Articles Related to Retire to medellin


You don't mind...or, if you do, you're not happy. If you're interested in a lifestyle supported by the diversions and distractions of a big city, Cayo is definitely not for you. If you're delighted by the thought of wide-open spaces where life revolves around the land and where independence and self-sufficiency are prized above all else, then Cayo could be the paradise you seek.

At home in Cayo, the view outside your bedroom window and from your front porch would be of fields and pastures, trees and jungle, rivers and livestock. You'd see Mennonites driving horse-drawn carts and children walking home from school. Everyone going about his or her business, not much bothered by market values, fiscal cliffs, or the mounting deficit. Here, in this land of escape, where life is simple, those things don't seem to matter or even to register.

Living in Cayo, you'd have Internet but maybe not reliable high-speed service. Don't move here if you plan to day trade.

Who Should Retire To Medellin, Colombia?

Medellin is a pretty, tidy city with a near-perfect climate. It's also culturally and recreationally rich and diverse in a sophisticated, developed-world kind of way. On any given day, you could visit a museum or see a tango show. There's opera in season, shopping year-round, and dance clubs, nightclubs, and white-glove restaurants...plus interactive outdoor museum-parks, an aquarium, an amusement park, botanical gardens, a planetarium, a "Barefoot Park" with a Zen garden, and dozens of small, neighborhood parks and treed plazas.

Medellin is an economic and financial center for Colombia, as well as a literary and an artistic one. It's the base for newspapers, radio networks, publishing houses, an annual poetry festival, an international jazz festival, an international tango festival, and an annual book fair. Back in 1971, Medellin was even the venue for Colombia's answer to Woodstock, the Festival de Ancon.

Medellin is a place where things work--the Internet, the metro, street-cleaning, garbage-collection...you can count on these services day-to-day. Taxis are metered, shop-keepers are well-mannered, and the people you pass on the street are well-dressed.

Making this a good choice for someone who wants city life but who also enjoys the out-of-doors (as this is a city best enjoyed al fresco). Medellin is suited to the retiree who isn't interested in hot, humid, or tropical and who appreciates Euro-chic but doesn't want to travel all the way to Europe.

The expat and retiree communities in Medellin are fledgling, meaning that you'd have to assimilate into the local one. This would mean speaking Spanish. If you don't already speak Spanish and don't want to learn, Medellin is probably not your ideal retirement haven.

Who Should Retire To Cuenca, Ecuador?

Cuenca is a colonial city where the cost of living is low and the cost of buying a home of your own is near rock-bottom. The health care is high quality, honest, and super-affordable. As in Medellin, the weather is "spring-like" year-round. Unlike Medellin (which is an emerging retirement haven rather than an established one like Cuenca), the city is home to one of the world's largest and fastest-growing communities of foreign retirees.

On the other hand, you have to remember that, charming as it can be, Cuenca is located in a poor, developing country. In this regard (and many others, too) Cuenca is the yang to Medellin's yin. In Cuenca, as throughout Ecuador, the standards of maintenance for roads, buildings, sidewalks, etc., won't be what you're probably used to and the hassle factor associated with any administrative task will be big.

Expats we know who are happy living in Cuenca are able to consider these annoyances fair exchange for the simple, 1950's lifestyle the city offers. Walking around town (Cuenca is a place where you could live comfortably without owning a car), you'll get to know the shop owners and your neighbors, who will all get to know you, too.

Cuenca will appeal to the expat who wants city life but who also has a sense of adventure and who is up for (rather than intimidated by) culture shock.

Who Should Retire To Puerto Vallarta, Mexico?

Romantic. That might be the best single word to describe Puerto Vallarta. The city also offers shopping and fine dining, boating and golfing, country clubs and community, gourmet shops and designer boutiques...all alongside a beautiful stretch of the Pacific Ocean.

Puerto Vallarta could be called glamorous, but the cost of living and of buying real estate here aren't jet-set. This is one of Mexico's most sophisticated resort spots, with more cachet than Mazatlán and more chic than Cancún. Walking around Vallarta, you get that happy, vacation-time feel that successful beach resorts exude.

And that's the would-be retiree overseas who should consider Puerto Vallarta--the beach-loving soul who likes the idea of retirement as a perpetual, fully appointed vacation.

Who Should Retire To El Cangrejo, Panama?

El Cangrejo is the expat hub of Panama City and a top choice for a comfortable, affordable, downtown-city-living experience. In El Cangrejo, you're smack-dab in the middle of everything Panama City has to offer.

This is one of the few neighborhoods in this city that is walkable and where you could get by without a car. It's also the only neighborhood in this city I'd describe as "cool." Over the years, El Cangrejo residents I've known have included a Chilean artist, a corporate transplant from Canada, many young Panamanians bucking the tradition of living with their parents through their 20s, retired hippies from the States, an entrepreneur from Serbia, and an Irish writer.

