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Old 22-02-2016, 08:56   #1
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Permanent residence in Central America?

Retiring soon and will be relocating to Central America or the Caribbean. If you had the choice and only 1500.00usd per month to spend, where would you chose and why?? Prefer to buy and not rent. Wife wants to be on land, and I want to cruise and dive, so buying a home and boat, makes us both happy!!
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Old 22-02-2016, 09:12   #2
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Re: Permanent residence in Central America??

$1500 a month is not a large sum but there are places that would allow you to live in a decent fashion. Some areas around Panama are doable and almost anywhere in Colombia. My preference would be Colombia. There isn't an island in the Caribbean that I would want to live on 24/7 360 days out of the year. As you are getting older you have to think about health care as well. While I prefer Colombia I should mention that Panama really trys to attract people that are about to retire and offers many benifits from discounted airline tickets to discounted food at restaurants and they are big discounts as in around 30% plus these are only 2 of many benifits for moving there.
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Old 22-02-2016, 10:26   #3
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Re: Permanent residence in Central America??

1500usd monthly for two people?? oops permanence in mexico requires a minimum of 2895 for a couple.
if you hold turistica then temporal fro enough years, you may be able to buy your visa with less income mandated.
good luck.
research the website for immigration in mexico. they have the guidelines.
you probably will be able to locate similar for other central american countries if you use the search engines you choose to use in your computer.
panama used to have an expat program, havent heard anything recently..
some find peace love and happiness in ecuador---
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Old 22-02-2016, 21:55   #4
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Re: Permanent residence in Central America??

Tight budget, and won't meet legal residency requirements for a couple in some places. Maintain a house and a boat on $1,500/month? And then live off what?

Ive lived in Belize, Guatemala, and now Panama and traveled and/or cruised extensively in all other CA countries.

Rents are relatively inexpensive in most areas and risk free (unlike buying), so an option worth considering. For example, last year we rented a nice 2,000+ sq ft home in Panama, fully furnished (absolutely every thing, even sheets & towels), for $695/per month, utilities & internet included. Migthy hard to beat that. Regardless, I recommend renting for at least a year to make sure its for you (many discover its not within a year).

How expensive mostly depends on how you chose to live. Locals throughout the region support families on a few hundred dollars a month, but not many gringos could get by on that.

Least expensive: Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Hondruas (the CA-4).

Panama is a bit more expensive, but still quite reasonable and a good choice for a lot of reasons.

Most expensive, by far: Belize & Costa Rica.

Residency is easy in most CA countries, except Belize of course which is a PITA.
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Old 22-02-2016, 22:01   #5
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Re: Permanent residence in Central America??

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
...
panama used to have an expat program, havent heard anything recently..
...
Still does. Panama has a number of residency options, more than any country I know. "Jubilado" (retirement residency) requires an official pension of $1,000/month for an individual (forget how much for a couple).
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Old 23-02-2016, 06:23   #6
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Re: Permanent residence in Central America??

BTW you can find current residency requirements for many countries on the USA Embassy/Consulate site or the same for that country.

Residency is easy & inexpensive in Guate and other CA4 countries.

If you dont meet the residency requirements, its not a big deal in most places. You can enter on a tourist visa and just have to leave the country periodically. How frequently depends on the country. Usually anywhere from 30 days to 6 months. CA4 countries are 90 days, Panama is 6 months. However, your foreign driver's license is only good for 30-90 days. I know people who've lived in Central America for decades on tourist visa. I lived in Guate for many years before finally getting residency. Moving boats around, I was never in country more than 90 days anyway so never really needed it. Got it for other legal purposes.

For example, we are working on residency in Panama, but not complete yet, so still have to make visa runs (actually driver's license runs, good for 90 days here in Panama). No big deal, we just hop across the border and spend a nice weekend in San Vito, Costa Rica. Beautiful place and only about 2 hours away including border crossings.

What is your budget range for a home? That will help narrow down options.
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Old 23-02-2016, 06:52   #7
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Re: Permanent residence in Central America??

Some clarification to my question...Home and boat purchase/maintenance are not coming out of the 1500 per month. 1500 is just for living expenses. We can show the required monthly pension amount(if needed) required for all the countries mentioned above. Home budget 125K- 200K.
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Old 23-02-2016, 08:38   #8
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Re: Permanent residence in Central America??

Puerto Rico does have some beautiful places and falls well within your budget and really don't have to worry about any residency restrictions.
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Old 23-02-2016, 08:41   #9
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Re: Permanent residence in Central America??

Re; Costa Rica. Check out this web site. The guy is not a real estate broker, so you'll get a more realistic picture of life. It is my understanding that Costa Rica has less problems than other Central American countries in that there is no indigenous population in conflict with the decedents of the Spanish that came 400-500 years ago.

The Real Costa Rica. Everything you want or need to know about Costa Rica
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Old 23-02-2016, 09:43   #10
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Re: Permanent residence in Central America??

If you do much research on living in C.A. you will see this statement often; spend some months in your country of choice before buying. Unless you have already spend at least a few months in a country, this is very good advice. I just love these countries, but there is some major cultural differences that a lot of people can't contend with. Also you might love it, but your spouse may not care for it.
What you are proposing can be done with a bit of research. Good luck.
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Old 23-02-2016, 09:46   #11
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Re: Permanent residence in Central America??

https://internationalliving.com/

Take a look at Ecuador. But those are the people who will give you straight scoop about being an expat anywhere in the world.

There is a conference in April in New Orleans. But just go up and read the free stuff first so that you can get your feet wet.

Ecuador does have a coast so you can have your boat. But it is the mountains that get a lot of the attention.

Lots of rivers. You can make your budget work in many places especially as you have capital.
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Old 23-02-2016, 09:54   #12
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Re: Permanent residence in Central America??

I have this to Jamaica so would put that there.

Land is not terribly expensive, and there are no property taxes to speak of. So once you own it there is no line item annually to continue owning it.

Air fair is cheap, and there are regular flights to Miami that most of the expats use for any medical issues more than just the routine. Cost of living is pretty low, and outside of the major cities very safe.

The major downside is very high tarrifs on goods from the US. But there are a lot of ways around them once you become a resident. Including a one time exception on a container for household goods.
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Old 23-02-2016, 11:15   #13
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Re: Permanent residence in Central America??

Got two aunts who live in Costa Rica for almost 40 years now. They seem like happy campers. They maintain a rather palatial lifestyle on a self employed budget.
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Old 23-02-2016, 11:27   #14
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Re: Permanent residence in Central America??

On a recent trip to Costa Rica, I bumped into a friend who moved there several years ago. He tells me that if you can show an income (pension) of $1,200 a month you can get status. Once you have that, health insurance is $80 a month.
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Old 23-02-2016, 12:40   #15
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Re: Permanent residence in Central America??

you might want to check this site - tons of info on many attractive places

International living - Live, Retire and Invest Overseas.
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