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Where does Mexico come in on this list of commercial investing? How about Finland? Norway? Nederlands? Canada? Which country is #1?

Although some cross-border investors have taken a step back from U.S. real estate, there remains strong interest from buyers around the globe.
David Bodamer | Sep 17, 2018

Canadian investors have been the most active buyers of U.S. real estate in the last 12 months, securing $19.63 billion in assets, according to a recent report from Real Capital Analytics (RCA). It’s a familiar spot for the Great White North, which was also the top source of capital into the U.S. in 2017 and number two in 2016. China, which topped the list in 2016, sits fourth in volume for the past 12 months, at $5.48 billion. Singapore ($9.05 billion) and France ($8.66 billion) edged out China for second and third on RCA’s list. Germany, with $4.33 billion in capital invested in the U.S., rounded out the top five.

Cross-border investment has continued at a strong clip despite an increase in protectionist measures, such as tariffs and tensions in trade agreement negotiations. According to RCA’s report “These fears are genuine but sometimes also taken to extremes. This too shall pass…. Cross-border investors are, with some exceptions, focused on longer-term objectives and temporary roadblocks can be overlooked. Clearly these investors overlooked trade concerns in the first half of 2018.”

Overall, cross-border investment is off its peak year of investment in the U.S. in 2015 with nearly $100 billion in volume, which accounted for about 17 percent of overall commercial real estate investment. The current numbers (based on trailing four-quarter data) amount to just more than $60 billion and around 12 percent of overall volume.

The following gallery includes the top 20 countries listed in RCA’s report.

https://www.nreionline.com/finance-investment/top-countries-investing-us-commercial-real-estate

David Bodamer | Sep 17, 2018

Simple Mobile Article #2 - HeroMachu Picchu is only one of the many stunning sites you should visit while traveling in Latin America. (photo-Getty)

There’s something heartwarming about summertime travel. Perhaps it’s the nostalgic feeling of being off from school or simply the welcome vitamin D boost after a cold, long winter. Whatever it is, planning a summer vacation is perfect for taking a break from your daily routine.

But even when you’re trying to get away from it all, staying connected to family and friends is a priority for most travelers. That’s why having a wireless service plan from SIMPLE MOBILE is a travel essential. All SIMPLE MOBILE service plans allow you to use your plan’s talk, text, & data while roaming across 16 Latin American countries — so yes, you can even post about your trip online with international roaming coverage in these countries.

And this part of the world is a fantastic option when planning your next trip because plane tickets are relatively inexpensive and flight times aren’t too long. Here are the countries you should definitely consider visiting.

Simple Mobile Article #2 - Mexico

This hidden beach in Mexico is only accessible via tunnel.Getty

1. Mexico

Mexico is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world, and it’s home to a number of incredible sights. A visit to the hidden beach on Islas Marietas is great for a secluded day trip getaway. And getting there is half the fun: You have to swim through a short tunnel carved by the sea and into a crater to reach the beach. If you’re a history buff, you can visit the third-largest pyramid in the world. Known as the Pyramid of the Sun, it’s a relic of the Teotihuacan civilization with picturesque views from its summit. You can also enjoy a trip to The Arch, an impressive rock formation located at the southern tip of Cabo San Lucas. Grab a bottle of vino, hit the beach, and watch the sunset shine off the rocks on this natural wonder.

Simple Mobile Article #2 - Peru
The Rainbow Mountains in Peru get their signature coloring from erosion.Getty

2. Peru

Machu Picchu is probably one of Peru’s most famous destinations, but the country is filled with a long list of extraordinary places to visit. Located in the Andes, the Rainbow Mountains are an Instagram-worthy colorful mountainside— and with SIMPLE MOBILE roaming coverage, you won’t have to wait until you’re back in the U.S. to post it to your account. The peaks’ signature look has been formed by sedimentary mineral layers exposed by erosion. To take your adventuring to the next level, visit Huacachina and do a dune buggy or sandboarding tour. The expansive desert landscape will make you feel like you’re on another planet. There’s also an aerial tour of the Nazca Lines, ancient geoglyphs that were believed to have been created by the Nazca culture between 500 BC and 500 AD. Due to their isolation on a dry, windless, stable plateau, they’ve been naturally preserved for thousands of years and are predicted to stay intact for years to come.

