Old beliefs die hard—but we’re doing our best here at International Living to speed them on their way. From Penang, Malaysia to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico… Dublin, Ireland to the Pacific coast of Nicaragua… from Bilbao, Spain to Bangkok, Thailand, … this month’s issue is packed with boots-on-the-ground revelations about destinations you may think you know…
January 1, get initiated into the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim Club by diving into the frigid English Bay. The swim dates back to the 1920s. The coldest recorded water temperature? 38 F in 1928.
Jungle-clad mountains sweep down to the ocean, pristine beaches are waiting for your footprints, and temperatures average 77 F to 90 F… There’s a lot to explore along Ecuador’s 1,800-mile Paciﬁc coast. Here you’ll ﬁnd some of the least-expensive beachfront towns in the world. Salinas is one of the coast’s most popular resorts. Just 90 miles from Guayaquil, the country’s largest city...
Amid the towers of steel and chrome waft the tantalizing smells of seafood and spices. Argentine, Cuban, Swiss, German, Thai, and Indian are only a few of the offerings you’ll find today in Panama City. Back home you may find yourself banished to the burbs for affordable food. But here you can eat at the finest gourmet restaurants in the financial district where the beautiful people play...
I’m five minutes out of town on the beautiful white sands of Sokha Beach, contemplating the glass-flat turquoise waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Small islands dot the horizon. Some have overnight accommodation. On others you can bring your tent. With only four other people on this beach, it’s quiet here and leaving won’t be easy.
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I’m sipping rich coffee—just poured from a French press—when it happens. A white horse ambles by, no rider or groom in sight. Behind him, there appears another… his chestnut brother. Single file they clippety-clop into focus and I make a mental note: Favorite image of the day.
I am relaxing on our front porch at our home in Uruguay, about two miles from downtown Punta del Este. Another cloudless November morning, the crystal-clear sunshine and gentle sea breeze promise another comfortable spring day. Punta del Este has been a perennially solid place to invest, with a high-performing rental market.
For years, Lucky and Erin Ivy say, they were living proof of the phrase “you can’t see the forest for the trees.” “We were living in Texas and both working high-pressure, 10- to 12-hour days, six days a week,” says Erin. “I worked in property management and Lucky ran a division of a multi-million-dollar lightweight concrete company. He was overweight and needed medication for high blood pressure.” Then in 2004 – the day after returning from a sailing adventure in Placencia, Belize – Lucky made a routine trip to the doctor’s office. “His blood pressure was normal. The doctor was shocked,” says Erin.
If you like spending time in the garden… love to eat healthy, organic food… and enjoy traveling, there’s a way to combine these passions—and do it all for free. WWOOF—an acronym for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms—offers you a way to travel the world for next to nothing. (Normally, you pay only to get there.) At the organization’s website, Wwoof.org, you can search the database of organic farms around the world to see who’s looking for someone to help out. You can volunteer at an organic farm next to the Podacarpus National Park in Vilcabamba, Ecuador or on an apple orchard and organic bakery in Mendoza, Argentina.