Thursday, December 26, 2013

TRAVEL + LEISURE Best Places to Travel in 2014

Playa Carrizalillo, Puerto Escondido,Mexico

Trujillo-Paumier Photography

Pro riders arrive in this town along the Oaxacan coast and make a beeline for Playa Zicatela, a.k.a. the Mexican Pipeline. But Playa Carrizalillo, a quiet cove accessible via a 150-step stairway, has waters gentle enough for the rest of us; take a dip, snorkel, then down oysters from one of the handful of beach shacks. In recent years, Puerto (as the locals call it) has been upping its hip factor: case in point, the just-opened Hotel Escondido, a 16-room, oceanfront oasis from the cult-favorite Grupo Habita brand. —Jeff Spurrier

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

TRAVEL +_ LEISURE Secret Caribbean Hotels

CasaSandra, Holbox, Mexico

Mr & Mrs Smith

Barefoot luxury doesn’t get much more appealing than at Holbox’s chicest hotel, the beachfront CasaSandra. Owner Sandra Perez’s artistic background yielded suites whose white-on-white elegance is punctuated with bright Mexican textiles and colorful hammocks. The restaurant serves blissfully simple seafood dishes like grilled grouper with black sesame and cilantro to a well-heeled international crowd. Daytime, meanwhile, should be reserved for taking advantage of the island’s greatest claim to fame: swimming with whale sharks. These gentle giants congregate in the waters here in great numbers from June to September

Thursday, December 5, 2013

3 Places To Live The American Retirement Dream Overseas

Kathleen Peddicord Publisher, Live and Invest Overseas recommends PV as one of three places to retire overseas:

 #3: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Mexico is a big place with a bad reputation. The reputation isn't altogether undeserved, as drug cartels do control parts of this country but not all of it, and some of the most appealing regions for both living and investing sit outside the war zones. Mexico offers two long coasts, mountain towns, and colonial cities, plus Mayan ruins, jungle, rain forest, rivers, and lakes. It's also the most accessible "overseas" haven from the United States. You could drive back and forth if you wanted.

For all these reasons, Mexico is home to the biggest established populations of American retirees in the world, making it a great choice if you seek adventure with the comforts of home. Each of the several spots that expat retirees have targeted in this country offers a different lifestyle. Puerto Vallarta is the place to go for what could be described as luxury coastal living.

Puerto Vallarta is more expensive than other places where you might consider living or retiring overseas, but in Puerto Vallarta that's not the point. This isn't developing-world living. This stretch of Mexico's Pacific coastline has already been developed to a high level. Life here can be not only comfortable but easy and fully appointed. In Puerto Vallarta, you aren't buying for someday, as you can be in many coastal destinations in Central America. In Puerto Vallarta, you can buy a world-class lifestyle in a region with world-class beaches and ocean views that is supported, right now, by world-class golf courses, marinas, restaurants, and shopping. This is a lifestyle that is available only on a limited basis worldwide, a lifestyle that is truly (not metaphorically) comparable to the best you could enjoy in southern California if you could afford it. In Puerto Vallarta you can afford it even on an average retirement budget.

You could buy a small apartment outside Puerto Vallarta town for less than $100,000, or you could buy big and fancy for $1 million-plus. Whatever you buy, you could rent it out when you're not using it. The Puerto Vallarta region, including the emerging Riviera Nayarit that runs north from it along the coast, is an active tourist rental market with a track record.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sunday, November 24, 2013

TRAVEL + LEISURE World's Coolest Ceilings

Gran Hotel Ciudad de México, Mexico City

Courtesy of Andrew Paprocki

Overlooking the Zócalo in Mexico City’s heart, the Gran Hotel is decorated in Art Nouveau style with a Louis XV–style chandelier in the lobby and gilded elevators. But its crown jewel is the Tiffany stained-glass ceiling in the lobby, installed in 1908 with 150 lights. It continues to make a big impression on viewers. “They say, ‘Wow’ because it’s so beautiful. People will just stay in the lobby; they have an emotional response to it,” says concierge Jose Luis Valadez. “Everybody who visits Mexico wants to visit this place.”

Saturday, November 23, 2013

TRAVEL + LEISURE World's Prettiest Mountain Towns

Cuetzalan, Mexico The lush green hills of Mexico's Sierra Norte—punctuated by cascading waterfalls and steep cave-studded limestone cliffs—surround this remote indigenous community. The residents here are Nahuatl, direct descendants of the Aztecs that inhabited the region centuries ago.

 Get some mountain air: Every Sunday locals flock to the market in Cuetzalan, where local farmers sell a rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables, locally grown coffee, and home-spun fabrics. If you’d rather get out into the landscape, try exploring the area’s extensive network of underground caves, reportedly the largest in Central America.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

TRAVEL + LEISURE Best Places to Unplug

Rancho La PuertaTecate,Mexico

Here’s how Rancho La Puerta, a resort and spa in Mexico’s western Baja Peninsula, describes its approach to wellness: “You don’t need an ‘app’ to unplug from life’s clutter—our Mindfulness/Reflection classes will help you tune in to your own spirit and navigate your inner terrain without the constant bombardment of outside distractions.” If that sounds like your speed, you’re probably ready to leave your iPhone 5S at home and take a cooking or art class, go for a hike in the 3,000 acres adjoining the property, or learn more about work-life balance during one of the resort’s lectures.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

International Living Presents This Explanation of the Affordable Care Act for Expats

A Doctor Explains: What the Affordable Care Act Means for Expats
By Timothy J. Garrett, MD, MBA
October 1, 2013 saw the beginning of the enrollment period for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Along with the news about glitches with the health care website came lots of questions for expats: Do expats have to enroll? Will there be penalties for expats who do not enroll? Even if expats are not required to enroll, is there a benefit to enrolling?

