Articles Related to Retire to ecuador

Both Medellin and Cuenca enjoy great weather, with virtually no bugs, year-round. I didn't use heat or air conditioning in Cuenca, and I don't use them here in Medellin. 

But the weather is not the same. Medellin is warmer, with daily highs averaging around 81 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius), with lows in the 60s, and one degree of seasonal variation. In Cuenca, monthly average highs vary from 65 to 71 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 22 Celsius), depending on the time of year, and nightly lows are also correspondingly lower. I never broke a sweat in Cuenca, and I wore a long-sleeved shirt with no jacket almost every day of the year. 

Rainfall is great in Medellin (66 inches versus 35 inches in Cuenca), but the average sunny day is just a bit higher in Medellin. 

The city with the "perfect weather" for you will be a matter of your own taste.

Establishing residency is fairly easy in both Colombia and Ecuador, with low thresholds for visa qualification in both countries. In Colombia, the pensioner's visa requires an income of a little less than US$1,000 per month, while in Ecuador the level is even lower, at US$800 monthly. For an investor-type visa, Colombia's options start at around US$34,000 for a one-year temporary visa, while Ecuador requires US$25,000 for full, permanent residency.

So Ecuador has lower thresholds for permanent residency, both for the investor and the retiree.

Colombia's visa, however, is quicker and easier to obtain, with fewer required documents. Also, Ecuador imposes restrictions on being out of the country during your first two years of residency, while Colombia has no such restrictions. 

The cultural scene in Medellin is remarkably similar to that in Cuenca. This is surprising because Cuenca has around 600,000 people in its metro area, while Medellin has about 4 million. In both cities, you can enjoy orchestra, theater, art openings, museums, and a generally sophisticated cultural scene. You'll pay a fee for most of these in Medellin, while in Cuenca they're usually free. 

The infrastructure is good in both cities. You'll enjoy drinkable water, reliable broadband Internet, and dependable electricity, water, and phone service. 

Also, both cities are very walkable, and both have excellent and cheap public transit systems. If you decide to drive, you'll find traffic jams equally maddening in both cities. 

Real estate costs are cheap in both cities by Latin American standards. Right now, though, thanks to the current exchange rate between the Colombian peso and the U.S. dollar, prices in Medellin are cheaper than ever. I prepared a survey recently that compared costs in 18 Latin American cities, including Medellin, Montevideo (Uruguay), Fortaleza (Brazil), Panama City, and Cuenca. For comparable properties and areas, prices in Medellin's El Poblado are the lowest on a per-square-meter basis. A year ago, this was not the case. A year ago, Cuenca would have been more affordable. Today, Medellin is the better buy... not only than Cuenca but also than nearly every other destination I looked at in my survey. The only more affordable choices are Granada, Nicaragua; Santa Cruz, Bolivia; and Arequipa, Peru. 

For the lifestyle you'll enjoy in Medellin, the real estate is a tremendous bargain. And the same is true in Cuenca; for the lifestyle it offers, it, too, is a tremendous bargain.

But the lifestyle in one is nothing like the lifestyle in the other, which brings us to the ways these cities differ. (As Medellin is such a large and diverse city, I'll focus on its El Poblado neighborhood for my comparisons.)

Medellin's El Poblado offers a modern, upscale ambiance. It has elegant shopping, spotless infrastructure, glistening new buildings, and more fine dining than you can imagine. New luxury brick high-rises look down from lush, wooded hillsides. Tall trees line the well-maintained streets. And El Poblado is only one of many desirable areas in this city.

On the other hand, Cuenca is one of the Americas' premier Spanish-colonial cities and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The old cathedral was built in 1557, the historic architecture is well preserved, and the streets are cobblestoned. You'll even see evidence of the Inca occupation from the early 1500s. Yet just outside the historic center, Cuenca also offers new, modern high-rises. So you could live in a modern home, yet have the historic center within walking distance. 

El Poblado is a First World environment; you'll be hard-pressed to find a U.S. city that can beat it. Cuenca is part of a developing country with some Third World characteristics like poor sidewalk and building maintenance. 