Panama City is the region's melting pot, and El Cangrejo is where the most interesting of the many transplants to this town choose to settle.

It's also Panama City's red-light district, the center of its prostitution (legal in this country) and casino trades. El Cangrejo's streets are lined with nightclubs and cafes, restaurants and pubs, plus low- and mid-rise apartment buildings. This isn't flashy Panama City (you find that in the high-rises along Avenida Balboa and in Punta Pacifico) and it isn't power Panama City (that's in Altos de Golf). El Cangrejo could be called the soul of this city, a good choice for the retiree with an open mind...

Who doesn't mind heat and humidity, congestion and traffic, noise and litter. These things, too, are all a part of the scene here.

Kathleen Peddicord

 

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Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader, 

Where is the best place in the world to retire?

That's a tricky question to answer, so I suggest coming at this from a different angle. Rather than trying to identify the world's top retirement haven, consider instead who's best suited to retire where.

A short list of top retirement options in the Americas right now would include:
  • Cayo, Belize
  • Medellin, Colombia
  • Cuenca, Ecuador
  • Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
  • El Cangrejo, Panama

Which one of these places is the best choice? It depends on who you are.

Who Should Retire To Cayo, Belize?

Belize is a retirement, a tax, and an offshore haven. This is a sunny country where the folks speak English and value their freedom and privacy. Belize is easy to get to from the States, and the people living here are welcoming and hospitable once you've arrived.

On the other hand, this is a small country where the infrastructure is most kindly described as "developing."

The cost of living can be affordable, even low, but not if you want to live a more developed-world lifestyle that would mean buying lots of things not produced locally. Anything imported comes at an inflated price.

My favorite part of Belize is its Cayo District. No infrastructure, limited services and amenities, and little market demand could be interpreted as negatives, but, in Cayo, these things are a big part of the appeal. Once you get to Cayo, you don't mind that there's no infrastructure. You don't mind that the culture is more concerned with country living than consumerism.

You don't mind...or, if you do, you're not happy. If you're interested in a lifestyle supported by the diversions and distractions of a big city, Cayo is definitely not for you. If you're delighted by the thought of wide-open spaces where life revolves around the land and where independence and self-sufficiency are prized above all else, then Cayo could be the paradise you seek.

At home in Cayo, the view outside your bedroom window and from your front porch would be of fields and pastures, trees and jungle, rivers and livestock. You'd see Mennonites driving horse-drawn carts and children walking home from school. Everyone going about his or her business, not much bothered by market values, fiscal cliffs, or the mounting deficit. Here, in this land of escape, where life is simple, those things don't seem to matter or even to register.

Living in Cayo, you'd have Internet but maybe not reliable high-speed service. Don't move here if you plan to day trade.

Who Should Retire To Medellin, Colombia?

Medellin is a pretty, tidy city with a near-perfect climate. It's also culturally and recreationally rich and diverse in a sophisticated, developed-world kind of way. On any given day, you could visit a museum or see a tango show. There's opera in season, shopping year-round, and dance clubs, nightclubs, and white-glove restaurants...plus interactive outdoor museum-parks, an aquarium, an amusement park, botanical gardens, a planetarium, a "Barefoot Park" with a Zen garden, and dozens of small, neighborhood parks and treed plazas.

Medellin is an economic and financial center for Colombia, as well as a literary and an artistic one. It's the base for newspapers, radio networks, publishing houses, an annual poetry festival, an international jazz festival, an international tango festival, and an annual book fair. Back in 1971, Medellin was even the venue for Colombia's answer to Woodstock, the Festival de Ancon.

Medellin is a place where things work--the Internet, the metro, street-cleaning, garbage-collection...you can count on these services day-to-day. Taxis are metered, shop-keepers are well-mannered, and the people you pass on the street are well-dressed.

Making this a good choice for someone who wants city life but who also enjoys the out-of-doors (as this is a city best enjoyed al fresco). Medellin is suited to the retiree who isn't interested in hot, humid, or tropical and who appreciates Euro-chic but doesn't want to travel all the way to Europe.

The expat and retiree communities in Medellin are fledgling, meaning that you'd have to assimilate into the local one. This would mean speaking Spanish. If you don't already speak Spanish and don't want to learn, Medellin is probably not your ideal retirement haven.

Who Should Retire To Cuenca, Ecuador?

Cuenca is a colonial city where the cost of living is low and the cost of buying a home of your own is near rock-bottom. The health care is high quality, honest, and super-affordable. As in Medellin, the weather is "spring-like" year-round. Unlike Medellin (which is an emerging retirement haven rather than an established one like Cuenca), the city is home to one of the world's largest and fastest-growing communities of foreign retirees.