Simple Mobile Article #2 - DR

Get a behind-the-scenes look at your favorite films by visiting Los Tres Ojos in the Dominican Republic.Getty

3. Dominican Republic

If traveling to a Caribbean island is more your style, the Dominican Republic is a great option to check out this summer. For a tranquil yet thrilling adventure, you should definitely visit the 27 Charcos, a series of natural waterfalls that you can climb, jump, and swim in, with the support of a travel guide. If you love to hike, make sure a trip to Cordillera Central is on your itinerary. It’s the highest mountain range in the Dominican Republic and in all of the West Indies, so pack layers to stay warm once you get to the top. Then there’s Los Tres Ojos, the perfect place to discover an expansive world below the DR surface. This 50-yard open air limestone cave also doubles as a famous film production location, having been featured in movies like “Tarzan” and “Jurassic Park.”

Simple Mobile Article #2 - Costa Rica

The Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica remains steadily active to this day. Getty

4. Costa Rica

With a total width of 200 miles from coast to coast, the tropical climate and proximity to the ocean makes Costa Rica another fantastic travel option in Latin America. Though the summer months make up the country’s wet season, July through early August usually marks a short mid-year, mini-dry season, making this the perfect window of time for your visit. Tortuguero, or the Land of Turtles, is the only village in Costa Rica without cars. It’s a great way to experience the country’s diverse rainforest wildlife while floating through an intricate canal system. The Arenal Volcano is great for when you want to squeeze in a little learning with your adventuring. While it’s been relatively dormant since 2010, it’s still an incredible sight to explore, especially by going on one of Mistico Park’s hanging bridge tours. Be sure to bring a camera with you to get stunning shots of the tropical birds and foliage along the way.

http://www.businessinsider.com/south-american-central-american-countries-to-visit

Thank you to Carlos Fuentes, all of the attendees, the Pinellas Realtor Affiliates and Pinellas Realtor Organization for a great CIPS Americas course yesterday! The course was packed with a tremendous amount of useful information for anyone planning to conduct Real Estate business in Canada, Mexico, Central and South America. Carlos not only teaches the class but also adds so much personal experience. Historical and cultural influences, regional relationship, and investment opportunities were covered along with a special focus on Mexico.

CIPS Americas June 15, 2018 Carlos Fuentes

 

The Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) course on the Americas offers you practical information on working with Caribbean, North, Central and South American investors.  Historical and cultural influences, regional relationship, and investment opportunities are covered along with a special focus on Mexico.

SCHEDULE:
8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.: Sign-in, networking, and breakfast
8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.: Course, Light breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Seating is limited and registration is required. You MUST register in advance. Earn 7 hours of CE credit while gaining invaluable knowledge.

***This course is one of the courses required to earn the prestigious Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation. The CIPS Network comprises 2,500 real estate professionals from 50 countries and is the specialty membership group for global business practitioners of the National Association of Realtors®. The CIPS® designation prepares Realtors® to service the growing international market in their local community by focusing on culture, exchange rates, investment trends, and legal issues. Click here for more information about CIPS and the requirements to earn this prestigious designation.

Our second is event is our monthly International Marketing Session. Seating is limited so you MUST register in advance. Thank you.

5 Best Caribbean Islands to Live in 2018 Revealed

Great article-some of my favorite Caribbean Islands made the list including St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic and Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Long ago when it was affordable, I lived on St John & St Thomas & I love it. Going on a trade mission the Dominican Republic in October 2018.

According to a new report from International Living, based on affordability, value, safety and lifestyle, these five islands made their list of the Top 5 Caribbean islands to live in 2018.

Vacation News » Miami Edition | By Monsef Rachid |2018  http://www.worldpropertyjournal.com/

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Ambergris Caye, Belize

Over the last few decades, expats have flocked to English-speaking Ambergris Caye, Belize, and there are good reasons for its popularity. (Among them the fact that in 2013 and 2014, TripAdvisor readers ranked Ambergris as the best island in the world.)

Ambergris and the small nearby islands are not overly developed, which means they’ve maintained a laidback vibe. Ambergris is Belize’s center for ocean sports during the day and for partying at night. In view of all this, it’s easy to understand why real estate prices have risen, especially for beachfront property.

Getting to Ambergris is easy because both of Belize’s domestic airlines–Tropic Air and Maya Island Air–have frequent flights to the island from Belize City. You can also reach Ambergris by water taxi.

