So far, the majority of what I’ve learned about the expat lifestyle in Latin America has come from a series of Podcasts by John Mueller of http://expatwisdom.com. The podcast series itself is titled The Expat Files and can be found for free on Itunes. I definitely recommend it if you’re interested in what’s really going on down there. John spends much more time talking about the unique challenges of living in Latin America than, say, daiquiris and palm trees.
In 20 years, John has managed to avoid establishing residency in Latin America. Instead, he takes advantage of the fact that your passport, all by itself, gets you 90 days. That being the case, he simply makes sure to cross a boarder three times a year, effectively resetting his passport.
I think this is a brilliant idea for several reasons, but primarily because we have no interest in finding ourselves tied down again anytime soon. We’ve had enough of that up here in the States. That being said, we won’t be looking for a gated expat community down there. If we were normal retirement age I suppose that might be the goal. But at 47 and 48, we’re much more interested in the real Latin America, imperfect as it may be.
Tela, Honduras looks like a candidate. So does Livingston, Guatemala. Both are small beach towns recommended by Mr. Mueller. Neither is going to have anything resembling first-world infrastructure, so we won’t accidentally find ourselves living in the States down there. And because we’d be in the relatively small group of countries comprising Central America, crossing a border from time to time should be reasonably convenient.
If we do this right, we may not even have to own a car.