Tropical Rain Forests

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Tropical Rainforest Facts

Before beginning your search for your ideal home in the tropics becoming aware of tropical rainforest facts is a critical item to understand because if it is green, if it is tropical it is most likely part of a rain forest.

Tropical rainforests have annual rainfall between 250 cm and 450 cm (98 to 177 inches) and the precipitation is frequently seasonal. It is estimated that 50% of the world’s flora and fauna live in the tropical rainforests which explains the beautiful lush green forests that abound.

Tropical rainforest map
As you can see if you are planning to move to the tropics you are likely to encounter rain

One critical thing to recognize is you will encounter months and months of rain and almost every day.

Finding fun things to do when you’re bored.

Clearly with so much time in wet soggy weather it is important to find fun things to do when you are bored. Most likely the best thing to do is to find a group of like minded friends and go out for a coffee and a snack. Dinners are also popular and can be enjoyed as a couple or with a large group of friends. Caution try to avoid the ever present complainer, they exist everywhere and serve no purpose other than to bring you down. The other thing to try and avoid is attending happy hours EVERY day of the week.

Indoor hobbies are a great way to pass the rainy system be it painting, playing cards, playing backgammon, checkers and or chess are all suitable ways to enjoy yourself indoors. Do you play music? Can you sing and dance? These are great ways to make friends and to spend your time alone.

If you are like my wife she prefers to talk talk talk and this used to be costly endeavour, but using Voice Over IP Internet telephone service has drastically reduced this expense. You can read a more thorough review of VOIP telephone systems here. In addition my wife likes to shop even if it is only window shopping. Since retiring in the tropics she has discovered online shopping and particularly enjoys comparisons shopping which she does at Amazon, Walmart and Ebay here. Truth be told I enjoy that too, just less than she does.

While my wife is a talker, I prefer TV, movies and music from my home country. The best solution to these services is android micro computers with the Kodi application available at the Google play You can read our review of the best of these products here.

In addition to android set top streaming TV micro computers Amazon has its own entries in the streaming media market known as Fire TV. Fire TV currently has two base hardware options, the Fire TV set top box is reviewed here. In summary it is competitive with other android TV set top boxes in both price and performance. The less expensive less powerful Amazon Fire TV Stick which we review here is both more portable and less expensive than the Android or the Fire TV set top boxes.

Residency Visa, Will my Mastercard Work?

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Permanent Resident Visa

Humor aside, before you can live legally in most foreign countries you have to secure a permanent resident visa.  Several locations to begin your investigation are a specific country oriented Facebook group such as  Expats in Panama or Gringo Expats in Costa Rica where you can ask questions and get a flavor about the lives of people who live in the country you are investigating.

I have seen many people refer potential newcomers to immigration attorneys they recommend in these two and other expat oriented Facebook groups.  Although is becoming less and less popular they also have groups devoted to people living in a specific country and you may well find good advice there also.

Finally a simple search for the name of the country you are investigating + immigration attorney  will yield many results.  Of the methods mentioned  we favor researching  country specific Facebook Expat groups.

What to Look for When Choosing Your Immigration Attorney

immigration attorneys
Find a great immigration attorney

Several factors are important to consider when choosing your immigration attorney.  Unless you are bilingual and know legal vocabulary in your new country’s native language, you want a bilingual immigration attorney.

Compare costs between several recommended attorneys while most are reasonable a few think being an attorney means legal robbery.

Inquire about their experience in the field of immigration and ask for a list of references you can contact.

Customer service, how rapidly do they answer your questions or attend to your needs.  Inquire what their service being quoted encompasses, and have them put that in writing.

Will you need an additional work permit, will you have to pay for other visas for family members, will you have to renew the visa and if so how often and how difficult is the renewal process.

These are all questions your immigration attorney should answer in writing before you hire them  Having the right attorney represent you during immigration will greatly simplify the process.


If you have any suggestions, ideas and or questions please leave a comment below.

Research online and on the ground

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Living in the tropics

While much can be learned about living in the tropics by studying online, particularly using social media groups of people living where you are considering as your new home, no research will be complete without at least one visit to the country.

Reading and dreaming about what it is like to live in the sun versus experiencing it on a day to day basis are two very different things.  I may be wrong, but I bet your dreams do not include a scorpion in your bathroom, so let us agree much can be learned from research on the ground.

Cheap tropical trips

Airport travelers
On the way to paradise

It would be a mistake to seek out tropical vacations or tropical travel packages, it will be better when planning your trip to concentrate on cheap tropical trips for several reasons.

