Greece, along with 2 other EU/Schengen nations have already reopened for American tourists and airlines are in a hurry to resume direct flights to keep up with demand.
Delta is the first North American airline to resume direct flights from the U.S. to Athens since American tourists have just been allowed back in Greece after over a year of being locked out.
The direct flights, which depart daily, will resume from JFK to Athens starting May 28, 2021.
Another daily direct route will start July 2nd from Atlanta. Both routes will feature the Wi-Fi-equipped, 293-seat Airbus A330 that has economy, premium economy, and lie-flat business class seats.
Greece is positioning itself to be this summer’s hot spot destination, especially for vaccinated American tourists. Greece is currently one of the very few European countries open for American visitors, accepting proof of vaccination for entry instead of testing/quarantines, which is a very attractive vacation option.
While Greece doesn’t fully reopen to all countries worldwide until May 15th, Greece reopened early for American tourists on April 19th, along with travelers from the United Kingdom, Serbia, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates, as a ‘test run’ for their upcoming general tourism launch.
No tests or quarantines needed for vaccinated tourists
Visiting as a vaccinated tourist will almost be as easy as it was pre-pandemic. Testing or quarantine is not required for travelers who have been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days.
Don’t have the shot? Greece is still allowing non-vaccinated tourists to enter but requires them to bring proof of a negative PCR test, taken within 72 of arrival.
Direct Flights to Iceland
Delta will also resume and expand its flights to Reykjavík, Iceland for vaccinated travelers, with brand new service from Boston and returning service from JFK and Minneapolis/St. Paul starting in May.
United restarts its EWR to Iceland flights on June 5th.
Any American traveler that can show proof of being fully inoculated will be permitted entry into Iceland. They will also be exempt from having to provide proof of a negative PCR test to enter.
However, upon arrival, passengers will be tested at the airport (free of charge) and asked to isolate 4-24 hours for results.
Other EU/Schengen nations currently open for American tourists includes Croatia and Iceland. Soon Spain and France will also be joining the list.
President of the EU commission Ursula von der Leyen made a breaking public statement Sunday, April 25, giving positive affirmation that American tourists will once again be allowed to travel to and within the entire European Union, so long as they are fully vaccinated.
A start date has yet to be announced, but once it has, airlines in the U.S. will likely resume dozens of EU routes for the summer season.
Rollover part of your IRA into Gold or other precious metals
Review any 401(k) accounts you may still have with former employers
Retirement and lifestyle opportunities overseas been researched by International Living for 38 years, we all love most of the distinations over the years! The Retirement Index is the most comprehensive and in-depth survey of its kind. This list of best retirement havens in 2018 is not just for retirees, it is for digital nomads or whoever wants to live abroad on a budget.
How International Living choose these places?
Their team covers five contents to come up with the index, it reflects the experience of every expat who has contributed to International Living since the publication of our first issue, nearly 38 years ago. The team members moved overseas and immersed themselves in the destinations where they live and learned their lessons the hard way, International living experts are ideally placed to compare, contrast, and bring nuanced insight to the most appealing retirement destinations in the world.
What are the Best retirement Havens in 2018?
Peru—Low-Cost Living, Vibrant, and Diverse
By Steve LePoidevin, IL Peru Correspondent
A climate to suit every taste…1,500 miles of coastline stretching from Ecuador to Chile…centuries-old Spanish colonial cities…hundreds of archaeological sites to explore….and towering mountains to climb and deep canyons to hike. These are just some of the things that have drawn an increasing number of adventurous expats to call Peru home, including me.
My wife Nancy and I have lived here a year and a half now and love it. We decided to look for a place where we could become permanent residents relatively easily, not too hot and not too cold, inexpensive and absent of a huge expat population. Peru seemed to be a good fit, and it is.
Spectacular Macho Pichu, Cusco, and the Sacred Valley of the Incas have always been major attractions for tourists but more expats are now heading to this area for long-term stays and retirement. Nights are cool but midday highs can reach the 70s F for much of the year. You can find two-bedroom apartments to rent for as low as $250 per month and couples report monthly expenses of less than $1,000. From renting to eating out, you will be surprised at the high quality of life you can have in Peru with a modest income.
Head south to the city of Arequipa and you can bask in more than 300 days of sunshine per year. We spent our first year in the southern metropolis of Arequipa and discovered that it has a lot going for it. Less than a two-hour drive from the coast, it is easy to escape to the nearby popular beaches during the peak summer months of January and February. And the food is to die for. Arequipa is renowned for its range of high-quality restaurants, wonderful traditional cuisine, and centuries-old colonial center.
The capital city of Lima is home to the largest number of expats. They enjoy some of the best restaurants in the world, a large variety of art galleries and museums, a vibrant theatre scene, and the easily accessible international airport. And for anyone breaking into Peru’s business world, Lima is the place to see and be seen.
Surfers enjoy the year-round waves at seaside towns such as Huanchaco. Located only 15 minutes from Trujillo, the second-largest city in the country, it offers the best of both worlds. Huanchaco has maintained its small fishing town charm despite the annual increase in tourist numbers.
Although not in the top countries when it comes to public healthcare, Peru has a large network of excellent private clinics and hospitals. A variety of national private insurance companies offer healthcare plans for far less than in the U.S. Policies are available within individual healthcare networks for as little as $100 per month.
9. Spain—Romance, History, and Charming Villages
By Glynna Prentice, IL Editor
For decades, Spain has been a top vacation and retirement destination for Europeans. And today North Americans and others are following their lead… And why not?
Spain’s miles of beach and warm coastal climate mean there’s plenty of places where you can enjoy a seaside lifestyle, as well as temperate weather, pretty much year-round. The cost of living is one of Europe’s lowest—in many of Spain’s midsized coastal cities, a couple can live comfortably (including rent and private health insurance) for around $2,100 a month. And, of course, it’s true First-World living, with first-rate telecommunications, modern housing and amenities, and superb, widespread public transportation (so you can take the cost of car repairs and insurance right off your budget).
I love all the cultural amenities that cities offer, and for me, a big plus to Spain is that you can find a good level of cultural amenities—cineplexes, museums, and a music and theater scene—not only in the very large cities, like Madrid and Barcelona, but also in smaller cities. Alicante and San Sebastián.
Spain covers most of the Iberian Peninsula, from the Pyrenees Mountains right down to the Strait of Gibraltar, looking across at Africa. This gives it a climate that ranges from cool and moist in the northwest (rather like the U.S.’s Pacific Northwest), to hot and dry in the south, where you’ll enjoy sunshine up to 300 days a year.
But Spain offers more than just great beaches…it is rich in vibrant coastal cities and, between them, scores of charming villages. On Spain’s eastern, Mediterranean coast are popular metropolises like Barcelona and Valencia and the beach resort of Alicante. To the south is Málaga and the Costa del Sol. West of Gibraltar, on Spain’s southern Atlantic coast, are charming coastal villages that have been discovered by Europeans—but that are relatively unknown to North Americans. And if you prefer the cool, green northwest, there is bustling Bilbao, the chic resort (and foodie capital) of San Sebastián, and smaller, sleek Santander.
My own favorite city for full- or part-time living is Valencia. For me, it combines the best of all worlds. Spain’s third-largest city, it has all the goodies of a metropolis: convenient air and rail connections, major hospitals, universities, and plenty of parks.
From any coastal destination, you can easily explore Spain’s vast interior, with its romantic, historic cities: the ancient university city of Salamanca, in western Spain; Burgos, with its cathedral; Toledo, Almagro, and other Castilian cities on the central plain; and the Moorish wonders of Granada, Seville, and Córdoba, in southern Andalucía, just to name a few…
8. Nicaragua—Best Bang-for-Your Buck in Latin America
By Scott Hed, IL Nicaragua Contributor
If you’re looking for a tropical locale where your dollar will go far, Nicaragua deserves your attention. It’s a country on the up, developing fast, yet still among the most affordable on the IL beat. It’s easy to reach and being in the Central/Mountain time zones, makes it easy to stay in touch with family and friends in North America.
My wife Nicki and I moved to Nicaragua full-time in 2016, after visiting the country a number of times since 2011. We were seeking a respite from northern winters, with a low cost of living and a bit of adventure. We built a beautiful home just outside of Granada for a fraction of what the cost would have been back in the U.S. Similarly, our daily living costs are lower and we’re able to afford luxuries like house and yard help as well as weekly massages.
Our neighbors Darrell and Amy Bushnell had similar reasons for making the move to the Land of Lakes and Volcanoes more than a decade ago. In their words, “Nicaragua is different enough to be interesting, but not so different as to be bizarre.”
Nicaragua offers much to do in the way of outdoor activities. You can peer into an active volcano, it has some of the best surfing in the world on its Pacific coast, and I enjoy the game fishing on the Caribbean coast. In the north you’ll find deserted beaches and just a few hours away temperate coffee highlands with hiking trails.