Here are three things that every expat should know in regards to the ACA:
  1. U.S. citizens who are bona fide residents of a foreign country are notrequired to have health insurance as mandated by the ACA.In general, U.S. citizens living outside of the United States for at least 330 days in a given year and who meet the IRS requirements to be a bona fide resident of another country are exempt from the ACA. (You’ll find the full list of requirements for bona fide residence in Form 2555 on the IRS website.)
  2. U.S. citizens living outside of the United States but who are not bona fide residents of a foreign country are required to have health insurance or face fines.
    If you:
    a) have told your country of residence that you are not a resident of that country
    b) are not required to pay income tax in your country of residence,
    then you are not a bona fide resident of that country.
    If you don’t meet these stipulations—or any of the other listed IRS requirements—and you do not purchase health insurance, then you could face fines in 2014 of $285 per family (US$95 for individuals)—or 1% of your income, whichever is the greater amount... That amount will rise to a whopping $2,085 per family (US$695 for individuals) or 2.5% of your income by 2016.
    To avoid these fines, it’s in your best interest to purchase at least minimum essential coverage.
    Good news if you are entitled to Medicare, however: Medicare qualifies as minimum essential coverage. If you’re eligible for Medicare, you won’t be at risk of fines.
  3. It could make sense for you to have minimum essential coverage under the ACA even if you are a bona fide resident of another country.
    Many expats are fortunate to live in an area with high-quality, affordable, and easily accessible health care. Those who are bona fide residents don’t have to pay for health coverage in the U.S. But even if you are a bona fide resident of a foreign country, having extra cover in the U.S. could help you to secure your own peace of mind.
    If, for any reason, you think that you or your family might have health issues that will require treatment in the United States, it’s worth thinking about purchasing a low-premium/high-deductible U.S. plan that’s coupled with a medical evacuation policy. There are several medical evacuation companies that will provide evacuation from almost any location in the world to the U.S. hospital of your choice for a reasonable membership fee.
Next steps:
The most important things you can do next are to determine whether or not you are a bona fide resident of a foreign country...and then to carefully consider your personal needs and requirements for health care.
Then, if you find you’re required under the ACA to obtain health insurance or that your circumstances make U.S. health insurance a wise choice, the next step is to shop around for the insurance plan or medical evacuation membership that best fits your needs and budget. A trusted insurance advisor who is well versed in the intricacies of the ACA can help you find the exact U.S. coverage you need.
Editor’s note: Now that you know what coverage you require in the’s time to get your overseas health plan sorted. You’ll have all the tools you need to devise that plan when you discover one comprehensive resource. It’s called the Health Care Roadmap...and it could enable you to save hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars on health care every year.
With information on everything you need to know to get top health care overseas, like the types of coverage available in the best retirement destinations worldwide...where to make your health care dollar go further...where to find the best health care in the world—at the lowest prices...and much more, it’s an essential part of your "retire overseas" checklist. You can get it—with a discount—here...until tomorrow at midnight.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tropical Storm Sonia

"Tropical Storm Sonia has increased in strength and is expected to make landfall in the area between Mazatlan and Altata late Sunday night or early Monday morning, Nov 4th, 2013.

 The Mexican Weather service is calling for 3-6 inches of rain with up to 10 inches expected in isolated areas. Residents should expect flooding in low lying areas and possible flash flooding in mountainous regions."

Our prayers are with you!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Book Review: The Fifth Codex By John Scherber

342 pages Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc. (September 19, 2010)

"The Fifth Codex" is the second in the murder series by John Scherber. Scherber lives in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico and he makes this expat favorite city the centerpiece of his novel. The reason he recently said an interview is the "...exotic backdrop with a lot of color and history."

The main character is Paul Zacher, a painter, who with his long time Mexican, girlfriend Maya, and friend Cody, an ex-policeman from Peoria get innocently roped into a deadly situation involving a Codex that could inflame Mayan separatists. Scherber describes his "...villains as flawed people, not demons or monsters. "I’m interested in the way they rationalize the crimes they commit."

The book is a page turner. Scherber is a fine writer with a witty take on events as they happen. I.m on to the third book in the series. Won't you come along?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Interview With San Miguel Resident And Writer, John Scherber

I'm pleased to interview San Miguel de Allende resident and writer, John Scherber. John has written “San Miguel de Allende: A Place in the Heart," “A Writer”s Notebook,” and a murder series set in San Miguel. I started with “Twenty Centavos and my next read will be “The Fifth Codex.” Here’s that interview:

When do you write?

I write every day, since I had writer’s block for 37 years and I feel like I need to take advantage of having the ability to work once again. I usually have more than one project going at a time, since if I hit a bump on the road I can just switch to another manuscript.

How long does it take to write a book?

It has taken me as little as six weeks to a write a first draft of one of the eleven mysteries, and now I’m working on a book about the expat experience in out of the way places and I’ve been on it for 14 months—that’s the longest. But that is a book that has me traveling back and forth across Mexico.

Do you outline the book before writing it?

This book is based on interviews, so no outline was necessary. Each town has its own story. When I started the mysteries I did chapter synopses, running about 5-6 chapters ahead of where I was and I always knew the ending. Now, because I know the characters in these books so well I’m ready to start when I know the first scene, the ending, and three or four high points along the way.

I, also, was a stockbroker for almost 30 years. How long for you and why did you quit?

I was a Paine Webber broker for 3 ½ years in the nineties. I left because I didn’t like the tension between the clients’ interests and that of the company. After that I became an unsuccessful portrait painter, but I had fun doing it.

Tell us what you like about SMA.

I moved to San Miguel in 2007. Nine earlier vacations there told me I loved the weather, the culture, the people, the historical overtones as expressed in the architecture, and the importance of cultural activities. I had always thought I’d end up living in Europe, but it became so expensive that San Miguel seemed like an exotic, but much less costly alternative.

How do you go about marketing your books?

I use Twitter and Facebook to promote titles and stay in contact with fans. I always man a table at the San Miguel Writers Conference to ‘meet and greet’ and sign books. I am currently revising my website to draw more traffic and am about to start using Google adwords.

I love A Writer’s Notebook and I could read it again and again. Why did you write it? What’s the best piece of advice in the book?

That book is really from the heart. I wrote it to help keep people from making all the mistakes I’d made over many years. Writing is a long lonely journey and in that book I tried to be the person I would’ve wanted standing by my side during that process.
Someone to whom I could turn and ask a question. I think the most important chapter is called Voice and Tone: Who is the Writer? Finding your true and confident voice is vital in getting out your message or telling your story in a believable way. People need to see and feel your humanity and vulnerability.

In “San Miguel de Allende: A Place in the Heart," Anna B. speaks about lost teenagers in America. Do you see any evidence of that in Mexico?

I don’t see it nearly as much. The family structure and values here keep the teens more connected through that difficult period.