San Pedro is the major population center on Ambergris, a town of roughly 18,000 part- and full-time residents. The once-sandy main streets are now paved. But golf carts are still expats’ favorite means of transportation from home to the beach, or to the dozens of restaurants, nightclubs, and friendly mom-and-pop stores.

Surprising to many, moving to Belize is easy–U.S. currency is accepted, credit cards are widely used and well-known U.S. brands are available too; they’re expensive, but substitutes are easy to find.

After years of 16-hour days as owners and operators of a Victorian B&B and cupcake shop in Richmond, Virginia, the easy-going lifestyle of San Pedro is just what Dawn Schick and her husband, Albert, were looking for.  And in 2010, they made the move.

“We’d been vacationing here several times a year for more than six years and decided this would be our eventual retirement home. But after years of hard work we thought, why wait until ‘someday,’? Why not take the plunge right now?” Dawn explains.

“We love being outdoors and the year-round warm weather lets us go snorkeling or paddle-boarding anytime we want. The marine life here is amazing. Swimming alongside rays, tropical fish, and turtles is like being in another world. We also love that it’s not touristy here.

“Life on the island moves at a slower pace, and that’s just fine with us.”

For between $2,700 and $2,900 per month, a couple can enjoy a comfortable retirement in Ambergris Caye–a budget that includes the cost of a house or apartment rental. If you own your own home on the island outright, then expats report it’s possible for a couple to live quite comfortably on less than $2,000 a month.

Roatán, Honduras

On the English-speaking Bay Island of Roatán, 30 miles off the coast of Honduras, you will find what is arguably the best-value island real estate in the region.

For less than $175,000, you could have a two-bedroom Caribbean home right on the water in a quiet neighborhood with no tourists–your own private getaway. If you stayed just part of the year, you could rent your place out to help cover your holding costs.

If you lived on Roatán, you’d have the sound of gentle waves and the rustle of palm fronds to wake you in the mornings. Looking out your window, you’d see clear, blue skies and the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. You could occupy yourself with a swim…enjoy a cup of coffee on your deck…or just sit back in your Adirondack chair, warm up in the sun, and take in the view of your own private stretch of beach…

On this tropical island, beachfront lots can be had for under $100,000. We’re talking established developments, with amenities like a community pool and/or shared or private docks. Utilities are in place. Construction costs are reasonable, and you can build a home to your specs.

There are also plenty of turnkey condos for well under $200,000–in resort communities on the beach. And if you’re okay with walking a few minutes to the water, or setting up on a hillside with views, you’ll pay even less for a lot, home, or condo.

This is an island where “normal” people can buy a vacation home or permanent digs to live out their sunny, low-cost, and comfortable retirement. The infrastructure is good and getting better all the time, with a new power plant online and the recent opening of a hospital with specialist care and a 24-hour emergency room.

It’s still out of the mainstream, at least compared to other Caribbean island getaways, and that has kept prices affordable for real estate and day-to-day costs. A couple could live well on $2,000 to $2,500–that includes all expenses.

And it’s simply a beautiful place to look at, thanks to the tall, jungle-covered mountains, white-sand beaches, and blue Caribbean (turquoise within the reef and a deep azure beyond it). Living here, you’ll have no shortage of things to do, with plenty of parties, sunset happy hours, water sports, and other fun.

Roatán boasts an international airport–with regular flights in and out it’s accessible and it’s quick and easy to see family back home.

“The one word that always comes to mind when asked how I like living here is ‘contentment,'” says Ann Winters of her retirement on Roatán. “I have never felt so content anywhere.”

Ann and her husband Ron have much to be content about. The couple are settled into a three-bedroom house set amid lush vegetation, overlooking the crystal-clear Caribbean Sea.

“I immediately loved the sounds and smells of Roatán,” says Ann of what drew her to the island. “The sound of the ocean soothes me. I love the smell of the salt on the breeze and the way the air smells so fresh after a rain. I love the cooking smells in the downtown mercado (market) and along the streets of West End, the scents coming from the open-air fruit and vegetable stands and the fish and meat markets. The flowers in my gardens that attract hummingbirds and butterflies.”

Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Legend has it that an ancient Maya Goddess of childbirth, identified Isla de Mujeres as a sacred place. The name Isla de Mujeres means Island of Women.

It was the Spaniards in the 16th century who decided that Island of Women would, therefore, be a fitting name for this tropical paradise where they noted hundreds of idols and carvings of women.

