The Expat Files: Living in Latin America A guide to moving to Latin America, finding work, and settling in.

April 30, 2012  
My Latin American Insider’s seminar is all booked up but if you’re interested in getting on the waiting list for the Guatemala event, email me at theexpatfiles@gmail.com with the word WAITING LIST in the subject line or better yet, go towww.expatwisdom.com and sign in with your email to get full details and updates as well as any info on last minute openings.
-Be sure to go to www.expatwisdom.com and get my big free report “17 Undiscovered Latin American Paradises”
This report came about after so many requests by folks asking me to list some of my own personal “off the radar” picks. So here they are- places that any expat could live, work, play do business and/or retire, in style, for less than half of what it would take in the first world. And sure, there are hundreds more to choose from, but I had to start somewhere!
-Here are some tips on the safest places (regarding sanitary standards) to shop and eat. What about those restaurants and bakeries with those nicely-framed “health and sanitation” certificates hanging on the wall- a good start right? You’ll be surprised!
-A bit about the Latin version of health department rules, regs and inspections. A must for expat wanabees who hope to open a restaurant, a bakery, a deli or want to get into the food service business.
-Another strange but true expat business story: this time one of jealousy, envy and sabotage.
-The never ending strangeness regarding construction and building codes in the third world.
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April 27, 2012  

-My Latin American Insider’s seminar is all booked up but if you’re interested in getting on the waiting list for the Guatemala event, email me at theexpatfiles@gmail.com with the word WAITING LIST in the subject line or better yet, go towww.expatwisdom.com and sign in with your email to get full details and updates as well as any info on last minute cancellations.

- Tales of the rudeness of locals as expressed by a first world traveler and his Latina wife who are frequent visitors to Guayaquil, Ecuador. Guayaquil is her home town and the largest city in the country (4+ million) and here are their thoughts (and mine) on that subject.

-No matter what propaganda you’ve heard about improved public transportation systems in big Latin American cities, they are still are worse than 2nd rate. Even the newest traffic-stalling public works projects always lag years behind the public demand for them. By the time a new road or bridge is finished, its under designed and inadequate for future traffic flow.

-Latins don’t read books unless forced to. And though books are very expensive down here, even if bookstores gave them away they’d just sit in a place of honor on living room display shelves and collect dust. Latins are just not interested in reading anything more than the daily papers.

-And now by popular demand, another sure fire business idea for expats and wanabees. An idea that no one seems to have discovered yet (except me)!

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April 23, 2012  
-My Latin American Insider’s seminar is all booked up but if you’re interested in getting on the waiting list for the Guatemala event, email me at theexpatfiles@gmail.com with the word WAITING LIST in the subject line or better yet, go towww.expatwisdom.com and sign in with your email to get full details and updates as well as any info on last minute cancellations.
-More about Latin American security issues, state department warnings, and the real and perceived dangers for gringos and expats.
-I don’t recommend Mexico, I never did. But unfortunately there are tens of thousands who have already bought in to the tequila dream and have too much invested to just pick up and leave- even as things deteriorate before their eyes. Here are some thoughts on that problem.
-By now you know that Latins who have money just can’t help showing off their wealth. Like little kids with brand new bikes, Latins have to rub it into their neighbor’s faces (even if it’s all on plastic). Keeping up with and surpassing the Joneses is a national sport down here. And though it may seem juvenile to us expats (unless we’re into that sort of thing ourselves), it’s a phenomena is actually a very good for us, and I’ll explain why.
-The truth about unfiltered tap water in Latin America and what it does to sinks, bathtubs, showers and everything else it touches (including you). Latin America has volcanic soil and thus has very hard mineral-infused water that stains any surface it touches and takes some getting used to.
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April 20, 2012  
-If you’re interested in attending my Latin American Insider’s seminar June 26, 27, 28 in Guatemala, email me attheexpatfiles@gmail.com with the word SEMINAR in the subject line or better yet, go to www.expatwisdom.com and sign in with your email and I’ll send you full details and updates
- Tales of Expat Eddie and the bumps and turns on his road to success. Eddie relates in detail some tips to understanding the mind of the average blue collar Latin employee- idiosyncrasies and habits every expat should know right off the bat before starting a business down here.
-Analyzing how Latins view expats and tourists and “The all gringos are rich” phenomena
-The hazards of being the “gringo’ boss, and hiring attractive female workers (which is a boss’s prerogative but can be unwise)
-Some good advice about Latin cops that take bribes
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April 16, 2012  

-If you’re interested in attending my Latin American Insider’s seminar June 26, 27, 28 in Guatemala, email me at theexpatfiles@gmail.com with the word SEMINAR in the subject line or better yet, go to www.expatwisdom.com and sign in with your email and you’ll get full details and updates. Its already more than half sold out and there are only 24 seats total, so plan now and don't miss out!