Tell us a bit about the murder series. I enjoyed the first, but I have so many books to read. Which should I read next? Should I read them as they were published?

They came from my own reading of mysteries, thinking about what worked and what didn’t, and when I had my breakthrough back into writing, it was in thinking about how I would make a mystery for myself. I wanted a main character who had something more going in his life, so I made him a painter. He gets pulled into the mysteries because it’s thought he might ‘see things differently.’ He says that while he can see the color in shadows and the relationship between two curves, he doesn’t believe he can come into a crime scene and see anything that the police missed.

Of course he’s wrong about that. I set them mostly in Mexico because I wanted an exotic backdrop with a lot of color and history. One of the principal characters is Mexican. The villains are flawed people, not demons or monsters. I’m interested in the way they rationalize the crimes they commit.

If you started with Twenty Centavos, you should pick up The Fifth Codex next.

Are you fluent in Spanish? Should one learn the language?

My Spanish could be better. It’s good enough for day-to-day interactions, but if I have to talk to a plumber or an auto mechanic, I need help. Good language skills are a definite plus.

Anything I've missed that you'd like to write about?

I would only like to add that I’m living the life down here that I always wanted to lead.

Thank you so much John. I hope to meet you in San Miguel in February, 2014 during the San Miguel Writer’s Conference. You can read more about John Scherber and his novels and writing at

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Jinx Schwartz Answers Questions About Her Writing

One of my favorite writers is Jinx Schwartz. I've reviewed three of her books on Amazon and just finished "Troubled Sea." I live my secret sailor's life on the Sea of Cortez in Mexico through her books.

I asked Jinx if she would answer some questions about her writing. She graciously consented. Ok here goes:

You got married after buying a yacht and went sailing. What inspired you to write?

Actually I bought my first boat, a 42' trawler, while still single, a condition I hoped to remedy by owning a large yacht. It worked. I met my hubby at a yacht club, and three years later we tied the knot (nautical term), sailed under the Golden Gate bridge, and turned left. The idea was spend time in Cabo San Lucas and be back in three months. What really happened? We stayed in Mexico and still have a boat there after over twenty years. Unfortunately, that 42-footer sank in 2003 in a hurricane, but we have another and spend out winters afloat.

I wrote my first book, "The Texicans," as a result of a genealogical trip back through time. I am a ninth-generation Texan, and stumbled upon history book referring to my ancestors as a 'CONGENIAL SOCIETY FOR EVIL'. I just had to write a rebuttal to that kind of besmirching!

Did you have any writing experience? Do you read a lot? I am a voracious reader and have been since Dick and Jane. I only wrote the occasional technical paper and a few business proposals my employers considered too flippant.

I see you use CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Does that mean you self publish your books? Do you need a publisher, editor, and agent? Is it easier to go the self-publishing route that seeking the traditional way?

I've been self-pubbed, small press pubbed, audio pubbed, and now I'm totally indie. I parted ways with my publisher three years ago and went on my thing ever for my career. I have new covers, new books, new ebooks, and my latest, "Just the Pits" (book five in the Hetta Coffey series) is all me, KDP Select, and Createspace. I love Amazon! They created a whole new world for writers like me. I will say, however, a new writer without benefit of good editors, and being hit over the head with the craft of writing by a tradition publisher/editor, is in danger of putting an inferior product on the market and will pay the price in reviews. I love that I can do it all on my own now, but the ease of publishing is a two-edged sword, and many writers are able to publish work that needs a lot of work.

As you know, I compare Hetta and her way of speaking to Nelson DeMille; snarky, sarcastic, dry humor but good person and I've read everything he's written. Is that how you see Hetta and are you like that?

And I cannot tell you how flattered I am to be compared with DeMille in any way! He is one of my favorite writers, and yes, I have been known to be quick with a snark. However, now that I have Hetta to do it for me, my friends have all breathed a sigh of relief. My enemies? Still fair game.

"Troubled Sea" to me is more a literary work, more character driven, more political, while the novels "Just add Water, Salt, and Water" were more event driven. I used literary because I highlighted words deuenas, lazuline, arriere pensee.

I wrote "Troubled Sea" before embarking on the Hetta Coffey thing. Who knew Hetta as a single woman would be so popular? I do not consider "Troubled Sea" a part of the series, as it set in the future, after Hetta's antics. Literary? Gee, thanks!

I really liked Nikki in this book. Do you see a series with her as the main character or the two ladies teaming up? Am I correct that Nikki is successful despite working in a man's world, while Hetta just doesn't give a rip about working with men? Hetta and Nikki would make a good team. Or maybe not, since Nikki is the law, and Hetta is pretty much lawless. Both work in a man's world, it's just that Hetta is way past putting up with men she doesn't like or respect, and Nikki, as a DEA agent, is forced to deal with them. However, no bad guy wants to mess with either gal.

When do you write? How can you write a book so fast? Do you outline the book before writing it?

Fast? I'm lucky to turn out a book a year, but I'm working on that. It is getting easier, as a series picks up where it left off, many of the characters make return appearances, and Hetta is...well, Hetta. The difficulty is coming up with new scenarios, and keeping it fresh. Readers expect Hetta to act a certain way, and it is my job to deliver.

I write when I feel like it. When I don't feel like it, I edit.

Not big on outlines, so instead of outlining before writing a book, I outline as I go. I sometimes have an ending in mind, but not always. I come up with an idea for a story, choose a setting, and let Hetta have her head. Right now I'm writing Hetta #6, no title yet, no pub date scheduled. Just as in boating; when we leave the dock we don't have plan, and we're sticking to it.

She's baaaak! Just the Pits, Book 5 in the Hetta Coffey series, is now available And for the other four, get Hetta in a box. Hetta Coffey Collection Boxed Set Books 1-4 in Award Winning Series . ALL other BOOKS just 2.99, including the others in award-winning Hetta Coffey series. Twitter @jinxschwartz FB

Monday, October 21, 2013

If you are going to be an expat, you need to learn the language. has a wealth of information about learning Spanish, both free and not so free.

Global Real Estate: Spotlight on Mexico

National Association of Realtors (NAR) and its members, NAR Global has launched a “Spotlight” initiative to highlight these countries and the opportunities they present for our global practitioners.