Access to the States is easier from Medellin than from Cuenca. Medellin has daily nonstops to Miami, while you'll need to connect (and possibly spend the night) in Guayaquil or Quito when traveling to and from Cuenca. This adds a day to the trip, as well as the cost of lodging and taxis. 

The expat community is far smaller in Medellin than in Cuenca. I can find expats in Medellin—at a local coffee shop or the Irish pub—if I look for them, and a couple of Americans are signed up at my gym. Otherwise, I don't see them around.

In Cuenca, the expat community is big, estimated between 4,000 and 5,000 people. These folks are making a cultural imprint on the city. I'd say that impact is positive. Since the infusion of North Americans to this city, there's been an explosion in the number of nice cafes, restaurants, and book shops, as well as other expat-owned services and businesses. Today in Cuenca, you can find most anything you might be looking for and, normally, an English-speaker to deal with in the process.

But whether an expat community of that size is a positive or a negative for you is a matter of choice. 

The cost of living is higher in El Poblado than in Cuenca but not much higher thanks, again, to the current exchange rate.

The basics in Medellin (food, entertainment, utilities, public transit, taxes, and HOA fees) cost me about US$1,500 per month right now. I believe in Cuenca the total cost would be about US$1,250 for the same lifestyle. Many people live for less than that in Cuenca, but I'm using an apples-to-apples comparison from my own experience.

Bottom line, neither city is expensive, but Cuenca is less expensive than Medellin. 

Which is the better retire-overseas choice?

Impossible to say. Manhattan is not inherently better or worse than New Orleans, after all... but it's a lot different. And the same goes for Medellin and Cuenca.

I see Ecuador as a cultural adventure where life is as different as you can get from the United States or Canada, short of moving to Asia. When I retired to Cuenca at age 49, I shunned places like Medellin, Chile, and Uruguay, because they were too much like the States. I wanted something as different, enriching, and exciting as I could get, and Cuenca fit the bill. 

Today, I think of Medellin as a way to reward myself. It's a treat to be here. Medellin is a way to enjoy perfect weather and an elegant lifestyle that I couldn't afford in the United States. When I bought my place in Medellin 10 years after I'd left the States, at the age of 59, it was exactly what I was looking for at that stage. I wanted an elegant, luxury lifestyle at an affordable price, and Medellin fit the bill. 

And that's the real reason that Medellin is now my "ideal retirement spot"... when it used to be Cuenca. 

You've heard a dozen times that the "perfect retirement location" is different for everyone. But there's more to it than that. Your "perfect spot" can also change with your taste, your age, and your experience living abroad. And that's really part of the fun.

This living overseas thing is an adventure and a journey of discovery that need never stop.

Lee Harrison

P.S. What else this week?
  • Global Investing Expert Lief Simon analyzes what Greece's new anti-austerity government means for the Greek property market:
“The only reasons to get into the Greek property market today are speculation or an interest in residency in this country. When prices do eventually bottom out, whenever that turns out to be, I can't imagine any compelling reason for them to appreciate again anytime in the near term...”
  • Lee Harrison gives 12 reasons to get into global property investing:
“Like me, many people today are combining a number of these agendas. That is, your vacation home, income property, and international investment can also be your future retirement home, earning a good income now while giving you an international presence and increasing in value until your retirement...”
  • Asian Correspondent Wendy Justice explores the attractions and culture in Japan:
“We saw a surprising number of traditionally dressed people in Japan. It was common to see people of both sexes wearing kimonos. In Kyoto, we saw geishas, beautifully adorned in full face makeup, ornate headdresses, and stunning costumes. At the Shinto temples, parents dressed their young children in kimonos and gave thanks to the gods for making them grow and be healthy...”
  • Lauren Brown and Jason Richter explain why Medellin, Colombia, is not only a top choice for retirees but also for expats, entrepreneurs, and investors of all ages:
“The expat and excursion groups and the many social media pages dedicated to social, cultural, and business needs and networking make itfun and easy to become involved and connected...”

