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

March 31, 2013  
-Hondurans just might be the worst drivers in the western world. So how easy (or hard) is it to get a driver’s license in Honduras? Maybe you can you get them out of a bubble gum machine. You’ll be surprised!
-An update on Roatan, Honduras; that nice little gem of an island on the world’s second largest barrier reef. Now as you might know, a few years ago I picked it as one of my 17 undiscovered Latin American paradises (in a free report available on the www.ExpatWisdom.com website). But now that I’ve revisited the place, I regrettably see that its become a regular stop for the big-ass cruise lines and the influx of day trippers is driving prices up to near first world rates. And now a real estate bubble is evident there too. But don’t think I’m scratching it completely off my list just yet and here’s why…
-Here are some very important points to remember if you ever decide to RENT a car in Latin America.
-And now a very recent story of how I took one of our Expat Wisdom seminar attendees on a personal mission (he’s down again for 3 months to do some more exploring). He contacted me to help him on his mission to first search out and buy a good non-descript car- following some of the specific car purchasing methods I’ve pointed out in previous shows. Of course we found a nice solid car… but also were able to got it registered and insured all in one day! An Easter Miracle maybe?
-I’ll soon be announcing the latest plans for the next Expat Wisdom “Latin American Insider Seminar” which will of course be off the tourist trail. It’ll be coming up in the next few months so stay tuned for more info in a week or so…
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one
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March 29, 2013  
-Some words about the life and death of Hugo Chavez. When alive he was much bigger than life, but now that he’s gone what will happen in Venezuela? Will his so called 21st century socialist “Bolivar” revolution” endure? And whether it does or not, will it be a safe haven for expats? It certainly is not a recommended expat destination now… not even for a short visit.
-200 US cable TV channels (with Spanish subtitles) have invaded Latin America. Latins are now being spoon-fed the same mind-numbing crap first world folks are getting and its generating quite a strong desire for Latins to want to move to the US and get a piece of the last remaining fantasy that the boob tube projects... and it is a fantasy.
-Expat Eddie had some Latina friends over and heard them discussing a certain US cable TV program. During the program the Latinas reacted in a way you or I might never have expected.
-For any of you who still might believe that Hugo Chavez has created a kind of lasting socialist utopia in Venezuela, then please explain why neighboring Colombians almost never emigrate to Hugo’s paradise, and yet there’s a strong, steady flow of Venezuelans constantly slipping into Colombia?
-Do you ever wonder why so many Latin American presidents and leaders stuck up for, and supported, Hugo Chavez through thick and thin even though he was often seen as a loose cannon? Sure it was about getting his cheap oil but it was about much more than that.
-Announcing the latest plans for the next Expat Wisdom “Latin American Insider Seminar” which will of course be off the tourist trail. It’ll be coming up in the next few months so stay tuned for more info…
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one
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March 24, 2013  
-Some words about the new Pope. He’s a huge star here… all over TV and in the press daily. And here in Latin America he’s bigger than Elvis (gaudy outfits and all, but alas he can’t sing). His election has revitalized hoards of non-practicing Latin Catholic folks who might have jumped ship completely - but are now out rooting for their papal homeboy (very smart move by the Vatican)
-Now for some totally un-PC comments about the new breed of Evangelical snake oil salesman (with their limos, bodyguards and helicopters) who pattern themselves off of successful 1st world TV preachers. They promise a stairway to heaven as they suck hard-earned centavos from gullible under-educated Latin lower and middle classes. Yes folks, these guys have found their own twisted version of the “gringo advantage” and its pretty disturbing.
-When and how does the realization finally strike the average expat that he or she might actually be fluent in Spanish?
-Speaking of the “boot camp” method of learning Spanish (meaning, learning good conversational Spanish in a very accelerated period of of time like 2 months)… now here’s an email from a gringo who is has been doing just that. With boots on the ground and suffering through his own Spanish “boot camp” in Xela, Guatemala he offers some very good tips on how to get the best out of the experience and how to avoid the worst.
-Announcing the latest plans for the next Expat Wisdom “Latin American Insider Seminar” which will of course be off the tourist trail. It’ll be coming up in the next few months so stay tuned for more info…
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one
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March 22, 2013  
-Announcing the latest plans for the next Expat Wisdom “Latin American Insider Seminar” which will of course be off the tourist trail. It’ll be coming up in the next few months so stay tuned for more info…
- If most of the river and lake water in Latin America is polluted due to runoff, raw sewage, mining, factory and farm sludge, then where can an expat actually locate and be free from the worries of all that?
