would like it. Or call me and I will investigate you a nice place to live down here for retirement. 809-834-6056 or 809-839-8631

  11. Danny Real

    I think that TJ is still living in the Cold War Years…

  12. Danny Real

    And on top of that we have some of the most beautiful women in the caribbean…the beaches are beautiful and the sun shines all day down here. An d TJ and his communis mine k blow up in smoke when you touch ground in the Dominican Rep. Try it and call me for good detials and good fun,And if you like to fish. WOW That’s all I could say. You will have the time of your live. Night timer. Well we have the most out going night live thier is. So call me for further details and come down and have thetime of your life. Danny Real 809-834-6056 – 809-839-8631

  13. Ron

    Andy

    Thanks for the tips. I’ve always been interested in Central America, but I’d be interested, if you make it to the Philippines, to find out how cheap it is to live there….

  14. Jean B

    TJ just doesn’t get it! Any place is scary if you want to believe the boogeyman … I have heard it all my life. Flouridation of water is a “commie” plot! How absurd can Americans get. If you rent or lease a home in a beautiful environment, enjoy year round warm weather, friendly people in the marketplace and travel unfettered, what is wrong with that! We aren’t asking you to get involved in politics. These people are not going to “indoctrinate” you. Get a life TJ.

    I would like to know if PORTUGAL has any inexpensive places to rent for 3-6 months, where transportation is close?

  15. Bobbie

    In my opinion, there are tons of nice places in the USA. Take Key West which is beautiful, and you feel like you are on any number of tropical islands..water is wonderful. You can go to the mountains of TN with the lakes and water. its beautiful, or Montana, Washington State in the Cascades is incredible, CA has some wonderful locations both in the mountains and at Pismo Beach, Morro Bay and any number of locations. Eastern Shore of MD and VA is wonderful if you love lots of water and quiet times, and you are 30 min from DC in many cases, 1 hr from West Virginia, and the battlefields of the civil war. You can go to Amish country, Upstate NY. Sante Fe, NM. We have the most beautiful country in the world. I would NOT go to Central America, South America or Mexico for any amount of Money. I would go to the Islands, e.g., St. Marteen, and US VI. Florida is wonderful, and you can buy a home right now for abou 150 with a pool. Seriously….a home that was half million 3 years ago is now going for 150-200 max and you have a pool built in. You are taking your life in your hands to go into Mexico. If you drive, they can stop you, demand money, or worse. You would be insane. I believe hondorus is not much of a step up. I have friends in Panama, he was robbed and tied up and money stolen…I feel they knew him otherwise they would have killed him. He is in a wheelchair. Hondorus..was ok for a while, then my friends left. If you want a tropical place, check out the keys or one of the islands in the West Indies, or Us VI or something like that. There is no place like home. I like theatre, and places to visit. No matter what you do or where you move, it all gets boring after a while. I like family and friends. No interest in another country. Yes, I have traveled to many.

    Take a cruise and come back home to the good ole USA!

    • austin cindy

      Bobbie I see your point about safety and lack of variety of activities but you can not rent a place in Key West or any of the places you mentioned for any kind of cheap price. The places for sale cheap in Florida are in depressed areas and not on the water or with pools. It just boils down to attitude about world travel. Good thing the US is a free country.

  16. Patricia

    I am surprised no one mentions Egypt. I live in Luxor in a seven-room rental for $215.00 a month and very low utility bills and phone bills. All my expenses for food, rent, utilities, medical, dental, and taxis are $600 a month. Of course, even though I am now 70 years of age, I am in good health. I just travel to USA for the summer to visit my grandchildren.

  17. Sonny

    There is a new regulation from the government of Indonesia that foreigner or expat can own a real astate or condo without married or join with local goverment.Great deal to buy property in Indonesia.

  18. Saudade

    The best place to live in the world is Brazil. Very friendly people, very cheap real estate, beautiful landcape, and peaceful environment if you move to the inland mountains or northern beaches. Avoid the big and turistic cities like Rio and Salvador, and you will live in Paradise…….specially if you are single…Got it?