Plus, From Lee Harrison This Week:

I've bought a number of overseas properties—both for personal use and as investments—and I find that evaluation of a potential purchase always comes back to a few simple basics. It's a safe and secure process when you follow the rules and use the same good sense that you'd use in your home country.

Specifically, for any property you're considering buying overseas, I recommend you ask yourself these four questions:

#1: Is the location good? As anyone in the real estate business will tell you, location is paramount. You can fix almost anything else with enough time and money, but you can't fix the location. Make sure it's either good or that you have a strong reason to believe it's on its way to becoming good.

In addition to the neighborhood, also consider the distance to the airport and to good medical facilities. 

#2: Would you need to own a car? This is an important question not only for you if you intend to use the property personally but also in the contexts of resale and rental. The ability to walk to stores, restaurants, and administrative services, meaning you don't have to invest in owning a car if you don't want to, makes life more convenient and also more affordable. In the case of a city property, it's not necessary that it be completely walkable; being near convenient public transit is the next-best alternative. Of course, walkability doesn't apply in remote properties that are intended to “get away from it all.”

#3: What's going on next-door? In Santa Marta, Colombia, I looked at a beautiful new high-rise apartment three blocks from the beach with an impressive view of the Caribbean. When I looked out the window, I happened to notice that the adjacent “never-to-be-developed” property was filled with construction equipment. As it turned out, this undisclosed neighboring building was going to block most of the view I'd have been paying for. 

Just south of João Pessoa, Brazil, we looked at a planned community of beautiful town homes a couple of blocks in from the beach. While driving to the property, I happened to notice a billboard announcing the construction of a massive low-income housing project on the adjacent property... again, undisclosed. 

You can't see into the future, and you can't know everything that will happen. But do keep your eyes open to what's going on in the area around you.

#4: In which direction is the Path of Progress moving? Take a big-picture look at any major infrastructure upgrades in the works. If you're a Path of Progress investor, you'll benefit from construction of that new highway or airport. If, on the other hand, you're looking for continued peace and solitude, you'll want to avoid them. Either way, you should consider them.

If you're buying into an existing building, you should also consider the following four questions:

#5: What is the condition of the property overall? Look at paint, general appearance, the pool, grounds, elevators, and facilities. A quality, well-managed building is never in rundown condition. I've heard plenty of excuses about how the homeowners association (HOA) was going to fix things up during the coming year... but a well-managed property doesn't become rundown in the first place.

#6: How strong is the HOA? We all know that HOAs are an annoyance. However, there's no doubt that they preserve the value of your investment. Make sure the rules for appearance and maintenance are being followed and that the HOA is well-funded by reviewing their financial statements (your real estate agent can get these for you). Compare the HOA fees to those for other facilities in the area to make sure they're not exorbitant but are sufficient. 

I looked at several properties in Montevideo, Uruguay, where the agent proudly told me that the HOA had been disbanded to save money and that future assessments would be made to take care of any building needs. I called these “dying buildings” because they were rapidly turning into poorly maintained, shabby properties. 

See if the HOA documents allow—or prohibit—short-term rentals. Many municipalities place restrictions on them. If you want to be able to rent your place out for maximum return, this is a problem. If, on the other hand, you intend to use the property as your residence, then no short-term rentals in the building is a good thing.

#7: How many units are for sale? If a mature building has a seemingly large number of units for sale, it could be a sign of trouble—a big tax increase, an HOA fee increase, or something unpleasant going on in the neighborhood, like a shopping center being built next-door. Ask around to find out why so many units are being offered for sale. The best source of reliable information on this can be the building's doormen. 

#8: What kinds of cars are in the parking garage? This may sound strange, but a building with well-off owners who care about the property will likely have a garage full of nice, well-kept cars. The more expensive they are, the better. If you see old junkers in the parking garage, take it as a warning.

