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Best places to retire cheap in 2018

Where’s the best place to retire cheap in 2018? Here’s my definite list for the year!

Here you go, in order:

#8 Cebu, Philipines: Beautiful forts, old architecture, mountains and beaches…..what’s not to love about Cebu? Also Cebu speaks English. They have great food, a mix of traditional and western can be found here no problems. The biggest problem with Cebu and why it only ranked #8 on this years list? Heat. It’s hottttttt, hot, hot here. Also spotty wifi, and roosters. Why are roosters a big con? They still have cock fighting here. So you are going to hear roosters all the time. One of the best things about Cebu though? The beaches, this will rank high for you if you love beaches!

Cebu Summary

#7 Bali, Indonesia: Tranquil beaches, and a very diverse culture is why it’s #7 on this years list. You’ll find everything from Australian backpackers, to yoga pant wearing hippies residing here. I’ve been all around the world and this is one of the most diverse places I have found in the way of culture. The people of Bali, are all great though. Regardless if you like yoga or all you can drink night clubs, there’s a place in the city for you. You’ll be able to get fresh fruit shakes for $1 CDN and big beers are $3. The biggest problem with Bali, is that it’s full of bugs. I don’t think I saw one traveller that was not covered in bug bites. I’d vacation here, but I don’t think I’d like to retire here. But I love the banana pancakes on the beach…..so good and definitely worth going for!

LINK: One Month Bali Review

#6 Quito, Ecuador: Quito is one of the cities you’ll definitely visit in Ecuador. The reason you’ll visit is that it’s an airport hub and it’s close to the Amazon. Would I retire there? Yes, but it’s not as good as it’s sister city Cuenca. While Quito has several things going for it like Uber and more buses going to different parts of the country, it’s not quite perfect. Giant hills make walking around difficult, and while I’d recommend coming here, (It’s still in the top 10 in the world.) It’s neighbor Cuenca is just better for retirees. Another problem with Quito is like most of South America, people don’t really speak English. Great healthcare in Ecuador though keeps Quito in the mix! Also as a bonus if you’re staying in Quito, go check out the Blue Door Housing…fantastic place to stay.

LINK: One month in Quito

#5 Chiang Mai, Thailand: Founded in 1296, this northern town in Thailand is a quiet place compared to Bangkok. The old town here is amazing, picturesque with temples and a feeling of peace. It doesn’t feel like a big tourist trap like Bangkok does. Saying that there are some reasons it’s ranked #5. No transit. The city has no good bus/transit/taxi. You’ll be taking Jeepneys everywhere. Recently it got GRAB, but cars are still relatively rare.

LINK: Great things about retiring in Chiang Mai

#4 Saigon, Vietnam: Saigon is a great place to retire cheap, because of the combination of great food and culture. LINK In detail review of Saigon

FOOD! Banh Mi is my go to food in Vietnam. Even if I never retire in Saigon, I’ll need to fly back at least once a year to eat some Banh Mi.

The costs here are great:

  • Coffee 17,600 Dong ($1 CDN
  • I’ve tried to give up smoking, but it’s been hard so I’ll usually have a smoke with my morning coffee. Cigarettes are 25,500 Dong ($1.50 CDN) a pack.
  • Gym 260,000 Dong ($15 CDN) a month.
  • Vietnamese Sub, AKA Banh Mi, AKA delicious 15,000 Dong ($1 CDN). The funny thing about Banh Mi’s is that there are several stands all around my apartment. All of the Banh Mi’s are slightly different but they are all uniformly 15,000 Dong!
  • My apartment was 4.4 million Dong ($250 CDN ) a month. This included high speed internet (43 Mbps), a maid once a week, power, water etc. (Shared with 2 other people).
  • A bowl of Pho 40,000 Dong ($2 CDN)

Why did it not rate higher on my best countries to retire cheap list? Heat mainly, and the fact that GRAB is really bad there. Also the visa situation kind of sucks. You have to do paperwork ahead of time to get your Visa, and Visa runs are necessary every 3 months.

#3 Medellin, Colombia: Ranked #3 this is my #1 to place to visit. Especially if I were just to judge it by it’s vibrancy and culture. I loved Medellin as soon as I stepped off the plane. The sounds, the sights (the women are beautiful) and the fact that everyone seems pretty darn nice. Medellin is somewhere you definitely want to visit at least once in your life. Saying that it only ranked #3 for a reason. It’s lively culture also includes, drugs, thieves and assaults. Every person I knew had either been mugged, robbed or pickpocketed (or personally knew somebody who had been). I personally had somebody try to pickpocket me, and my roommate was robbed at knife point. The safety factor drops this amazing city in Colombia to #3.

LINK: Medellin is dangerous!

#2 Siem Reap, Cambodia: The city of temples! It’s got all the charm of Vietnam, and it has 50 cent beers! Food will cost more than Vietnam, but it balances itself out with cheaper beer/cigarettes. In Siem Reap you’ll find a great combination of international food, and $3 lunches. This is the only place where I found imported liquor cheaper than it is back home in Canada! That’s right if you’ve travelled around you know the price of international booze is always more expensive. In Siem Reap, Jack Daniels is actually 40% cheaper than it is at home in Canada. The only caveat to this is wine. Wine is double the price for no known reason.

