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Living in Bolivia
Located in the heart of South America; Bolivia is where the Andes and the Amazon collide. Its a landlocked country with a diverse, beautiful landscape, friendly people and a range of climates to suit every taste.
From its quaint colonial cities in the highlands of the Andes to its laid-back lifestyle in the eastern lowlands in the Amazon basin. Not only does its unspoiled natural environment attract foreigners, it is also where the cost of living and traveling is among the lowest youll find anywhere in Latin America.
While in Bolivia a few years ago, I ran into guy by the name of John at a local tennis & fitness club. Surprisingly, John was originally from my home country of USA and he told me his story on how he ended up living in Bolivia.
A few years back John was traveling Bolivia, taking in the different sites around the country. While at his hotel in the city of Santa Cruz, he picked up the local paper, one advertisement in the paper caught his eye for a condominio club. The gated community featured 120-ranch style units with a Olympic sized pool, tennis courts, 24-hour guarded security and these brand new units were going for $50,000.
"After traveling Bolivia, I fell in love with the country, its simple, laid-back lifestyle and of course how cheap it was to live here. I looked into that property, I realized I could retire much earlier and for far less than if I did in the states," says the 46-year-old John. "I was getting burnt out at my job and the cold winters in Minnesota were brutal. The thought of working 10 more years before I could retire was something I wasn't looking forward too."
Three months later, John had quit his job and retired. He and his wife, bought one of those units, they packed their bags and moved to Santa Cruz, Bolivia to escape the "rat race" lifestyle in the U.S.
He told me moving there made perfect sense. The cost of living in Bolivia is a fraction what you're used to paying in the U.S. or in Europe allowing him to retire early and enjoy his new life.
For some retirees or people looking to escape the "rat race" lifestyle, living in Bolivia is an attractive option. After all, what more could one want after many years of hard work than to live somewhere, where that hard earned money goes along way.
In Bolivia, which uses both American currency and also the Boliviano, $1 goes along ways and will buy you far more than it would in the U.S. or Europe.
For example, you can hire a maid who will cook, clean and do your laundry for less than $100 a month and you'll spend less than $20 on a fancy restaurant meal for two, including wine and dessert.
Cheap Real EstateBolivia offers a low cost of living. Property prices are among the lowest in Latin America, with real estate prices costing half of what you would find in the United States, Europe or Australia. For example take a look at what's on the market right now:
These brand new condominio clubs are huge gated communities with about 100-200 townhomes or condos inside the gated communities. The property will have a beautiful pool, fitness center, soccer field and 24-hour security. Recently, my mother-in-law just bought brand new 3 bedroom 2 bathroom, with a maid's quarters for about $53,000.
I have also seen these type of properties going up near Santa Cruz's international airport and prices for those are starting out at about $20,000.
Another example is you can buy a 2-bedroom 2-bathroom 1,750 square foot (160m2) penthouse in one of the best possible locations on the Avenida Monseñor for about $80,000.
Another option is renting a nice 2-bedroom apartment in one of the nice parts of town for $200 to $375 a month or go the anticreticoroute and live almost basically for free.
Medical CareMedical care is an important issue when considering an affordable retirement location. Medical care in Bolivia and other countries in Latin America is very cheap compared to the U.S. or Europe.
A retiree can expect significant cost savings on medical prescriptions, general medical care and surgeries. For example when I went for a dental check up and had a couple of chipped teeth fixed, it cost me $20, whereas the same visit in the U.S. would have cost me more than $100.
The Deciding FactorBolivia is an attractive options to live, from its comfortable climate, diverse nightlife, pristine wilderness and a low cost of living, Bolivia offers something for everyone. However, when it comes to a choosing where to live or retire it should not be taken lightly and it pays to hear both the pros and cons of living in Bolivia.
Bolivia is not for those who are attached to the comforts of modern conveniences. The lifestyle is slow, going to the bank could be a 2-3 hour ordeal and when you have to pay bills you can't mail it you have to go directly to the company to pay it.
Just like most countries in South America, crime is a concern, though it is not a huge problem, Bolivia is among the safest countries in South America and just like any other country it does have its thieves. Most crimes here are theft, you rarely hear of violent crimes happening in Bolivia.
Bolivia's main language is Spanish and learning to speak Spanish is almost a must, if your going to live or retire in Bolivia.
Yes, Bolivia does have its advantages and disadvantages. It could be a good fit if your personality matches with the culture and the living conditions. The best way to know if Bolivia fits you is to travel there and get a feel for the culture and its people. Depending on the lifestyle and what your looking for, retirement in Bolivia might be just the thing you've been looking for!
If you are looking to retire in South or Central America you can find more info by beginning to look at Bolivias neighbor - Brazil. Retirement in Brazil is one of the best options out there to stretch your retirement dollars and also live in a warm tropical climate. If youre looking to find out where the best places to retire overseas are, its a great start!
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