Today Isla Mujeres, eight miles off Cancún on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, is a retreat for tourists and retirees alike and offers easy living in the sun year-round.

You can own a one-bedroom, two-bathroom penthouse condo with a view from $230,000 or rent a one-bedroom place for $700 to $1000 a month, according to local expats.

When it was time to retire back in 2008, Lawrie Lock and his wife Lynda drove from their long-time home in Canada’s Okanagan Valley to Isla Mujeres.

“We live on the windward side of the island, facing the open ocean,” says Lynda. “That’s where all the action is. We often see pods of dolphins feeding just offshore and sea turtles basking right on the surface.

“We’d vacationed on the western side of Mexico for many years. But when we discovered the Caribbean side back in 2002…Wow! The turquoise and green water, fresh sea food, and the friendly islanders here on Isla Mujeres, along with the warm weather, were too much to resist.

“We have a large circle of friends. Some live here full-time and others come for the winter months. Winter is our busiest social time and summer is our wind-down, re-group time.”

The island enjoys a warm tropical climate (low to mid-80s F for most of the year) and a laidback vibe; golf carts are preferred to cars as the main means of transport.

Every winter, the permanent population of around 13,000 is joined by thousands of snowbirds fleeing colder weather up north. At four miles long and less than a half-mile wide, this tiny Caribbean island is connected to the mainland by high-speed ferry service that leaves every 30 minutes during daylight hours.

There is plenty to do on Isla Mujeres. Naturally, water activities top the list as the nearby reef offers amazing opportunities for scuba, fishing, swimming, boating, and snorkeling. There’s even an underwater museum set up by an English sculptor to explore, if the local sea life isn’t enough. And of course, there is the seasonal migration of whale sharks which draws many to view and swim with them.

Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic

Most Americans have never heard of the little beach town of Las Terrenas in the Dominican Republic’s northeast, on the Samana Penninsula. That’s understandable–it’s a spot better known among Europeans. But it offers one of the Caribbean’s best-value escapes today.

Here you’ll find 19 miles of public beaches, and palm trees swaying in the breeze. And compared to other Caribbean islands, property in this little corner of the D.R. is a roaring bargain.

French and Italian vacationers have been coming here for decades–vacationing and then coming back to stay. Along with the tang of saltwater in the air and the scent of fresh-cut coconuts, you’ll smell French bread and croissants baking. The Italian influence is strong, too, with rich Italian gelato on offer and strong, Italian-style coffee. There’s steak, sushi, and grilled seafood, too.

Las Terrenas has everything going for it that a Caribbean island escape should. It’s not overdeveloped–there are no mega-resorts here, just boutique hotels. It has great dining, stunning scenery at every point, and a vibrant expat community.

The most incredible thing about it, though, is the real estate prices. A one-bedroom, one-bathroom loft apartment can be had for as little as $99,500.

A couple can live in this tropical haven for around $2,000 a month, although most choose to spend closer to $3,000 a month.

When Dan Williams decided to retire there, he had been working for eight years as an environmental engineer for the Missouri state government. At the time, he was 57 years old, single, and longed to retire to the beach.

“The country is a mini-continent, with a wide variety of terrain, from oceans to the highest mountains in the Caribbean, and everything in between,” he says. “The climate is wonderful. It is close to the U.S. and is economical. Weighed in the balance, it is the ideal country for me.”

After a few months in Sosúa on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, Dan decided to tag along with a friend who was taking a road trip to Las Terrenas.

Dan was enchanted and decided to relocate there. “I loved the beach, the vibe, the natural beauty, and the European flavor of the place,” he says. “It seemed like a hidden Shangri-La.”

Corn Islands, Nicaragua

The Corn Islands are two little dots of paradise just 50 miles off Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast–a retirement nirvana with white sands, gently swaying palms and blue waters where English is the official language.

Big Corn–about four square miles in size and with maybe 6,000 inhabitants–is just 10 miles (or a 30-minute boat ride) from Little Corn, one-fourth the size of Big Corn in both land mass and population.

On Little Corn, there are no roads, just a three-foot-wide sandy walkway…so no vehicles allowed.

It’s a truly undiscovered, little-developed escape. Many say it’s like the Bahamas or Grand Cayman 30 or 40 years ago.

If you’re looking for a “throw-back” getaway, you won’t find a better one in the Caribbean. Here a custom-built home with an ocean view a 15-minute walk to town and beaches can be had for $150,000. And that’s fully furnished.