The most important reason to prioritize inexpensive versus a travel package is to remember why you are visiting.  While a week spent at a resort by the sea would no doubt be relaxing and fun, you most likely would learn little about the availability of the medications you use, or the process of obtaining a residency visa.  The objective of this trip is to meet people who have already retired in the tropics and to tap their knowledge and experience.

Another objective is to see different areas of the country and get an idea of what area best fits your dream. Finally, investigate what day to day life would be like.  Go to the grocery store and mini markets, visit a hardware store,  go to a pharmacy, inquire about doctors and dentists,  visit recreational sites,  remember you are investigating your future happiness! A great way to do this is to housesit. We review Trusted Housesitters, the number one site that can help you live like a local and not pay for your lodging while visiting prospective retirement locations.

Personal friends of ours, Clyde and Terry Coles,  are avid travellers who have found a way to see the world far less expensively than staying in a hotel, even an economy hotel.  They run a wonderful blog named Travel the World Housesitting where they help people learn how to house sit and one of their blog posts is how to take a cheap vacation by housesitting.

Take notes

Before you visit make a list of things to investigate while you are there, take notes on that same list that detail what your learned and how or from whom you learned it.  Record contact information of people who helped you and those who you enjoyed meeting.  These notes will be invaluable to you once you return home and collect your thoughts and impressions.

Travel in Peace Protect Your Health

car wreck
Make sure you are covered

Many people do not realize that when they travel outside of their home country their existing health insurance does not provide coverage once they leave the country where they purchased it.

The consequences of being uninsured in a foreign country are significant ranging from having to pay for medical care on the spot out of pocket to being denied care when you really need it.  Fortunately an inexpensive solution exists, and that is to buy a travel insurance policy.  You can investigate and purchase a policy by clicking here.


If you have any suggestions, ideas and or questions please leave a comment below.

Investigate personal safety

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International Travel Safety Tips

A good place to begin investigating if a country is your potential paradise or a living hell on  earth is to investigate

a crime scene

how safe it is to visit.  Two great places to begin to investigate international travel safety tips are the US State Deñpartment warnings and alerts and the US  State Department country specific information.   A third option for a deeper country specific background is the US Central Intelligence Agency.

We recommend you use all three sites at the beginning of your research.If you have not done so already, joining the US State Department Smart Traveller Enrollment Program is a great way to notify the local US Embassy of a visit to or permanent residence in a foreign country.

Research and join facebook expatriate groups

Another excellent source of information about life in the countries you are considering is to join a facebook country specific group.  This will allow you to read experiences, challenges, joys and sorrows of people living  in  the country or like yourself investigating a life there.  Remember not everything you  read on facebook is accurate or true but it will give you a great place to learn about the culture of the countries you are considering.


If you have any suggestions, ideas and or questions please leave a comment below.

Medical Concerns to Consider

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Quality of Healthcare

Probably the most important health related concern is what is the quality of health care that is available in the location you are planning to relocate to.  If there is a specific medical condition research into the availability of medications and medical services specific to that condition is vital.   To a lesser extent the cost of health care in your

Medical Care
Check the Quality of Medical Care

new location is also a concern, but this one can be mitigated with affordable international health insurance.


Quality of Care

Almost as important as the quality of health care is the quality of care for other services such as hospice care and nursing homes.

Affordable International Health Insurance

In many locations local health insurance is available even to people with preexisting conditions.  These policies are most often underwritten by international insurance providers and even though they are underwritten by international insurance companies the policies are applicable to services acquired only in the country of residence.

A far more flexible option is to purchase an international health insurance policy that covers medical costs in all or a select subset of countries around the world.  The best way to begin your research is to compare international health insurance options by clicking here.


If you have any suggestions, ideas and or questions please leave a comment below.

Investigate the foreign countries that interest you

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How to live in a foreign country

If this is the start of your journey your research should be broad.  Areas to investigate would include how to live in a foreign country, the advantages of living in a foreign country, the effects of living in a foreign country, and living in a foreign country pros and cons.  While these may seem to be very general areas to investigate they will provide you with finer grained ideas for making your investigation more specific.

Determine the things that concern you and if you have one, your partner.

Are there medical concerns to consider?  Do you want to live in a warm climate, or a cooler mountainous climate?

Tropical mountains
Cool temperate tropical living
Tropical beach
Sand sea and palm trees

Do extended periods of rainfall drive you crazy?  What type of recreation do you need regular access to?  Does currency exchange worry you?  Is political instability a factor?  Is ease of entrance to and exit from your adopted home important?  Is the expense and difficulty in obtaining a residency visa important?    These are some of the items you may wish to investigate in the beginning.


If you have any suggestions, ideas and or questions please leave a comment below.