Our correspondents have taken you around the globe this week…
— Our own Rebecca Tyre, reporting from the Dominican Republic, writes: “I knew that the Dominican Republic has great beaches and that, as a result, it attracts big volumes of tourists every year. I knew many people who had traveled to Punta Cana or La Romana to spend a week at an all-inclusive resort, but I’d never met anyone who had chosen to become a DR expat.
“Based on that limited experience, I came to the misguided conclusion that the Dominican Republic is a great vacation spot…but not a place to consider for the longer term.
“I’ve just returned from the island, and, I have to tell you, my initial assumptions were all wrong.
“Yes, there were thousands of tourists and incredibly beautiful beaches, but the Dominican Republic has so much more to offer…”
— New Correspondent Wendy Justice shows you daily life in Vietnam, where she lived for three months: “Hanoi is a vibrant city of more than three million, the cultural and spiritual heart of Vietnam.
“Less influenced by the west than Ho Chi Minh City, her brazen sister to the south, this modern city has retained its traditional roots, with small, family-owned businesses instead of fast-food chains, mega-supermarkets, and international department stores.
“Hanoi has a character rarely seen in modern Asian cities. It boasts beautiful examples of French colonial architecture, trees on every street, and busy cafes and shops spilling onto the sidewalks.
— Wendy also introduces you to the attractions of northern Thailand: “Huai Hom is comprised almost entirely of wooden huts supported by stilts and emerges from the highland jungle approximately 20 miles from the bigger town of Mae Sariang. It differs from some of the nearby settlements, as almost every house here has electricity and many homes even have running water.
“The relative prosperity of this village is easy to understand. Every front yard contains a tarp filled with newly picked coffee beans, drying in the sunlight. Most homes have coffee mills, and the hills in the region, about 60 miles east of the Myanmar border, are dotted with small groves of coffee trees…”
— Correspondent Susan Vial reports from South Africa: “Tourism is the fastest-growing industry in South Africa for a reason. The quality of life in South Africa is fantastic. We have excellent infrastructure. We have beautiful homes and are able to afford staff to help take care of them. We have world-class amenities, such as shopping malls, theaters, sporting facilities (SA is host to the World Cup in 2010), restaurants…
“In addition, we have something you won’t find on any other continent: Africa’s unique wildlife. The many game parks, with their diversity of accommodation, from basic, rustic, up-close, and personal tented bush camps to super-refined five-star lodges, offer something available nowhere else in the world…”
— Latin America Correspondent Christian MacDonald files his in-depth report on expat retirement living in Cuenca, Ecuador, which will be featured in the next issue of the Overseas Retirement Letter (due out May 15). As Christian explains:
“When you consider all that Cuenca has to offer–and what it costs to live here–you’ll agree that there’s no better deal out there. All it took was one visit for me, and I was hooked. Plan a trip, have a look, and get ready for an exciting life in the Andes.”
Christian’s budget for monthly costs in Cuenca is detailed on our website. This shows that you could live comfortably on US$1,240 a month, including rent. (Note that a revised and updated monthly budget will be featured in Christian’s April 15 ORL report.)
What’s next? Parts II and III of Rebecca Tyre’s Dominican Republic report…Wendy Justice from Bali…Michael Paladin from Granada, Nicaragua…
And much, much more.