On the other hand, you have to remember that, charming as it can be, Cuenca is located in a poor, developing country. In this regard (and many others, too) Cuenca is the yang to Medellin's yin. In Cuenca, as throughout Ecuador, the standards of maintenance for roads, buildings, sidewalks, etc., won't be what you're probably used to and the hassle factor associated with any administrative task will be big.

Expats we know who are happy living in Cuenca are able to consider these annoyances fair exchange for the simple, 1950's lifestyle the city offers. Walking around town (Cuenca is a place where you could live comfortably without owning a car), you'll get to know the shop owners and your neighbors, who will all get to know you, too.

Cuenca will appeal to the expat who wants city life but who also has a sense of adventure and who is up for (rather than intimidated by) culture shock.

Who Should Retire To Puerto Vallarta, Mexico?

Romantic. That might be the best single word to describe Puerto Vallarta. The city also offers shopping and fine dining, boating and golfing, country clubs and community, gourmet shops and designer boutiques...all alongside a beautiful stretch of the Pacific Ocean.

Puerto Vallarta could be called glamorous, but the cost of living and of buying real estate here aren't jet-set. This is one of Mexico's most sophisticated resort spots, with more cachet than Mazatlán and more chic than Cancún. Walking around Vallarta, you get that happy, vacation-time feel that successful beach resorts exude.

And that's the would-be retiree overseas who should consider Puerto Vallarta--the beach-loving soul who likes the idea of retirement as a perpetual, fully appointed vacation.

Who Should Retire To El Cangrejo, Panama?

El Cangrejo is the expat hub of Panama City and a top choice for a comfortable, affordable, downtown-city-living experience. In El Cangrejo, you're smack-dab in the middle of everything Panama City has to offer.

This is one of the few neighborhoods in this city that is walkable and where you could get by without a car. It's also the only neighborhood in this city I'd describe as "cool." Over the years, El Cangrejo residents I've known have included a Chilean artist, a corporate transplant from Canada, many young Panamanians bucking the tradition of living with their parents through their 20s, retired hippies from the States, an entrepreneur from Serbia, and an Irish writer.

Panama City is the region's melting pot, and El Cangrejo is where the most interesting of the many transplants to this town choose to settle.

It's also Panama City's red-light district, the center of its prostitution (legal in this country) and casino trades. El Cangrejo's streets are lined with nightclubs and cafes, restaurants and pubs, plus low- and mid-rise apartment buildings. This isn't flashy Panama City (you find that in the high-rises along Avenida Balboa and in Punta Pacifico) and it isn't power Panama City (that's in Altos de Golf). El Cangrejo could be called the soul of this city, a good choice for the retiree with an open mind...

Who doesn't mind heat and humidity, congestion and traffic, noise and litter. These things, too, are all a part of the scene here.

Kathleen Peddicord
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"My family and I come here sometimes for weekends," Nelson told us. "We stay in one of the small hotels in the center of town, and we ask for a room overlooking the street. Our daughters like to sit at the windows and look out, watching the people below come and go. My wife and I like to sit outside at the corner cafes. Friday and Saturday evenings, these little places come to life. Everyone sits around, drinking beer or tea, and telling stories. There are some great old characters in this town, and I love to listen to their stories of the old days..."

The town is El Retiro, Colombia, one of those places that has managed to remain a world apart. El Retiro is a colonial city that is home to about 6,000 people and four churches, including the oldest in the region. The setting, the square, and the ambiance remind me of Cafayete, Argentina...but you don't have to travel to the end of the earth and halfway back again to get to El Retiro. It's hidden away but a half-hour from Medellín's international airport.

El Retiro could also be compared with Granada or Leon, Nicaragua, minus the midday heat...or maybe Cuenca, Ecuador, though more accessible and, thanks to its size, more welcoming and charming.

"Why do the front windows of the houses on the street stretch out the way they do?" young Jackson asked as we walked around.

"That was to accommodate young courters," Nelson replied. "Young men would stand outside the window, on the street, while the young women they were making their intentions known for would sit on the benches on the other side, inside the houses. The young lady could lean out through the window but was protected from direct contact with the young man vying for her attentions from outside the grate."

We looked inside one of the windows and saw the painted wooden bench and ledge that Nelson had been describing.

"I wonder if the boys out on the street sang to the girls inside," 14-year-old Jackson continued. "That's what I'd do..."

"Do these old colonials ever become available for sale?" I asked.

"Yes, they do. I know of one or two for sale right now," Nelson explained. "The best way to find one is to mention your interest to someone in town...then sit in the square for a while drinking a coffee. Anyone with a house to sell will come to find you..."