The larger cities also offer many shopping, entertainment, and dining opportunities that will keep urbanites happy while Nicaragua’s transportation and telecommunications infrastructure continue to improve annually. The highways between major cities are very good as is cell phone and internet coverage.
There is a large enough expat presence in the country—especially in the more popular destinations of Granada and San Juan del Sur, where many Nicaraguans also are bilingual to varying degrees—which means that in those places, at least, you could get by speaking mostly English, but learning a bit of Spanish will make things easier and more fulfilling.
To get a sense of expat life in Nicaragua and query those who are already living here, there are a number of Facebook groups you can join. Expats of Nicaragua, Expats of Granada, Expats of Leon, etc. Once in country, there are expat groups and clubs in most places where you can socialize, take up a new hobby, or give back to the community in many ways.
Daily living expenses in Nicaragua can be very modest, especially if you frequent the local markets for fresh meats and produce. A couple renting in Nicaragua and enjoying meals out several times per week could easily live well on $1,500 per month, and often for much less. Owning our home takes away a major expense, and we consistently spend under $1,000 per month, which includes automotive expenses, groceries, pet food, dining out and entertainment, part-time help around the house, even regular massages.
7. Portugal—Europe’s Best Retirement Haven
By Tricia Pimental, IL Portugal Correspondent
On a tree-lined square in the beach town of Ericeira, I sit at an outdoor café and inhale the aroma wafting from my hot coffee. On the table, butter melts on a torrada, a short stack of toast, fresh from the bakery’s oven. A cool autumn breeze hints of winter, yet the Iberian sun is warm enough for me to shed my sweater. This is the life for me.
I’ve lived in Portugal for five years, and as IL Portugal Correspondent, I have shared a lot about what makes this country great. Others agree. “It’s the people,” says expat Molly Ashby, who bought an apartment in Lisbon five years ago. “They’re mellow and very receptive to foreigners.”
Another reason is the affordable lifestyle. My husband Keith and I find we spend about a third of what we did to live in the States. For example, a simple lunch of soup, main course, beverage, dessert, and coffee runs about $10. A taxi start is about $4. Monthly utilities for a two- or three-bedroom apartment average $100 a month. We pay just $1,000 a month for a four-bedroom, four-bathroom home, half an hour from Lisbon.
Rated the third-safest country in the world in the 2017 Global Peace Index, Portugal is not only secure, but beautiful. “The blue-green water is absolutely fantastic with the sun shining on the sea; it’s as if diamonds are dancing on it,” says Annette Ford Rio, who lives in Cascais, near Lisbon. “The sunrise and sunsets are fabulous.”
I’ve had personal experiences with the healthcare system, both private as well as public, which offers professional treatment at little or no cost. Does that mean you won’t occasionally encounter some bureaucratic red tape? Of course not. But I certainly did in the States, too.
If Portugal’s attributes have convinced you to give it a try, here’s a tip: Begin your test drive in the capital. Lisbon is easy to reach, with direct flights from major cities around the world. English is widely spoken and comprehensive train, bus, tram, and taxi offerings make it unnecessary to own a vehicle. The city is a cultural cornucopia, with museums and historical sites like St. George Castle and the nearby Palace of Queluz. Expat organizations like Americans Living in Portugal, International Women in Portugal, and the Royal British Club are ready to help you find your way.
6. Colombia—Sophisticated and Affordable
By Nancy Kiernan, IL Colombia Correspondent
Perfect spring-like weather all year was the first thing that drew me to retire to Medellín, Colombia. I had lived my whole life in the northeast., and I never wanted to see or shovel snow again. While not exactly pioneers, my husband and I are two of the growing number of expats who have discovered that they can live a First-World quality of life in a country that’s only now showing up on fellow retirees’ radar.
Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world, so you can easily find a climate and environment that suits your taste. If you want hot and tropical, consider retiring to the lovely Caribbean coastal cities of Santa Marta or Cartagena, where crystal-clear water laps against warm, sandy beaches. For those who prefer more temperate climates, then I suggest my adopted mountain city of Medellín, or anywhere in the “coffee triangle” of Pereira, Armenia, and Manizales, where you are surrounded by lush, green mountain scenery.
Colombia ranks high as a place for healthy living. The great weather allows retirees to enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle every day of the year. Walking, hiking, horseback riding, swimming, tennis, and even golf will keep your body strong and your spirit young. Pat Turney, a retired nurse from Idaho, refers to Medellín as “a city with a built-in weight management program,” thanks to all the walking she does.
And then, of course, there are the fresh fruits and vegetables that are locally grown and available year round. I’ve lived in Colombia for over five years, and I still haven´t sampled all the exotic varieties of fruit. Diego, a semi-retired and self-confessed foodie from the U.S. Midwest, is also impressed with the fresh and healthy food. “I love having fresh tomatoes all year round,” he says. In the U.S., he was used to waiting until late summer for the bounty, and then eating what he could and canning the rest. “Now I can get fresh vegetables any time of year.”
As we all reach retirement age, access to high quality but affordable healthcare becomes a front-and-center issue. I was a hospital executive in the U.S., so I know healthcare and understand why Colombia ranks so highly in that category. The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks Colombia #22 out of the 191 countries it reviews for quality of care. That surpasses Canada (#30) and the U.S. (#37). Colombia is home to 22 of the top 43 Latin American hospitals.
Retirees are discovering they can stretch their retirement dollars, thanks to the low cost of living and the great exchange rate. The Colombian peso has been hovering around 3,000 to the U.S. dollar since late 2015. Monthly rental costs range from about $300 in small towns to $1,500 and more for a penthouse or a sprawling country home. But in many areas of Colombia, a couple’s total cost of living can be $2,000 a month or less. I live in Medellín’s upscale neighborhood of El Poblado for 60% less than it cost me back in Maine. My combined utilities (water, waste, gas, electric, trash removal, cable, internet, home phone) average $94 a month.
Some of the best things about retiring in Colombia don’t show up on a survey, though. For example, the warm, welcoming Colombian people. As the expression goes, “You don’t meet a Colombian…you meet the entire family!” Here you’ll always feel part of the community.
Don’t let a lack of Spanish keep you from trying out Colombia. I saw it as an opportunity to learn something new. As word spreads about all that Colombia has to offer, expats are drawn to the metropolitan city of Medellín, especially the neighborhoods of El Poblado, Laureles, and Envigado, as well as to the coastal communities of Santa Marta and Cartagena. A cute two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in the Castrapol section of El Poblado currently rents for $750 a month, furnished. If you want to put your toes in the sand, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment, only two blocks back from the beach in the Rodedero section of Santa Marta, goes for $500 a month.
5. Malaysia—Easy, English-Speaking, and First World
By Keith Hockton, IL Malaysia Correspondent
Cities with a buzz, idyllic beaches, islands that seduce the senses and some of the most pristine ancient rainforests in South East Asia—this is Malaysia. And these are just some reasons why I call it home.
As an ex-colony of Britain, English is widely spoken. Expat clubs have existed since the 1700s, yet still welcome new members. Bang-for-buck Malaysia is hard to beat, for instance it’s joint second in the “Renting” category for a reason. In Kuala Lumpur, a couple can live comfortably on $1,500 a month, or extravagantly on $2,500 a month, including rent. For $700 a month you can rent a 2,195 square-foot, four-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in Penang on a natural harbor overlooking the Straits of Malacca
“Between the lower rental costs, lower utilities, and eating out a few days a week, we are looking at a 50% lower cost of living than our home in Canada,” says expat Ellen Ma of the life she and her husband Jim enjoy in Malaysia. Hobbies and pastimes won’t break the bank either: “A round of golf back home was $72, whereas here it’s $30. A tennis pro could cost up to $100 an hour [back home], whereas here it’s $15,” she adds.
In Penang, there are street stalls selling Chinese, Malay, and Indian fare that have my mouth watering just thinking about them. My favorite stall specializes in Nasi Lamak. Considered the national dish of Malaysia, the recipe combines dried anchovies, roasted peanuts, and chicken that has been cooked in sambal (a sauce made from chili peppers, shrimp paste, fish sauce, ginger, garlic, and lime juice). This is then added to fragrant rice that has been cooked in coconut milk. Heavenly. A serving rarely costs more than $1.50.
If white-sand beaches are your dream, you have here more than 878 islands to choose from. I’ve been to scores of them and my favorite two are Layang-Layang and Langkawi Island. Layang-Layang because of its pristine waters and deep drop-offs (great for Scuba divers), and Lankawi for its natural beauty and luxury. Located on the border with Thailand, there are a few established resorts to choose from, not to mention the countless deserted white-sand beaches where you will never see another soul. (Datai Bay is my favorite.)
Canadians Jacques and Sharon Giraud moved to Penang, sight unseen, just 13 months ago. “Although we hadn’t been to Malaysia, everything that we read made sense,” says Sharon. Jacques continues, “We didn’t consider anywhere else because Malaysia ticked all of our boxes. Why continue searching when the place that we wanted was staring us in the face?”