    • crazytraveler

      I am 60 now and had forgotten about the great times I had living in Brazil. You are right just stay away from the heavy tourist areas and it is a paradise just waiting for you. A single guy will be in heaven there. Thanks Saudade, you brought back many memories and put a smile on my face…

  19. JonDie

    “Where I’m moving to this summer in central Mexico…”

    You are in duh Nile. I love Mexico, am fluent in Spanish, and traveled pretty much all over the country as a young adult in the late 80s and 90s. But while the drug-related violence is still mostly at the border, it now occurs all over the country making Mexico NOT my choice. The Mexican justice system was always dicey but I can’t imagine *moving* to Mexico no matter how cheap it is.

    • Gino

      I rented a one bedroom apt , furnished , second floor , with a front and back balcony. One block from the beach in mazatlan.

      Cost ? $180cad a month , only two other bills was water and power , cost was $30 every two months.

      Love it

  20. mike

    I realy don’t trust S.A. countries either.Even though prices for food etc is the same in the southern U.S. rent and gas prices are very fair.What about Baja Mexico? I checked land prices there they seemed good.I read an article about Americans moving there.Is it safe?I was looking for beachfront prop.How are food and gas prices in this area and S.A.?

  21. Alicia

    You spelled Fort Myers wrong.

  22. nelson

    I would recommend to include the Philippines as one of the cheapest countries to live in. For those who love tropical climate and fresh fruits, this country is the best especially in the provinces. Organic food is readily available. The Philippines is the country wherein anyone can find different kinds of bananas from smallest to biggest. From most of the countries I had visited, I never found a mango that has as good taste as Philippine mango.

    • bein

      The sweetest, juiciest, most AMAZING mango I ever ate was in República Dominicana (El Limón) just picked from the tree. Mmmm…

  23. Jeremy B.

    You can pretty much tell who has traveled a lot and who has sat on a couch watching Fox News all day in these comments. We’re all better off if the scared stay in their gated communities in the boring suburbs, thinking the world outside is out to get them. Protect the flab!

  24. robo

    To all xenophobs who think the US is the land of the free, take a break from your over regulated lives and visit truly free countries. Countries where cafes are ON THE SAND and you can actually drink a beer while standing with your feet in the water. In the US they will throw you in jail if you try this. Don’t even think about bringing your dog to the beach. That’s right, take a chance and do something different other than sitting at the drive thru window. Your health will improve because there are no FAST FOOD restaurants in SA countries.
    But beware, loose weight and loose that fanny pack. And please, no NY Yankee hats. Americans are so obvious! You think you are free in the US, but that noose around your neck (Mortgage, credit card, car payment) is depriving you of the air you desperately need!

    • Tolu

      I feel you Robo, i only wish all Americans understood you and just to add that infrastructure does not mean good living standards.

      • jeff frey

        I see everyone here referring to Americans as the people living in the USA. I call the people of the USA CoUSA’s. there are 35 countries in the Americas and we are all Americans it is just that the goverment and people of the USA can’t express themself’s on a national level. I am a CoUSAen second, an American third, but first I am your brother. here is wiki info on the countries of the Americas
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americas
        p.s. i travel too – peace

        • tim

          Jeff, good luck on getting that to stick. I was just in Peru and Panama and the locals kept asking me, in Spanish or English, if I was “an American.” They don’t think of themselves as that. American, to most of the world, means “from the USA.” Even where I live in Mexico it’s the term I hear the most after “gringo.” I’m not saying that’s fair or technically correct, but a lot of country names aren’t—and a lot of them are different in their own language than they are in others.

