Snowbird in Mexico

Mexico is an enchanting country, offering retirement options ranging from locations along two expansive coastlines, colonial cities, mountain ranges, to deserts or rain forests. The choice of places to snowbird in Mexico, or even fully retire in Mexico, are effectively endless.

Quick Facts

Source

Population: 125,959,205 (July 2018 est.)

Capital City: Mexico City (Ciudad de México)

Climate: varies from tropical to desert

Language: Spanish only 92.7%, Spanish and indigenous languages 5.7%, indigenous only 0.8%, unspecified 0.8% (2005)

Total Area: 1,964,375 sq km or 758,449 sq mi (slightly less than 3 times the size of Texas)

Coastline: 9,330 km or 5,797 mi

Residency Requirement for Naturalization: 5 years

GDP per Capita (PPP): $19,900 (2017 est.)

Snowbird in Mexico

I’ve talked to people who have lived in Mexico, and asked what it was like. The general response: it was fantastic, if you have a sense of adventure. Based on my research, Mexico sounds like a top choice for the international snowbird lifestyle (along with Costa Rica, Panama, and Belize), even if it does result in a few compromises.

Continue reading to find out more about opportunities to live or retire in Mexico.

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Curaçao Travel Guide

Curacao Travel Guide

Are you thinking of how great life could be if you retire in Curaçao? Or maybe just looking to book a relaxing family vacation or romantic weekend getaway?

This guide to Curaçao offers a brief history of the island, and gives information and tips about when to go, how to get there, traveling on the island, banking, passport requirements, phone service, taxes, where to stay, where to eat, beaches, nightlife, shopping, and outdoor activities. Consider this your concise one-stop shop for all things related to those looking to travel, snowbird, or retire in Curaçao.

If you feel there is something I have missed, please let me know. If it will be valuable for other readers, I’ll add it to this page.

Curaçao History

Curaçao is the largest of the islands in what is known as the Dutch Caribbean. Located just off the coast of Venezuela, Curaçao’s 150,000 people live on a island that is is 38 miles long and 7 1/2 miles wide at is widest point. The capital city of Willemstad is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is known for its colorful waterfront town houses.

The first Europeans to discover Curaçao were the Spanish in 1499, on an expedition led by Alonso de Ojeda. The Dutch came to the island in 1634 via the Dutch West India Company, and are responsible for building the capital of Willemstad. Over the years, the city built fortresses to defend against attack from England and France. A few of those ramparts exist now as house restaurants and hotels.

In 1651, twelve Jewish families arrived from Amsterdam. By 1732, a synagogue was built. The current Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue is the oldest in continuous use in the Western Hemisphere.

Tourism is growing rapidly in Curaçao, with year-over-year cruise passenger growth among the highest in the Caribbean. This is partially due to a recent massive pier expansion project. The government and private sources have invested in the restoration of some of the island’s colonial buildings, and the hotel development in recent years has increased to support the tourist demand.

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Using Cell Phones Overseas

Woman on cell phone

Traveling internationally doesn’t mean that you need to be disconnected from your family and friends. When overseas, I’d recommend using FaceTime or Skype when you have an internet connection. You can call home for free using those VoIP tools, and the video call feature beats a normal phone call any day.

There are times, though, when you’re going to want to use a cell phone. With international calling rates, data charges, and roaming fees, your cell phone bill may arrive as an unexpected surprise upon your return home if you’re not careful.

If VoIP isn’t an option and you need a cell phone, you’re going to want to get an unlocked GSM Quad Band World Phone and a SIM (subscriber identity module) card.

What is an unlocked cell phone? Basically, when you get a phone in the U.S., it is usually tied to your carrier. So the phone you’re using on your Verizon plan probably isn’t going to work if you switch over to AT&T. An unlocked cell phone comes with a SIM card slot that makes it easy to switch from one carrier to another. Changing carriers and plans is as simple as swapping out the phone’s SIM card.

When you’re considering buying an unlocked cell phone, the first thing to look for is GSM compatibility. Most countries in the world use the GSM network, and the phones come with a slot for the SIM card. If you’re currently with AT&T or T-Mobile, your cell phone is already on the GSM network. Those with Sprint and Verizon are on a different network called CDMA. The CDMA phones may not work overseas, since many do not come with removable SIM cards.

There are four GSM frequency bands (850, 1900, 900, and 1800). Different countries support different bands, so you’ll want to make sure the phone you’re purchasing supports the correct frequency. If you’re a frequent traveler or go to many countries, you can’t go wrong with the quad band phones that support all of the frequencies.

Here is a chart that will help you understand which frequency bands work in what country:

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Retire in the Caribbean

I sometimes dream of retiring to an island and basking in the romanticism of the Caribbean. I currently live in south Florida, in a location that many of my friends up north think of when they are planning their vacations. In fact, this past February I knew five different families who spent a week vacationing in the warmth down here. I’m lucky enough to live within a few minutes drive of world-famous relaxation destinations, yet I still covet what I don’t have. I guess when you want to retire in the Caribbean, the grass is always greener…

My wife and I have talked many times about where we would like to visit, or eventually retire to. Although I’m not ready to say I want to retire to an island yet, I would like to spend some time exploring different Caribbean locales to get a feel for what island retirement might be like. I plan on using this space to document and share my research, in case it might help you when you’re planning your own visit. I’m going to cover touristy/vacation-type of information here, since that is stage of life I’m currently in. The learnings I gain here will be used to plan future vacations, where I’ll be able to share more first-hand knowledge about the snowbird life in the Caribbean.

So, where can I go? Continue reading “Retire in the Caribbean”