“With no vehicle traffic on Little Corn and lots of hotels, hostels and restaurants, it’s fun to walk around and see what there is to see,” says Bonnie Hayman, IL Nicaragua Correspondent. “This is the place where the tourists go.

“Big Corn is more adventurous with fewer tourists. Many hire a taxi to travel from one gorgeous beach to another sampling the wonderful “Islander” food like coconut bread and rondon (fish/seafood coconut stew). Either way, a fabulous time is to be had on the Caribbean side of Nicaragua.”

The Corn Islands aren’t for everyone. Supplies that aren’t locally grown or pulled from the waters must be shipped in. With small exception, restaurants tend to serve variations of the same dishes.

“The cost of food on the island is slightly higher than on the ‘main,’ as islanders call mainland Nicaragua,” says Mike Hopkins who lived on Big Corn while housesitting on the island. “However, in general, costs are still less than U.S. prices. Weekly, my food costs averaged about $30. I also ate at some local restaurants, where meals and a couple of drinks ranged between $15 and $20. My total food and drink cost for the three-month period was approximately $610.”

The islands have a rustic charm, perfect for those looking for an off-the-beaten-track retirement.  The healthy reef is ideal for scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, and lobstering. With friendly locals and very few tourists an authentic island experience is ensured.

Two Islands not making the 2018 list

The beauty and tropical appeal of St. Thomas and Grand Bahama are impossible to deny. However, they can be costly.

“While we at International Living have nothing against St. Thomas or Grand Bahama–they’re thoroughly ‘discovered’ and that translates to more expensive,” says Jennifer Stevens, Executive Editor of International Living. “If money is no object, you might well like the polished escape either island can provide. But our list of 5 better-value picks in the Caribbean points you to lesser-known retreats where you’ll find a more laid-back vibe and lower costs.”

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Located in the Caribbean, the U.S. Virgin Islands is made up of over 60 islands–most of them uninhabited. The three most populated, and most visited, are St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix.

The appeal of these tropical islands is the mixture of the exotic and the recognizable–an island paradise with modern comforts and a balance of Caribbean culture and American practicality.

While St. Thomas may be a nice place to live, the International Living report says “avoid” due to the high cost of living. Apartments rent for about $2,000 a month and to buy a two-bedroom house in a good neighborhood will cost about $285,000-plus.

Grand Bahama Island, the Bahamas

The Bahamas is often thought of as a paradise–an upscale group of islands with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

And the Bahamas has many advantages–friendly to newcomers, there’s no foreign language to cope with, crime is relatively low, and the islands are positioned just off the Florida coast.

But the bad news is that properties aren’t cheap. Medium-sized residences in exclusive gated communities with ocean views often cost more than $2 million.

Grand Bahama is the closest major Bahamian island to the U.S.–about 55 miles off the Florida coast. It has become a haven for beach-lovers as well as divers, fishermen, golfers, and sports enthusiasts of all kinds. It’s also a prime destination for people who enjoy world-class shopping.

But living here costs a premium as it’s between 30% and 50% more expensive than in the U.S.

My heart, hopes, prayers & love go out to Mexico and the many island countries including Barbuda, Puerto Rico, St John, St Thomas, St Croix, Cuba, Dominican Republic, the British Virgin Islands & others that have been hit so terribly by the hurricanes & earthquake.

 

Please join the Pinellas International Council this Thursday for the Certified International Property Specialist course, the Americas & the International Real Estate. This informative course is being taught by  Ileana Bogaert, Realtor® and the 2012-2016 National Association of Realtors President’s Liaison to Colombia.

Thursday, June 1, 2017 | 8:30am – 5:00pm at Pinellas Realtor Board, 4590 Ulmerton,Road, Clearwater, Florida.

This course offers you practical information on working with Caribbean, North, Central and South American investors.  Historical and cultural influences, regional relationship, and investment opportunities are covered along with a special focus on Mexico.

Instructor: Ileana Bogaert   Ileana Bogaert's profile photo

Ileana Bogaert, Realtor® CIPS, GRI, AHWD, TRC, CNE
Global Real Estate Marketing Specialist
2012-2016 NAR President’s Liaison to Colombia
Bogaert’s International Realty-Marco Island – Naples – Miami

SCHEDULE:
8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.: Sign-in, networking, and breakfast
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.: Course

Light breakfast and lunch will be provided.
Seating is limited and registration is required.