    • aston

      well said, the noose is really wrapped tight around the necks of people who live and work in US. I became a US citzien back in ’95 and regret ever becoming one as they own you. People walk a tight rope here, work hard, pay tons of all kind of taxes, houses /properties etc. are the biggest joke ever as you can never own them here in the US as you MUST pay property taxes, HOA’s etc. if you dont the government take it from you so basicially the working class are slaves to their government here in US then U die, so before that happens retire early and get the hell out of US and breathe some good clean air and live on the beach and eat some good healthy fruit and forget the BS in US

    • Bill P

      There are fast food restaurants all over Ecuador.

  25. Jim F

    I agree with Jeremy B. Let the Fox News bunch stay where they are tuned to all the “news.” For the last year I have lived overlooking the largest lake in Mexico with the mountains beyond. Perfect weather, low humidity, fresh fruit in the yard (organic), unbelievably friendly people even though exposed to a large expat community that seems reluctant to learn the language and culture. And an international airport 30 minutes away. BTW, many of the locals were born and/or lived in US for years. They have chosen to return home to MX.

    For years I knew of the area but avoided it because of the large expat community. I’m fluent in Spanish and Portuguese (even translated a recipe from Romanian the other day) and prefer to hang with locals. I’m here because of my 91 yr. old father who I am taking care of. Here I am because of medical care and 24/7 nursing (real nurses, not just part-time companions, and doctors that give you their cell phone number to call anytime. And that make house calls!).

    After expensive, poor nursing home care for mother (…1 caregiver for 20 Alzheimer patients!), I moved father here for new life after his trauma of watching wife of 68 years slip away. Back there he was on oxygen most of the day and night. Upon arrival here, even though altutude is 2000 ft. higher than previously, he needed no oxygen. The ambiance has given him a whole new and vigorous life. It took him about a month to fall in love with one of the nurses. Good for him! He, like other men, was totally unprepared and overwhelmed by the total devotion the girls give him. He is the center of their life. Very flattering for a guy no matter the age!

    When father goes his way, I’m off to NE Brazil to surf and hang with the senhorinas. So…you naysayers please stay where you are and don’t mess up the life that some of us relish and enjoy so much.

  26. Bobbie

    You can choose to live where you wish. Depends on if you like traveling, living in 3rd world countries where poverty is rampant, or you want to live in luxury, or be near family. Give me the USA. Many of the people in those third world countries would love to be living exactly where we live, and that is the USA. No matter where you live, you will get bored, and you abide by their laws, and that can be a huge issue if you drive, have an accident, etc. I have friend in Panama, and they were broken into, tied up, but not killed. Who needs that? Is it safe? not really. Take some cruises, travel a bit, and you can live right here in the USA. Florida has 800K homes now selling for 250. No kidding. Key West is wonderful and prices are now in half. Montana is beautiful…..NY would be nice for a while….CA for a vist. Why not travel and cruise, and check out life right here in the USA. Even thought we have an administration heading at the speed of a jet to a 3rd world country, hopefully, he will be stopped by the election in the fall. He has to be stopped. I love USA and believe its the best country in the world.

    • Bruce

      That’s great advice Bobbie, because as we all know no one ever gets robbed or attacked in the “best country in the world” (sic)…

  27. Bobbie

    I recommend the USA. We have a beautiful country, and anything you want to do you can find. I prefer living with our laws, and not in a 3rd world country. I would much rather be in Key West than Mexico. Sure it may work for a while, but if you have money, and the word gets around, then you can be in trouble. If you are poor, thats a lot better. I know first hand. You are NOT safe if its felt you are wealthy. They will shake you down in a heartbeat, or worse. Its happened to friends. Give me the USA. I love this country.

  28. patrick

    Well, as for the one posting that the USofA is the greatest, I agree. It is the greatest as long as you work your ass off and keep on working it until you either die or you can’t work any more. Then your children, if you’re lucky will take you in and care for you until you die. This also means that you will be a burden on them and they will have to work their asses off to support you and their family. Now if you are in the small minority in our beautiful USofA who are able to build up a sizable retirement then you don’t need to be reading this article in the first place, just move on. I for one have worked every day since I turned 14 and know that no matter how much I have saved and invested it will not be enough when it comes time to retire.