As for healthcare, when you compare surgery prices between the U.S. and Malaysia, the benefits are obvious. A knee replacement in Malaysia costs just $4,000 compared to $45,000 or more in the States, while a hip replacement can cost as little as $5,200, versus $39,000 in the U.S. When I tore my anterior cruciate ligament recently, the cost of my excellent care, including consultation with a top surgeon, MRI, surgery, and a private room, came to $2,000. In the U.S., the same would have set me back at least $18,000.
4. Ecuador—Diverse, Unhurried, and Metropolitan
By Wendy DeChambeau, IL Ecuador Highlands Correspondent
History-filled colonial cities…peaceful mountain villages…lazy coastal towns…cloud forest, nature-filled hot spots… For those looking for a sense of variety in their ultimate destination, Ecuador has it all. Choose a metropolitan lifestyle of luxury, the carefree existence of a sun-worshipping beach dweller, or just about anything in between. And because the country is small (about the area of Nevada), it’s easy to explore all that Ecuador offers.
Thanks to its many lifestyle options, Ecuador has become a retirement hot spot among North Americans. Most of us live along the Andean corridor or in a few beautiful locales along the Pacific coast.
With impressive mountain peaks, welcoming locals, and spectacular weather, Cotacachi, in the Andes, is where I chose to make my home six years ago. High altitude keeps temperatures nice and moderate, ranging between the low 50s F and high 70s F all year round. My days of shoveling snow are long gone.
While I appreciate the natural beauty and the mix of indigenous, Incan, and Spanish culture, one of my favorite benefits is the affordable lifestyle. My family of four lives on approximately $1,200 a month (without rent, as we own our home outright). At Cotacachi’s local produce market, I can load a canvas grocery bag full of fresh fruit and vegetables for $5 to $10. The mild climate means I don’t need to pay for heating or cooling, so my electric bill stays under $18 a month. And there’s no need for me to own a vehicle, since public transportation is everywhere and cheap. A one-hour bus ride costs just $1.50.
Doug Klaver and his wife Melody came to Ecuador from British Columbia. He says, “Living here allowed us to retire early, with a lifestyle we couldn’t have afforded in Canada. We now have 25 acres of land, chickens, six dogs, a couple of horses, and we’re growing cacao. What’s not to love?”
Many expats choose to start their Ecuadorian experience in Cuenca. This colonial city of 580,000 is easy to navigate, offers plenty of amenities and entertainment options, and is already home to several thousand North Americans. You’ll find the best of both Latin culture and back-home comforts here. Rentals are plentiful and affordable. Sara Coppler, from Kentucky, is renting a one-bedroom apartment right in the city center. “It’s by the Rotary Market, costs $200 a month, and is semi-furnished. The owner bought new appliances for me, and it has beautiful hardwood floors,” she says.
Ecuador has changed many lives for the better. Georgia natives Julian and Cassandra McClellan say, “We love Ecuador because we feel truly at peace. We’ve been given the gift of time and an unhurried pace where we can turn to our passions. That’s the most priceless gift ever.”
3. Panama—Friendly, Welcoming, and Great Benefits
By Jessica Ramesch, IL Panama Editor
Modern, convenient, and close to the U.S.—not to mention sunny, warm, and welcoming. It’s hardly surprising to me that Panama always does well in IL’s Annual Index. I’ve been living in and writing about Panama for nearly 12 years, and what impresses me most is how this country continues to grow, making it more attractive with each passing year.
Panama City is a destination for exciting food, beer, jazz, film, golf, tennis, and much more. The lush mountain towns of Panama rank among the best retirement destinations in the world. Our livable, clean, and uncrowded beaches include the popular beach hub of Coronado, the lesser-known gem that is the Pedasí region, and a Caribbean paradise—there is no other word for it—called Bocas del Toro.
The local people are fun, friendly, and welcoming…and so is the government. That’s why Panama wins out when it comes to benefits for retirees and ease of obtaining residence. Here I pay no income tax on my overseas earnings. The healthcare is top notch, too. The city’s four major private facilities include a technologically advanced Johns Hopkins International affiliate. My dental care is inexpensive, and yet I get the same quality of care I expected back in the States. (And I find it way more personalized…my doctors actually sit and talk to me.)
Panama City is a world-class capital (one that’s on the water) and comparable to cities in California. Yet you would be hard pressed to live comfortably in a major cosmopolitan city up north for $2,500 a month.
Leave Panama City and costs are even lower, with expats living well on a monthly $1,500 or less. And we’re talking convenient, idyllic settings—not depressed or remote areas. Power costs can be as low as $40 a month when you don’t need air conditioning or heating. Water and trash collection cost $10 to $25 a month. I know expats who spend as little as $15 on cell phone, $20 on internet, and $150 on outings. Healthcare costs are perhaps the biggest savings, with expats here spending 40% to 75% less than they did back home.
Expats in Panama report they are overwhelmingly happier and healthier since making the move. Just ask Mike and Deb Lunsford, who moved from Colorado to the lush mountain town of El Valle. They both say they’re healthier than before, with minimal effort. They don’t diet—they go out for pizza and drinks with expats and locals alike.
But fast food and processed meals aren’t the norm here. Produce tastes better to them, as it’s not full of preservatives. Deb enjoys gardening in the fertile, volcanic soil. Mike makes delicious nanobrews—his latest golden ale is perfect for sipping as you walk around their tree-filled property.
“It’s an amazing place,” admits Mike. “These days I don’t wear a watch and I barely look at my cell phone. You learn to go with the flow…and a slow flow means a lot less stress.”
2. Mexico—Convenient, Exotic, First-World Living
By Glynna Prentice, IL Mexico Editor
In Mexico’s Colonial Highlands, where I now live, I enjoy sunny, temperate weather basically all year round. A concert ticket costs me $4, a first-run film about the same, and a doctor’s visit about $40. Last week an evening out—drinks and dinner with friends, a symphony performance, and a taxi home—was less than $20, all in.
When I first moved to Mexico over 10 years ago, I did it for Mexico’s convenient location and low cost of living. (A couple can live here for anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 a month, depending on location—and that includes rent and healthcare.)
I didn’t even realize the host of other benefits that I’d enjoy. The near-First World lifestyle, for one thing. I don’t mind roughing it on occasion—say, when exploring Mexico’s Maya ruins, deserted beaches, or viewing wildlife in the jungle interior—but I like comfort for day-to-day life. In Mexico, I have that. Fast internet. Free long-distance phone calls worldwide. Plenty of gourmet foods in specialty markets. Cheap air fares on discount airlines to destinations all over the Americas. First-run films (in English). And much more. These are the goodies a huge, developing economy like Mexico’s can offer.
I have my pick of climates, from tropical beaches (thousands of miles of them) to temperate mountains. I can live in romantic, Spanish-colonial cities…or choose beach lifestyles that range from chic, sophisticated Puerto Vallarta to small, laidback villages on the Yucatán Gulf coast.
Healthcare is good to excellent, too. You can opt for private healthcare that tends to cost a quarter to a half of U.S. prices (and your doctor may speak excellent English, too). Or, if you have a residence visa, you can sign up for Mexico’s public healthcare, which costs a few hundred dollars a year. If you’re over 60 and are a legal resident, the public system is free.
But at heart, what I and most other expats love most about Mexico is the vibrant life and culture. Round a corner and you may find a perfect, tranquil plaza where bougainvillea blooms, a lone musician playing a tune, or a local parade of costumed dancers or riders on horseback. “Mexico is my bliss,” says expat Mona Primlani, who lives in the Colonial Highlands. “There are so many things that make me happy here…the comida [food], culture, and colors….”
Expat Steve Garcia considers himself “privileged to be able to experience culture in a way I never knew before—the music, the arts, the history…”
Throw in the many colorful traditions, such as the Day of the Dead celebrations, and you have a place that delights and stimulates your senses.
If you’re looking for your own slice of Mexico to call your own, there are plenty of expat havens where you can live a rich, varied, fulfilling life for pennies on the dollar. In fact, thanks to the current favorable dollar-to-peso exchange rate, Mexico is arguably less expensive today than it was when I moved here, over a decade ago.
For instance, I recently saw a small, furnished one-bedroom, one-bathroom house in Mérida, capital of the Yucatán Peninsula, renting for $650 a month
I love Costa Rica. You can kick your shoes off on white-sand beaches, hike through lush lowland jungle or mountain cloud forests, and bask in volcanic thermal springs. Rent a furnished two-bedroom home for just $500 a month, buy an ocean-view property for under $200,000, spend $25 in the feria (farmers’ market), and come home with a week’s groceries for a couple….
No wonder Costa Rica always seems to be on the shortlist. Readers at IL conferences tell me so, and expats I meet as I scout throughout Latin America often tell me, “We seriously considered Costa Rica.”
