11 Top Havens Of The Americas
Over three days in Scottsdale, Arizona, at our Retire Overseas Conference, which will kick off April 30, we’re going to introduce you to the world’s best options right now for spending your time and your money…the best places on earth to live, retire, invest, or start a business.
Starting in Latin America.
We give a lot of virtual press to Latin America because this part of the world is sunny, accessible (from North America and, depending on the destination, from Europe, too), welcoming, interesting, diverse, friendly, home to established and expanding communities of expatriates, bursting with business and investment opportunity, and, in some spots, sublimely affordable.
If this is the region that has your attention, be you a would-be retiree, entrepreneur, investor, or adventurer, where, exactly, should you focus your interest? It depends, of course, on your agenda.
In Scottsdale, therefore, with the help of the dozens of experts, expats, and advisors who will be sharing the stage with us over the three days of this one-of-a-kind event, we’ll introduce you not only to where…but also to why.
Specifically, in Latin America, we’ll show you:
#1 Haven Of The Americas: Panama
Panama remains the world’s top retirement haven and the best place in the world today to start and operate an international or Internet business. Panama City no longer qualifies as cheap, but other spots in this country, in some ways more appealing from a lifestyle and retirement point of view, certainly do.
Panama continues to offer the world’s gold standard program of special benefits for retirees. The currency is the U.S. dollar, meaning no exchange rate risk if your retirement or other income is dollar-denominated. The climate in Panama City and on the coasts is quintessential tropical (which is to say, hot and humid); however, the climate in the highlands can be temperate and tempting. Panama is literally the Hub of the Americas, meaning it’s super-accessible from both anywhere in North and South America and Europe, as well (with new direct flights being added all the time).
Some of the best buy-and-hold land plays in the world are to be found in this country’s interior and along its Pacific coastline. And Panama remains aggressively committed to attracting foreign investment, meaning tax and other incentives for entrepreneurs, especially in certain designated business zones.
If you’re interested in a new life or an investment opportunity in the Americas and haven’t yet considered Panama, I’d recommend you put it on your list. Lief and I will tell you more in Scottsdale, based on our dozen-plus years of experience doing business in this country and, now, living here full-time. Plus, we’ll be joined by other expats and experts with further firsthand experience enjoying life and making money in this country at such a turning point in its history.
#2 Haven Of The Americas: Belize
A tiny, under-developed, sparsely populated country offering two distinct lifestyle options. Ambergris Caye is the best of the Caribbean at a discount, while the Cayo is a frontier where the independent-minded pioneer can make his own way and do his own thing, peacefully and privately. Big plus in Belize is that the folks speak English. Climate is tropical, warmer on the coast, cooler in the mountainous interior. Well-established and welcoming community of expats at home in San Pedro, on Ambergris Caye, and an emerging community of like-minded expats in the Cayo around San Ignacio. Belize is my number-one pick for running away from the world and creating your own reality. Longtime expat friends, investors, and businessmen in Belize will join us in Scottsdale to show you how.
#3 Haven Of The Americas: Colombia
Here we’ll highlight Medellin specifically. This City of Springtime and Flowers is the unsung jewel of Colombia, pretty, sophisticated, cosmopolitan, safe, and affordable. Big plus in Medellin right now is the cost of real estate; it’s an absolute global bargain. You can buy resale in a good neighborhood for as little as US$1,000 per meter, and the rental market is strong and growing, making this one of the best places in the world today to invest in property for a yield.
Medellin is also one of the best places in the world today to hang out. If you fancy Paris or other Continental city choices but don’t want or can’t afford Europe, I strongly recommend you take a look at Medellin. Our preferred contacts from this city will be in Scottsdale with more details.
#4 Haven Of The Americas: Brazil
Not one of our top picks for retirement (though one friend who lived, briefly, in retirement, on the coast of Brazil will be in Scottsdale to speak about his experiences…all good) but one of the best places in the world today to invest in productive land. Expats doing just that will be in Scottsdale to tell you more.
#5 Haven Of The Americas: Uruguay
As friend and recent expat resident of this country Lee Harrison put it in a report he has filed this week for publication to our Global Property Investor’s Marketwatch members, “Uruguay seems unstoppable. Despite the world’s economic conditions, property investments in this country have continued to perform admirably for the foreign investor.