Siem Reap is small enough to walk around, but if you get sick of walking there’s an abundance of Tuk Tuks. Safe, and with great English, this is a great place to retire cheap. Visa on arrival is no problem, and it’s super easy to get 6 month extensions. The only reason it didn’t make the top spot on my list? Hot! It’s hot, hot hot! If you like hot weather this place should actually move itself up to number one.

LINK TO SIEM REAP MONTHLY REVIEW

#1 Cuenca, Ecuador: Oh Cuenca, I love you. Cuenca contains all the beautiful architecture you would find in Quito, but not filled with giant hills. I’ve found this is a sleepy town, but it is big enough to have malls, movie theaters and gyms.

I love the fact that you can pretty much walk everywhere here. A lot of expats lose weight just because of the constant walking.

You’ll wake up go for a walk to the market, get some fresh eggs and vegetables all for a $1 CDN. Big beers are $1.75 CDN, and meals out are roughy $2.50.

There is a wide assortment of culture to be found here, but it’s not really a party place. Cuenca isn’t a place you want to go for a vacation. There’s really not much to do here. It’s a place you’ll want to go to retire. A strong expat community also makes it an easy place to make friends.

Why is it rated so highly then? Just the fact that while it’s a sleepy town it is also peaceful and easy to get to know.

The only thing about Cuenca that I’d love to see change? It needs a better cab system. In Quito there was Cabify and Uber. Nothing like that exists in Cuenca. But when you can get a cab they are friendly and cheap.

Cuenca wins 2018 with its perfect spring like weather though out the year, great people and good sized population. Cuenca was #1 in 2017, and I am keeping it here for 2018.

LINK: One month in Cuenca

I hope this list has been useful to you. It was a lot of fun to make! It’s been a big year for me in 2018 and I love travel blogging. Thank you so much for your support! If you have any questions about which countries to retire cheap in, just message me!

Best places to retire cheap in 20182019-01-24T22:53:55+00:00

Are you TOO stupid to retire cheap in a different country?

Do you know people who are envious of your plans to retire cheap?

On one hand, they say things like “Wouldn’t it be great if I could retire?” And on the other hand they say “$500, pshaw who wants that….that’s like coffee for a month or two.” (I’m not even kidding, these people spend $300 a month at Starbucks….and don’t see why they can’t save enough to retire).

These people are idiots. They are complete wastes of brain cells: wandering around disguised as humans with brains.

Seems harsh? Yeah. I thought so too, until I ran into some real waste of skin, while I did a hiatus in North Carolina.

To be clear, there is NOTHING WRONG with a traditional North American retirement. (Also to be clear, I met some awesome people in North Carolina ….Go Tarheels!)

And one of my BEST friends in the world is from Raleigh (Home of the best biscuits.)

There is nothing wrong with TRADITIONAL retirement.

Seriously, do it, retire normally…….it won’t bug me.

But, you ARE NOT allowed to whine and complain all the time about how impossible it is.

Here’s the thing. A traditional retirement is pretty easy.

Save the money. Retire.

Now some of you, my dear readers, might say….”It’s not that easy.””

Obviously.

It’s like losing weight is easy.

“Don’t eat too much, and exercise

If you’re here, (unless somehow the search engines and cookies have tricked you), you are looking for the best countries to retire cheap. I’m glad to provide tips on how you can find a little place where you can retire cheap. Which country will you pick? I don’t know. But I’ve got a ton of articles for you to look at find out.

LINK TO ALL THE ARTICLES. CLICK HERE

On your journey, you’ll find a ton of people who will be helpful and supportive of your goals. But, you’ll also run into EVEN more people who think your idea is crazy coocoo puffs. Ignore those jerks, and naysayers.

But how do you, my faithful readers of BestCountriesToRetireCheap.com, spot these air breathing waste of time type of humanoids?

Here’s what I’ve found!

1. They generally have never travelled outside of their own country.

2. If they have, it’s been to an “all inclusive” resort.

3. They have no idea about safety or watching themselves. Usually, they expect big brother to be protecting them somehow.

4. Do they say things like “OH IT’S SUPER DANGEROUS XYZ COUNTRY?” Yeah, every country is dangerous…and obviously some more than most (I’m looking at you Colombia). But if you practice common sense you will be fine.

Yeah those people are ignorant and shortsighted, but do not let them get you down..

You can do this!!!!!

There are a ton of people just like you who’ve already taken that step.

You’re reading blogs, getting info, and preparing…..so you’re already on your way to living in the best countries to retire cheap.

Remember life is short. Tick tick.

I hope you find the best countries to retire cheap in.

I hope you liked this article, and if you know somebody who also would like it? Share. It!

Are you TOO stupid to retire cheap in a different country?2020-02-17T18:16:16+00:00

I’ve been away from home for 4 years. Here’s what I’ve learned.

I’ve been on the road for 4 years now trying to find the best countries to retire cheap and here’s what I’ve learned.

