Affordable Off-The-Grid Community On Mexico’s Riviera Maya Coast

Own On The Riviera Maya For Less Than US$37,000 (Interest-Free Financing Available)

June 6, 2014, Tulum, Mexico: Los Arboles is an affordable off-the-grid but full-amenity community on Mexico’s Riviera Maya coast.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Living off-grid attracts two different kinds of personalities—those who want to do their part to save the planet and reduce their carbon footprints...and those who want the security of not having to rely on "the system" for their utilities.

Taking yourself off the grid is particularly appealing in a country where the mains electricity isn't reliable.

One developer I've known for some years on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico has launched a second sustainable, off-the-grid community (this after completing a similar and successful first project). This new development is Los Arboles Cobá and is 20 minutes inland from Tulum in the heart of Mayan country.

Los Arboles Cobá is a sustainable, off-the-grid community that nonetheless offers amenities like high-speed Internet, phones, and satellite TV. The lots are large tracts of old-growth jungle with very low development density—less than 15% of the property.

The developer is offering a 25% discount for the first 15 cash buyers. At least seven of those lots have been taken as of this writing. Some people are buying with a plan to build a house while others see the opportunity to get in early at such a discount as a good investment play. With prices starting at less than US$37,000 (with the launch discount), the capital you need to buy into this opportunity is low.


Adventure Travel In Ecuador

This Is Why I Came To Ecuador

June 5, 2014, Quito, Ecuador: Ecuador is an adventure traveler’s wonderland, from the Andean highlands to the hidden Valley of Longevity in the south, from the Amazon rain forest to the secret beaches of the Galapagos Islands.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

We made a sharp turn off a small country road into the brush and started to climb. After a brief pause to shift into four-wheel-drive, we continued climbing through fields of lemons, bananas, and finally sugar cane. The road narrowed and then disappeared as we entered a clearing at the top of the mountain.

The Land Cruiser crawled over a deep bed of discarded sugar cane stalks, and we pulled to a stop in front of an old open-sided, tin-roofed building that housed an ancient cane press powered by an antique Briggs and Stratton engine.

Just behind this enclosure we could see the tell-tale wisp of wood smoke indicating the presence of a "still" just out of sight.

An old man was back at the still, tending a wood fire under a used 55-gallon oil drum as a clear, anise-scented Mallorca sugar cane liquor dripped from the other end. We all gathered on wooden stools around the still and sampled the hot cane liquor as it dripped from the copper tubing.


Import/Export In Ecuador

Go Big Or Keep It Low-Key—How To Start An Import/Export Business In Ecuador

June 4, 2014, Quito, Ecuador: Ecuador is one of the best places in the world to earn an income and build a business from import/export.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

"It was an incredible journey that took my breath away," reports Jan McKinley on her first foray into the world of import/export entrepreneurs in Ecuador.

"I hoofed it alone for four days in Quito, taking photos, shopping, and experiencing the city, as my passions are travel, writing, photography...and, of course, shopping. I then joined an import-export tour, where operator took us on an incredible five-day expedition to the indigenous artisan markets around the Cotacachi/Otavalo area, culminating in a visit to the Saturday market in Otavalo.

"We visited the artisans at their homes, where most of them do their crafts. We met people who were looming, spinning wool yarn, making Panama hats, crafting tagua jewelry, marzipan, forming bamboo flutes and musical instruments, woodworking...the list goes on and on.

"These people are amazing. Visiting their families at their 'factories' (their homes) and watching them work side-by-side, generation-to-generation, in their cinderblock houses—sometimes of only one or two rooms—was a journey I'll never forget.

"The smiles on their faces, the countryside, seeing their well as experiencing the Otavalo market, getting it all on film, finally seeing the tops of the volcanoes on our last day was amazing. I can't wait to return!


The Economic Collapse Has Meant A Return To The Real Ireland

Money And The Irish

June 3, 2014, Dublin, Ireland: The economic and real estate collapses in 2008 have helped make Ireland a much more affordable, pleasant, welcoming place to live.

"Money doesn't suit Irish people..."
--Irish comedian Tommy Tiernan

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

The American dream of Ireland is all about thatched-roofed cottages, low stone walls, green pastures with white sheep, and pubs with peat fires.

That was the Ireland that received us when we arrived on the scene as transplanted Americans years ago, pre-Celtic Tiger. We invested in an old stone country house to restore, bought a pony for our daughter to learn to ride, cultivated gardens, drank tea, and huddled around the Stanley stove in the kitchen for warmth on rainy evenings.

Then came the boom. From our front-row seats, we watched as it chipped away at the Ireland of our American fantasies. From 1997 to 2007, this little green isle was awash with cash. The Irish had more money than ever in their history and more money than they knew what to do with. They built housing estates and fast-food franchises, bought posh townhouses and fancy cars...

"I bought a two-bedroom house in Dublin for 8 million quid one day," funny Irishman Tommy Tiernan explains. "Why? Because it was going to cost me 20 million quid the next day."

As the cash flowed, the scene changed. The average Irishman no longer wanted to tend bar in a pub or run his family home as a B&B. The average Irishman had more ambitious plans and schemes. This was ok, as immigrants from Eastern Europe and Africa were arriving on the scene to replace the working Irish. By the time we left Waterford, not a pub or a restaurant in town was staffed by Irish. Poles and Romanians took your order at the Burger King and served your carvery at Reginald's Tower.


Juan Carlos Varela Elected New President Of Panama

What Do We Think Of The New Guy In Panama?

June 2, 2014
Panama City, Panama

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Last month, Panama elected a new president but not the guy everyone expected.

Until a few weeks before the May 4 vote, most of us in Panama assumed that current President Ricardo Martinelli's guy, Jose Domingo Arias, would take it. But, as the election neared, friends began to suggest that the outcome was no longer so predictable. People were concerned that Martinelli and his party (which Jose Domingo also represented) were amassing too much power. Consolidated power makes people in this part of the world nervous.

So, indeed, on May 4, it was not Jose Domingo but Juan Carlos Varela who walked away with the vote. In the month since, every Panamanian I've spoken with has told me that he (or she) is happy with the way things played out.

"I didn't vote for Varela," one friend told me, "but I'm fine with him. Really, I was just voting against Arias. Anyone other than Martinelli's guy was ok by me."

Our point of view is that of the foreign investor and businessperson, not that of the Panamanian, of course. From where we sit, we have no beef with Martinelli. His policies, perspective, and practices were pro-business and pro-foreign investment. He invested heavily in infrastructure, from the expansion of Panama City's Tocumen International Airport to the construction of a new airport nearer the Pacific beaches...from completely remaking the road systems in Panama City and building the first line of the capital's new metro to expanding and improving the road from Panama City to Colon...and on and on.

Martinelli also instituted the new "Specific Countries" visa, which has made it much easier for us to hire the staff we've needed to grow our business these past few years.

I've written often of the downsides of living day-to-day amidst infrastructure work on such a colossal scale. The noise, congestion, traffic jams, dust, dirt, and flying concrete have been inescapable and sometimes overwhelming these past five years of Martinelli's reign. We've had to remind ourselves often of the big-picture agenda the man was chasing. When he took office, Panama City's infrastructure was head and shoulders above that of any other city in Central America...but it was not up to supporting the mega-growth this town was positioned for and continues to enjoy. (Panama's economy has grown by an average of 8% per year for the past 6 years.)


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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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