If you're buying in a planned community, consider these four questions:

#9: How many unsold units remain? We were looking into property for sale last week in Mazatlán, Mexico, and found a large, brand-new apartment for sale—with an almost 180-degree ocean view—at a good price. But then we noticed that there was another just like it... and then found two more. After checking the building's completion date, I found it was completed almost four years ago.

Something's wrong here, something I can't see by investigating online. I'm traveling to see the area and property next month, and I'll figure it out. But if you see a large number of still-unsold units in a finished building, you should smell a rat. 

#10: How is infrastructure being funded? Many planned communities depend on property sales to fund the promised infrastructure and community amenities. This can mean that, if sales are insufficient, infrastructure and amenities never get finished, leaving owners holding the bag with unfulfilled sales promises on unimproved land.

I won't tell you to avoid sales-funded developments full stop. However, if the developer needs sales to fulfill his promises, that's an item that should be in your “risk” column.

The golden rule here is to “buy what you see.” This is an oversimplified way of verifying that, if the project were to stop today, leaving the remaining sales promises unfulfilled, you'd still own something that you believe to be of value. 

#11: What is the competition in the area? I once looked at a project in Uruguay that was 2.5 miles from the beach, practically requiring its residents to have a car—call it Project A. The houses were expensive by local standards, between US$250,000 and US$450,000. Project B, in the same town, was located right on the water, offering brand-new apartments for US$75,000, with plenty of unsold units. 

The town became popular with expats—partly due to Project A's promotional efforts—but almost everyone opted for cheaper and more convenient properties in Project B or elsewhere in town. Local competition wasn't the only reason Project A failed, but it was an important factor.

#12: Can the developer deliver what he's promising? I've written about this in detail in the past. Take a look here: 10 Questions To Ask Before Investing With A Developer Overseas.

Buying property in another country can be safe, rewarding, and profitable. Just be sure to follow the rules and apply the same common-sense behavior you would back home.

I'll be at the Global Property Summit starting March 18 in Panama City, co-hosting with Lief Simon. Along with a lot of actionable overseas opportunities, our group of experts will be covering all the tricks of the trade when it comes to buying properties abroad. You can get more information on the Global Property Summit here.

 

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Given all this, should you retire to Panama...or to France? To Argentina...or to Thailand? I have no idea. 

You've got to do the work of considering the 22 destinations on our World's Top Havens list in the context of your personal preferences and priorities yourself. You've got to connect your own dots. 

For example: 

If you're looking to retire on a limited budget, look closely at Ecuador, Nicaragua, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, the world's most affordable places to live comfortably. 

If you want a temperate climate year-round, put Cuenca, Ecuador, and Medellin, Colombia, at the top of your list. If you want four seasons, think about Argentina, Chile, Croatia, France, or Italy.

Get the shakes at the thought of life without reliable Internet? Take Nicaragua off your list and parts of Ecuador, too. If top-tier infrastructure is a deal-breaker for you, I'd recommend reconciling yourself to city living in Latin America and Asia in general. You can't count on regular, reliable Internet in the "interiors" of most countries in these regions. 

Don't like bugs? Don't retire to a tropical beach. 

Get sad without sunshine? Don't move to Ireland. 

Want to start a business? Come to Panama, the most business-friendly jurisdiction in the world today...or Malaysia if you want to be on that side of the planet. 

Travel a lot? Come to Panama in the Americas or France in Euro-land. From Tocumen you can get anywhere in North or South America with ease...and from Charles de Gaulle, you're no more than a couple of hops away from anywhere, period. 

Value regular nights of culture? Consider Buenos Aires, Paris, or (more budget-friendly) Medellin.

Want to be far away from the troubles of the world? Think about Cayo, Belize, where life continues safe, simple, and separate. 

"Retiring" with children? Education is your number-one priority. In this case, consider France, Panama, or Argentina. 

If you have an ongoing health concern, medical care facilities are your top priority. Put, again, France, at the top of your list if budget is not another of your key criteria...and consider Panama, Malaysia, and Colombia if it is. 

Panama is an international banking center...Nicaragua is not. 

Foreign ownership of property is restricted in Thailand, if that matters to you. 