  • The world is a big place. Things that are so important and newsworthy in North America aren’t all REALLY that big a deal. (Things like gender politics, elections and crazy new tech gadgets still occupy my mind, but it doesn’t play such a big role in my psyche anymore.)
  • I love travelling. I also hate not having a home.
  • People are strange, both good and bad. I’ve made some great new friends like my hosts in Cebu, and a yoga teacher from Germany.
  • That it’s easy to lose weight just by eating less. I’ve lost 15lbs in 6 months, just by not snacking and drinking less. There wasn’t any calorie counting. I just ate the same portions at street stalls as the other patrons.
  • That there are a lot of travellers who are traveling just to “find themselves”. One guy I met had sold everything at 25 years of age and has been on the road for 5 years.
  • That I hate squat toilets. I can use them, but I hate them. I also learned to appreciate the fact that public toilets in North America always have toilet paper.
  • I don’t need a bunch of stuff to make me happy. I sold all my toys, from motorcycles to a Fallout pip boy and never have I missed them.
  • That you should always have a travel journal. Even though I share tips and articles here with you on BestCountriesToRetireCheap.com, I have lots of private (and usually boring) thoughts too.
  • Muslim countries aren’t all that repressive and horrible. The women seem happy and I wonder about how biased I got from western media. Shariah law exists but in Kuala Lumpur you have to be a Muslim for it to apply.
  • I miss red meat (especially steaks) but I don’t need it. Please go for steaks with me in Alberta!
  • That eggs in Asia are delicious and we are doing it wrong in North America.
  • That mass transit works. Coming from a city where mass transit is stuck in the dark ages and inefficient I never really grasped how great a city that has it is.
  • It’s important to speak multiple languages. English is still the predominant travel language in most of the world. My Cantonese is useful , and I’ve learned Spanish. I wish I spoke French, Thai and Russian. You really cannot connect with people as if you can’t speak a persons native language.
  • That hookers can have a heart of gold. Watching one working girl spending hours gently taking care of a passed out backpacker on Khao San road really opened my eyes.
  • That I need to keep travelling just to eat delicious food.
  • My blog is making money. I’m making about $1 a day. It’s not much but I’m still surprised it’s working.
  • I like hot days and don’t miss snow. Maybe a little snow would be nice, but not freezing my butt off while waiting for my car to warm up.
  • I don’t love the constant 30 degree heat, it would be great if it was 20 something degrees.
  • I started my blog and my trip trying to find the perfect place to retire cheap, but I still haven’t found it. I’ve started returning to places I love though.
  • That my friends who stay in contact with me while I’m out of country are the ones I I’m really appreciative of. (You know who you are, my lovely bunch of pals!)
  • I’ve had and passed a kidney stone. They suck. I never want to drink mineral water again. And that any country I retire in had better have good health care.
  • That I’m still me when I travel. I hate camping. I don’t care how nice the views are, I’ll take an air conditioned room versus any glorious nature view.
  • That cameras do not work in hot hot heat. My camera craps out if I expose it to the blistering sun too long, and all the batteries die.
  • Sunscreen. I never want to be as peeling and sunburnt ever again. Oceans are much hotter than cities. They may feel all nice and cool but secretly they are burning you into a red peeling itchy crisp.
  • That the world isn’t logical. It just is! Just deal with it.
  • That 20 something girls traveling from around the world act like 20 something girls in North America.
  • I started my trip, with so much stuff that I didn’t need. I’m down to 1 carryon worth of stuff.
  • I no longer hate Monday’s. Not having a schedule or work is indeed awesome.

I hope this article helped you with your introspective quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!)

I’ve been away from home for 4 years. Here’s what I’ve learned.2020-01-28T02:11:12+00:00

The best way to spend a year in South America for cheap! With tips and locations….

One thing you imagine when you first start your traveling the world retiring cheap trip is that you’ll be seeing waterfalls, beaches and magnificent architecture everyday.

For digital nomads like myself who roam around, this isn’t always the case! In fact most of the time I live a pretty normal life.

It’s just HAPPENS to be in fun and exciting locales in the world.

I love being in new cultures and seeing new countries.

But here’s a secret.  I also like returning to my favorite places.

Retiring cheap or being a digital nomad, is ALL about NOT being a tourist. It’s incorporating yourself into the world around you.

My first trip to South America I did a month per city, in a whole whack of different countries.

This time around, I’ve returned to the big winners. Why? Because, this way I could really explore the best cities. (I never will go to Cali, Colombia again. It’s a city for people who love Calinese style salsa. Aka not me).

Here’s my super duper trip guide of where to go YEAR 1 for you:

START IN MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA

Why I say start here is that it’s one of the cheapest flights from North America.

There used to be a reciprocity fee for Canadians, which has recently been lifted! Now it’s free to enter. And you get a 3 month entry.

You’ll love Medellin!

WHY RETIRE CHEAP IN MEDELLIN

HEAD TO QUITO, ECUADOR

Quito is your next stop after Medellin. It feels completely different.

It’s safer and quieter.

If you go to Quito, I recommend the Blue Door.

The owners speak perfect English, and will also help you with your Spanish.

LINK TO BLUE DOOR

(I don’t get paid for recommendations, I just love this place. It’s a great value, and it’s a good place to stay)

AREQUIPA, PERU IS YOUR NEXT STOP

The reason you’re going to go here next, is that it’s fun! Arequipa, and Quito are similar in safety. Super safe. And now you get to check out Peruvian food.

LINK TO WHY YOU SHOULD RETIRE IN AREQUIPA

A lot of blogs will recommend Lima. They are all liars and jerks.

WHY THIS ITINERARY?

This trip in total will be a great start to determine, if you like South America.

I’m still looking for my own personal best place to retire cheap, and I hope this helps you.

If you liked this article feel free to share it!

Much love, Samson

The best way to spend a year in South America for cheap! With tips and locations….2020-01-24T03:18:16+00:00

What’s the best places to retire cheap in 2020?

It’s 2020! Let’s look at the top places to retire cheap!

