“My wife and I recently finished reading Kathleen’s book, ordered four Country Retirement Reports, and are receiving your daily newsletter, all of which have been great sources of information. We’re planning a trip later this year to visit one of the locations on our short-list.
“One area I have not seen commented on is of particular importance to my wife and I as we consider the idea of living in another culture. As Christians, our spiritual life and the environment we live in is of critical importance to us. I realize this would be a personal topic for many people and you may not prefer to write or comment about it in a public forum, but can you offer a perspective or point us to any resources that would help us understand the spiritual climate in Cuenca, Ecuador; Panama City, Panama; and La Barra, Uruguay?”
–Robin F., United States
True, we don’t tend to comment on religion or spirituality in our publications (the same goes for politics), but you ask a question that I’m sure is of interest to many fellow readers…
Latin America has a predominantly Christian culture. In fact, you could say that the Christian faith is upheld with more rigor all over Latin America than it is in North America. All the destinations you mention are predominantly Christian. Panama City also has a significant Jewish population, while Belize has a surprisingly large Mennonite community.
Latin American Correspondent Lee Harrison offers this additional insight:
“I find that Uruguay is a very secular culture and may not have the spiritual environment that you are looking for. If so, it would be more likely in Montevideo than on the coast.
“In Cuenca, Ecuador, there are lots of options. The fundamental Christian groups are growing quickly, while the Catholic membership is not at this time. In some cases, you’ll find expat Christian groups who worship in English…but mostly, services will be in Spanish.”
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