Mexico is the number 1 destination for Americans living abroad — especially retiring baby-boomers.
An estimated 1 million Americans are residing in Mexico, and about half of these expatriates own real estate.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Best Places to Spend Christmas

TRAVEL + LEISURE singles out San Miguel de Allende, Mexico


Why Go: The Spanish colonial gem and cultural hot spot in central Mexico is electric at Christmas, with theatrical processions around town, numerous posadas reenactments, and fireworks, live music, and dancing in the main square, El Jardín. Be sure to sample ponche, a kind of Mexican hot toddy made of fruits and brandy, and the sweet bread rosca de reyes.
Where to Stay: Casa Sierra Nevada, managed by Orient-Express, is spread among six renovated 16th- to 18th-century historic Spanish colonial mansions—many with alfresco corridors, courtyards, and small gardens. Rooms feature tile baths, wood-burning fireplaces, bóvedas (curved ceilings), and paintings by local artists. 
Holiday Dinner: With a shaded courtyard and foundtain, Cafe de la Parroquia is a tranquil setting for gathering over a hearty meal beginning with a bowl of sopa Azteca.
—Lee Magill

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Safety Is Used To Scare Us!

"Last year, Lonely Planet US Travel Editor Robert Reid weighed in on travelers' safety in Mexico. Mexico could surely be safer but, as Reid points out, so could America."
What you don't get from most reports in the US is statistical evidence that Americans are less likely to face violence in Mexico than at home, particularly when you zero in on Mexico's most popular travel destinations. 
For me, safety is not something I disregard when traveling to Mexico, but the same goes for traveling in PDX. Would I walk in certain areas, after dark, in PDX? No! Let's use some common sense and not paint PDX or Mexico with too broad of a brush. Driving a car may be more risky than being a tourist.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Mexico’s Changing Demographics in an Era of Reform

Mexico’s Changing Demographics in an Era of Reform

Examining demographic data in detail demonstrates that immigration has clearly increased. Census data from Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) show that the number of foreigners living in Mexico increased by 95 percent from 2000 to 2010. Of the 961,121 foreign-born people living in Mexico in 2010, 738,103 were from the United States. The 2010 Mexican Census reports that the foreign-born population trends young, with about 56 percent between the ages of 20 and 39. While this is a small percentage of the 116 million people in the country, it does suggest that as Mexico grows, workers will continue to vote with their feet. The other side of this story, however, is what is happening within the general Mexican population.
I tell everyone I can that Mexico is booming and the Boomers in the US will be flowing like water south across the border. We apparently need the immigrants into the US to provide cheap labor and Mexico will benefit from the assets brought into the country from the US and Canada.  Who of us can resist the warm weather?


World's Coolest Staircases includes:

Las Pozas, Xilitla, Mexico

Built by eccentric English poet Edward James in 1962, this Surrealist sculpture garden took more than two decades to complete and covers 80-plus acres of Mexican jungle with groovy structures like the “Stairway to the Sky,” a winding staircase you can climb up several stories—but that leads nowhere. Las Pozas also has natural waterfalls and pools. —Briana Fasone

Monday, September 23, 2013

Look What I Found In Mazatlan

Yo Amigos! I was reading Mazatlan My City and saw familiar face, Rick Wise, and this headline: Rick Wise – Pitching Mazatlan Now. It was written by Lisa Lankins, a Portland, Oregon native. Lisa was born in Portland in 1962, went to grade school in Eastmoreland and then moved to Estacada for high school  Her brother and sister went to Cleveland High School. Lisa claims she is a Portland girl through and through.

The article about Rick Wise brought back old high school memories of Madison baseball. Rick and team-mate Keith Lampard tore up Portland teams with their power hitting and Rick's pitching. I graduated in 1962 and Rick and Jeith graduated with my sister Cheryl in 1964. Here's the article which Lisa Lankins allowed me to reprint:

You know the guy, maybe a favorite uncle, that looks at your shirt, points at a spot and makes you look, then flicks your nose with his finger and says, "Gotchya"? The funny guy that stands behind a 4x4 post and pretends you can't see him and peeks around it until you do see him? That is Rick Wise, a loving jokester that is very down to earth and enjoys making people smile. You would never know that Rick is also a very famous retired baseball pitcher. He comes to Mazatlan as often as he can.

Rick is from Portland Oregon. After graduating from high school, he was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies. His rookie year was 1964 when he was 18 years old. His career blossomed and on June 23rd of 1971 he played the game of his life when he threw a no hitter and made two home runs in the same game against the Cincinnati Reds. That is a record that still stands to this day, 42 years later. His career in the major leagues lasted a total 18 years, a veritable marathon compared to today's short runs. After retiring, he became a pitching coach in the minor leagues. He coached at every level of the minor leagues including independent ball, for 24 years.

In his first major league win, he pitched the 2nd game of a double header on father's day 1964 at Shea Stadium in New York. At the end of the first game, I remember everyone came streaming in from the field talking about the perfect game of Jim Bunning, and I said "I need a baseball to go warm up!" I needed to be ready for game two. It wasn't my first start, but my first win. They don't play double headers any more. The closest thing is a split day-night double header. Two games in the same day, a whole different crowd usually. That allows for 70,000 people to attend. With today's baseball salaries the way they are, they have to do that."

Rick loved the competition, and still does according to his wife Susan who says he and his brothers are constantly trying to outdo each other. He knew he wanted to be a big league ball player when he was 7 or 8 years old. "We went out and played sports all the time, played whatever sport was in season. I was a born athlete, had college scholarship offers for three sports, but I was consumed by baseball. I was in the little league world series in 1958, where we were beat 2-1. Three years later at the age of 15, I went to the Babe Ruth World Series. I threw the 2nd no hitter in the history of the Babe Ruth Series in 1961. Then 14 years later I was in a Major League World Series".

In 2009 Rick and Susan were coming north on a baseball cruise and they spent eight hours in Mazatlan. It was a port-o-call for their cruise. They REALLY liked it. They had already wanted to come back to Mexico, having been to San Miguel de Allende 20 some years earlier. Then, because they liked what they saw in Mazatlan, they decided to come back here.

Rick_wise_card_2They found a condo to rent on-line, on icebox hill, and booked a 6 week trip. Hurricane Rick just happened to hit while they were here. It didn't affect their love of Mazatlan and have been back several times since, renting houses or condos and have found house-sitting jobs, a total of 5 visits since then.