For me there are some definite must haves:

1. Cheap! It’s got to be under $1000 a month Canadian for a good life. Technically you can live for under $1000 almost anywhere, but can you get great meals and $5 massages?

2. Safe. Is it safe enough, or do I have to worry every time I go out?

3. Tasty food. Seriously, I love eating!

4. Good Wifi. Without Wifi, I can’t really exist. Seriously, I crumble into a bored little pile and die.

5. Good gyms. This definitely is on my list….but might not be on yours.

Instead of numbering it like a traditional#10 to #1, this list is going to have some great places to retire cheap and most importantly why.

Valparaíso, Chile: For people who like big/small places

This city is on my list even though it is expensive. It barely qualifies on the $1000 a month budget.

Cost of living: D

Gyms: C

Wifi: A

Food: A

SAFETY: B

BIGGEST PRO: Not too big, and not too small. Great place to start!

BIGGEST CON: You need to speak Spanish, and it’s the most expensive place on my top 10 list

For a complete one month summary click here!

WHY YOU SHOULD RETIRE IN VALPARAÍSO ARTICLE

Siem Reap, Cambodia

COST OF LIVING: A

WIFI: C

FOOD: C

GYMS: A

SAFETY: B

BIGGEST PRO: Great visa on arrival, easy extensions. Cheap massages!

BIGGEST CON: Small. It’s tiny!

CLICK HERE FOR A WHY RETIRE IN SIEM REAP ARTICLE

Cuenca, Ecuador

COST OF LIVING: B

WIFI: A

FOOD: C

GYMS: B

SAFETY: A

BIGGEST PRO: Safe, and great mix of walkable and taxis

BIGGEST CON: Housing there isn’t the best. And you need to speak Spanish

Here’s an in-depth article about retiring in Cuenca

Quito, Ecuador

WIFI: A

FOOD: C

GYMS: C

SAFETY: C

BIGGEST PRO: Bigger than Cuenca, so chances of seeing a movie in English!

BIGGEST CON: Need to speak Spanish. Not as safe as Cuenca.

Click here for a more in-depth article on why you want to retire in Quito

Bangkok, Thailand

WIFI: B

GYMS: C

SAFETY:D

FOOD: A

BIGGEST PRO: LRT! Cheap massages! Great food!

BIGGEST CON: Safety is a concern. And only 1 month stay allowed without visa runs. Also hot!

Why retire in Bangkok? Click here for my article.

Cebu, Philippine

WIFI: D

GYMS: D

SAFETY:B

FOOD:A

BIGGEST PRO: Safe, great beaches, great English skills. TASTY FOOD!

BIGGEST CON: Not a flight hub, so more expensive to get in and out. HOT!

CLICK HERE FOR A MORE IN DEPTH ARTICLE ON WHY YOU SHOULD RETIRE IN CEBU

Bali, Indonesia

WIFI: D

GYMS: B

SAFETY:C

FOOD: B

BIGGEST PRO: So many beaches, lots of varieties of things to do

BIGGEST CON: Hot! Only allowed 1 month on arrival.

Click here for a one month Bali summary.

Arequipa, Peru

WIFI: D

GYMS:A

SAFETY:B

FOOD:A

BIGGEST PRO: 6 month on arrival! Great food. Fantastic gyms.

BIGGEST CON: Need to speak Spanish. Not a main hub, so can cost more.

CLICK HERE IF YOU WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT WHY YOU MIGHT WANT TO RETIRE IN AREQUIPA

Medellin, Colombia

WIFI: B

GYMS: A

SAFETY: D

FOOD: B

BIGGEST PRO: Gorgeous people. You will fall in love every 10 minutes. Great food. Fantastic gyms.

BIGGEST CON: The most dangerous place I’ve been in the world. And you need to speak Spanish. Also, surprisingly expensive.

An in-depth article on Medellin. Click here

Regardless of where you head! I hope you all have fun exploring the world. Time is short…..don’t let life pass you by.

What’s the best places to retire cheap in 2020?2020-01-09T02:33:10+00:00

Where’s the best place to stay in Quito, Ecuador?

I’ve stayed in hostels and Air BnB’s all over the world. Some of them pretty good and some pretty darn sketchy.

I’m always happy discovering new places to live, but the BEST part of being a digital nomad is RETURNING to a favorite city!

What makes a city great for me, is the combination of culture, gyms, food and Wifi.

Before I head to a strange city, I’m always like, “Hmmmn, what’s the Wifi going to look like? Is there going to be awesome food? Will the place I live in be clean and nice?”

There are very few cities that I have hated, but there are some I’ll never go back to. Cali, Colombia is one of them. It’s one of the capitals for Salsa in the world. And I hate Salsa. (But, if you like it, definitely head there.)

One of my favorite cities is Quito, Ecuador. It’s cheap, safe, beautiful and friendly.

Here’s a LINK TO WHY YOU SHOULD RETIRE CHEAP IN QUITO

And one of the best places to live in Quito is at the Blue Door Housing in historic Quito.

I loved it the first time I was there, and was looking forward to being back!

It was literally like being back home. I didn’t have to worry about whether or not the air bnb was going to suck, or if the Wifi would be slow.

Blue Door, is perfect! Also look! They even welcomed me back on their Facebook page!I was like, “awwwwww…..I missed you guys too!”.