-More comments about the water situation in Latin America.
-Nevernever, never, use a public jacuzzi or wet sauna in Latin America- unless you don’t mind bathing in the rancid bacterial soup from the last 50 people who used the thing!
-A report on the awful Eco-destruction that’s happening along the so called “Mayan Riviera”- that really beautiful length of white sand beach that stretches a few hundred miles, from Cancun, Mexico to Belize
-An update on that great (lifetime guarantee) Sawyer water filter reported on a few shows ago
-Most of the news about the water in Latin America is bad but the good news is that for some very good reasons the municipalities don’t fluoridate (yet). However, get this… you can buy salt that’s actually got fluoride added at the grocery store! And as usual the locals think that since its endorsed by so called 1st world experts it must be ever so good and healthy. Duh!
-While driving through Honduras on his latest road trip, Expat Eddie found after being stopped four separate times by the Honduran cops, that his Gringo Advantage was not exactly working the way he’d planned. But he did observe another advantage that under certain circumstances even trumps being a gringo!
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one
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March 17, 2013  
-What will happen in Latin Countries that use the US dollar as their sole currency (i.e. Ecuador, Salvador and Panama) when the next inevitable next financial crisis comes along, the dollar crashes, and the rest of the producing world realizes all the US really has left is (1) a massive military and weapons industry, (2) Disneyland, (3) Hollywood, and (4) Cleveland?
-ATM’s in Latin America spit out US twenty dollar bills. Sounds good so far especially if you’re in a US dollar denominated country like Salvador or Ecuador. But the trouble is that seventy five percent of small businesses, mom and pop stores and restaurants won’t have change for your Jackson’s… so forget about carrying Grants and Franklins! And that, by the way, smells like an excellent expat business opportunity
-If you see sign that says “Nightclub” its not gonna be your US style dance, jazz or blues club, but a combination strip joint and bordello. And yes, prostitution is technically illegal in Latin America, but as usual the laws are as flexible as a slinky.
-Some new cases of credit card cloning have been popping up throughout Central America and the Carribean. And ninety percent of the cases have been linked to persons trying to make a cash withdrawal using a particular Latin bank’s ATM machine. Here’s the poop on that and how not to get sucked into that black hole……..
-What happens when glitzy international newsletters and travel magazines select their best Latin retirement destinations of the year? Well, just like in Panama and Costa Rica, in a few years later they become contaminated by gringos and the gringo dollar, the crime soars and the whole area becomes more expensive. Can you guess what destination is next in line for the honor?
- If you are interested in attending a short, one-day,  Expat Wisdom “Expat Fast Track” seminar guaranteed to jump-start your eventual move to Latin America then just email me Johnny@expatwisdom.com. And tell me what city you are living in or living close to. The Expat Wisdom crew just might be heading to a city near you!
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one
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March 15, 2013  
-I’ve recommended a few portable travel water filters before, but now I’m introducing what should be the very last portable water filter that you and your family will ever need.
I know this sounds crazy, but this little filter cartridge is guaranteed to last for a million gallons, that’s enough pure water for thirty average American lifetimes! What’s even more amazing is that its only 50 bucks and you can attach it it to any kitchen faucet or use the gravity feed method, or you can do the annoying backpacker straw-sucky slurp thing. And here’s the full scoop on this little wonder (and as usual, I have no financial interest and do not make one cent from this at all)
-Want to know the present and future state of the Latin American water supply? Its pretty depressing if you are crazy enough connected to be connected to a municipal water supply. But its not a problem at all if you have a well or collect your own rainwater in a big cistern
-Some more bad news about the rivers, lakes, lagoons and aquifers in Latin America; more reasons why you really need to purify your own water
-Breaking news about the most contaminated countries in LA. Does it surprise you the Brazil tops the list and China is getting on on that Brazil action because they know environmental laws are so lax?
-Examples why you must not believe everything you read on those newbee expat blogs that have been sprouting up. Not only can they mislead you with incomplete info, they might also lead you on a path that could be bad for your health
- If you are interested in attending a short, one-day,  Expat Wisdom “Expat Fast Track” seminar guaranteed to jump-start your eventual move to Latin America then just email me Johnny@expatwisdom.com. And tell me what city you are living in or living close to. The Expat Wisdom crew just might be heading to a city near you!
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one
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March 10, 2013  
-Some words about gringos keeping a low profile and trying to stay under the radar.