When you ask what he likes the best about Mazatlan, he quickly answers and goes through his list:
"The people - happy, always smiling, such hard workers, so engaging, helpful, friendly, and outgoing".

"The food- I like everything about the food, I like the different ingredients, the flavors, and you can sit here on the Malecón and watch the sunset during dinner. Mexican cuisine is not the Taco Bell flavor that we know in the US. It's made with local ingredients known to the area. It's very, very good. "Chuletas" or pork chops, are my favorite food on this trip. The bread and desserts are wonderful, not to mention the fish and seafood. They take such care making their food."

"The weather- the weather is kind of a given. Summers down here are hot, there no getting around it. I have worked in this kind of heat before as a professional ball player, St. Louis and Philadelphia can be similar in the summer, especially back in the 70's where they were cookie cutter stadiums with Astroturf. It felt like it was 170 degrees on the field. They were nasty hot."

"We love the summer storms and the lightening. Mazatlan has some of the most beautiful storms at night in the summer. Normally it rains at night unless there is an actual storm coming through." Rick and Susan seem to stay a little longer every time they are down, "We are here for two months this trip and going home in a week. We arrived on August 3rd."

Rick_Wise_card_4"I have gone to see the Venados games (Mazatlan's baseball team), a few times and really enjoyed the games. It's really a good brand of winter league baseball, really good competition. Mazatlan came in 2nd in their league a few years ago. If in Mazatlan, please watch them play. The season starts in October. Players use this league to hone their skills to try to get to the big leagues. So they can get experience in the off season. Everyone is trying to get to the big leagues."

When asked about how he feels about retirement, Rick replied, "Wish you could play forever, but physically you can't. It's a young man's game. You figure the average career today is 4 years in the major league, I spent 18, it was a long run".

"I went to get cigars a week ago in downtown and the guy knew I was a former pitcher in the major leagues. It stuns me how many baseball fans are here in Mazatlan. They love baseball here. They know the stats, the players and teams. It's amazing really. Everyone asks me if I know Fernando Valenzuela, who played for the Dodgers. He beat me 2-0 his rookie year in 1981. He was rookie of the year that year. He was great for Baseball, great for Los Angeles and great for Mexican Baseball."

When Rick is in Mazatlan, and you never know when that will be, he can be found enjoying a cold beer with his Mazatlan buddies, enjoying a walk with Susan around old town, or trying to make interviewers look at a spot on their shirts, haha.

"South of Normal" By Norm Schriever

· Print Length: 344 pages
· Publisher: Authority Publishing (April 19, 2013)

When I move to Mexico or even more south, I want to have read all I can about what it’s like to live there.

In “South of Normal” Norm Schriever invites us, to experience Tamarindo, Costa Rico. He doesn’t live in the resort towns, but a true, native, surfer town before the developers come in. Sounds a little like Sayulita in Mexico. Schriever introduces us, with love and humor, to the people who make this paradise home. These are the people that provide the services, scramble for work, party and hookup. They struggle, day to day, to provide for themselves and their families, yet, love where they live.

Schriever shares some of the reasons we want to move south:
· “Some people come south to die.”
· “Some come south to save their lives, to rekindle their joy in the sunlight that sets them on fire every dawn…”
· “Some come south to escape the frozen winters…”
· “Some come south to simply be…”

I read of many expats that simply want more from life than the rat race they experience every day. Maybe, Schriever suggests, many of us have lost the mere ability to feel! “Most people live a life of quiet desperation.”

Many expats say they don’t have many native friends and don’t get invited into their homes. Schriever seems to have succeeded by learning the language and giving away his love as if it were a commodity. He seems to have found a way to live and be loved as an expat. Schriever lived a year in Tamarindo while writing his first book.

Saturday, September 21, 2013


World's Greatest Dream Trips includes



 Courtesy of Baja Expeditions

“My dream escape—uninhabited Espíritu Santo Island—turquoise ocean, starry nights.” @Romanalilic
Swim in lagoons, hike the cactus-covered landscape, and learn to stand-up paddleboard among dolphins and whale sharks on trips with ecotourism company Baja Expeditions (two nights from $480 per person). Up to 16 adventurous travelers have the run of the protected biosphere reserve, an hour-long boat ride from La Paz off the coast of Baja California Sur. Meals (including fresh fish tacos with handmade tortillas) are eaten family-style, and nights are spent in simple two-person safari tents—or directly under the stars, if you prefer.

Chichén Itzá, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico



Most make this a day trip from Cancún or the Riviera Maya. Choose a hotel close to the site, and get there when it opens at 8 a.m.
Stay: The Lodge at Chichén Itzá ($$) has 39 bungalows and its own entrance to the complex.
Book With: Zach Rabinor.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Vacation For Your Brain

Guanajuato, Mexico


 Photography by Jeremy Woodhouse / Spaces Images / Aurora Photos

Mexico boasts much more than sandy beaches and ocean views. Located in the country’s center, the colonial city of San Miguel de Allende is a hub for students and artists who are drawn to the beauty of Baroque 17th- and 18th-century structures in the well-preserved city center, which is a Unesco World Heritage site. Visitors can elect to stay in town or at one of the rentable farms and sprawling ranches that ring the city.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Best Nude Beaches includes Tulum Beach in Mexico, travelers will find an all-inclusive nudist resort.



Six Lies About Living Abroad

Joanna Rolston at has compiled a list of Six Lies About Living Abroad that include:

Lie #1 Cost of Living: It’s dirt cheap – you will live like a King on almost nothing.

Lie #2 Real-Estate: It’s best to invest in real-estate right away, while it’s cheap.

Take a look at her article and learn about all six.

Monday, August 12, 2013


48 Best Apps and Websites for Travelers  includes

Get the First Word on Delays: Flight+

The ultimate flight-tracking app puts all the info you need—routes, departure and arrival times, seat maps, and more—in an easy-to-navigate tabbed layout. It covers more than 16,000 airports and every major carrier around the globe—plus, you can sync your itinerary with your personal calendar and share details on social media.
Runs On: iOS
Honorable Mention: FlightTrack

Stay in Touch: Skype



Unlike most of its rivals, video- and phone-calling service Skype is available in stunning HD quality on every platform—and even on many new TV’s. This means it’s easy to reach your loved ones via Wi-Fi from anywhere in the world, no matter what kind of smartphone or computer they have, for free. Runs On: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone
Honorable Mention: Google Hangouts

Manage Your Reservations: TripIt

Keeping track of your flights, hotel reservations, car rentals, and more is free with TripIt, but at $49 per year, the Pro version is worth it: the service helps you rebook a flight in the event of a cancellation, tells you if you’re eligible for a fare refund, and includes a great loyalty-program point tracker (a caveat: American, Delta, and United were not participating at press time).
Runs On: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone
T+L Tip: TripIt Pro’s new Seat Tracker feature will scan for blocks of adjacent seats so that families can maximize their chances of sitting together.