I love this place. It’s close to the historic part of town, is super clean, and the WiFi is Fiber Optic. YES! Fiber Optic! Literally blazing fast….

It was great seeing the fantastic family that ran it too. They speak English, which is a rarity in South America. And while my garbage Spanish is much better than the first time I got here in 2017, it’s still not so great.

My private room where I’m typing this out, has a great work desk, a balcony for the sunshine and lots of plugins for my electronic gear.

Blue door isn’t a party hostel, there’s no Beer pong….or All you can drink Fridays….

Which is why I love it. I find that if I am in a party hostel, no work gets done. And I’m drunk like, alllllll the time. Also party hostels are usually kinda dirty.

Instead if you’re looking for a true taste of what Ecuador is like it’s perfect.

They also have suites with in room bathrooms and kitchens! I didn’t stay in that one because somebody had already booked it for a year. Wow.

I don’t make any money or commission for recommending a property, but if you do stop by, make sure you tell them I said hi! If I’m in Quito, you’ll definitely see me there.

If you want to book a room there for the cheapest rate, I recommend contacting them directly, versus AirBnB so that you don’t have to pay any fees.

LINK TO DIRECT BOOKING WITH BLUE DOOR HOUSING IN HISTORIC QUITO

I hope you’ve all enjoyed this article on travel tips and advice on finding the best countries to retire cheap. DON’T HESITATE TO BUG ME ON FACEBOOK!

SEE YOU SOON,

SAMSON

Where’s the best place to stay in Quito, Ecuador?2019-11-06T20:07:37+00:00

Five things I wish I had known before I started traveling to find the best countries to retire cheap.

I thought I pretty much had a handle on this whole situation when I decided to stop living a “normal” life. . I was wrong. Here’s 5 things I WISH I had known.

1. YOU’LL GET LONELY.

My first year, I bought a one way ticket to Asia and thought, who knew how long I’d be? That was a mistake. After 6 months, I got crazy lonely and homesick. I’d recommend a 6 month tour for your first trip. I know 6 months doesn’t seem that long of a time especially when a plane ticket is roughly $900 Canadian.

2. YOU ARE PACKING WAY TOO MUCH STUFF.

Seriously in my head, I packed like I was going both to an outdoor camping trip, and an apocalyptic wasteland. They sell socks, and shirts in your new country. You don’t have to pack it all. My first trip I had a wheelie suitcase full of stuff, a carry on full of stuff and a small secondary bag, also full of stuff.

You have to remember that where you’re going isn’t THAT different. If you’re the type of person who packs a huge amount of stuff for a 3 day trip (hair curling iron/blow dryer?), then you’re going to regret it.

3. AIRLINE CHARGES ARE EXPENSIVE.

If you’re retiring cheap, and not moving around quickly, you won’t actually take that many flights. I like to spend at least 1 month per country and 3 is my preference.

Still, if you follow my plan you’ll probably hate it when you get charged $30 extra for that giant suitcase for a “checked luggage fee”. Remember in South East Asia, you can fly to a new country for about $140. That extra $30 is thirty lunches or 5 massages.

4. ATMS ARE THE WORST.

In Vietnam, I’ve had money just not appear, even though the ATM has charged it out of my bank account. I’ve had my card eaten in Bangkok. And in every country there’s usually a $5 service fee. This is a fee on top of the $5 your home bank charges.

If you’re lucky, your home bank doesn’t charge a fee. But still it sucks. Some countries like Argentina, only allow you to take out $200 a time. So that’s brutal.

It’s best to bring cash and exchange it. It sucks that the Canadian dollar isn’t taken anywhere. American is at least accepted in some countries like Ecuador, where it’s the official currency.

5. CREDIT CARDS ARE YOUR FRIEND.

Have at least two credit cards, I prefer an American Express Gold and the TD Travel Visa. They both give things like, trip insurance, and other travel related benefits. I was shocked to find out another digital nomad friend of mine was using a card that just gave Amazon points! Saying that, some countries like Vietnam aren’t that credit card friendly, while other countries like Chile you can get by using your card most of the time.

Why two types of cards? Sometimes an airline website just won’t take a type of card randomly. I know it SAYS you can. It just will sit there trying, until it says, “cannot book.” I’ve called the cards and talked to them, saying “Hey, I’m travelling make sure my card works in XYZ country.” This still doesn’t solve the issue a lot of time. Most of the time it’s the sub par airline website’s fault.

I hope these tips are helpful for you, and I wish I had known them before I started roaming the world as a digital nomad! If you want more feel free to head to my FB and bug me there.

Five things I wish I had known before I started traveling to find the best countries to retire cheap.2019-11-06T00:50:30+00:00

Can you retire cheap in Mendoza, Argentina?

Mendoza is known for it’s great meat and wine but can you retire cheap here?

The short answer is no you cannot retire cheap here.

If you retire cheap it won’t be in Mendoza, Argentina.

You will however think you’ve died and gone to heaven if you like beef, wine and bicycles.

Getting here from Valparaíso, Chile is easy.

LINK TO WHY RETIRE IN VALPO

You just have to get a comfy bus from CATA. They sell the tickets online, and at Terminal Sol.

TIP: The CATA bus you can buy the CAMA levels, which is a 160 degree reclining seat. They don’t have a full recline bed seat, but it’s pretty comfy.

On the bus you’ll get a meal box, so you don’t have to bring food …. maybe a few snacks

Then the dreaded border crossing occurs.

Not too bad, more of a boredom crossing.