Argentineans enjoy drama—in their politics, in their economic policies, in their cocktail party conversation. Will you find that entertaining or unnerving? 

France is one of the most legislated places on earth. The French, though, simply ignore the rules and the restrictions as suits them. Could you? 

Taxis in places like Panama City, Panama, and Granada, Nicaragua, often come minus things like door handles, air conditioning, and tail lights. Will that bother you? 

Latinos live life loud and in the street and don't value their own time let alone yours. The French are reserved and formal. Asians don't have the same ideas about personal space that North Americans do.

Which of those things make you uncomfortable?

OK, over to you. You'll have to continue this line of thinking for yourself, but you get the idea.

Meantime, as we begin the countdown to the New Year, we're gearing up to do everything we can to support your connect-the-dots efforts. We want 2015 to be the year your new life overseas dreams become reality.

Kathleen Peddicord

Continue Reading: How To Send Money Overseas

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My favorite part of Salinas is Chipipe, close to the naval base. It draws a quieter crowd and, because it's at the end of the beach areas, sees less traffic than elsewhere in Salinas. The beaches are wider and nicer than anywhere else in town, and just a couple of blocks in from the beach is a pleasant downtown area with fine old homes and lower property prices. 

Salinas is famous for sport fishing and holds a number of world records for sailfish, tuna, and black marlin. The year's best weather starts in November, with sunny skies and pleasant temperatures. February through April, this weather gives way to sunny mornings with showers in the afternoons, still quite pleasant. April through November, it's often cool, dry, and overcast. If you burn easily, you might like it; if you crave sunshine, you won't.

But Salinas benefits from the school schedule in Cuenca. The kids are out of school in Cuenca in June and July, and that's when a lot of families go on vacation. So there's a demand for vacation rentals during the time of year with the least-pleasant weather.

This is good news for North American investors, who can escape their winter to enjoy Salinas' best weather and also enjoy local rental demand during the off season.

Bottom line, what makes Salinas such an appealing property-purchase location is the low cost. Here are examples of properties currently on the market:

  • A two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo in an older, well-maintained building near the beach, with 100 square meters of living space. The unit has a kitchen with new cabinets, a living-dining area with built-in seating, a laundry room, and a bonus room that could serve as a maid's quarters, an office, or a third bedroom. The unit is a walk-up on the third floor. The asking price is just US$40,000.
  • Another condo is less than 2 years old and located in a complex with direct beach access in a residential area of Salinas, just a short drive from the malecón entertainment zone. (In this part of Latin America, the malecón is the beachfront road or often a boardwalk.) The complex has a gym, pools, social area, sauna, and 24-hour guard. The living area is 70 square meters and includes two bedrooms, two baths, laundry, Internet, and DirecTV. The complex has parking, a pool, and a social area. This property is on offer for US$90,000 furnished.
  • Located in a quiet beachside community about 10 miles north of Salinas, with tranquil beaches and within easy driving distance to entertainment and amenities, is a 117-square-meter condo with three bedrooms, three baths, a kitchen, a living-dining area, and a large terrace with a Jacuzzi. From its hilltop location, this condo offers panoramic ocean views. The complex has parking, a pool, and a social area. Furnishings are included in the list price of US$125,000.
  • A large, 300-square-meter condo with two master suites is located on the 10th floor of a well-located building on the malecón of Salinas and has amazing views. There are three large bedrooms, three baths, a huge living room and dining room, and an oversized terrace. The views from the terrace are incredible due to the high floor location. The owner says you can see north up the coast to Manta (87 miles away) on a clear day. The beach is right across the street, and stores, bars, restaurants, and pharmacies are also right outside. The asking price is US$150,000.
  • With ocean views from the center of the beach district is a four-bedroom, four-bath oceanfront condo with a large balcony. With 160 square meters of living area, this condo comes fully furnished and move-in ready for the asking price of just US$115,000.


I recommend Salinas as your best coastal choice in Ecuador if you're interested in a place where you could live part time and rent your place out when you're not there. You'd enjoy great weather during the North American winter and rental traffic during North America's summer. 