-Beware of so called “expert expat” bloggers who are really green tenderfoots in disguise. They’re all over the internet and can give you some very misleading and incomplete info on the real scene down here. How do I know many of these tenderfoot expats are full of it? Because when I was a green expat I did what they do. I hung around with gringos and snotty latin Latin upper classes myself for my first two years down here- then I saw the light and started spreading my wings and started observing the ways of the common folks. And because of that experience, I can spot a tenderfoot expat (like I once was) a mile away!
-Here’s the scoop on buying brand name and/or designer cloths in Latin America; specifically the brands being made in factories all around Latin America. What about the knockoffs and the pirates?
-How’s the availability of vitamins, suppliments, herbs and natural remedies? Do you have to order them from the states and pay a premium? How much of that stuff can you get down here?
- If you are interested in attending a short, one-day,  Expat Wisdom “Expat Fast Track” seminar guaranteed to jump-start your eventual move to Latin America then just email me  Johnny@expatwisdom.com. And tell me what city you are living in or living close to. The Expat Wisdom crew just might be heading to a city near you!
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one
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March 8, 2013  
-An update on the ever-spreading Latin American real estate bubble. Though the bubble has been around, first-world style, for some years in “tourist trail” places like Costa Rica, Panama and anywhere else the Disney or Carnival cruise ships toss anchor, its now spreading to all medium, large and even many small Latin cities.
-If the Latin real estate bubble is ridiculously obvious to common expats who saw it unfold in the US and Europe, why don’t people (Latins) notice the elephant in the room?  Or a better question might be, who keeps feeding the monster? No doubt its being pumped up like a Macy’s float.
-Some solid advice for expats and wanabees who are looking to buy, build or rent. In spite of the bubble in progress, there are good deals to be found down here…always desperate sellers in any market. You just have to know how to spot them.
- The myth of the ever growing “middle class” in Latin America and the flawed logic behind that oft-quoted phrase.
-Tips on how to get the best possible rental agreement when house or apartment hunting
-And finally; some more depressing news out of Brazil; where inflation and the basic cost of living are now nearly out of control. But as usual, that’s not the “official” government line.
- If you are interested in attending a short, one-day,  Expat Wisdom “Expat Fast Track” seminar guaranteed to jump-start your eventual move to Latin America then just email me, Johnny@expatwisdom.com. And tell me what city you are living in or living close to. The Expat Wisdom crew just might be heading to a city near you!
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one
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March 3, 2013  
-Some words about gringos keeping a low profile and trying to stay under the radar.
-Beware of so called “expert expat” bloggers who are really green tenderfoots in disguise. They’re all over the internet and can give you some very misleading and incomplete info on the real scene down here. How do I know many of these tenderfoot expats are full of it? Because when I was a green expat I did what they do. I hung around with gringos and snotty latin Latin upper classes myself for my first two years down here- then I saw the light and started spreading my wings and started observing the ways of the common folks. And because of that experience, I can spot a tenderfoot expat (like I once was) a mile away!
-Here’s the scoop on buying brand name and/or designer cloths in Latin America; specifically the brands being made in factories all around Latin America. What about the knockoffs and the pirates?
-How’s the availability of vitamins, suppliments, herbs and natural remedies? Do you have to order them from the states and pay a premium? How much of that stuff can you get down here?
- If you are interested in attending a short, one-day,  Expat Wisdom “Expat Fast Track” seminar guaranteed to jump-start your eventual move to Latin America then just email me  Johnny@expatwisdom.com. And tell me what city you are living in or living close to. The Expat Wisdom crew just might be heading to a city near you!
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one
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March 1, 2013  
-By popular demand...some brand new plans and ideas for a short, one-day,  Expat Wisdom “expat fast track” seminar that just might be coming to a first world city near you
-The scoop on Medical Insurance for Gringos and Expats in Latin America.
-Healthcare is so cheap, even without insurance coverage, that some first world folks just prefer to go without. They decide to pay as they go. Down here, unlike in the states, I’ve never heard one expat lament that a hospital bill wiped him out or even come close to breaking the bank.
-Most Latin countries have mandatory car insurance laws but only about 5% of car owners have actual coverage. What does that tell you about the people's respect for the law down here? What does it tell you about the cops and law enforcement?
-Expat wannabees often ask if Latin based healthcare policies for gringos and expats have international coverage, or is coverage it just local or regional? Depends on your plan and its bit complicated so here's the skinny on that subject …
-What do “Hostess Twinkies” have to do with Latin America? Well, they were just bought up by the huge Mexican company “Bimbo”…. the biggest bakery in the world (they also own Wonder Bread). Which proves once again that Latins love everything and anything gringo so much that they’ll snap up even the very worst of our crap and try to make it their own.
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one
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