You’ll wait about 5 hours, behind all the other busses as you exit the Chile crossing. Then you’ll drive a bit, and get to the Argentina entry point.

They’ll unload the bus, and check random passenger bags.

TIP: The people who are unloading all the bags will expect some small change as a tip. Have some pesos readily available.

Then after a few more hours you’ll be in Mendoza!

Mendoza has one of the most beautiful bus terminals I’ve ever seen.

I cannot think of a better one. Unlike most of the bus terminals I’ve seen, this one is super safe and clean with lots of stores. (Unlike the one in Arequipa, Peru which looks like you’ll be murdered getting in.) It looks like a modern airport terminal, rather than a decrepit bus terminal from the 80’s.

TIP: Get a phone card here. There’s a kiosk that will sell you a prepaid phone card. About $12 should do it.

TIP: Change money here. Argentina even though it’s super developed is oddly not that credit card friendly. Chile is much more so. In Chile we could use credit cards 50% of the time. Here it’s 20% of the time. You can change money at the Turbus kiosk. You’ll have people asking to change your money inside the terminal, go with one you trust, with the best interest rate.

TIP: They offered the same rate as the real cambio downtown, it was 43:1 USD:Peso if you gave them big bills.

If you are giving them small bills 20’s and under they give you 40:1. Obviously don’t do that.

You’re going to want to change money because the ATMS are brutal. Huge fee’s and low withdrawal limits.

The banks are even worse.

We tried twice to get money exchanged. It’s awful. Long lines, and all in bad. They close at 1pm, and don’t do money exchange.

(We tried HSBC and Bank of Argentina.)

Eventually we found a Cambio house to exchange our cash.

FOOD IN MENDOZA:

The food here is wonderful, but it’s not cheap. The price of a cheese pizza is $8 (all prices in Canadian).

The cost of this meal was $30 for 2 ribeyes and a bottle of wine. (Don’t forget the tip here is expected at 10%.)

I know this is super cheap compared to Canada.

And the beef and wine are really really good.

I’m from Alberta and know my beef. The Argentinian beef is great. And if you love wine? The $7 bottle was the equivalent of $20 bottle back home.

Saying that though, my budget for daily living is $15 a day, so I can’t afford steak and wine every day.

(Here’s how to order your doneness level in Spanish)

I found a brand of cheap wine I loved, that I bought at VEA (like a Walmart), it was under $3 for a 1.2 liter bottle.

Cooking meat at home also was much cheaper.

You can see that it averages out at about $5 for one of these packages.

Vegetables are pricier, almost the same price as back home.

There are lots of vegetarian restaurants and gluten friendly choices in Mendoza.

There aren’t cheap menu del Dias meals though, unlike in Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru.

On average I’d say the food here is 50% more expensive than those countries.

TOTAL COST? (THE PRICES BELOW ARE IN ARGENTINIAN PESOS)

These were the itemized costs. One thing to note, taxis, I used Cabify, versus the normal taxis. Also all meals and things should be divided by 2 because I was traveling with my travel buddy.

SAFETY

Mendoza is super safe. I don’t see any problems here. Obviously, take common sense precautions, but it’s just like back home.

ENGLISH

Non existent, just like the rest of South America. They also speak a strange dialect of Spanish, so even though I can speak a basic travel Spanish, it was really difficult here.

GYMS

This is another area where Mendoza stands out. I signed up for the Mendoza tennis club. It allows access to a great gym and tennis for $40 a month.

As I’ve travelled the world looking for the best countries to retire cheap, I’ve noticed that I’ve been in 3rd world countries a lot.

(I know it’s not really politically correct to use that term anymore, vs developing nations.)

Mendoza is a 2nd world vs 1st world or 3rd world. And is priced accordingly.

I’d say it would be a great transition city versus Medellin, Colombia if you are coming to South America for the first time.

LINK TO CURRENT BEST COUNTRIES TO RETIRE CHEAP RANKINGS

WHO SHOULD RETIRE HERE?

  • You love BBQ
  • You love safety
  • You love bicycles (lots of bike lanes here), and lots of parks.
  • You love wine
  • Great bus system
  • Cabify exists here
  • Great gyms
  • Red clay tennis courts
  • You can order food delivery

WHY YOU SHOULD NOT RETIRE HERE

  • Cost of living is more that $1000 a month. $1500 is a better budget
  • You don’t want to learn Argentinian Spanish. It’s annoying.
  • Not that walkable, the city is big. If you’re in one area, near the center, it will still be about 10 000 steps a day to get around.

I loved Mendoza, and will 100% recommend staying here for a visit, but it’s too expensive for this budget traveler. (Also, if you come to Mendoza, stay far away from Casa del Park Hostel, worst place I’ve stayed in the world.)

All in all I hope you enjoyed this summary and if you want to read more

LINK TO ALL THE BEST ARTICLES

Can you retire cheap in Mendoza, Argentina?2019-11-06T00:18:32+00:00

Why you should retire cheap in Valparaíso, Chile!

Valparaíso is a small city, two hours away from Santiago, Chile and it’s a great place to retire cheap.

I’ve been traveling looking for the best country to retire cheap for the last 4 years, exploring everywhere from the countrysides of Thailand, to the party city of Medellin, Colombia, and I can tell you that Chile is by far one of the the best places to retire cheap.