And, again, you can position yourself here right now for as little as US$40,000.

Lee Harrison

Editor's Note: Lee Harrison, our Overseas Property Alert editor, will be revealing all of his current top global property investing recommendations at our 2015 Global Property Summit.

Registration for this once-a-year event will open within the next 24 hours.Go here now (this is your last chance) to get your name on the pre-registration list to enjoy VIP attendee status and perks

Continue reading: Funding Your Retirement With Cash Flow From Rental Property Investments Overseas

 

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This is where you might expect a hard-luck story, but we don't have one. We walked away from Dubai willingly. Purposefully. The bank didn't foreclose on our home. We weren't downsized. We didn't lose our retirement nest egg to nefarious Wall Street bankers or bad investment decisions. We moved because we wanted more out of life than Starbucks-filled shopping malls.

Some told us we were crazy to "retire" to Ecuador at the age of 44, and, looking solely at the numbers, they had a point. They didn't get it and probably never will because our departure from Dubai was not about money. If money were our priority, we'd still be living in Dubai. In Dubai, everything looked great on paper, but, in reality, we were experiencing a steady decline in the quality of our lives with no end in sight.

During a trip to Ecuador, we saw an opportunity to reverse that trend. And reverse it we did, agreeing to buy our current home five minutes after seeing it on our first day ever in South America. Carpe diem! We hadn't even seen the nearby town of Vilcabamba yet. FYI, it's not a strategy I recommend for everyone.

With the deed to our nearly 2 acres of "dream come true" property firmly in hand, the decision to walk away from Dubai was easier to make. So, one year later, we put aside a life of much in Dubai for a life of so much more here near Vilcabamba, and we have never looked back.

While you may be considering Ecuador for its lower cost of living, we saw a chance to live in a place that is remarkably beautiful and where the weather is just the best. So are the locals. Even though the health care is not, it's more than adequate and affordable enough that pay-as-you-go really is a viable option. While Ecuador is not as safe as Dubai (few places are), with more than seven years of experience living in this country, we feel as secure as we would in most rural areas of the United States or Canada.

Some say there's nothing to do in Vilcabamba, but I'm busier now than when I was working. Since moving here, I've been designing houses, working on graphic designs, building furniture, doing some public speaking, traveling a bit, writing, and taking lots of photographs. Sue's been busy helping me as she continues to hone her baking skills while dabbling in things like welding and cement crafts.

And we both tend to our property. That alone can be a full-time job the way anything green grows here in Ecuador. It's a rewarding experience eating homegrown bananas. And using them to make banana bread. And banana muffins. And banana cream pie. And banana jam. And banana pancakes. And...well, you get the idea.

We used to "look forward" to getting up at 5 a.m. to beat Dubai's rush-hour traffic. Now we look forward to just getting up each day. Our rooster can't wait either. 

In theory, we traded more for less moving from Dubai to Vilcabamba in 2007, but we'd say today, seven years later, that we definitely came out ahead. We made a change in our life because we wanted a better life, the kind that is measured not by cost but quality.

Of course, we've enjoyed the budget benefits of being in Ecuador, too. The low cost of living is a great perk for a country that already has so much to offer.

So while economics may be a driving force in your considering a move to another country—for example, Ecuador—I urge you to explore other motivations too. You'll be glad you did. By doing so, you'll increase the chances of being happy in your new home. The low-cost-of-living benefit can be there, but move to a new country solely for that reason and you're limiting your upside.

John Curran

 

Continue Reading: Part-Time Retirement In Cuenca, Ecuador, And Medellin, Colombia

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"Rule #4: Acknowledge your bad Spanish.

"I've found that this gets you a lot of points. Unless your Spanish is legitimately fluent, begin any conversation with, 'Excuse me, my Spanish is not very good, but...' First, this makes the Spanish-speaker more attentive to what you're saying, but it does something else, too. It lets the person on the other end of the conversation know that you're not a cocky American who's going to barge in and belligerently demand what he wants. It signals instead that you're asking for help. That really puts someone in a different state of mind.