In an increasingly uncertain world, Costa Rica is a beacon of dependability. It’s not up-and-coming or edgy or the hot new thing. It has been quietly growing into a model country—a standout in the region. It has a steadily growing economy; dozens of multinationals like Amazon and Microsoft have major operations there. The low crime rate means you can feel safe just about anywhere in the country, day or night. There is a focus on preserving the environment, with 25% of the country’s territory protected. And there is commitment from the government to power the country on solely renewable sources, especially hydroelectric, wind, and geothermal.
Tens of thousands of U.S. and Canadian expats already live in Costa Rica full- or part-time. And millions have traveled there over the years for beach-resort vacations, surfing, fishing, rain forest treks, and more. There’s a comfort level knowing you don’t have to be a pioneer. Plus, with many Costa Ricans speaking English, it’s pretty easy to navigate as you learn more Spanish.
That’s not to say Costa Rica is too Americanized. It very much has its own rich culture and distinct way of life. This is expressed in a tradition of hospitality, which makes it very welcoming to expats, as well as a carefree attitude—and unofficial national motto—known as Pura Vida, which roughly translates to “life is good.” It’s an attitude that quickly rubs off on expats. Ticos, as Costa Ricans call themselves, have a live-and-let- live attitude. They value time with family and friends above all else. A strong sense of community exists and with it an emphasis on personal freedom, which appeals to many expats who feel hemmed in by the countless rules and regulations back home.
You may not know that Costa Rica has no army. It was abolished in 1949, after a brief but bloody civil war traumatized the nation. Since then, it’s had a stable government, a democracy with peaceful elections. The money that would go to the military is used to fund education for all (the literacy rate is 96%) and a solid national healthcare system, which is open to expat residents at a very low cost—averaging about $95 a month per couple. That’s a welcome respite from the spiraling costs in the U.S.
Good modern healthcare coverage, plus traditional and herbal medicine, natural foods, including abundant fresh fruits and vegetables—you can grow your own, thanks to the fertile soil—and a more active lifestyle (it never gets cold, so you can exercise outdoors year-round) combine to help many expats feel healthier than they have in years. Some have even found relief from chronic conditions. A friend of mine lost 40 pounds simply by deciding not to have a car (which is doable in many communities) and walking in the hills around his Central Valley home. As they built their stamina, he and his wife were inspired to hike the Appalachian Trail, which they recently completed.
You’ll find that most people are relaxed and low-stress, too. The need for status symbols and the anxiety that comes with the 24/7 news cycle disappears. In Costa Rica, you’ll come to enjoy a healthier body and mind.
With all these benefits, it’s not surprising that Costa Rica has topped the Happy Planet Index three times.
For such a small country, Costa Rica also packs a punch when it comes to variety of climates and landscape and the lifestyle that goes with it. You’ll find expats living in the eternal spring climate of the mountainous Central Valley. This is rural and small-town Costa Rica, where expats live in towns like Grecia and Atenas amid coffee plantations and forested hillsides. From their terraces they enjoy coffee from local beans and views of the surrounding countryside.
Some prefer life at the beach. There are funky beach towns like Tamarindo and Playas del Coco, resorts, and luxury communities on the northern Pacific. Head far south on the Pacific coast, and you discover rain forest-covered mountains, small coastal villages like Ojochal and Dominical, and the wild seaside of the Southern Zone. In the central Pacific you have fun beach communities like Jacó, plus the conveniences of the country’s capital, San José, an hour and a half down the road. The bohemian and undeveloped Caribbean, including towns like Cahuita and Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, may be the most Pura Vida of all places in Costa Rica. You also have Lake Arenal, a highlands region known for a mild climate and rural charms; life on the lake is quiet and peaceful, with a close-knit expat community.
Expats live well in all these areas, whether they rent or buy. Try two- and three-bedroom homes in good locations with views, starting at $800 per month. One- or two-bedroom condos or apartments—even within a walk to the beach—are $500 and up. Many rentals come fully furnished—completely turnkey. And when you’re ready to buy, you’ll find bargains too, like one-bedroom beach condos for under $50,000. Mountain-view homes in the Central Valley list for under $100,000. It’s very much a buyer’s market in Costa Rica, so prices are negotiable. It also helps that property taxes are just 0.25% of assessed value, a fraction of what’s typical in the U.S.
It’s true that Costa Rica isn’t the cheapest country on our Index. But it offers excellent bang for your buck. It’s possible for a retired couple to live very comfortably on $2,500 a month in Costa Rica. On this budget, they might eschew the “fancy” grocery store with imported goods in favor of the feria, where they can fill the fridge for the week for $30. Instead of hitting up the tourist restaurants that charge a premium, they might go to local sodas, restaurants serving up hearty Tico fare. But combine those cost-saving measures with the modest expenditures required on healthcare, rental homes, and utilities (no heating costs, and no cooling costs at least in Arenal and the Central Valley) and you can see how a good life can come at a modest price.
Traveling alone can be an exciting experience. It can be enriching for the solo traveler, creating opportunities to gain lifelong friendships, learn important life lessons, and gain a fresh perspective on the world that awaits the solo traveler.
From the Croatian coast to the Banana Pancake Trail of Southeast Asia, there are many life-changing adventures out there awaiting solo travelers. Unfortunately, when it comes to the Middle East, there are prevailing misconceptions. Often, the Gulf coast is perceived as an unsafe and dangerous area for tourists, particularly the solo traveler.
But destinations like Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is so progressive that it can be the ideal place for a solo traveler. If you’re looking for your next adventure, why not make it Dubai?
Still not convinced? Here are some tips to make your solo trip to Dubai one to remember.
1. Try the local flavor
As a glitz playground for the ultra rich, Dubai and the UAE are home to some of the best and most exclusive high-end restaurants in the world such as Koi, an authentic Japanese restaurant and Boa, one of the world’s best steakhouses.
Luckily for solo travelers, Dubai has a diverse culinary landscape, offering some great under-the-radar dining options any budget. The city boasts plenty of intriguing cuisines, but no trip to this wonderful Emirate would be complete without trying some authentic Emirati cuisine.
From contemporary cooking at Aseelah to camel milk treats at The Majlis, there are many places throughout Dubai for solo travelers to get their fill.
2. Find the best places to stay
Whether you’re a seasoned or novice solo traveler, where you choose to stay can make or break your trip. The best hotels in Dubai are in neighborhoods and areas where one can easily access a wide range of restaurants, entertainment options and noteworthy cultural activities.
For instance, there are Dubai hotels with beach access if you love catching waves, as well as hotels with stunning ocean views that let you marvel at Dubai’s splendor from the comforts of your room. It’s important to take into consideration your hotel’s proximity to nearby transport as Dubai isn’t known to be a pedestrian city, especially during the summer, when it can be near impossible to navigate the city on foot. For solo travelers, consider staying in neighborhoods like Downtown Dubai, Dubai Marina or Jumeirah Beach.These districts are bustling neighborhoods, catering to locals and travelers alike with their vast array of tourist attractions.
3. Get a dose of local culture
While the shopping experiences in Dubai often make the headlines, there’s more to this cosmopolitan city than shopping.
This corner of the world is packed with unique, one-of-a-kind experiences that cannot be imitated elsewhere. Solo travelers are spoiled for choice when it comes to the variety of ways to get to know the city better.
There are daredevil adventures awaiting in the sand dunes for thrill seekers, sun loungers for that all-essential “me time,” and tourist attractions that offer a unique, high vantage point.
But to really understand Dubai, visitors are encouraged to immerse themselves in local culture. Mosques, museums, authentic souks, and art galleries all provide cultural experiences that help travelers better understand local culture and customs. Dubai’s historic districts offer an enlightening glimpse into the city’s humble beginnings.
4. Enjoy yourself
As one of the safest countries for tourists, Dubai is a city where solo travelers can truly relax and enjoy themselves. There’s no shortage of fun to be had in the City of Gold, so travelers can simply let their hair down and fearlessly embrace what the city has to offer.
Whether your preference is for some nocturnal action or more wholesome diversions, Dubai is more than happy to indulge you.
What are you waiting for?
Traveling alone allows you to truly discover a destination. The complete freedom solo travel provides is an experience unlike any other. And in a city like Dubai, with its unique attractions and enriching culture, do yourself a favor and explore.
Thomas Grundner is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for JA Resorts & Hotels. He has more than 20 years of expertise in the hospitality and leisure industry – across international markets including Germany, Egypt and Spain. Grundner oversees all sales, marketing and revenue efforts as the company continues to build on its key growth and development strategies and further cultivates its unique blend of “Heartfelt Hospitality” and “Casual Luxury.”
Ollolai, Italy is a gorgeous little town in the Puglia region and one hour away from Sardinia beaches.
Ollolai is a small town nestled in the mountains of Sardinia, is selling historic homes for just one Euro and they already have 200 applicants from all over the world.
Sardinia isn’t just a gorgeous little island off of the Italian coast, It is also where people live statistically longest and it was one of five Blue Zones mentioned in bestselling author Dan Buttner. This where you find best cheese and wine for longevity.