-Despite my advice to the contrary, people still are stuck on the fantasy of living in Costa Rica. Here’s an email where the author he tells me he’s NOT going to the parts of Costa Rica I always talk about (and warn against) but instead he says he’s going to avoid all that and hit the little travelled, more laid back, mostly Black populated Caribbean side of the country- where the normal yuppie gringo traffic is not much in evidence. What he doesn’t know is that crime over there is 10x higher than in the rest of CR

-Just how many Gringos saturate Costa Rica every year? Here’s a comparison; did you know that in the year 1960, 1/2 million Americans visited Europe? And in the year 2011 over two million gringos visited Costa Rica? That means 4 times as many gringos visit CR each year than they did in all of the countries of Europe in 1960! And Europe has 200 times CR’s land mass! Yup, CR is completely saturated with gringos and dollars. It’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there!

-When first world boys meets third world girls (and vice versa) and the various double standards that come into play.

-Everyone wants to know which Latin country, or countries, are on the fast track to becoming the next Costa Rica. Gringos are dying to get in on the ground floor. Here are some tips on how to pick the next winner (or loser) in that race.

-The truth about the rumors of kidnappings and crimes against gringos in Central America.

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April 13, 2012  

- When the next financial bubble blows, is it safer to be in the US, Latin America or neither?

-Are there any obvious signs of impending financial crash or collapse right now in Latin America? Well yes, there are always warning signs everywhere since most Latin economies and banking systems crash and burn every 5 or 10 years (with predictable regularity). They’re use to it and they cope.

-When hyperinflation hits (and it does with regularity down in some South American countries) how can the people possibly survive and eat without looting and rioting? When prices on everything DOUBLE every five DAYS (like they did in Brazil only 20 short years ago),what does that do to the average guy’s life, and what does it do to the businessman?

-What happens when Latins, with their never ending confidence in the US dollar confront the land-crazed Chinese, with their never ending supply of US T-bills and never ending desire for mineral rights and farmland?

-Email me on questions about Latin America at theexpatfiles@gmail.com

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April 9, 2012  
-Johnny has more details and dates on his much anticipated Latin American Insider’s seminar. And since it’s a high-impact, personalized event, attendance will be very limited- with just 24 places available. So sign up soon to make sure you’re on board for the ride. If you’re interested in attending my seminar June 26, 27, 28 email me at theexpatfiles@gmail.com with the word SEMINAR in the subject line or better yet, go to www.expatwisdom.com and sign in with your email and you’ll get the full details and updates.
- Turns out the 99% of the negative emails Johnny gets about the show come from people with Latin American surnames- in other words, from fully bilingual Latins (wealthy Latins or the spoiled children of wealthy Latins) listing to the show. Though some worldly Latins listening to the show do “get it” others DON’T much like Johnny’s observations about them. Like Ferdiando Cortz said, “If you don’t like the truth… cut out his tounge”.
-You’ve heard of the “American Dream”? Well, the common “Latin American Dream” is to go to Disneyland
-Get used to the fact that at first, when your Spanish really sucks, your workers will laugh and giggle behind your back (and in your face). But don’t take it wrong. They’re fun-loving people and don’t mean anything by it.
- Get used to the fact that there are many habits and idiosyncrasies we expats have that amuse the locals, and some of our routines can absolutely send them into spasms.
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April 6, 2012  

-What’s the scoop on getting those W.H.O. and U.S. State Dept. recommended (even mandatory) vaccines and shots before you come down to Latin America? After all, Brazil is one country that mandates yellow fever vaccinations for all arriving foreigners. It says so on their government website, and there are even posted signs at all the airports. What’s up with that?

- What if you are categorically against vaccines in general, or have allergies or bad reactions and therefore don’t have a vaccine certificate when you arrive? Do you skip the trip? Do they lock you on a cage at the airport with the other confiscated animals?

-The truth about bugs and insects in Latin America

-Another expat business idea yet to be realized- we really need a deep jungle (and I don’t mean your Minnesota pine forest jungle) insect repellent that lasts more than one hour and doesn’t stink like a wet goat.

-How to avoid the vacation squirts… four easy, surefire ways to avoid Montezuma’s revenge

-What every gringo needs to know about amoebic dysentery in 20 words or less

-Email me on questions about Latin America at theexpatfiles@gmail.com

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April 2, 2012  

-Tourist visas, passports and Latin country border controls

- Those ever-flexible Latin rules and regs (always in your favor) concerning tourist visas; the official rules versus actual reality

-What happens if you overstay your 90 day tourist visas by a few days, a month or even a year or two?

-What happens if someone’s filed an “embargo” in court and you can’t leave the country?

- Low budget backpackers and how they survive and work “off the books” sometimes for years on end

-Expat Eddie’s immigration tricks and border-stop shenanigans, and how he and long term expats have learned how to bend the rules

-Email me on questions about Latin America at theexpatfiles@gmail.com

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