Get a Second Opinion: TripAdvisor

More than 100 million user-submitted reviews for hotels, restaurants, and local attractions make this the only public forum you’ll need to query. Connect your Facebook account to the site to see your friends’ critiques and recommendations.
Runs On: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone
T+L Tip: Wary of your carbon footprint? TripAdvisor’s new GreenLeaders filter lets you find sustainable hotels from coast to coast.

Get to the Places Your Friends Love: TomTom Navigation

In addition to providing reliable traffic updates every two minutes, mapping giant TomTom allows you to search for points of interest that your friends have recommended on Facebook and Foursquare—all without leaving the app. Looking for the scenic spot your college roommate posted about? The latest update will get you there based on a (geo-tagged) picture alone.
Runs On: Android, iOS; $49.99
Honorable Mention: Magellan RoadMate On-the-Go

The Traveler’s Take: White Noise

“I can’t sleep without White Noise ($1.99; Android, iOS) anymore. It blocks out street noise in city hotels, and the ‘crickets’ track reminds me of the rain forest.” —Philippe Cousteau Jr., Explorer and president, EarthEcho International

Share Your Travels with the Push of a Button: Instagram

The most popular photo-sharing app now lets you shoot and edit 15-second video clips. As with photographs, there’s a range of fun, vintage-style filters to apply to your reels, and thanks to the app’s integration with Facebook, you can also tag friends, family, or even the destinations featured in your footage.
Runs On: Android, iOS
T+L Tip: Although there’s no Instagram app for Windows Phone or BlackBerry 10 users, the program can be accessed via third-party apps such as Instagraph for Windows Phone and Instago for BlackBerry.
Honorable Mentions: Vine, Cinemagram

Check it out: there are another 42 Travel Apps not included here.

Friday, August 2, 2013


World's Best Food Markets includes Oaxaca, Mexico: Mercado de Abastos

You could spend an entire day in Oaxaca’s four-acre central market—you may even need to buy an extra piece of luggage for the market’s dizzying array of tempting handmade crafts, but for me the real draw is the food. The market’s smell alone is intoxicating, a mix of fresh cilantro, sugarcane, chiles and my favorite, tamales. After a day spent watching mole grinders and cactus paddle picklers, you’ll be ready to cough up a few pesos for a batch of exquisite handmade tamales and tlayudas served up by the elderly Zapotec women who cook and sell them in the narrow alleys of the market.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Aysha Griffin - on San Miguel's Community Culture

Our Most Important Trade Partners?

Thomas L Friedman writes
I wonder how many Americans know that we sell twice as many exports to Mexico as to China, and we export more than twice as much to Mexico and Canada as to the European Union and three times as much as we do to East Asia. I wonder how many Americans know that out of every $1 of Mexican exports to the U.S., 40 cents comes from materials and parts made in the U.S. By comparison, out of every $1 of Chinese exports to the world, just 4 cents comes from products made in the U.S., according the National Bureau of Economic Research. And, with the discovery of natural gas in America leading to more manufacturing returning to this country, and the prospect of pending energy reform in Mexico, there is an opportunity to create the lowest-cost, clean-energy manufacturing platform in the world, with mutually beneficial supply chains crisscrossing the continent

Friday, July 26, 2013


Newest Wonders of the World includes El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve, Mexico


Desert bighorn sheep, black-tailed jackrabbits, Gila monsters, and the endangered Sonoran pronghorn all survive among the sand, cinders, and playas of this 1.75-million-acre reserve. The dramatic landscape includes 10 enormous, nearly perfectly circular craters, sand dunes that reach up to 650 feet, and granite massifs that rise 2,000 feet from the desert floor.


World's Scariest Bridges includes Puente de Ojuela, Mexico

This bridge leads to a ghost town, but it’s the squeaky wood floor that makes it scary. Fortunately, steel cables suspended from two towers bring a greater feeling of safety. Still, steel is a relatively recent addition: when German engineer Santiago Minhguin built this bridge in the 19th century, those towers were made of wood. Where: The ghost town of Ojuela, an old mining settlement in the northern state of Durango, Mexico. Stats: 1,043 feet long; 2 feet wide; 360 feet above a gorge.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pueblos Mágicos

The Programa Pueblos Mágicos ("Magical Villages Programme") is an initiative led by Mexico's Secretariat of Tourism (SECTUR), in conjunction with other federal and state agencies, to promote a series of towns around the country that offer visitors a "magical" experience – by reason of their natural beauty, cultural riches, or historical relevance. The Mexico Tourism Board acknowledges that México´s magical element, and not only its sun and beaches, is what keeps many tourists coming back. Thus, they created the Pueblos Mágicos {Magical Towns} program to recognize places across the country that imbue certain characteristics that make them unique and historically significant.

Tulum. Mexico

CN Traveller features Tulum as one of the great beaches.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Travel Channel

World's Best Stand-Up Paddleboarding Spots includes Puerto Vallerta

The south-of-the-border paradise of Puerto Vallarta is ideal for SUP-ers of all levels. Glide along the calm warm water in Banderas Bay and soak up the seascapes of this Pacific haven. Keep an eye out for dolphins, humpback whales and sea turtles that inhabit this area.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Spectacular New Highway to Link Mexico’s Two Coasts

Spectacular New Highway to Link Mexico’s Two Coasts

 An aerial view of a section of the Durango-Mazatlán highway in the western Sierra Madre near Concordia, Mexico. The new 140-mile highway is expected to be completed in August. (Dario Lopez-Mills - AP)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


50 Best Romantic Getaways  includes:

Dining in the Desert: San José del Cabo, Mexico

At One&Only Palmilla, on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, splurge on dinner in a hidden Sonoran canyon. You’ll be chauffeured in the resort’s own Hummer to this high-desert feast, where a table for two is illuminated by a bonfire and flickering candles. Share chilled champagne and dine on grilled meats and fresh salads, then take turns at the telescope set up to spot celestial bodies above the Pacific. Doubles from $675; dinner for two $1,210. —Shane Mitchell

Friday, July 5, 2013

Safety in Mexico

Wandering Earl asks, "Is Mexico Safe To Visit?"
And while I could write an entire post telling you that Mexico is much safer than you imagine, assuming you don’t wander around the far northern areas where the overwhelming majority of the drug violence occurs, I decided that I would ask the travelers who participated in my tour to share their thoughts instead.