Ollolai is in the center of the Sardinia and an hour away from the cliffs of Cala Gonone, in the mountain region of Barbagia, famous for hikes, it’s a historic town filled with romantic beautiful alleyways and tiny restaurants with the greatest food on earth.
Young people left this town to the cities in search of better financial opportunity and left the houses abandoned.The city’s intent is to revive its dying historic district by selling these houses for 1 euro and bring investors to the town with the provision buyer has 3 years to finish renovating them. According to CNN, the village has already sold three houses, and more than 200 application
The mayor, Efisio Arbau, has proposed a solution similar to the one in Gangi Sicily in 2014, Around 20 houses were on sale for one euro ($1.30), with another 300 or so for up to 15,000 euros in an initiative the village hopes will reverse decades of population decline and boost the local economy even as Italy falls back into recession.
Australian film director Dominic Allen is one of a crowd of buyers from the United States, Britain, Dubai and Sweden who have rushed to Gangi to take advantage of these bargains and transform living spaces and animal stalls into summer homes. See article written in 2014 by yahoo business about Gangi Sicily
Mayor Efisio Arbau has proposed to sell the homes for as little as a 1 euro, with the provision that the buyer has three years to refurbish the dwelling, a project that would likely only cost about $25,000.
This solution will create jobs and make young citizens stay with their loved elderly ones.
It sounds too good to be true and it is if you don’t have enough money to renovate these old properties and in some cases, they need to demolish them.
Hawaii is the most current of the 50 U.S. states, built entirely of islands. Hawaii is the northern island group in Polynesia, placed most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan and northeast of Australia. Owed to its mid-Pacific location, Hawaii has many North American and Asian influences along with its own vigorous native culture. Hawaii capital is Honolulu on the island of Oahu. The state comprises nearly the complete volcanic Hawaiian Island chain it encompass hundreds of islands spread over 1,500 miles. End of the southeastern archipelago, the eight “main islands” they are Kauai, Kahoolawe, Niihau, Hawaii, Lanai, Molokai and Oahu. Hawaii is largest and “The Big Island”. The archipelago is physiographical and ethnologically segment of the Polynesian sub field of Oceania. In United States the Hawaii is the 8th-least extensive, the 11th-least populous, and the 13th-most thickly populated. Hawaii’s coastline is nearly 750 miles long it is fourth in the United States after Alaska, Florida, and California. Hawaii has its own language. Hawaii’s different natural scenery, mild tropical climate, plenty of public beaches and oceanic surrounding, and active geology make it a popular destination for tourists, surfers, biologists, and volcanologists alike. Hawaii Island has a remote climate. Hawaii has variety of environments like lush rainforests, volcanic deserts, and some of the world’s best beaches.
Hawaii Recreation Culture and Attractions
The earliest culture of Hawaii is Polynesian. Hawaii describes the northernmost expansion of the vast Polynesian triangle of the south and central Pacific Ocean. As Hawaii has become habitat to many different ethnic groups through the past 200 years, each ethnic group has further elements of its own culture. The culture of Hawaii is arguably one of the firm’s residual in the world and certainly within the United States. The roots of Hawaiian culture expand south to former areas of Polynesia and behind to the islands of the Western Pacific and the edges of Asia. Hawaii has two National Parks that is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the island of Hawaii and Haleakala National park on Maui, as well as the vacation U.S.S. Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately many of these heiau were demolished when the early kapu system was revoked in the 19th century and when the early missionaries arrived shortly hereafter. Music has major role played in Hawaiian culture. Steel guitars were basically invented and popularized in Hawaii. Hawaii is familiar to numerous cultural events; some of the events are the Merrie Monarch Festival is a biggest hula competition and celebrated in April, Lei Day is a lei-making competition and celebrated in May, King Kamehameha Day is state holiday with parades and celebrated in June, Aloha Festivals are celebration with parades, cultural events, canoe races and Hawaiian music and celebrated in September and the Quicksilver/Eddie Aikau Memorial Big Wave Classic celebrated in December.Hawaii Demographics
Hawaii total population - 1,360,000
Hawaii male population - 680,000
Hawaii female population - 680,000
Hawaii White population - 25%
Hawaii Black population - 2%
Hawaii American Indian population - 1%
Hawaii Asian population - 39%
Hawaii Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population - 10%
Hawaii Other race population - 1%
Hawaii Two or more races population - 24%
Hawaii Hispanic/Latino population - 9%
Hawaii education system is managed by the Hawaii State Department of Education. It is only statewide public education system in the United States. The department also prepares a system wide budget for the public school system to submit to the Hawaii State Board of Education, which submits a final planned budget to the Legislature. The department is supervised by the education board and run by the superintendent of education. The Department of Education is separated into seven districts, four on Oahu and one for each of the three other counties. There is growing demand for upper division and graduate teaching from the neighbor islands which may only have a community college or education center. Public elementary, middle, and high school test marks in Hawaii are below national averages on tests authorized under the No Child Left Behind Act. Hawaii educates more students in independent organizations of secondary education than any additional state in the United States. The University of Hawaii is the major university in Hawaii. There are many private universities in Hawaii. Some of the private universities are Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Chaminade University of Honolulu, Hawaii Pacific University, Wayland Baptist University, or University of the Nations.Hawaii HistoryBefore 300AD Hawaii was feasibly used as a base for peoples with a trans-Pacific communication between Asia and the northwest coast of South America. The primary habitation held up by archaeological evidence dates to as ancient as 300 CE, expediently by Polynesian settlers from the Marquesas, supported by a second wave of voyage from Raiatea and Bora Bora in the 11th century. The first entered European contact with the islands was in 1778 by British explorer Captain James Cook, who called Hawaii the Sandwich Islands. In 1782 Kamehameha I was the ruler of the Big Island of Hawaii. In 1819 Kamehameha II takes control of Hawaii. The Kingdom of Hawaii was monarch from 1810 till 1893 when the sovereign was beaten by resident American businessmen. In 1820 enter two new teams Hawaii the Congregationalist missionaries of the Calvinist ideology and New England whalers. Kamehameha III declares the First Constitution which consit of freedom of worship. Hawaiian capital is changed from Lahaina to Honolulu in 1845. 1868 saw the first Japanese liability workers arrive in Hawaii. In 1879 the first Portuguese land. In 1900 Hawaii became U.S territory. In 1941 Hawaii was the objective of a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by Imperial Japan. The human history of Hawaii includes aspect of first Polynesian settlement, unification, British arrival, Euro-American and Asian immigrators, the depose of the Hawaiian monarchy, a brief period as the Republic of Hawaii, and admission to the United States as Hawaii Territory and then as the state of Hawaii. Hawaii is a 1,523-mile chain of islets and eight main islands-Hawaii, Maui, Lanai, Kahoolawe, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai, and Niihau, 2,397 miles west-southwest of San Francisco. “The Merry Monarch” David Kalakaua was the first king in history to vacation the United States.
Hawaii State nickname - Aloha State
Hawaii State bird - Nene
Hawaii State flower - Hibiscus
Hawaii State tree - kukui
Hawaii State Fish - The Reef triggerfish
Hawaii State motto - "Ua mau ke ea o ka aina I ka pono" - The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness
Hawaii State song - Hawaii Ponoi
Hawaii State mammal - Monk Seal
Most of the popular tourist attractions in all of the islands are located on Hawaii Island’s southeastern regions of Kau and Puna. Hawaii is the name of different islands and is among the numerous Pacific Islands in the Pacific Ocean. In summer months the outside visitors are visited. The Hawaii tourism based economy and the genuine aloha spirit assures that tourism is held seriously in the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaii tourism contains world class lodging and accommodations, couture shopping for the latest runway trends, upscale fine dining and an array of things to do in Hawaii and tours at various magnificent locales on the islands sure to impress any world traveler. Hawaii with a bustling downtown, fine art galleries, upscale dining, Honolulu offers travelers urban culture in a tropical setting, world class entertainment and a thriving nightlife, with rural, unspoiled. Hawaii has significant tourism attractions are Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Hawaii and Lanai.Hawaii Taxes
Hawaii State Tax Rate Range Low 1.4% High 11.00%
Hawaii State Tax Income Brackets Lowest flat rate 2,400 - Highest flat rate 200,001
Hawaii State Personal Exemptions Single 1,040 - Married 2,080 - Dependents - 1,040
Hawaii has bus, airlines, railway, boats and ferries transportation system. A Hawaii of state highways comprises each main island. Only Oahu has national highways and it is the only area outside the bordering 48 states to have signed Interstate highways. Travel can be slow due to narrow turning roads and every major island has a public bus system. The major air port is Honolulu International Airport, is the piloting hub of Hawaii, with transnational services to North America, Asia, Australia, and Oceania. In Hawaii some more airlines are there they are Hawaiian Airlines, Mokulele Airlines, Island Air and Pacific Wings. Private steamships and ferries were traveling between the islands from the 19th century till the 1950s. The Hawaii Super ferry maintained between Oahu and Maui between December 2007 and March 2009. Hawaii had a network of railroads on every larger island that helped move farm commodities as well as passengers. In World War II play important role moving troops and goods of OR&L, the mainline was abandoned in 1947.
