A popular expat hub, the Belizean island of Ambergris Caye is no stranger to visitors. From August 6 to August 8, the island welcomes an influx of a different kind, as performers and artists from across the Maya world descend on Ambergris for the International Costa Maya Festival. This colorful event is a spectacle of music, dance, and food, as the region’s Maya ancestry is celebrated in vivid style.
He marched his army from Macedonia to beyond the borders of the known world. On the banks of the Ganges, in modern-day India, he finally stopped. The Indians called him “Sikandar,” but we know him better as Alexander the Great. And legend has it that remnants of his army settled in the Himalayas, where they have remained to this day.
Jacques Cousteau once declared the Blue Hole in Belize to be one of the best diving spots in the world—and few would disagree. The Blue Hole, part of the Lighthouse Reef system, is an almost-perfect circular limestone sinkhole that is nearly 1,000 feet wide and more than 400 feet deep. This striking ocean feature sits like a giant blue pupil in a sea of turquoise.
Sweden may have a reputation as one of the most modern and progressive nations on Earth, but its capital, Stockholm—spread across 14 islands—still manages to preserve its past in resplendent style. At the heart of the city stands the Royal Palace, the magnificent residence of Sweden’s much-loved monarch, king Carl XVI Gustaf. This glorious, baroque-style building, open to the public, houses king Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities, with over 200 stone sculptures from across Europe.
Scandinavia is one of the most expensive regions in the world… and Norway is usually the most expensive country within Scandinavia. But thanks to a falling oil price coinciding with a rising U.S. dollar, Norway is on the bargain counter. The Norwegian krone recently touched a 13-year low against the dollar, while the shares of Statoil, Norway’s largest oil company, recently bounced off a six-year low (in dollar terms). These multi-year lows offer enticing buying opportunities for the forward-looking investor.
Morning is my favorite time of day here in Cotacachi. The local stores are just beginning to open, street vendors are pushing their carts into position, and the bells of Iglesia Matriz are softly chiming. Nothing but blue sky means perfect views of the two dormant volcanoes that stand guard on either side of this small town and her valley. I’m walking the mile from my home into the center with my son. Our route brings us into town from the east and our first stop is Parque San Francisco, the smaller of two plazas. Park benches sit under sturdy palms surrounded by shrubbery and flowers.
The dazzling Caribbean island of Roatán offers much more than spectacular sugarsand beaches and cozy, inviting bays. You’ll also find mountainous terrain lush with vibrant tropical flowers. Head up any of the many hills that form the interior to be awestruck by the surrounding Caribbean Sea, its surface sparkling in the sun, its depths tinged with aquamarine, topaz, and soft green hues.
“We have never regretted our decision,” says Ellen Ma of her and her husband Jim’s move to the island of Penang in northeast Malaysia. “Financially it made sense, and when you throw in high-speed internet, cable TV, great food, and a large, diverse expat community, we wish we had done it sooner. We were also surprised how many North Americans are here. There are a lot and that’s also comforting… we immediately had people who understood us.”
When Jim Archibald found himself retiring on disability in his mid-50s, he had a stark choice. “I could have moved to some remote backwater place and lived in a shack, but that’s not very appealing,” he says. For 25 years the Californian had run his own business making auto parts. Now retired, he knew his budget would be very tight, so the obvious answer to him was “to move to a place with a low cost of living.”
It’s the simple things I love most about life in Bali, one of more than 17,000 islands making up the country of Indonesia. For instance, taking my dogs Abby and Yuki for a walk along the beach at sunset, and dropping in to my favorite beach bar, Warung Rasta, for a cold beer or two. The rickety wooden tables sit right on the black, volcanic sand, and it is the perfect place to watch the sun go down, as Java’s volcanoes loom to the west. As dogs, chickens, and pigs run around the beach, I give the staff a quick wave and they bring me a beer.