"What do you think one of these houses would cost?" I wondered.

"Maybe US$60,000 or US$70,000," Nelson suggested.

An awful lot of charm for not a lot of money.

Kathleen Peddicord

P.S. Cozy, colonial El Retiro is one more appealing, welcoming lifestyle choice around Medellín, Colombia. We’ll tell you more about all of Medellín’s best options and opportunities, both for living and for investing, during our Live and Invest in Colombia Conference taking place May 19-21.

More details are here. Or you can reach our Conference Department by phone toll-free from the United States at 1-888-546-5169.

 

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This is one of my favorite neighborhoods in this city. Laureles offers tree-lined streets in a sector crisscrossed by also shady boulevards. Along these thoroughfares are cafes, restaurants, services, and shops, plus two attractive, wooded parks where you can relax and watch the rest of Medellín go by.

The layout of Laureles is unusual compared with the rest of this city and compared with the rest of Spanish America, too. Instead of the typical street grid of north-south and east-west surface roads, most of Laureles' streets are laid out as two sets of concentric circles and spokes, one centered on Segundo Parque Laureles and the other on the university. To complicate your orientation further, the main thoroughfare (Avenida Nutibara) runs diagonally through the zone.

One of the big selling points for Laureles is that both the cost of living and of real estate are noticeably lower here than in the heart of the city; however, this is not a downscale neighborhood. Residents of Laureles have the second-highest income level in Medellín after El Poblado.

I believe Laureles offers a few other advantages over El Poblado, as well.

First, it's relatively level. In El Poblado, you're on a mountainside, and east-west travel means a good workout. In Laureles, you can walk all around the zone without having to climb any hills.

Second, Laureles does not have El Poblado's commercial culture. While El Poblado's Golden Mile is a major center for business and finance, Laureles is mostly residential, with only small local businesses. While you'll find everything you need to live day-to-day, Laureles manages to retain a nice “neighborhood” feel.

Third, won't see many tourists in this zone. Virtually everyone who visits Medellín from around the world has El Poblado at the top of his must-see list. Few tourists have ever heard of Laureles. Most of the people you see in Laureles live in Laureles.

Like El Poblado—and all of Medellín—Laureles enjoys what many of us consider to be the world's best weather. Average high temperatures are in the high 70s, with lows in the low 60s, all year.

The fourth advantage I see to basing yourself in Laureles is that you won't need a car. The neighborhood is 100% walkable.

In addition, it's not only property prices that are lower in Laureles than in El Poblado, it's also taxes and utility rates (which vary by neighborhood).

On the market right now, to give you an example of how affordable the Laureles property market can be, is a two-story 104-square-meter apartment (that's about 1,120 square feet), including three bedrooms, three baths, and one garage space. The generous balcony has nice 10th-floor city and valley views. This apartment is modern and convenient to shopping and restaurants. The asking price is 295 million pesos, which is about US$144,000 at today's exchange rates. That's US$1,385 per square meter.

Another comfortable apartment currently on the market has city views from its balcony, living room, and bedrooms. This apartment is 92 square meters (990 square feet) with three bedrooms, two baths, and one garage space and is close to restaurants, shopping, churches, and the university. They're asking a negotiable 192,000,000 pesos (about US$94,000), which is just slightly more than US$1,000 per square meter.

One more example: A fifth-floor apartment has nice tree-top views and is walkable to everything. The nicely finished kitchen has tropical hardwood cabinets and granite counters. The living space is 137 square meters (1,500 square feet), including three bedrooms, three baths, and one garage spot. Priced at 235,000,000 pesos (US$115,000), this one comes in at just US$839 per square meter, which is definitely bargain-basement territory.

The only disadvantage I can think of for Laureles is that it wouldn't be the best choice for investing in a rental property. There's a market for rentals, but your occupancy rates likely would be higher near Parque Lleras and the Golden Mile in El Poblado.

Otherwise, Laureles is a premier option in Medellín, certainly if your budget is small. With its tree-lined streets, green parks, restaurants, cafes, and genuinely laid-back, neighborly feel, Laureles is hard to beat as a lifestyle choice.

Lee Harrison

P.S. I'll tell you more about your top lifestyle and investment options in Medellin and elsewhere in Colombia when I meet you at our Live and Invest in Colombia Conference taking place May 19-21. As of this writing, 2 VIP places remain available for this, the only Colombia event on our calendar for 2014.

More details are here. Or you can reach our Conference Department by phone toll-free from the United States at 1-888-546-5169.

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  • Founder’s Lodge Groundbreaking At Los Islotes, Azuero Peninsula, Panama
  • How To Choose Among Your Health Insurance Options When Retiring Overseas

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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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