Health Care and Insurance - there are many outstanding hospitals with the same level and quality of service as United States. Costa Rica offers affordable first-class medical care.
Cost of Living
Costa Rican Colon
Property taxes run 0.1% of the declared value of a home or condo.
- bird watching
- scuba diving
- horseback riding
It's customary to greet everyone in a room with a kiss and to say goodbye. Also smile and say hello or hola to everyone, even in passing on the street. Anything that could be seen as embarrassing another person in public is frowned upon, even if meant as a joke.
Spanish (official), English
- Roman Catholic 76.3%
- Evangelical 13.7%
- Jehovah's Witnesses 1.3%
- other Protestant 0.7%
- other 4.8%
- none 3.2%
- tropical and subtropical
- dry season (December to April)
- rainy season (May to November)
- cooler in highlands
Health Care and Insurance – high quality, honest and inexpensive, top notch hospitals, all residents eligible for country's Social Security health-care system for low monthly premiums. Doctors and hospitals expect payment in cash at time of service. If staying long-term, consider a local insurance plan.
Cost of Living
as little as $1200-$1800 per month, low cost of living expenses
Seniors qualify for refunds on sales tax. U.S. government requires citizens to pay taxes, even if residing abroad. Sales tax is 12%, and property tax varies from 25% - 50%. Capital gains tax is taxed as ordinary income, and income tax is up to 35% on worldwide income. There is no tax on foreign retirement income.
- Galapagos Islands: world renowned for unique ecosystem including: giant tortoises, sea lions, penguins, marine iguanas and various bird species you can see and approach
- El Cajas National Park: popular spot for trout fishing, hiking and camping
- Otavalo: world renowned market featuring handiwork from indigenous Otavalos
- Guayaquil: Malecon 2000 boardwalk stretches several miles along Rio Guayas River and has eateries and historical and modern buildings
- Parque Historico Guayaquil nature reserve and zoo
- spitting in public
- visible tattoos
- talking or laughing loudly
- taking off your shoes in someone's home
Roman Catholic (95%), others 5%
- coastal plain
- inter-Andean central highlands (sierra)
- flat to rolling eastern jungle (oriente)
- spring like 12 months out of the year in mountains
- tropical beaches (tropical along coast, becoming cooler inland at higher elevations; tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands)
Health Care and Insurance – Malaysia offers excellent care. Health care is among the world's cheapest. Prescriptions cost 1/5 of U.S. prices. There are public and private health care options. It is advised to take out comprehensive health insurance coverage or at least a supplementary health insurance package from a worldwide insurance provider.
Cost of Living
$1700 a month, 1/3 to 1/4 U.S. prices
As an MM2H resident all foreign-source income, including pension, interest, and dividend income, as well as foreign-earned income, is exempt from Malaysian taxes.
- Cameron Highlands: known for trails through forest with waterfalls and tea factory tour
- Taman Negara: one of the oldest tropical rain forest in the world and boasts world's longest canopy walkways
- Tioman: an island surrounded by white coral reefs, a haven for scuba divers
- Mount Kinabalu: highest mountain in Borneo with over 600 species of ferns, 326 species of birds, and 100 mammalian specie
- Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur: tallest twin buildings in the world
- Langkawi: an archipelago of 99 islands in the Andaman Sea, lots of resort
- Touching someone on the head is considered rude.
- Do not point with fingers, but rather with thumb with all fingers folded under.
- Pounding your fist in the palm of your hand is an obscene gesture.
- Pointing your feet toward people or sacred images/buildings is considered very rude.
- Kissing in public is frowned upon.
- Use right hand for eating and receiving/giving something.
- Bahasa Malaysia (official)
- Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow)
- Muslim (or Islam - official) 60.4%
- Buddhist 19.2%
- Christian 9.1%
- Hindu 6.3%
- Confucianism, Taoism and other traditional Chinese religions 2.6%
- other or unknown 1.5%
- none 0.8% (2000 census)
tropical; annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons
coastal plains rising to hills and mountains
Health Care and Insurance - excellent health care and medical tourism industry. Private insurance is less than in the U.S. Mid-sized and large cities have first-rate hospitals
Cost of Living
$1500, as little as 1/2 of U.S. cost of living
With "Double Taxation Agreements" many countries (including the U.S.) normally get to choose which country you wish to be taxed in and only taxed on income once.
- Acapulco: resort town, watch cliff divers
- Cozumel: popular spot for scuba diving, snorkeling
- Los Cabos: full of white sandy beach and resorts, destination for water sports, known sport fishing area, whale-watching in winter
- Copper Canyon: network of canyons that are collectively larger than the Grand Canyon
- Chichen Itza: largest Mayan city in Yucatan Peninsula
- pointing with index finger is considered vulgar
- men putting hands in pockets is considered rude
- religious profanity is very offensive
- Spanish only 92.7%
- Spanish and indigenous languages 5.7%
- indigenous only 0.8%
- unspecified 0.8%
- Roman Catholic 76.5%
- Protestant 5.2% (Pentecostal 1.4%, other 3.8%)
- Jehovah's Witnesses 1.1%
- other 0.3%
- unspecified 13.8%
- none 3.1% (2000 census)
varies from tropical to desert
- high, rugged mountains
- low coastal plains
- high plateaus
Panama City's hospitals are excellent. This city has many U.S. trained doctors and is modern and affordable. It offers a choice of good medical care in big cities, but less so in rural areas. Private international health insurance is recommended because private health care can be costly.
U.S. Dollar Cost of Living - ($1700-$2500 a month)
- It's possible to live and run a business tax-free as a foreign resident
- Panama exempts all income earned outside the country
- income tax 7 to 27 percent only applied to Panamanian-sourced income
- no property tax for 20 years if you buy or build a new house
- inheritance taxes abolished
- Parque Nacional in Darién: nature enthusiast's haven along the Panamanian-Colombian border
- San Blas islands: travel to an authentic Kuna village, snorkeling
- Isla Taboga: sandy beaches makes it Panama's favorite escape
- Pearl Islands: boasts lush forests surrounded by white sandy beaches
- Boquete: aka the Valley of Flowers is tucked away in mountain ranges extending into Costa Rica. Has hot springs along Caldera River
- Pointing your index finger is considered rude and vulgar. Use your full hand to make gestures.
- It's frowned upon to be too loud when talking.
- Spanish (official)
- English 14%
Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant 15%
- tropical maritime
- hot, humid, cloudy
- prolonged rainy season (May to January)
- short dry season (January to May)
- interior mostly steep
- rugged mountains and dissected
- upland plains
- coastal areas largely plains and rolling hills