Manny's exclusive new book about LA PAZ is a #1 new release on Kindle Unlimited in the Mexican Travel category! Thank you to all our readers and fans that made this possible!
LA PAZ, BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR: Escape the Rat Race and Live Life as an Expat!: An Expat Fever Series Book
Escape to the beautiful waterfront city of LA PAZ!
Do you dream of escaping your daily grind, to live overseas in an AFFORDABLE version of paradise? Well, look no further! The Expat Fever series is meant to provide useful advice for those considering living in another country and is written from the perspective of real expats, who know exactly what the process of expatriation is like. This updated version (a re-release of an earlier book) includes new interviews and focuses primarily the Mexican state of Baja California Sur (BCS) and the bustling capital city of LA PAZ.
Learn how to live your dream!
Do you dream of expatriating? Leaving your old life behind and starting fresh in a beachfront paradise? Do you want to escape the cold and snow FOREVER? Well now you can learn how to do it... for FREE.
Read Richard's Story...
Richard: I'm living in Costa Rica right now, just outside the Guanacaste Region. I’m originally from the United States, specifically Washington state. I never got used to the cold weather. I hate shoveling snow. Whenever I had vacation time, I would drive down to Oregon or Shasta Lake in Northern California so I could enjoy the warmer weather. I don’t know what kept me in Washington for so long, except that I was used to it—humans are adverse to change, I guess.
I had a miserable job working for the state as a Data Analyst. I tried to stick it out until retirement, but I had a mild heart attack at 45. That was my wake-up call. I knew I would never make it to retirement if I stayed. I would end up in the hospital, instead. I knew that I needed serenity in my life, or I knew that I was going to end up in an early grave.
I decided to make a change. I took time off. I requested FMLA leave (due to health reasons and my heart attack). My employer was understanding about it, but I knew that they expected me to come back. I didn’t want to return to my job, but I needed time to think.
I never intended to become an expat, I went down to Costa Rica just to relax and decide what the next step in my life would be. I was recently divorced, and my kids were in college. I didn’t have anything tying me to the U.S. except my house—and a job that I despised.
While in Costa Rica, I met other expats. They all seemed a lot happier than me. That was what convinced me that I could live the rest of my life here. I spent three weeks in Costa Rica; a lot of time fishing and exploring the jungle. I lost 10 pounds! It ended up a very reflective period of my life.
I knew only basic Spanish (I took 4 years of Spanish in High School and spoke it occasionally at work, but I was very rusty). Still, I managed to communicate with the locals, who were all friendly and understanding.
After literally a few days of research, I went back to the U.S. and got my stuff in order. I sold my condo and most of my furniture and other belongings. That took about two months.
I contacted a few relocation companies and decided it wasn’t worth it to hold on to all my old stuff and take it with me. I kept some clothes, my golf clubs, and a few sentimental items that I packed up in boxes that I left in my brother’s garage. That’s it.
There wasn’t much profit in the home sale, but it was enough to pay for my move. I quit my job a month after that. All my coworkers were shocked. Some were even a little jealous. Everyone wanted to know how I was going to survive. I simply told them, “I’ll manage.” And it was true!
You can live on less than $1,000 per month down here depending on how you want to live. That’s especially true if you’re single and live away from the tourist zones. That’s certainly a lot more money than most of the local ticos earn in a single month.
I didn’t apply for Costa Rican residency right away. I did what a lot of other expats do—I entered on a visitor’s visa and did a “visa run” every 90 days to renew my visa. I’ve done border runs to Panama and Nicaragua, sometimes even staying up to a week to explore those other countries. But I always come back to Costa Rica.
I kept two U.S. bank accounts, just in case. One with a big bank and one with a smaller, regional bank. I had a problem with Bank of America a few years ago where a scammer drained my bank account, and I was without money for several weeks while the B of A’s fraud department sorted it out. Having all your eggs in one basket can be a recipe for disaster. I’ll never keep all my money in just one bank ever again.
For income, I had some carpentry experience and did some odd jobs for other expats who wanted to build an outdoor deck or some shelving. Nothing regular, though, so I knew I would have to get a “legitimate” source of income eventually.
I decided to become a landlord. I ended up purchasing a “fixer-upper” home and subdivided it into three rental studios, plus a small main house for me to live. Each studio is a separate vacation rental. Each one sleeps up to 4 people and has two beds plus a futon. I have a crib for couples with small children and some other small amenities, but they are pretty simple.