REGISTRATION:  http://pinellasrealtor.org/education-and-events-calendar/

***This course is one of the courses required to earn the prestigious Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation. The CIPS Network comprises 2,500 real estate professionals from 50 countries and is the specialty membership group for global business practitioners of the National Association of Realtors®. The CIPS® designation prepares Realtors® to service the growing international market in their local community by focusing on culture, exchange rates, investment trends, and legal issues. Click here for more information about CIPS and the requirements to earn this prestigious designation.

Contact: Jan Dean
Email: JDean@tampabayrealtor.com
Phone: 727-216-3004
Pinellas REALTOR Organization
4590 Ulmerton Road
Clearwater FL 33762

Tibetan monks with horns Florida CraftArt st petersburg

Sacred Art Tour of Tibetan Monks 2017

From January 31-February 5th, Florida CraftArt welcomes eight exiled Tibetan Buddhist Monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery in India who will create a Sacred World Peace Sand Mandala that was designed by the Dalai Lama and depicts all religions in harmony.

World Peace Sand Mandala

Saturday, February 4, 2017 10:00am
Creation of Mandala
Sunday, February 5, 2017 12:00pm
Finalization of Mandala
Sunday, February 5, 2017 1:00pm
Dissolution Ceremony

During the closing ceremony on Sunday, February 5 at 1 p.m., the monks will dismantle the mandala, sweeping up the colored sand to symbolize the impermanence of all phenomena. It is meant to be a teaching to show that everything that exists has a beginning, a middle and an end. Then monks will then lead a procession to Tampa Bay where they will deposit the sand and perform a Buddhist blessing.

Joe Turner’s Come and Gone – Saturday & Sunday 3pm

American Stage Theatre Company at Raymond James Theatre-163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg

August Wilson’s Century Cycle, owners of a boarding house play host to a makeshift family of people with connections to slavery. Some stay days, some longer. Through Feb. 26. $39-$49.

The Golden Ticket – Saturday

Coliseum-535 Fourth Ave. N, St. Petersburg

The 86th annual All Children’s Hospital Charity Ball features dinner, dancing and an auction. Benefits Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. Starts at 6 or 6:30 p.m. $250.

Frida Kahlo at The Dali     through April 17th, 2017  http://thedali.org/   downtown waterfront of St Pete

This exhibits gives us some insight into the extraordinary career and life of the great 20th century Mexican artist. More than 60 Kahlo pieces are on display, including 15 paintings, seven drawings and numerous personal photographs from the celebrated female artist. The outdoor portion of the exhibition includes a special collection of flowers and plants representative of those in Kahlo’s own garden at Casa Azul. I have been lucky enough to visit her beloved Casa Azul in the Coyoacán district of Mexico City with a dear friend. I was in cielo (or heaven)!

 

Here are International Living’s picks for the top five places to escape to if politics is getting you down.

Top 5 Best Countries to Escape U.S. Election Results Revealed

1. Mexico

Mexico is the only place in the world where U.S. citizens can enjoy an affordable overseas retirement, live right on the beach at affordable prices, yet remain within minutes of the U.S. by car.

Plus, right now with the current exchange rate of the U.S. dollar against the deflated peso, Mexico is a huge bargain.

With its moon-lit fiestas, languid white-sand beaches, ancient colonial towns set in the rugged Sierras, and Mayan pyramids rising from the misty Yucatan jungle, it’s no wonder so many people are starting new lives in Mexico.

With rapidly rising fuel, healthcare, food, and travel costs back home, it’s nice to know that there are still places where it’s possible to live well without burning through retirement savings. Mexico is one such place.

2. Panama

Tropical beaches, First-World infrastructure, high-quality healthcare, welcoming people…there are many things to love about Panama.

Retirees are drawn here by the Pensionado program, one of the best retiree benefits programs in the world. Younger adults…some with children in tow…are moving here in increasing numbers to take advantage of the ease of doing business and the hip, international vibe.

For many, the low cost of living is a major factor in choosing Panama, as is the fact that Panama uses the U.S. dollar. Expats living here have seen their costs drop substantially.

3. Costa Rica

Costa Rica…the name alone conjures up visions of lush tropical rain forests and crashing surf on long stretches of white-sand beaches.