World's Most Colorful Cities includes Izamal, Mexico

Mexico’s tourism secretary designated Izamal, in the Yucatán region, a pueblo mágico (magical city), and it’s easy to see why. The colonial buildings are awash in a vivid yellow that gives the monochromatic town a sunny look whatever the weather. Take a horse-and-buggy ride around the cobblestoned streets past marigold churches, government buildings, and the city’s centerpiece: the historic 16th-century Basilica of San Antonio de Padua.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


City Getaways: Ultimate Bucket List includes:

Palacio Nacional, Mexico City Diego Rivera painted a series of stirring, politically tinged murals depicting Mexican history inside the national palace.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Gracias a la Vida

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto Me dio dos luceros, que cuando los abro, Perfecto distingo lo negro del blanco Y en el alto cielo su fondo estrellado Y en las multitudes el hombre que yo amo

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto Me ha dado el oído que en todo su ancho Graba noche y día, grillos y canarios, Martillos, turbinas, ladridos, chubascos, Y la voz tan tierna de mi bien amado

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto Me ha dado el sonido y el abecedario; Con el las palabras que pienso y declaro: Madre, amigo, hermano, y luz alumbrando La ruta del alma del que estoy amando

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto Me ha dado la marcha de mis pies cansados; Con ellos anduve ciudades y charcos, Playas y desiertos, montañas y llanos, Y la casa tuya, tu calle y tu patio

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto Me dio el corazón que agita su marco Cuando miro el fruto del cerebro humano, Cuando miro al bueno tan lejos del malo, Cuando miro al fondo de tus ojos claros

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto Me ha dado la risa y me ha dado el llanto Así yo distingo dicha de quebranto, Los dos materiales que forman mi canto, Y el canto de ustedes que es mi mismo canto, Y el canto de todos que es mi propio canto Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto

World's Coolest Pools: Infinity and Beyond

The Travel Channel:

La Casa Que Canta


This freshwater infinity pool at La Casa Que Canta overlooks Mexico’s Zihuatanejo Bay and seems to overflow directly into it. Guests can easily get lost in thought gazing ahead at the amazing panoramic views seen from the perimeter of the main pool.

Conde Nast Books To Inspire

The Urban Circus: Travels with Mexico's Malabaristas by Catriona Rainsford
In The Urban Circus: Travels with Mexico's Malabaristas, Catriona Rainsford writes about the country she made her home and the boyfriend she found there - one of the wandering Malabarista street performers of the title. It's a wild and extraordinary book which encompasses fire-juggling, peyote-taking, attacks by narco gangsters, even a spell in jail and deportation for the author. Highly recommended, but I'd rather read than live it.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Hottest New Beach Hotels

Hotel El Ganzo Los Cabos, Mexico


This modern hotel atop a marina on the Sea of Cortés is a breath of fresh air in over-the-top Los Cabos. Its low-key cool comes through in the live musical performances by the likes of Damien Rice and curated art exhibits. Downstairs restaurant serves tlacoyo de pollo, a Mexican specialty, while the spa plays up regional botanicals such as agave-mezcal scrubs. Expect your room to feature an iPad, a Mexican tiled hot tub, and distressed-wood headboards and wall paneling.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

What Does Your Front Door Say About You?

I love driving through Forest Heights up above NW Cornell. Beautiful homes built along winding streets with beautiful doors. Bridget A Otto writes that the front door color reveals character traits of the owner. 
  • Red: Tells the world to "look at me!" This bright color says you're not afraid of standing out or saying what's on your mind.
  • White: Says you prefer things that are organized, neat and clean. Even if your home isn't always this way, you wish it were.
  • Green: Tells the world that you have traditional values and enjoy being a member of the community.
  • Black: Says you're consistent, conservative and reserved in your manner as well as your approach to color. With a black door you're saying your design style is timeless rather than trendy.
  • Blue: Tells people you are naturally at ease in most situations and people are attracted to your easygoing personality.
  • Yellow: Says you have a personality similar to green, but a bit less traditional. You're most likely a leader or organizer of a group.
  • Purple: Reveals a "free-spirited" person who is comfortable taking risks, thinking differently and dreaming big.
We have a black door greeting visitors and I would say that's pretty accurate. I wonder if Bridget Otto has a purple door.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

In Bed At Night, I Listen to the Waves

People that build their houses inland,
   People that buy a plot of ground
Shaped like a house, and build a house there,
   Far from the sea-board, far from the sound

Of water sucking the hollow ledges,
   Tons of water striking the shore,--
What do they long for, as I long for
   One salt smell of the sea once more?

People the waves have not awakened,
   Spanking the boats at the harbour's head,
What do they long for, as I long for,--
   Starting up in my inland bed,

Beating the narrow walls, and finding
   Neither a window nor a door,
Screaming to God for death by drowning,--
   One salt taste of the sea once more?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

TRAVEL + LEISURE Picks Chapultepec Park

World's Most Beautiful City Parks includes Chapultepec Park, Mexico City:

Aztec rulers once used the area of Chapultepec Park as a retreat, and it’s still a place of relaxation and rejuvenation today. You can visit the Baths of Moctezuma—a series of Aztec-built waterfalls and canals—and check out the sprawling green space on a Segway tour. Locals come here to picnic, play, and explore the zoo and museums, which are free on Sundays.

Monday, June 3, 2013


Best Breakfasts Around the World includes

Wayané, Mérida, Mexico


Yucatecans believe that the biggest meal of the day should be the first. So they arrive in droves to this corner stand come seven in the morning for addictive tacos such as chaya con huevos (eggs with chaya leaf) and castakan (twice-fried pork belly). 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

TRAVEL + LEISURE Picks Nuestra Cocina and Sanchez Taqueria

Best Mexican Restaurants in the U.S. includes Nuestra Cocina, Portland, OR as one of the best.

