After landing in Panama City, Mike traveled to Shelter Bay Marina—situated at the Caribbean entrance of the Panama Canal—to meet up with the owner and check out Escapade. Mike was thrilled with the vessel, so, after getting the green light from Ann, he bought it. The boat-buying process works about the same way as purchasing a house.
Canadian and U.S. citizens don’t need a visa to enter Colombia as a tourist. If it’s your first time in the calendar year to enter Colombia, you can stay for up to 90 days. If you decide to stay longer, you can apply for a 90-day extension at one of 27 Migración Colombia offices throughout the country.
An apostille is an internationally-recognized certification applied to certain types of public documents, which can include diplomas, marriage licenses, patents, birth certificates, judgments, pension and Social Security documents, or adoption papers. Countries that have signed the Apostille Convention, a treaty drafted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law, require foreigners to submit apostilled documents when conducting certain types of business.
I remember clearly the knot that formed in my stomach as I approached the Colombian border for the first time. I had been living in Cusco, Peru, and in order to escape the rainy season there I was taking a trip. Colombia was a country that scared me. So why was I going? All I can say is curiosity had gotten the better of me. I had spoken with lots of backpackers passing through Peru and each and every one had told me Colombia was their favorite South American country.
The tourism market in Colombia’s Coffee Triangle is heating up fast—and expat hostel owners are setting up shop and cashing in. For decades, the Coffee Triangle—referred to locally as El Eje Cafetero—has been a favorite vacation spot for Colombians. But an increasing number of foreign tourists are descending on the region, too.
Changing nutritional preferences and the restructuring of society are leading to new consumer trends in Colombia—and creating opportunities for expat entrepreneurs in the health-food market. BioPlaza is a chain of four outlets in Bogotá—three of them franchised—that is seeking to exploit this demand and is now looking for franchisees. The man behind it is Alex von Loebell, 49, who came to Colombia from Germany, where he had studied marketing and advertising, and worked in the media.
As the bus rounds the bend, a town appears in the distance— perched majestically atop a mountain, surrounded by deep green forests, cattle ranches, and coffee farms. White-washed walls reflect the golden afternoon sun and a church bell tower rises into the heavens. Salento, my destination, where expats go to live a stylish country life.
When it’s time to retire, you won’t find Ann Roess sitting on the porch with a pair of knitting needles, or her husband Mike puttering around the yard with pruning shears.
In 2008 I moved to Cusco, Peru, the gateway to the spectacular Incan ruins of Machu Picchu. For 25 years, I had dreamed of living abroad, exploring ancient cultures, and possibly opening a business in tourism.
If you dream of becoming a publishing magnate, you should probably marry a Hearst rather than start an English-language newspaper in Colombia. But find the right niche for a publication and you could create a profitable new business, while delivering essential information to news-hungry expats, travelers, and locals.