Meeting With Panama President Varela On The Azuero Sunset Coast

Meeting With Panama President Varela On The Azuero Sunset Coast

Nov. 28, 2014, Azuero Sunset Coast, Panama

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Living overseas you never know who you might run into. Over the years, Kathleen has met the presidents of two countries—the president of Ireland when we were living there and President Bolanos of Nicaragua when we were managing a real estate development project in that country while he was in office.

This week, we both met recently elected President Varela here in Panama. While we live in the same building as the president in Panama City, it took an official presidential visit to the district of Mariato on the Azuero Sunset Coast where our Los Islotes development community is located for us to manage to meet the man.

The Panama government, under Varela, has taken an interest in the western coast of the Azuero Peninsula. Historically, all attention has been paid to Azuero's eastern coast. As far as we know, this week's state visit to Mariato was the first-ever to that part of this country. 

We've been working away in the background on our Los Islotes project for six years, minding our own business, following the rules, and doing our best. Now, it seems, we, and this region, are attracting attention.

Specifically, the Panamanian government is talking about implementing a road project that was commissioned and approved years ago. The previous president didn't pull the trigger for some reason. This new road, though, would be an enormous boom to the region and to Los Islotes in particular. At the moment, to get from the surf breaks at Los Islotes to the world-renowned, Billabong-endorsed surf breaks at Playa Venao, you have to drive back up to the Panamerican Highway, over to the other (eastern) side of the peninsula, and then back down. That drive takes about five hours. Connecting the two sides by road at the bottom of the peninsula would create a ring allowing tourists, surfers, and locals to make a continuous trip around the peninsula. It'd also mean that Los Islotes would be less than an hour from Venao, a nice advantage.

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Celebrating Thanksgiving In Chiang Mai, Thailand

Giving Thanks Overseas

Nov. 27, 2014
Chiang Mai, ThailandDear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Vicki and I plan to celebrate Thanksgiving in Chiang Mai, Thailand, this year.

In past years we've celebrated in Paris, Buenos Aires, London, Penang
(Malaysia), and Chapala-Ajijic (Mexico).

One year in Buenos Aires friends asked me to go on their daily TV show, sort of "Good Morning, Buenos Aires," and talk about Thanksgiving. I went to the old Lincoln Library in Buenos Aires (this was before the Internet) and looked up "Thanksgiving" in the encyclopedia. On the TV program I explained that we celebrate on the fourth Thursday in November and that the holiday started with early settlers rejoicing at their good harvest. Settlers invited locals to join them, ate turkey, and prayed.

I've heard that some modern historians doubt this Thanksgiving story, saying the story may have been made up later. But the story sounded good on TV, and I went with it, in my best Spanish.

I then went on to explain that we still eat turkey on Thanksgiving, and that the price of turkey comes down for the holidays.

"The price comes down?" the hostess asked, incredulous. "How can that be? Here in Argentina the price would go up. Price gouging."

Finally, I went on to explain Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, the world's biggest shopping day. Black Friday supposedly marks the first day of the year that retailers run in the black, making money, rather than in the red.

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Why Darrell And Amy Bushnel Retired To Granada, Nicaragua

Why This Couple Of "Normal People" Retired To Nicaragua (And Wish They'd Made The Move Sooner)

Nov. 26, 2014, Granada, Nicaragua: Darrell and Amy Bushnel retired from North Carolina to Granada, Nicaragua, to enjoy a reduced cost of living and a rich, full, and active life.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

We're just a couple of normal people. I used to be an operational manager for a large finance firm. My wife Amy was a rep in real estate. Like many people our age, we've traveled overseas quite a bit. However, unlike many people any age, in 2006, we moved from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Managua, Nicaragua.

Now, about nine years later, we are permanent residents of Nicaragua and are considering becoming citizens. We like the idea of having two passports, plus that'd mean we wouldn't have to renew our residency every five years.

Why Nicaragua? Like everybody, we checked in on all the usual suspects. We looked at Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Panama, but we kept coming back to Nicaragua. Over a five-year period, we stayed in Nicaragua several weeks at a time, and we liked it. I don't know what else to tell you. We just liked it here. Beautiful country, diverse, low cost of living, which is a big factor. Plus we felt there were opportunities here for us. We knew we weren't interested in a sunset-and-drinks-on-the-patio retirement. We knew we wanted to stay busy. 

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“Survivor: San Juan Del Sur” Is Fueling Renewed Interest In...

Nicaragua Versus Costa Rica

Nov. 25, 2014, Managua, Nicaragua: “Survivor: San Juan Del Sur” is bringing attention to opportunities for living, retiring, traveling, and investing in Nicaragua.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Daniel Ortega was re-elected president of Nicaragua in 2006. He's since been elected for a second consecutive term, in 2011, and sits as Nicaragua's president today.

Those facts worry some folks. Daniel Ortega was the leader of the Sandinistas, the group that ousted the dictator Samoza back in 1979, and the same guy who, then, once in power, confiscated land and redistributed it to the poor. Investors have had concerns about what 21st-century Ortega might get up to.

I don't see today's Ortega as a worry. It's a different world from 1979, and Ortega is a different guy who, in the intervening decades, has come to appreciate what capitalism brings to the party.

Nicaragua has suffered through a century of troubles, including, most recently, both the re-election of the Sandinista icon Ortega and the global downturn that started in 2008. In the wake of these back-to-back events, both investors and tourists became thin on the ground in this country.

Given the volume of traffic today in Granada, Nicaragua's crown jewel colonial city, I think it's safe to say that the tourists have returned full force. The pedestrian street lined with restaurants that extends from Granada's main square toward Lake Nicaragua is crowded with shoppers and diners every afternoon and evening. In fact, I don't think this little colonial city has seen as much activity as it is seeing right now at any other time during its almost 500-year history. 

It's not only tourists who are feeling comfortable enough to give Nicaragua another chance but investors, too. The property market is returning. Sales are being made at greater rates than at any time since 2008. After eight years in office this time, Ortega hasn't made a move against anybody's property. To make the point again, today's Ortega is not 1970s Ortega. Ortega today is the capitalist version of a Sandinista, with an understanding of the importance of personal property rights.

My in-country team and I made this point for all those in attendance at last week's Live and Invest in Nicaragua Conference in Managua, then we identified for the group the many reasons we're as bullish on Nicaragua as we are right now. 

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Expat Life In Managua, Nicaragua

Why Carol And Mike Chose To Reinvent
Their Lives In Nicaragua

Nov. 24, 2014, Managua, Nicaragua: Here’s why Carol and Mike Cobb have chosen to live, raise a family, and run a business in Managua, Nicaragua.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Carol Cobb and her husband Mike moved from West Virginia to Managua, Nicaragua, 12 years ago, with their young daughter. Their second daughter was born in Nicaragua a couple of years later, and Carol has spent the past dozen years building a life and raising her children in her family's adopted country.

Why did this couple of Americans choose Nicaragua as the place to reinvent their lives? Mike perceived business opportunity, and he and Carol both liked the opportunity Nicaragua seemed to present for a more back-to-basics lifestyle. Many of us yearn nostalgically for simpler times and the way of life we remember from our own childhoods. In Nicaragua, Carol and Mike have found this for their children...along with the investment opportunity that got Mike's attention a dozen years ago. They're enjoying a family-focused life while Mike is building a legacy business.

Sounds great, doesn't it? And it has been. It has not, however, always been easy...as Carol explained to the group assembled for last week's Live and Invest in Nicaragua event in Managua...

Read more...

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Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter.

Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.

Read more here.

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