    I’m lucky enough to have married a beautiful woman from the Philippines and over a few years have built a very nice home in the province that her family is from for a very affordable amount of money, and to also have purchased a condo in Manila for when we retire.

    When it comes time to retire we will relocate to the Philippines and for a very modest amount of money we will be able to live comfortably and not be a burden on anyone. The health system in the Philippines is good. For the amount that we pay for groceries a month in Texas we will be able to pay all of our bills in the Philippines.

    Planning to retire in a country that affords you to live better than at home in America does not make me anti-America is means I am smart enough to recognize that America is not perfect. I love my country, but I know our society is not designed to help our elders. We stuff our elders into nursing homes. In other countries they take care of theirs.

    • aston

      agree, U must work your ass off otherwise U are nobody in US and one false move like a bad investment in real estate, stocks, poor health, loose a job etc. one can get wiped out in a heart beat and have to start all over, so one must think like the rich, save everything and try get as much as possible for free and not risk a dome only keep it all for one selve then get out of US and live where the air is cleaner and healthier and leave the BS in the US

    • bein

      I worked my butt off all my life in the US – then I became disabled. Now I have to choose between buying my medication and paying my property taxes. Do I want to loose my home or my health? Tough choice. As soon as I can, I’m getting out of here. I’m going to live in a country where I can have my medication AND a roof over my head. Yippee, USA. Faux news, it’s all yours.

  29. Sandra

    To all those that would not move to South America I must say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. I have moved to Brazil, with frequent stays in Uruguay and am loving my life. Obviously some ppl don’t have a clue what life in South America is like but that does not stop them from having the most absurd ideas and opinions. So I say thank you becasue I am delighted that idiots like these stay out of my corner of paradise.

  30. Peter

    Kudos Robo and Sandra…you have it absolutely right. I felt what true freedom was 20 years ago when I moved to Latin America and have not regretted it once. But pssssstttt…lets nbot spoil it by spreading the word

  31. Jim F

    Key West has great sunsets. Know it well as friends were on Mel Fisher’s team that discovered Nuestra Senora de la Atocha. I also know other spots in US mentioned. Nice places if one so chooses. At least they were. BTW…isn’t Key West a little TOO close to Cuba for Fox News followers’ comfort?

  32. Jim F

    Sorry, but I’m hung up on sunsets (as I watch yet another perfect one forming) family and safety. Eunice, NM has great sunsets, if you don’t mind the years of discarded oil biohazard and the new nuclear enrichment facility. Nothing like the smell of hydrogen sulfide in the morning! And noon and…… Oh, I almost forgot..in January a friend was carjacked during noon traffic in Hobbs 20 miles north of Eunice. Didn’t kill her and let her take her 9 month old out of car.

    I lived in Colorado High Country for 5 yrs. Got tired of the 3 seasons (July, August and winter). Friends did too and moved to Montana to get warm and away from maddening crowds. Now they have moved on.

    Oh, culture. Probably never heard of the Cervantino in Guanajuato, MX (exact center of MX). It is a world famous 2 week long festival of the arts. London Symphony Orchestra, Chinese acrobats, etc. performing multiple venues with all sorts of music and art. Then there is the Degollado Theatre in Guadalajara which weekly has national/international performers. And lots of Mariachis!!! Not much culture in 3rd world countries.

    Ah, family. I have 3 sisters living in Dallas, Atlanta and Baltimore. In last 8 months Baltimore and Atlanta robbed and Dallas car stolen from driveway. East Coasters were not too happy with our move to MX, but have visited 3 times in last year. Funny, but robberies happened when they were here. Who’s watching YOUR house??? They are now all preparing to move south. Good. I could use a little help with dad.

    As for taking a cruise….sorry but don’t enjoy being stuck with X,000 roomates for a week. Most overweight with screaming kids. Only way I would go is to have a companion I wanted to stay in my stateroom with the whole time. On second thought, I would prefer to cook her breakfast at some romantic inn tucked away in a 3rd World Country.

