Cotacachi, Ecuador: Paradise at the End of the Rainbow

On a hill above Cotacachi, at a bend in the road overlooking an impossibly green valley, someone has painted a sign on a post. It says “Dios esta aqui.” God is here. No matter what your religious beliefs, this place makes you believe in a higher power. This is the Andes, where magical things happen. And this is where I live. On the day of the summer solstice, not one… but two… rainbows appeared in the sky, one above the …

Welcome to a New Year of Possibilities

As the clocked ticked its way from 2012 to 2013, we gathered around the bonfire and ceremoniously offered our human-size effigy to the flames. That’s the Año Viejo (or “Old Year”) tradition here in Ecuador, and one worth adopting no matter where you live. As way of saying good riddance to life’s nuisances and bad habits, in the final days of the year, you pull out your old clothes and stuff them with newspaper or twigs. You can make you …

Deep in the Mayan Jungle: An Expat That Transformed a Community

Think you’d like to retire overseas but don’t know what you’ll do once you get there? Many people who retire abroad use the opportunity to not only reinvent themselves, but to become helpful resources in their new communities. Take Sandra Dayton, for example. In 1987, after first spending some time in Europe, she moved to Mexico with her husband, Dan. They settled in the little fishing pueblo of Puerto Morelos, about halfway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen on the …

Honest Profiling: Your Best Tool for Moving Overseas

More and more baby boomers are opting for a retirement filled with travel and adventure overseas. How can that be? Especially in a world of rising costs and dwindling savings? Simple. They’re packing their bags and moving to a foreign country where every experience is fresh, exciting and the cost of living is lower. But to get to the point where you shut the door on your life in the States and embrace a new, very different culture and language takes a …

If I Retire Abroad, How Do I Pick Where to Live?

My husband, Dan, and I will soon celebrate 11 years of living the expat life. We’ve lived in seven different locations (in Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Ecuador) and spent a considerable amount of time in many, many more – especially Belize and Costa Rica. Believe me, we’ve learned a lot in the past decade! Importantly, we’ve learned that it’s impossible to compare and contrast the merits or disadvantages of entire countries. And if you’re thinking about retiring to a foreign …

Ready for a Permanent Vacation Abroad?

I’m just back from vacation in the U.S. Good for me, but not so good for friends who confided they are suddenly on “permanent” vacation. As in “laid off” and with no prospects in sight. They’re being forced to explore their options. Suddenly, I’d become very popular at cocktail parties and other gatherings. “Can you really live inexpensively outside the U.S.?” my friends asked. “What’s it like to live in a foreign country? Is it safe? Is there Internet? English-language …