Expat Files – 03.27.16


Long time listeners know it’s my firm belief that there’s a huge real estate bubble in most all of Latin America. Anyone who’s had substantial boots on the ground will confirm that. So don’t be a clueless gringo and buy at the top!! However, if you can find a nice piece of land at the right price, you can build the house of your dreams for $25 to $50 a square foot, complete. Today we have a strategy and some tips to help you find the perfect neighborhood…

IT’S DEFINITELY A RENTER’S MARKET: WITH THE REAL ESTATE BUBBLE CRACKING AS WE SPEAK: That said, when “off the tourist trail” you’ll simply be amazed at what you can rent for a mere $300 to $700 a month. Today we have some real life examples…

DON’T GET SUCKED IN BY FRIENDLY GRINGOS AND THEIR SO-CALLED “GROUND FLOOR” REAL ESTATE DEALS: So when “on the gringo tourist trail” beware of slick gringo real estate agents/salesmen trying to get you into the bubble. Yes, they’re experts at sizing up clueless gringos and spotting suckers. They’ll take advantage of your crappy Spanish, short time down, and obvious lack of boots on the ground… as well as the brain-fogging Zoloft effect the soothing tropical climate has on fresh, green gringos (especially true if a gringo’s 1st world life consists of 6 months of snow and cold).

Note: when “off the tourist trail” there will be no such Gringo real estate guys pressing you, but there’s still a huge bubble, so don’t get sucked in by clueless local Latin agents either…

NOPE, THERE ARE NO CHEAP “GROUND FLOOR” REAL ESTATE DEALS LEFT IN LATIN AMERICA: certainly not “on the tourist trail” in places like Panama, CR, Mexico, Belize, and now Nicaragua, Ecuador, Colombia and Uruguay. And here’s why…

MIGHT YOUR SECRET DREAM BE A BEACH HOUSE RIGHT ON THE OCEAN? Well guess what? When the bubble cracks, beach houses are often the first properties desperate sellers put on the market. How does a 3 bedroom beach house, with pool, right on the ocean for $100k or less sound to you? Right now, desperate sellers are starting to come out of the woodwork and today we have examples of some fabulous deals that have hit the market. For this you’ll need boots on the ground. You won’t find this stuff on the internet… not in English anyway.


Expat Files – 01.31.16

– Today we have emails from a few Canadians, one who felt slighted by a recent E.F. broadcast…

– When Gringos/ Expats team up with a Latin business partner(called a “socio”):
Often when a great new Latin business idea suddenly presents itself, we gringos feel it important to have a Latin business partner. We think one may be necessary for things to go smoothly, especially to negotiate those early encounters with stifling Latin bureaucracy. Somehow we’re under the impression only a Latin person can jump the hoops since we don’t know the system and our Spanish skills mostly suck (at first). However, chances are great that your Latin “socio” will need you far more than you’ll ever need him. Sooner or later you just might find that he/she will be a constant drain on you.

Who can we thank for the “lag time” effect:
-Imagine a world where you will hear not a single awesome or dude -even from flighty, TV, junk-food addicted teenagers! So what does that mean? It means all those annoying English slang, filler words and empty phrases like “awesome and dude” are not yet falling like guano from the tongues of Latins.
However, many gringos and pretentious upscale Latins will “dude” you- and certain annoying entitled Latins hopping back and forth to Mijami do try to impress by spitting out tired gringo slang like polished turds.
So how about the future? How long can it last? Expect Costa Ricans to start “dude-ing” their fantasy Facebook friends soon.

-New tips on finding short and long term Latin rentals- while sitting comfortably in your kitchen way up in the 1st world..

-An update on that very inexpensive, locally famous, “Decameron” chain of all-inclusive Latin beach resorts. Why haven’t gringos up north heard of it? Because its 100% Latin owned and operated so the whole experience is in 100% Spanish. In other words, start learnin’


Expat Files – 01.24.16

– I’ve lived all over Latin America both on and off the gringo tourist trail and much prefer the latter. Why not live off the trail where the locals truly like Americans and thus where the “gringo advantage” is alive and well? That said, some expats(especially the new, fresh, green lightly traveled variety) just love tourist trail locations. That’s why today we list 10 good and positive reasons why some might prefer to live with other gringos “ON the tourist trail”.

-Some of the so called “expert” expat retirement mags and rags as well as expat living blogs now tout “up and coming” Colombia as the “next” Costa Rica. After hearing today’s rant, you’ll still want to visit the place but probably won’t want to live or invest there. However, with Sofia Vergara as Colombia’s unofficial cultural ambassador (with every lonely heat gringo convinced she’s the Colombian girl next door) you can bet the gringos will come, no matter what the underlying facts might be.

Expat Files – 10.16.15

-Oh what fun! This week Expat Eddie drags me to see an amazing Latin neighborhood dog- a scarred, tattered and beat up old mutt with very special pyrotechnic skills. For my money, a surefire winner if ever filmed and submitted to America’s Funniest Videos (if it’s still on the air- its a big lag time hit in Latin America ) .

-If you like coffee, it’s not enough to live in the world’s best coffee region. You must also use the right coffee making technique(s) for the best results. As a an amateur coffee aficionado, it just blows my mind that ninty-five percent of Latins homes and restaurants use the worst method:percolators. They can’t help but brew indifferent to bad coffee- out of otherwise very excellent beans. That said here’s what you should look out for…

-Another culinary misadventure, this time in an upper middle-class Latin home


Mysterious disease may be tied to climate change, says CU Anschutz researcher

AURORA, Colo. (Oct. 8, 2015) – A mysterious kidney disease that has killed over 20,000 people in Central America, most of them sugar cane workers, may be caused by chronic, severe dehydration linked to global climate change, according to a new study by Richard J. Johnson, MD, of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. “This could be the first …

Latin America

Expat Files – 05.01.15

-Today we have a disturbing email from a female public high-school English teacher(in the states) hoping beyond hope that she can last just two more years and get her pension. Then it’s get the hell out of Dodge and down to Latin America.

-It’s not Carnival time, so why are there hundreds of thousands of people marching in the streets of Brazil? Here’s a hint… the Brazilian president’s popularity is at an all-time historic low of 13%. Yes, it’s a political corruption of massive proportions (again) but this time the media and the people have solid goods on the crooks in office. The snakes won’t easily buy or squirm out of this one.