Hawaii Universities and Colleges
University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, Hawaii, USA - 3,900 Students
University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu CDP, HI, USA - 20,000 Students
University of Hawaii - West Oahu, Pearl City, Hawaii, USA - 1,000 students
Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA - 2,000 students
Chaminade University of Honolulu, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA - 4,000 students
Hawaii Pacific University, Hawaii, USA - 9,000 students
Hawaii Tourist Attractions
Pele's Cursed Tourist Rocks
Polynesian Cultural Center
Hawaii FiveO Jack Lord Bust
Hawaiian Trading Post
Tsunami Clock of Doom
Puuhonua - Place of Refuge
King Kamehameha the Great
Astronaut Ellison S Onizuka Space Center
East Hawaii Cultural Center
Isaacs Art Center Museum and Gallery
Kona Coffee Living History Farm
Laupahoehoe Train Museum
Lyman House Memorial Museum
Mokupapapa Discovery Center
Nani Mau Gardens
Onizuka Center for International Astronomy
Pacific Tsunami Museum
Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site
Akaka Falls State Park
Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area
Kalopa State Recreation Area
Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park
Kohala Historical Sites State Monument
Kona Coast (Kekaha Kai) State Park
Lapakahi State Historical Park
Lava Tree State Monument
MacKenzie State Recreation Area
Manuka State Wayside
Mauna Kea State Recreation Area
Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area
Wailoa River State Recreation Area
Wailuku River State Park
Hawaii Percent Religious population is 34%
Hawaii Catholic population is 19%
Hawaii LDS population is 4%
Hawaii Baptist population is 2%
Hawaii Episcopalian population is 1%
Hawaii Pentecostal population is 4%
Hawaii Lutheran population is 1%
Hawaii Methodist population is 1%
Hawaii Presbyterian population is 1%
Hawaii Other Christian population is 5%
Hawaii Jewish population is 1%
Hawaii Eastern population is 0%
Hawaii Islam population is 1%
The Hawaii is an Island 3,300 kilometers long and the broad arc in the mid-Pacific. The Hawaii Island at 8,150 square kilometers encompasses approximately two-thirds of the state’s total area, and it is referred to as simply the Big Island. Honolulu is the state capital of Hawaii is 3,850 kilometers west of San Francisco, California, 6,500 kilometers east of Tokyo, Japan, and nearly 7,300 kilometers northeast of the Australian coast. Hawaii total area is 10,932 square miles and 4,508 square miles of water. Kingman Reef and Palmyra atoll are the boundaries of Hawaii. Hawaii’s Big Island features hardly lava landscapes as well as Kilauea Volcano, erupting to this day at Hawaii. Hawaii is the 43rd largest state. Hawaii’s climate is ideal for the tropics, despite temperatures and wet. Mount Waialeale, on Kauai, has the second highest rainfall on Earth, around 460 inches. Hawaii has mainly two seasons they are bare season from May to October and humid season from October to April.Hawaii EconomyThe Hawaii economy is depending on tourism, agriculture and industries. The history of Hawaii can be followed regular a succession of dominant industries they are sandalwood, whaling, sugarcane, pineapple, military, tourism, and education. In Hawaii tourism has been the largest industry. Hawaiian exports bear food and apparel. Food exports are coffee macadamia nuts, livestock, pineapple, and sugarcane. Hawaii has a moderately high state tax burden. Hawaii citizens had the highest state tax per capita because education, health care and social services are provided by the state. Hawaii was one of the states to control gasoline prices into a Gas Cap Law.Hawaii GeographyThe Hawaii Government is decided by its constitution, and it emulates a general republic model where the government is separated into three branches they are legislative, executive, and judiciary. In Hawaii the legislative branch for Hawaii is formed of 25 senators and 51 representatives across the various districts. The head of the Hawaii is the Governor it is running mate of a Lieutenant Governor and both are the only statewide elected officials in Hawaii. The Lieutenant Governor is also investigated the Secretary of State of Hawaii. The Hawaiian Government, the Governor has the power to select officials for the 20 departments set by the constitution. The Hawaiian Constitution states the Hawaii have one Supreme Court, circuit courts, an appellate court, and district courts. The Local governments of Hawaii are spilt into four counties, although these could also act as municipalities at the same time. The budget for each city council is minor representatives and the nearly made by the local senate for each location.
For those seeking the splendour of the Mediterranean at its peak, summer is an ideal season to visit Cyprus.
From May to mid-October, in Paphos, temperatures are at a steady high, the sky is a cloudless azure blue and, when the heat gets too much, the sea is a stone’s throw away for a refreshing dip. It’s also the ideal season for a range of water sports activities such as scuba diving and sailing.
The early part of the day is perfect for exploring the exceptional local archaeological remains, including the Temple of Aphrodite, where the goddess of love was worshipped.
During the summer, visitors must get into the habit of wearing sunscreen and protective head-wear.
April and May bring in early summer when days are comfortably warm but the evenings are cool. Light daytime clothing and long sleeved cotton or thin woolies are recommended for this part of the season. Especially in April, the countryside is in bloom with wild flowers making it an ideal time for nature-walking.
June, July and August mark the height of summer when temperatures soar and the beaches are at their busiest. There is a selection of tourist and less well known beaches to enjoy in Paphos. The Cyprus Tourist Organisation can advise visitors on where it is safe to swim.
A day-tip to the Troodos villages in the mountains provide an opportunity for traditional dining, visits to UNESCO churches and welcoming cooler climes.
Day Temperature High: 22C
Night Temperature Low: 12C
Sea Temperature: 20C
Hours of Daily Sunshine: 9
Days of Rain: 3 May
Day Temperature High: 26C
Night Temperature Low: 16C
Sea Temperature: 21C
Hours of Daily Sunshine: 10
Days of Rain: 3 June
Day Temperature High: 30C
Night Temperature Low: 18C
Sea Temperature: 24C
Hours of Daily Sunshine: 12
Days of Rain: 1 July
Day Temperature High: 32C
Night Temperature Low: 21C
Sea Temperature: 26C
Hours of Daily Sunshine: 12
Days of Rain: 1 August
Day Temperature High: 33C
Night Temperature Low: 22C
Sea Temperature: 27C
Hours of Daily Sunshine: 12
Days of Rain: 1 September
Day Temperature High: 31C
Night Temperature Low: 20C
Sea Temperature: 26C
Hours of Daily Sunshine: 11
Days of Rain: 10 October
Day Temperature High: 27C
Night Temperature Low: 16C
Sea Temperature: 24C
Hours of Daily Sunshine: 9
Days of Rain: 3
Professional photographers know that when taking shots of beaches, there are some important rules and guidelines to follow, such as: looking for a focal point, not disconsidering the horizon, the importance of timing, the UV filters and many others. That’s why in today’s showcase we have decided to present 50 of the most beautiful photographs of shores, as a result of following such rules and applying the knowledge in this type of art.
Be amazed and impressed, dream far away at the sunny places and relaxing sounds of the tide and waves! Some of the most famous vacation destinations by the sea and ocean can be admired in this post: Hawaii, Bora Bora, Ibiza, Seychelles.
What we have learned, though, is that not only a beautiful shore can make a stunning photo. A talented and patient photographer csn turn the most dull beach into a breath taking landscape. There’s proof of that too, just look below, through the whole showcase!
Sometimes, when the travel bug strikes, the only cure is to pack your bags and go. But where to? We’ve compiled a list of our favorite spots from across the globe. Our list includes the most popular places and we’re adding new destinations all the time, so don’t worry if your favorite spot didn’t make the cut. Check back soon to see if your dream vacation makes the list.
Why go: Year after year, the magnetic City of Lights draws new travelers to its Eiffel Tower, Louvre and Notre Dame — but Paris also keeps experienced travelers coming back for more. See, there’s always a new Michelin-rated restaurant to try, a new exhibit to see at the Centre Pompidou or a new shop in which to swipe your credit card. And we can’t discount Paris’ je ne sais quoi charm that’s unexplainable but also unmistakeable.
Why go: Known around the world for its legendary fútbol team, Barcelona boasts much more than just athletic talent. Touring the city is a feast for the eyes: Visitors walk past medieval architecture in the Barri Gotic and the innovative creations of Gaudi in Parc Guell. Matching Paris’ Notre Dame with its own Sagrada Familia, Barcelona puts itself near the top of this list with a fun-loving spirit and creative ambition.
Why go: The United Kingdom’s capital city is a world unto itself. With eclectic neighborhoods and numerous landmarks, London requires several days (if not years) to get to know. That said, your inaugural visit (as you will certainly be coming back for more) should include trips to the Tower of London, the National Gallery, and the British Museum. But if you have more time, hit up Portobello Road and Borough Market to appreciate the local culture.