    We all have our opinions and I have voted with my feet. May you be as happy and content with the decisions you make as I am.

    • Michael

      I have heard many conflicting reports about Mexico. I am thinking of moving to Guadalahara , Merelia, or Mazattlan. People on this blog have talked about crime there and made it sound like if you drive somewhere you might likely be stopped, robbed and or killed. Is there any truth to this given the locations I’m considering? Thanks, Michael

      • tim

        Michael, I assume you mean Guadalajara, Morelia, and Mazatlan? The only thing those cities have in common is they’re all in Mexico. It’s like asking if it’s safe to move to the United States because you’re considering Tampa, St. Louis, and Houston. None of them are along the border—where most of the problems are—but none is a perfect crime-free Shangri-la either. (Just as no city in the U.S. is even close to crime-free.)

        Scroll down to the websites listed on this Mexico travel resources page to get the inside scoop and try to get real local news from these places. Obviously that’s easier if you speak Spanish, but it’s not hard to track down expats who live in these places either, on message boards or directly. And of course go spend some time in any city you’re considering before even thinking about moving there. Last, turn off Fox News. Their political agenda is to scare people about Mexico and, by association Mexicans.

  33. Al Brady

    How about living in Spain? I have always wanted to live there. I live alone but might have a lady with me as I am old but not dead.

  34. Robert P.

    Jeremy B.
    ****Amen****

  35. Darral R.

    All you seem to make valid points. Yes a few have misspelled some words and of course not read into their research completely, but I believe you can live in any of these countries mentioned if you obey their rules and laws! Again we are still humans who first of all want to survive and live well! It is unfortunate many have forgotten this and just lack using their intelligence to find what comforts them. I am a former U.S. Army man and was very blessed to see many of these countries and mostly all of them treated me very fair in their lands. You will of course have buttheads wherever you go, and they will never stop being in your environment, but overall, just take your time and choose wisely of where you want to locate. I Suggest the Phillippines, Portugal, Brazil, Egypt or even Australia. But please learn the laws and rules first and see if its worth even going. I thank all of you for your opinions because you are teaching me much as well! Take care!

  36. Gilbert

    I agree with you Nelson. Not only that, Filipino people are very friendly. While majority couldn’t speak English fluently, almost everybody understands English. For British, Canadians, Australians, US citizens, staying in this country is pretty good. One could feel, he is not away from home. The culture is highly westernized of course with an Asian touch. In the provinces, one could already live lavishly on $300. With its majestic beaches, both the popular and least popular one’s are worth a try.

  37. Uncle Francis

    I am amazed how few Americans are aware that a white Jewish Chicago-born woman, Janet Rosenburg Jagan, was president of Guyana, in SOUTH AMERICA, from 1997 to 1999. She demitted office due to ill health. She died in 2009 at age 89. Make a visit and see the world’s tallest single-drop water fall – the Kaieteur. Under five hours direct flight on Delta Airlines from JFK New York to Guyana. And English is our official language.

  38. Chuck WoW

    I am a disciple of Andy the Hobo. I hope to be at his last meal. Probable a 100 baht all you can eat buffet on Khao San Rd.

    Chuck WoW

  39. John Contreras

    I think it is simply awesome that you write about these Countries. As for TJ haha i do not know the person but i can clearly see that her mentality is warped with the negative supressed idiology that is rapidly failing. I am a Native American and travel to explore many places to build my own truths instead of believing what we hear on the news or read in some shady news print hahaha I cannot wait to visit some of the places you have listed. Thanks for the input and keep up the awesome job!!! Safe Travels!

  40. Jim F

    Sorry to intrude again but I was taken by what John Contreras said above..

    ” I am a Native American and travel to explore many places to build my own truths instead of believing what we hear on the news…”

    John, would be interesting to sit in a temazcali (Mexican native sweat lodge) and discuss things with you. You obviously are not a lemming being led over the cliff by the Pied Piper’s song.

    “.. to build my own truths…” What a concept.

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