“In Montevideo, real estate prices rose more than 22% just last year…while in selected neighborhoods in Punta del Este, prices climbed as much as 50%. In Colonia, one plot of land I looked at along the waterfront has jumped an amazing 500% since 2005.
“Uruguay, as viewed by the North American, has changed since I arrived on the scene in 2004. Most notably, costs have risen thanks to the strength of the Uruguayan peso and the sinking value of the dollar. But even as the cost of living and of real estate rose, Uruguay became evermore popular, as both a lifestyle and an investment destination.
“Then the recession began. And, to be honest, as a resident and property owner I was concerned. According to an army of newsletter writers, the whole world would be dragged down, and stay down way past the end of my lifetime.
“But an odd thing happened. It seemed that the weaker the superpowers’ economies became, the more people found appeal in Uruguay; a stable commodity-based economy with a sound banking system. Money poured in to Uruguayan banks from around the world, and Uruguayan properties became hot investment targets.
“Then the increased political turmoil around the world brought even more people to this tiny country. Uruguay is neither an aggressor nor a target of aggression in the world arena, and it’s not a high-stakes player in world politics. So whoever takes power as a result of the Arab Spring won’t matter here…pieces falling off the EU will have little effect…and if Israel’s lobbyists are successful in getting the U.S. to really ‘get tough’ with Iran, the resultant risks won’t impact Uruguay.
“Accordingly, people are coming to Uruguay in record numbers, with residency applications up over 300% since 2007…many of them coming from the U.S…”
Lee will pick up the conversation here in Scottsdale in April.
#6 Haven Of The Americas: Ecuador
A great choice if your retirement budget is small. When Latin America Correspondent Lee Harrison retired early 10 years ago (at the age of 49) with the thought that he and his wife would set off to discover the Americas, Ecuador was their first destination. The couple moved from Manhattan to Cuenca. Big change. Lee will tell you all about it in Scottsdale.
#7 Haven Of The Americas: Nicaragua
Another great choice on a budget. Nicaragua‘s Pacific coastline is every bit as dramatically beautiful as that of neighboring Costa Rica. Geographically, the two countries are similar in many ways. That’s where the similarities end, though. In my long experience (more than two-and-a-half decades) spending time and doing business in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, I’ve found Nicaragua the friendlier, more welcoming choice. Infrastructure is under-developed in both countries, but the prices (for everything, including and especially real estate) are noticeably lower in Nicaragua, making the pot-holed roads easier to bear. Nicaragua also boasts two of the top Spanish-colonial cities in the Americas, Granada (a pretty and romantic city that everyone should see once) and Leon, both founded in the early 16th century by Cordoba.
#8 Haven Of The Americas: Roatan
In this case, in Scottsdale, we’ll be featuring Roatan specifically, rather than Honduras generally. We’re not big fans of mainland Honduras, which is under-developed and, in some places, unsafe. However, the Bay Island of Roatan is a world apart. We’re delighted that longtime friend and resident expat on Roatan Janine Goben will be joining us in Scottsdale to tempt attendees at our Retire Overseas event with tales of life in this English-speaking beach-lover’s outpost. Roatan and Ambergris Caye (where Janine has also lived) are our two top picks for affordable retirement in the Caribbean. Janine will tell you why.
#9 Haven Of The Americas: Argentina
A dynamic and psychotic nation that rides perpetually between crisis and boom. A rich country with abundant natural resources and many lifestyle choices, from the eclectic and cosmopolitan neighborhoods of Buenos Aires to the provincial capitals, from a finca in the countryside of this vast country to a boutique vineyard. Local friends and expats will represent the most appealing choices for starting a new life or investing in productive land in this country that is many things but never dull.
#10 Haven Of The Americas: Mexico
Currently receiving a lot of bad press thanks to the narcos, Mexico nevertheless continues to offer some of the best coastal lifestyle and retirement options in the Americas, including our #1 choice for an affordable life of luxury on the Pacific. More on the truth about Mexico when we meet in Scottsdale.
#11 Haven Of The Americas: Chile
Quiet, developed, and stable. Unlike its more schizophrenic neighbor, Argentina, Chile offers a cultured lifestyle that is relatively calm.