Why go: Relaxed yet professional, classic yet innovative — San Francisco takes its paradoxical qualities in stride, boasting diverse cultural enclaves. Neighborhoods like Nob Hill, the Castro and the Mission District offer unique experiences for every traveler. Yet, there are several monuments that you can’t miss, such as the cable cars, Fisherman’s Wharf and Alcatraz. And, of course, the city’s crowning architectural achievement — the Golden Gate Bridge — is unmistakable.
Why go: Author Ayn Rand once wrote, “I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York’s skyline.” While many disagree with her politics, her sentiment for the Big Apple is widely shared. America’s most populous city hosts infinite urban adventures. Enjoy an afternoon in Central Park or visit the exhibits at the MoMa or the Met. While new sites, like the National September 11 Memorial, are always popping up, the classics, like the Empire State Building, never get old.
Why go: Of all the Hawaiian Islands, Maui might be the most beloved. The island encapsulates all that Hawaii has to offer: exotic beaches (like Kaihalulu), palatial resorts (like the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea) and lush terrain (as seen in the Iao Valley State Park). Maui can also cater to a range of budgets — the same cannot be said for some of its sister islands, like neighboring Lanai. Visitors regularly return to the mainland singing praise for Maui, but the smart few just put down new roots and pick up a Mai Tai.
Why go: Here, it’s as if Paris migrated to North America. Montreal boasts elements of French culture with a friendly Canadian feel. Travelers adore the quaint cafés, bustling marketplaces and old-world architecture that characterize Montreal. To truly appreciate the city’s majesty, visit St. Joseph’s Oratory, next to Mont-Royal. This immense basilica crowns the skyline and provides an ideal vantage point.
Why go: While it may not be as grand as New York City or as historic as Montreal, why Vancouver caught the attention of the International Olympic Committee is no mystery. This coastal Canadian city boasts a vast amount of outdoor activities that beckon to adrenaline hounds. Kayak in English Bay or test gravity on the Capilano Suspension Bridge before enjoying a scrumptious meal in the second-largest Chinatown in North America.
Why go: Whether they’re swimming in Lake Zurich in the summer or skiing down the nearby Alps in the winter, travelers find delight in Zurich. Delectable pastry shops abound, as do museums and historic churches. Excellent shops reside in upscale Bahnofstrasse and more affordable Niederdorf. For fun, locals and travelers alike hit up the bars and clubs of edgy Zurich West.
Why go: Pick a vacation experience you’re looking for, and Puerto Rico can oblige. An old town with historic architecture and cobblestone streets? Look no further than Old San Juan and it’s El Morro fortress. A beachside getaway with stunning vistas and miles of soft, white sand? Consider the bioluminescent bays of Culebra and Vieques. A cosmopolitan destination with high-end shopping and exciting nightlife? Head to the Isla Verde or Santurce neighborhoods of San Juan.
Why go: The U.S. Virgin Islands offers a taste of home (non-roaming cell phones, U.S. dollars, and no language barrier), as well as a varied international vacation (lively Carnival season, reggae music and clear Caribbean waters). For the best deals and weather, consider visiting in late spring or early summer.
Why go: One of the most visited cities in the U.S., the country’s capital is filled with a huge number of postcard-worthy monuments and buildings. The White House and the Lincoln Memorial are here, as well as a variety of eclectic and walkable neighborhoods. Those on a budget will especially enjoy themselves here since the noteworthy Smithsonian museums are free.
Why go: Budapest is sure to be a highlight of any trip to Central/Eastern Europe. The city has a lot to offer all types of travelers with all ranges of budgets. And Budapest will keep you occupied with its thermal baths, mellow coffeehouses, ridiculous nightlife and pretty much whatever else you can think of.
Why go: Over the past decade or two, Prague has transitioned from a backpacker secret to the unquestioned tourist capital of Central/Eastern Europe. With well-preserved sites, such as the Charles Bridge and St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague retains its gothic mystique. You can spend the days taking in the architecture and the evenings enjoying local pilsners on a never-ending bar crawl.
Why go: If you have to choose one island to visit in Greece, it’s easy to make a case for Crete. Its diverse landscape features everything from anicent ruins to gorgeous beaches, and you can spend a day doing anything from shopping in Agios Nikolaos to hiking the Samaria Gorge.
Why go: If you’re looking for gorgeous weather year round and parties set against beautiful backdrops, look no further than Miami Beach. This Floridian city bursts with colors, crazy nightlife, an amazing coastline and intriguing Art Deco architecture. Head to South Beach’s Ocean Drive to reach the heart of the action.
Why go: The Bahamas has so many islands that it’s hard to mash them all into one recommendation, compared to our other destinations. But that’s also part of their appeal. Airfare and hotel rates are generally modest year-round in the Bahamas, but you’ll get the best deals and have less crowds if you plan your visit for the summer or early fall. But take note: These islands’ atmosphere and activities largely cater to tourists, and you’ll be hard pressed to find an authentic Bahamian vibe during your getaway.
Why go: Puerto Vallarta stands out for its outstanding cuisine, eclectic bars and clubs and breathtaking landscape. You could spend just a day exploring the cobblestone streets and art-laden Malecón (or boardwalk) of Zona Centro, or extend your trip for a few more days to try out the nightclubs and European cafés of the downtown area, as well as the hiking in the nearby Sierra Madre Mountains.
Why go: You don’t need to be on a cruise vacation to experience two Caribbean countries for the expense of one. This dual-governed island nation offers chic dining and dazzling stretches of sand on the French side of Saint Martin, and animated nightlife, buzzing casinos, and some of the best duty-free shopping of the Caribbean in Dutch Sint Maarten. Consider visiting in late spring to cash in on the not-too hot weather and discounted hotel rates.
Why go: Limestone-carved Aruba will appeal to the adventure junkie better than any of our best destinations. Dive into the depths of Hadicurari Beach to explore the island’s many shipwrecks, avoid the Aruban rattlesnake on an ATV tour of the Arikok National Park, or party hearty until the wee hours on a booze cruise. But you should be prepared to pay for the adrenaline rush, as Aruba is also one of the pricier vacations on our list.
Why go: This notorious hedonist destination offers visitors every opportunity to make it or break it. Colossal casinos, like the Bellagio and Caesar’s Palace, beckon to travelers with neon light, fascinating shows and, of course, sprawling casino floors. But these mega-resorts offer guests more than just slot machines and drink. Spas, pools, luxury hotel rooms, elite clubs and exotic restaurants are now part of the allure.
Why go: The City of Angels, La La Land, the Entertainment Capital of the World — Los Angeles needs no introduction. But its notoriety both help and hurt its reputation. The traffic on the “101” will tire you out just as much as an evening at a lively West Hollywood club. And your disgust at the thick smog over the city will negate your enjoyment of a sunset overlooking Santa Monica Beach. To appreciate Los Angeles, visit the area more than once and get advice from locals.
Why go: When it comes to the best of the best, size doesn’t matter. Austin may be small compared to other capital cities, but its personality is overwhelmingly large, with citizens holding fast to the city’s mantra, “Keep Austin Weird.” Although home to vast green spaces, funky boutiques and cozy coffee shops, Austin really comes to life at night; the self-proclaimed “Live Music Capital of the World” boasts numerous live music venues and one of the largest music festivals in the U.S.
Why Go: With the 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing officially debuted on the global stage and is quickly outshining its more modern brethren — Hong Kong and Shanghai — as a tourist destination. The city boasts world-class attractions, like the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, that showcase country’s past and present. Plus, the jaw-dropping Great Wall of China stands just north of the city, making Beijing a world-traveler must.
Why Go: Sydney has more than just an opera house. At the sight of this famous white structure, outsiders quickly forget all the attractions of this world-class metropolis. You’ll find the bustling Sydney Fish Market and the striking Sydney Harbour Bridge, which stretches high above sailboats and azure waters. Plus, there are numerous beaches (Coogee and Bondi for starters) that draw locals and tourists alike. Also, in its rivalry with Melbourne, Sydney wins the weather battle with its warm, sunny climate.
Rio de Janeiro
Why Go: With its sun-drenched beaches and soothing samba rhythms, Rio jockeys with Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo as South America’s hottest destination — and not just with its temperatures. The famous Christ the Redeemer statue presides over Copacabana Beach and Lapa, a vibrant neighborhood. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more riotously fun event than Rio’s Carnival.
Why Go: While Jerusalem may be the old city, Tel Aviv is the trendy new one. Sitting along the Mediterranean, Tel Aviv boasts a broad, sun-drenched shoreline that lures both locals and travelers. And once the sun goes down, a pulsating nightlife erupts across the city. Foreign visitors savor the mouth-watering cuisine found at intimate eateries or street carts. Take your time with this metropolis: There’s a lot to surprise you.