When you are looking for the best city to retire cheap in the world, there are some cities that will immediately say “Yes! This is the place!” And some cities like Phnom Penh, Cambodia where you’ll say “Hell, No! Hard pass on dog bbq and pollution.”

Valpo (as all the cool locals call it) is a place that I fell in love with as soon as I got off the plane from Peru.

The Santiago customs was efficient and friendly, with buses, taxis and shuttles that take you directly to Valpo. For the article on how to get here, click here

HOW TO GET TO VALPO BY BUS

When you get here, the first things you’ll probably notice is how clean, and safe it is.

Unlike some other cities in South America, there isn’t a huge amount of crime or danger.

Every city in the world has bad areas, but some places definitely have more.

For example check out Medellin in this article

MEDELLIN IS GREAT, BUT NOT SO SAFE

Valpo, is super safe unless you stray into bad areas at night. You can definitely tell if you wander into those areas, because the level of sketchiness increases dramatically. (Hint: Large groups of guys drinking and peeing on the street is a sign you’re not in the best area.)

ENGLISH

English levels, like the rest of South America is pretty much non existent, with the need to be able to speak Spanish to survive.

The people here don’t really try, unlike Asia, where all the locals speak a smattering of English.

I ran into a cute family at a restaurant where the little girl, had been going to an English speaking school, who was so happy to practice her English with real people who spoke native English

Hospitals, and pharmacies are everywhere here. The hospitals are private/public. You’ll definitely want to go to the private hospitals.

COST OF LIVING

My budget is $1000 Canadian, and Valpo is a little bit out of this range. I’d say maybe $1100.

My room in a house that I’m sharing costs roughly $280 a month, my gym $40 a month and the price of a cheap meal is about $4.

This is more expensive than Arequipa, Peru by about 30%.

Here’s an article on Arequipa, if you want a more in depth review

AREQUIPA, PERU IS CHEAP AND AWESOME ARTICLE

That being said, while it’s not the cheapest city I’ve been to in South America, there’s a really good reason for it.

It’s got a light rail system, big sidewalks, and lots of police.

This city has the perfect mix of tiny street stands, and massive malls. I love being able to get fresh produce, and then go see a movie in a comfy cinema.

CLIMATE

I arrived in the winter, and it’s about 12-14 degrees Celsius. Not super cold, but brrrrrrr……bring a jacket.

You can see what people wear, in my photo above. As a Canadian, you’ll be running around in a T-shirt …. hehhehehehe.

TRANSPORTATION

The oddest thing I’ve noticed is that there isn’t really public taxis! That’s right. Crazy.

It’s got collectivo taxis, aka shared taxis. You wait in a line and the taxis go to a destination and people share it. So odd.

It does have Uber, Cabify and othe ridesharing apps though.

A private taxi is about $2 one way to pretty much any part of town. I’ve been doing about 10 000 steps a day. But, if I was lazier? I’d be cabbing everywhere.

GYMS

There are gyms everywhere here, but not quite as good as a North American gym. And relatively expensive . Roughly $35 a month.

One huge pro though is that it has protein milk, and protein yogurt available to be bought in the stores.

Other cities I’ve traveled to in the world, don’t really have this.

Protein powder is super expensive (double the cost of what we pay in North America), but the protein milk and yogurt is delicious and a good price. $1 a serving

FOOD

The food in Chile, kicks the crap out of Peru, and Ecuador.

It’s empanadas, burgers, hot dogs, and seafood

And the steak and meat are good here. Unlike Asia, you can get great beef here.

And unlike Peru/Ecuador, the local food is much much tastier for our North American palate. In Ecuador I like the Menu del Dia, of beans, rice, chicken and a banana. And it’s only $2. But after a few months of this…..it can be boring.

Chile, the Menu of the day is $6 roughly.

A big giant 300g burger with bacon and cheese is about $8. Yikes! Worth every penny!

(If you’ve been to Asia, you’ll know what I mean…..after a year there, I’d kill for a good hamburger).

McDonald’s exists here, as well as Pizza Hut where a giant family sized pepperoni pizza is $10!

If you like to cook, and eat at home, the prices are much cheaper.

The produce stands are cheap.

Here’s an article on prices of fresh fruit

PRODUCE PRICES IN VALPO

But the great thing is that, if you want North American food, like Southern biscuits, or sour cream? You can do it here.

The prices of North American food ingredients are a bit more than at home, but not insanely priced. Like a bottle of KRAFT mayo is 25% more, vs 100% more in Asia.

If you stick with local ingredients, you can do your grocery shopping for about 35% less than at home.

Beer is cheap. $1 a 1 liter bottle is standard.

Rum and vodka are also about half of what you’d pay at home.

The big big big drink here is wine. If you like wine, you’ll love it here.

A $20 bottle from home, is about $5 here.

CULTURE

What’s not to love?

  • The people are super friendly, they might not speak English but really don’t mind my broken ass ghetto Spanish.
  • It’s safe, I don’t have to worry about motorcycle thieves.
  • There are sidewalks. Yes. You might think it’s crazy to mention this, but some places in the world I’ve gone to don’t really have them. Well technically they have them, but the sidewalks have been overtaken by motorcycle parking and street stands. (I’m talking to you Vietnam!)
  • Warning though, Valpo has a a million dogs. And they all poop on the sidewalks. So much so, that in my head I call this place ValPoop.
  • Shopping is easy. No haggling needed. And no tourist/gringo double charging. Prices are clearly labeled.
  • Banks! Get a Scotiabank account before you leave Canada. Scotiabank is HUGE here, and everywhere.
  • Beaches, mountains and exploration are only a 30 minute taxi away.
  • Lots of hills though, sooooo sick of hills.
  • Super fast wifi! No need to worry and a phone data plan with 6 gigs of data $12 a month

CONCLUSION

If you’re looking for the best place to retire cheap? Valpo is definitely worth checking out.