"Rule #5: Pedestrians do not have the right of way, ever.

"Lots of people get run over. One trick when crossing a street with a stop sign is to cross behind the lead car. Locals don't ever cross in front because that car is watching the traffic. When there is an opening to go, they will go whether there is someone in front of the car or not. The pedestrians are just expected to scatter. It takes some getting used to, but you can't expect crosswalks to be honored or for pedestrians ever to have the right of way.

"Rule #6: You've got to drive aggressively.

"If you're a yield-to-the-right-of-way person, you're going to be sitting at the first intersection you come up to until doomsday. Ecuadoreans are very aggressive behind the wheel. They don't let people in and they don't show courtesy, neither to pedestrians nor to other drivers. If you can't drive like them, you're better off not driving. I found it fun, so much more fun than driving in the States, when I got used to it.

"Rule #7: Forget your ideas about personal space.

"We tend to treasure a little space around us and don't touch or rub up against each other in public. Once in this country I was taking the bus and sitting next to a 12-year-old girl on her way home from school. As we were riding along, she fell asleep on my shoulder. When we got to her stop, she woke up and got off. That's a kind of closeness we're not prepared for.

"Rule #8: Don't get in a taxi without agreeing the fare in advance.

"I just read that Cuenca now has metered taxi. Guess what? Cuenca had metered taxis in 2002 when I was living in that city. They became law, but the taxistas refused to use them. They still do. They get away with it because customers don't complain. The taxista just puts a rag over the meter so you can't see it. So you want to get an idea of what the fare should be before getting in.

"About a year ago, I arrived at the Cuenca airport and asked a driver, 'How much to downtown?' He said, 'Six dollars.' I said, 'I don't think so. I live here!' He said, 'Two dollars.'

"Rule #9: Don't wait to be seated and other restaurant etiquette.

"In the United States we wait to be seated, but here you seat yourself. Also, in our culture, a waiter is designated to certain tables, and you only ask your waiter for more water, etc. That doesn't happen here. All the waiters are happy to help. If you need something, don't worry about who took your order, just grab the next guy you see.

"Also, you need to ask for the check. I can't tell you how many times I've seen folks angrily waiting for their checks while the restaurant has wanted to close 20 minutes ago. All the waiters stand shoulder-to-shoulder by the kitchen wishing the people would just ask for the check so they can go home. It's a standoff that happens all the time. It would be rude for a waiter to bring the check before you ask for it. By asking for it, they know you're done. You can say, 'La cuenta, por favor.'

"Restaurant bills here include a 10% tip. If you want to leave something extra, that is fine but not expected. If I know the restaurant owner doesn't distribute tips to the wait staff, I leave cash on the table.

"Rule #10: Bring patience with you.

"Know that nothing will be as efficient as where you're from. Be patient. You're gonna' love it here if you learn to appreciate the differences."

Kathleen Peddicord

P.S. Lee Harrison was master of ceremonies for last week's event in Ecuador. His presentation on Ecuador etiquette was recorded, along with every other presentation. These audio recordings are being edited now to create our all-new Live and Invest in Ecuador Home Conference Kit, which will be available for fulfillment two weeks from today.

Meantime, you can purchase your copy pre-release and save more than 50%. Do that here now.

Climate In Croatia Versus Climate In Portugal

"Dear Team Live and Invest Overseas, I thought this might interest you...

"According to my Weather Pro App (widely used by Irish farmers) we can see that our trip to Dubrovnik next week will be somewhat of a disappointment weather-wise compared with Portugal. I never expected that. Just goes to show your weather reports in your recent Retire Overseas Index report were spot on."

--Bea D., Ireland

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"I particularly appreciated your information today about the joys (?) of international rental property. What I admire is your honest, tell-it-like-it-is approach. A lot of people have been hurt by nothing but glowing reports about offshore living from various sources. Your honest, direct approach is a real service."

— Arlean K., United States

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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