Husband-and-wife chefs Benjamin Gonzales and Shannon Dooley-Gonzales have collaborated on a restaurant with peasant-style Mexican cooking in a less-expected corner of the U.S., Southeast Portland. Flavors span the cuisine of Zacatecas in north-central Mexico to those of Vera Cruz on the eastern coast and Tampico to the north. Signature dishes include the tamarind-marinated grilled Mexican prawns, tacos de puerco, sopes de chorizo, cochinita pibil, and puntitas de res en chile chipotle, sautéed beef tips with chipotle, chayote squash, and refried beans.

Best Mexican Restaurants in the U.S. includes Sanchez Taqueria, Tigard, OR as one of the best.

Portland doesn’t suffer for Mexican food that’s celebrated. Nuestra Cocina, Autentica, and ¿Por Que No?, among others provide proof of that. But for that real taqueria touch, you’ll want to get out of the city, head out on 99W, and stop in at Sanchez Taqueria, a roadside institution since 1999 that declares: “We’re not fancy, we’re delicious!” The house specialty chavindecas—a hard-to-find regional dish from small towns near Mexico City (fresh corn tortillas layered with beans, meat, crema, cabbage, onion, cilantro, avocado, and Cotija)—is enough to inspire a trip to Mexico to search for the next undiscovered thing.

Makes me hungry for Mexican food!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mazatlan - Top Ten Cities

Mazatlan. - FDI Intelligence magazine, which publishes the world renowned London newspaper The Financial Times, specializing in economics,  placed Mazatlan in the "top ten" of American cities of the future.

According to a study by the British magazine, in its segment "Cost Effectiveness", Sinaloa port is among the top 10 cities in Latin America with greater economic and profitability expectations.

In an interview, state Tourism Minister, Francisco Cordova Celaya, said the outcome of the English edition, Mazatlan positions on the world stage and aims at an important juncture of business opportunities.

He noted that this situation becomes even more important, for the upcoming opening of the Super Mazatlán-Durango Highway and strategic projects of introduction of natural gas.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Beautiful Mexico

Allan Bruce Zee's color photographs capture the world. He spent some time in Mexico and has a whole series of prints featuring the rich colors we associate with Mexico.

The Country Is Over

Surf over to Monty Pelerin's World and read The Country Is Over. It's an excellent analysis of our economy and how the only hope for us is to reverse the growth of government. However, it's doubtful there's any politician out there who can or will do what needs to be done.
Politicians have bribed the citizenry with goodies for votes. They have sold the notion that government is responsible for all good things. The economic solution runs counter to everything that politicians have peddled. Further it reduces their power and ability to retain office, at least in a manner in which they are accustomed. It shrinks their perquisites. It shrinks their vote-buying ability. In short, it is virtually impossible for them to go along with such a solution.
There are those in the wagon, swilling from the public trough. The wagon jerks it way along by the pullers. The burden on the pullers gets heavier each day by the growth in government and each day some of the pullers decide to give up and join those in the wagon.
As the burdens increase on the pullers and the benefits increase for the riders, more pullers decide to ride. The truly creative and talented can always make enough money to continue to work rather than ride. However, when their efforts can be expended in other countries that penalize them less, at some point they no longer pull the wagon. They leave the country to climes where they are treated better.
Ayn Rand wrote it best: Who is John Galt?


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Top 10 Real Mexican Dishes

Prone To Wander blog has a description of Top 10 Real Mexican Dishes. It's real Mexican food, not Tex-Mex or gringo Mexican. I'm anxious to return and try the ones on the list I haven't sampled and re-taste the one I have.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Our Little Town in Mexico

Yucatan Living » Art » Pottery Lives On in Valladolid

Yucatan Living » Art » Pottery Lives On in Valladolid

Here’s a piece by one of our regular writers that is something we don’t
get enough of… a story about a local artisan who has learned his craft
from his elders and continues to pursue it. In the early 21st Century,
we are happy to see that increased tourism and attention from the world
outside the Yucatan is starting to bring interest in local arts and
crafts. We hope that continued interest will inspire more young people
to pursue and perfect these crafts, to the benefit of all. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Did You Know...?

 In a Zero Hedge guest post about Gold: " is perfectly legitimate to travel with precious metals. If you're entering, leaving, or transiting through the US, be sure to file FinCEN form 105 if the FACE VALUE of your gold exceeds $10,000.

For example, as a US 1-ounce gold Eagle has a face value of $50, you would need to file the form if you're carrying more than 200 Eagles (not including any additional cash/currency you happen to be carrying).

 It's also worth mentioning that if you are a US taxpayer, foreign safety deposit boxes where you have ultimate custody of your metal are currently non-reportable to Uncle Sam.

 So not only can you make a giant vote against the financial system, you can also regain some privacy.

Bug Out To Sayulita

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Thinking Of Bugging Out?

The Activist just released its recommendations for the five best countries to move to.
  1. Chile - go to Chile in our winter and spend summer there. "Chile is one of South America's most stable and prosperous nations, a recognized middle power and an emerging economy. It leads Latin American nations in human development, competitiveness, income per capita, globalization, state of peace, economic freedom, and low perception of corruption.  It also ranks high regionally in sustainability of the state."
  2. Uruguay - "Uruguay, also in South America, is considered one of the freest, most libertarian countries in the world. This small peaceful country has the charm of Europe, modern infrastructure, a stable economy with agricultural self-sufficiency, world-class tourism activities, and a healthy banking system. Uruguay maintains the highest nominal GDP per capita in South America."
  3. Thailand  and
  4. Malaysia -  Both countries have very low cost of living. For me, though, it would take a huge adjustment to live in an asian country.
  5. Mexico -  Nice to see Mexico on this list. "Mexico is an economic powerhouse and, although they rely heavily on trade with North America, they maintain a high level of food and energy self-sufficiency and have a much freer economy than the US. Also, Mexico's national debt is about 43% of its GDP compared to America's 106% debt-to-GDP.  Healthcare is an entirely free-market system with both public and private options for a fraction of US prices but with similar high quality care."
Mexico would be my choice for a bug out location. I suspect a lot of baby boomers will be eyeing Mexico.