I’m 100% coming back and you should come visit.

Want more articles?

Check out my main archive here.

ALL THE ARTICLES

Why you should retire cheap in Valparaíso, Chile!2019-07-19T15:46:17+00:00

How Much is Produce in Valparaiso, Chile? Tips within…..

If you’re reading this in North America, you’ll probably be dead from envy after this article.

Fresh fruit and vegetable is everywhere here in Valpo. And it’s good and cheap…..

There are 3 types of places that you can get produce here.

1. Walmart! That’s right there are Walmart’s here. Real ones. It’s called Lider, but it’s the same chain, colors, etc. The produce here is the most expensive, and least fresh. The only reason you buy produce at Walmart or other big grocery stores, is because you want to only stop one place to go shopping. So if you’re a cheap ass, this is NOT the place to go for produce.

2. The local farmers market! (Mercado Cardanal) This is where you’re going to get the best deals for both quality, and price. Coming from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, it’s kind of counter intuitive for me. I’m used to seeing farmer’s markets having fresh produce, but expensive. The mercado is dozens of little stalls, all with prices clearly labeled, hawkers yelling out what they got, and yes all in Spanish.

3.The third place to buy produce little sidewalk stands. These are again everywhere. They are inside liquor stores, outside of churches, in front of Walmart, on the way to the farmers market. These places buy their product from the large market and sell them to people who don’t want to go to the market. Think of it as 7-11 for veggies.

For example tomatoes at the farmer’s market was 500 pesos ($1 CAN) for 2 kilos. At Walmart it was 1000 pesos for 1 kilo, and at the local street stands 750 pesos for 1 kilo.

Here’s the breakdown of what 9000 pesos worth of various product at the farmer’s market is.

  • Red peppers are 100 pesos each. They charge the same price for any of the colored peppers, like green, orange, yellow.
  • Onions are 10 for 1000 pesos
  • Banana peppers 10 for 1000
  • Lemons are various prices…but super cheap like they sell them by the 2 kilo
  • Scallions, 2 huge bunches 500 pesos (I put my kindle beside scallions for size)
  • Broccoli 2 huge heads for 1000.
  • Mushrooms are expensive at 1000 for half of what you’d pay for at Save On at home
  • Apples are 1000 kilo
  • Banana are 500 a bunch
  • Eggs 1600 for 15 eggs (see how they are right in front of a giant grocery store)

A couple things, to remember before you go to the market here.

  • Bring small bills. 1000 peso bills ($2 CAN) are the best
  • There is no haggling
  • They don’t try to rip you off as a tourist
  • They do, let you try the produce before you buy it
  • They will give you the stink eye if you examine the produce for too long. As a farmer market type of shopper, I’m used to examining each piece of fruit carefully. Here they think I’m insane.

I’m loving it here in Valpo, and if you love tasty fruit and fresh vegetables, it’s a great place to add to your destinations for best places to retire cheap.

If you’re in Lima, Peru and thinking about coming here, here’s a link on how to get here

LINK TO ALL ARTICLES

How Much is Produce in Valparaiso, Chile? Tips within…..2019-07-29T13:45:31+00:00

How to get from Lima, Peru to Valparaíso, Chile.

I love taking the buses here in South America. They are awesome. They are either lie down 180 degree seats, or semi lie down at 140 degree seats. Super comfortable.

And if you’re retiring cheap, then you have a ton of time on your hands and not that much money.

When I looked into heading to Chile, I thought of definitely using the bus.

Till I looked at the price!

The price was the same for the bus as the plane!

And the plane was 4 hours versus 24 hours by bus.

Ok. Plane it is.

After a quick flight on Viva Air (which was surprising good….) I was in Santiago,
Chile.

There they have various options on how to get to downtown. Metered cab, Tourist taxi, buses, shared shuttles.

But, I wasn’t going to Santiago downtown. I wanted to head to the nearby town of Valparaíso.

Surprising there is a bus that leaves DIRECTLY from the airport to this town. No need to go into Santiago proper at all! Hurray!

Here’s how to get there.

1. Collect your luggage. The Santiago airport is reallllllly reallllly big, it’ll take you a while to get from the plane to the luggage. Also you’re going to have to go through customs, and security.

2. After collecting your luggage. Head to exit 6. This is called Salida 6.

3. Go to the Turbus office, it’s right there at exit 6.

4. Buy your ticket. It costs so little, that I thought they didn’t understand me.

6000 pesos is the equivalent of about $12 Canadian. They take credit card, and yes that includes American Express.

5. After getting your ticket, head outside. There are all these different areas for different types of transportation. Turbus has it’s own spot. Look for the sign.

6. Get on the bus, and enjoy an awesome ride to Valparaíso …. it’s about 2 hours and the highways are smooth and not bumpy

Hope this helps you on your goal to finding the best country to retire cheap. Stay on this blog to see if Valparaiso, Chile makes the list!

How to get from Lima, Peru to Valparaíso, Chile.2019-06-28T15:54:23+00:00

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