Each one has a simple kitchen with a 2-burner hotplate and a dorm-style refrigerator. I keep the price low in order to attract bargain hunters and students. I get some retirees, too, older couples who want to come down and enjoy Costa Rica on a budget.
I advertise online using Airbnb and Flipkey. I’ve used a few other websites, but most of my rental income comes from bookings on those two. I also maintain a simple website that I pay about $10 a month for through Weebly. I just upload pictures of the property and modify the website myself. I’ll put up a blog post every now and then if there’s something happening around town. I want to make sure that I have an actual website so renters can look me up and see that I’m legitimate, and not some fly-by-night scammer.
It’s worked out well for me. I stay pretty busy and usually have at least one of the studios occupied.
That’s how I make my living down here. If I can do it, anyone can.
Get the New Expat Fever Books for Free until May 20, 2018!
For only 5 days, our entire new series is available for FREE on Amazon Kindle. Take advantage of this offer and get the best information on how to expatriate to Costa Rica, La Paz, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Todos Santos, and Los Cabos. We also have two new books in the works for Manzanillo and San Miguel de Allende. Get all six of the new Expat Fever books for FREE until May 20, 2018!
The first place we visited in Baja California Sur was La Paz, the state capital. For us, the main highlight of La Paz was the waterfront promenade, or El Malecón, as it is called by the locals. This spectacular pedestrian walkway and strip of swimmable beaches is the city’s main attraction, a must-see for anybody visiting La Paz.
The Malecón offers wide sidewalks (wide enough for bicyclists and roller skaters to use), beautiful local artwork, and benches just a few feet from the ocean, and many other attractions along the way. People often ride their bikes and go for walks there.
Many of the residents we spoke with said the city’s gorgeous waterfront was the primary reason they chose to live in this area. La Paz is the political center of the region, as well as an important commercial center in its own right. You can enjoy beautiful sunsets, a myriad of water activities, and the authentic feel of a city that has yet to lose its charm to huge skyscrapers and thousands of tourists. La Paz has a population of about a quarter-million residents. The city is full of people from all walks of life and boasts great hospitals, many schools, and a number of restaurants, bars, and shops. Life in La Paz is laid-back, but never dull.
There is plenty to do here, and the beach is only a short drive away from any area of the city. If you’re looking for a city full of beautiful scenery without the resort town feel, La Paz may just be the place for you and your family to settle down in Mexico.
We spoke with La Paz local, Carole who was originally from Canada. She was walking her little dog on El Malecón when we stopped and spoke with her.
Carole: I’m originally from Ontario, Canada, but I hate the cold. My husband and I were both looking for a warmer climate. We got lucky because a job basically fell into his lap. He was a college instructor, and he got an offer to come teach down in Baja, so we jumped at the chance.
I wasn’t sure I would like La Paz, because the city itself seems rather congested, but as soon as I saw the waterfront, I knew that I could be happy here, as long as we lived close to the water. We got a nice rental near the water, and now I walk my dog down here every single day. It’s done wonders for my stress levels. My husband teaches during the day, and I work online, but only part-time. We are living comfortably here on a third of what we were earning in Canada.
And no more snow!
Colegio El Camino is a bilingual, Private K-12, nonsectarian, nonprofit organization governed by a permanent board of governors. There are over 400 students from all different countries and backgrounds.
El Camino offers education in Los Cabos to students from all nationalities, religions, cultures and socio-economic standing. In addition to their bilingual curriculum they offer support services including licensed psychologists, a mentoring program, career and college counseling, a nutrition program recognized by AdvancED as an outstanding practice, afternoon academic academies, afternoon sports program, the Camino Language Acquisition Support Program (C.L.A.S.P), para-academic workshops and the IB Diploma CAS (Creativity, Action and Service) program.
Communication is a key component in any successful institution and to guarantee that parents are informed and the lines of communication are open and easily accessible we are equipped with their bilingual website www.elcamino.edu.mx.
Heath Sparrow is the Headmaster at Colegio El Camino, and you can contact him through the school's official website.
No website or company has paid a fee to be mentioned in this blog. Any suggestions you see are based solely on our own experiences and personal preferences.
Just a middle-class dad and mom with three young kids, looking to escape the rat race. This is our journey!
If you have a question for us, please contact us directly using our email here.