Costa Rica inspires these visions for two reasons. Number one, they’re true. Costa Rica is one of the most biologically diverse and beautiful spots on earth, with Pacific and Atlantic coastlines that are the stuff of legend.

The second reason that the idea of Costa Rica can instantly create pictures of tropical splendor is that it has been one of the most popular destinations for expats and second-home owners for decades.

One place that has been very popular over the years is Costa Rica’s Central Valley…a spot that cradles the country’s thriving capital of San José yet also offers rustic and rural pleasure in abundance, as well as a mild, spring-like climate year-round. The Arenal region, with its centerpiece 33-square-mile lake, is also increasingly popular. It is three hours northwest of San José…a region of farmland, pasture, virgin forest, and unspoiled lake views.

4. Ecuador

Ecuador really does have everything…from the Galapagos Islands to the Amazon basin and the Andes Mountains, from big, modern cities to small, quaint villages. And up until now, one particular area of Ecuador has been overlooked–and that’s its 937 miles of Pacific coastline and its beautiful mainland beaches.

Ecuador draws a wide range of foreigners: entrepreneurs, travelers, humanitarian workers, foreign officials, diplomats, business people of all stripes, and retirees looking to stretch their budget and experience a different way of life. Many expats are attracted by the country’s less-intrusive government and the tranquility of being removed from the terrorist and antiterrorist campaigns that make headlines in other parts of the world.

Generally speaking, the expats who have settled in Ecuador are those who tend to blend into society rather than live together in expat-oriented communities. Nonetheless, a bit of time in any town of significant size in Ecuador is all it takes to find the gringo haunts and watering holes.

5. Colombia

Colombia is no longer just a place for adventurers, speculators and risk-takers. It’s a country that’s hitting its full stride as an expat destination this year as the numbers of expat couples, younger people with portable careers, and single men and women who’ve found the ideal place to live or retire increase. And many of the preconceptions about Colombia being dangerous are at least a decade out of date.

Located at the northern tip of South America, Colombia is where the Pacific and the Caribbean collide with the Andes and the Amazon. It’s a country that is more beautiful, dramatic, and diverse than nearly any other. It offers sparkling colonial cities and world-famous resorts along the Caribbean.

Just three hours from Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Colombia welcomes nonstop flights into Bogotá, Medellin, Armenia, Barranquilla, and Cali.

In cities and towns in Colombia, expats find a perfect climate that’s neither too hot nor too cool (60 F to 80 F all year); amazing natural surroundings; plenty of cultural events; history-filled cities; superb healthcare; friendly people; and a welcoming country…all with a fantastically low cost of living–figure $1,500 a month for a couple, all in.

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

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  • 2019 Florida Legislature adjourns: Remote notaries, open permits & environment among victories May 6, 2019
    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — May 4, 2019 — 2:16 pm — Your world got a little bit easier thanks to new legislation that brings modern technology and common sense to transactions. The Florida Legislature, which ended its 60-day legislative session minutes ago, passed two bills many Florida Realtors’ members had requested. One allows the use of […]
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  • UPDATE: PRO/CPAR and HCAR merger March 25, 2019
    Pinellas Realtor Organization/Central Pasco Chapter members voted to merge with Hernando County Association of Realtors (HCAR). Although HCAR’s Board of Directors was on board to offer the Plan of Merger to its membership for a vote, an HCAR member filed a lawsuit to block the vote. A court order was issued forbidding their members from […]
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  • New FREC Team Rules: Are You Compliant? March 5, 2019
    Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) has approved a New Team Advertising Rule that will impact brokerage office procedures and team advertising. Brokers and teams have until July 1, 2019 to comply, but it’s not too early to prepare. Teams “Team or group advertising” shall mean a name or logo used by one or more real […]
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  • ‘Welcome’ to all our new members who joined us in January February 4, 2019
    PRO/CPAR would like to welcome all of our new REALTORS® who joined us in January! We are happy to have you as a part of our organization and wish you much success in your careers. A Better Life Realty Rachel  Trimble Align Right Realty LLC Grecia Clark Align Right Realty NP Yadira Bellido American Real […]
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  • Realtor Members can win their 2020 dues by promoting their listings January 14, 2019
    The Affiliate Business Partners want to give back to our Realtor members in a major way this year. Not only do they host a monthly Pitch Session, where Realtor members can share their listings with the 100+ meeting attendees, but now they are offering an extra incentive to do so! If a Realtor member attends […]
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