When you are on holiday, you’ve some pretty essential things to consider. Should I have the grilled octopus for lunch, or perhaps the fried squids? Go snorkeling first, or play beach volleyball? Wake up early to look at the sunrise on the beach, or don’t bother going to sleep at all? Of all of the stuff you need to take into consideration on holiday, the main thing you should not have to worry about is the budget.
The majority of us are never able to live our lives like the wealthy and famous do, taking luxurious holidays and investing huge amounts of money on the very best of everything. The all inclusive resorts, however, allow us to experience a somewhat similar lifestyle, at least for a short while.
To be certain, budgets really are a fact of life. So, does having a financial limit mean always controlling all your needs, simply because there is no room for them within your budget? Absolutely not. When you are on holiday, you should be spoiled. You’ve labored hard for so long, and you’ve gained the right to have some excellent food, a few expensive drinks and simply have a great time.
All-inclusive beach resort holidays make it easy for travelers to get the most bang for their buck. Today you will find over four hundred resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean alone offering all-inclusive travel packages for people looking for budget-friendly holiday opportunities.
Having said that, all-inclusive holidays aren’t always as trouble-free as they may appear. You have to thoroughly compare available resorts before finally selecting your holiday destination.
Comparing and researching the available offers will lead you to the conclusion that the packages, lodging and resorts themselves can differ to a great extent. Some hotels offer packages that are designed for couples only. Others introduce offers for singles, gay couples, or families. Many beach resorts are meant for grown ups only, so be cautious if you are planning a vacation with your little ones.
Besides the resorts as such, travel packages can differ when it comes to what they offer. Regrettably, not everyone’s understanding of “all-inclusive” is identical. Some include airfare and hotel. Others cover airfare, hotel, transfers, plus some foods. You will find resort holidays which are all-inclusive, except for airfare. Some beach resorts include all alcoholic drinks, as long as they are not premium brands, or offered before 7 pm or after 12 am. Make a price comparison while doing your research, and you will surely find ways to save cash. Including airfare in your all-inclusive package could cost less than booking a flight and having to pay for it on your own, and could save you some energy that scheduling your vacation undoubtedly requires.
If you wish to find a very good deal, it is best to first identify what you would like and need in order to have a great vacation. When you realize the characteristics and amenities you are expecting, you can start to examine all of the holiday offers you will find. Travel agencies and also the Internet are efficient ways to find many resorts and packages to check out.
The most significant benefit of booking an exciting-inclusive beach resort vacation is getting all you need for a one-time expenditure. Being aware of this, you will able to relax and revel in your vacations knowing there will not be any unpleasant surprises waiting at the destination. Your finances will remain intact, and the only thing you’ll have to make up your mind about will be the choice between an exotic drink or a cold beer.
By: Stan Rich
“Stan is an online entrepreneur and rock guitar player. He enjoys traveling the world together with his wife, two children and… four cats. He’s also the webmaster of Best All Inclusive Resorts.”
Paris is popular year-round, as mentioned in my post “Paris the City of Love”, there is a low season as far as prices goes. In November you will find a lot of good bargains in Hotels and flights, you will find special discount on almost everything. So you’re more likely to save money on your Paris airfare by traveling in late summer and autumn.
Spring Weather in Paris
Paris in spring is a delight. After a few months of cold, and a little rain, the sight of new flowers and more consistent sunlight is always welcome – to Parisians and tourists.
There is a chance of getting rain in early spring. But the average temperatures climb noticeably from February into March. The nights are still cool, so bringing warm clothes is good policy. Pay attention to current Paris weather forecasts as you’re coming up to your trip, as much of Europe has been experiencing unseasonably warm weather in the Spring in the last few years.
Best Paris parks to enjoy in spring
Jardin des Tuileries
This formal beauty in the heart of the city links the Louvre with the Place de la Concorde, stretching along the north bank of the Seine.
The Tuileries Gardens get their name from the tile factories which previously stood on the site where Queen Catherine de Medici built the Palais des Tuileries in 1564. The famous gardener of King Louis XIV, André Le Nôtre, re-landscaped the gardens in 1664 to give them their current French formal garden style.
The gardens, which separate the Louvre from the Place de la Concorde, are a cultural walking place for Parisians and tourists where Maillol statues stand alongside those of Rodin or Giacometti. The gardens’ two ponds are perfect for relaxation. The Musée de l’Orangerie, where visitors can admire the works of Monet, is located south-west of Tuileries. From March to December, free tours in French are organized. For lovers of candyfloss, rides and thrills, go to the Fête des Tuileries from June to August.
Jardin du Luxembourg is situated on the border between Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter, the Luxembourg Gardens, inspired by the Boboli Gardens in Florence, were created upon the initiative of Queen Marie de Medici in 1612.
The gardens, which cover 25 hectares of land, are split into French gardens and English gardens. Between the two, lies a geometric forest and a large pond.
There is also an orchard with a variety of old and forgotten apples, an apiary for you to learn about bee-keeping and greenhouses with a collection of breathtaking orchids and a rose garden. The garden has 106 statues spread throughout the park, the monumental Medici fountain, the Orangerie and the Pavillon Davioud.
There are many activities and facilities for children such as puppets, rides and slides. Adults, whether they are Parisians or tourists, can play chess, tennis, and bridge or remote control boats. The cultural programme is characterized by free photography exhibitions on the garden railings and by concerts in the bandstand. You can read more in Paris official website of convention and Visitors Bureau
The screened entrance court faces the Place du Palais-Royal, opposite the Louvre. The larger inner courtyard, the Cour d’Honneur, has since 1986 contained Daniel Buren‘s site-specific art piece Les Deux Plateaux, known as Les Colonnes de Buren.
In 1830 the Cour d’Honneur was enclosed to the north by what was probably the most famous of Paris’s covered arcades, the Galerie d’Orléans. Demolished in the 1930s, its flanking rows of columns still stand between the Cour d’Honneur and the popular Palais-Royal Gardens.
The Jardin des plantes(French pronunciation: [?a?d?? d? pl??t]; French for ‘Garden of the Plants’), also known as the jardin des plantes de Paris when distinguished from other jardins des plantes in other cities, is the main botanical garden in France. The term Jardin des plantes is the official name in the present day, but it is in fact an elliptical form of Jardin royal des plantes médicinales (‘Royal Garden of the Medicinal Plants‘, which is related to the original purpose of the garden, back in the 17th century).
Built on the site of a former Citroën automobile manufacturing plant, the park is named after company founder André Citroën. When it opened in 1992 it was the largest park to open in Paris in more than a century.
Getting Around Paris, The Paris Metro or Metropolitan
France has a terrific rail network that reaches almost every part of the country. If you would prefer to navigate around Paris and France by bus, inter-regional bus services are limited but buses are used extensively for short distance travel within regions.
Having your own vehicle can be expensive and is inconvenient in city centers where parking and traffic is problematic. Renting a car is expensive if you book on the spot but pre-booked and prepaid promotional rates are reasonable.
Paris is one of Europe’s most walkable cities with all of the city’s top attractions close together.
Even whe cheap transportaiton and Metro is budget-friendly and easy to use, with stops at all major tourist spots, I did walk all over the city without taking
any transportation except when coming back to my room to sleep!
Update October 4th, 2018
Taxis and Uber “at the time this original post was written, there was no Uber!”
You can hail taxis from the side of the road, but it may be difficult. Taxis aren’t legally allowed to pull over if you’re within 50 metres of a taxi stand, which you can find throughout the city. You can also call and book a taxi in advance.
Uber is available and costs EUR €40-80 from Charles de Gaulle Airport to the city center “it depends where in the city you are going to”. From Orly International Airport, Uber is EUR€30-50.
(French: Métro de Paris) is the rapid transit metro system in Paris. It has 16 lines, mostly underground, there are 300 stations. Since some are served by several lines, there are 384 stops in total.
Paris has one of the densest metro networks in the world, with 245 stations within 86.9 km2 of the City of Paris. Lines are numbered 1 to 14, with two minor lines, 3bis and 7bis. The minor lines were originally part of lines 3 and 7 but became independent.
Lines are identified on maps by number and color. Direction of travel is indicated by the destination terminus.
Paris is the second busiest metro system in Europe after Moscow It carries 4.5 million passengers a day, and an annual total of 1.388 billion (2007). Chatlet-Les Halles, with 5 Metro lines and three RER commuter rail lines.
The Paris subway system is the second oldest in the world
Why Paris in Spring?
I loved this poem by Sara Teasdale
Paris in Spring
Oh, it’s Paris, it’s Paris, And spring-time has begun.
I know the Bois is twinkling In a sort of hazy sheen, And down the Champs the gray old arch Stands cold and still between. But the walk is flecked with sunlight Where the great acacias lean, Oh, it’s Paris, it’s Paris, And the leaves are growing green.
The sun’s gone in, the sparkle’s dead, There falls a dash of rain, But who would care when such an air Comes blowing up the Seine? And still, Ninette sits sewing Beside her window-pane, When it’s Paris, it’s Paris, And spring-time come again.