PR over other CA and SA countries for retired Americans?

Researching the possibilities of retiring elsewhere, and wonder why PR is not mentioned more often than say: Costa Rica, Panama or Ecuador. Other countries have their advantages and disadvantages; yet, PR seems like it would be an easier move for American retirees. Reasons why PR doesn't have an active retiree following or am I not seeing the following?

Also comparing these places to just staying in a small U.S. community and cutting back as if I were living overseas. Thoughts?

Thank you in advance for your answers.

In my humble opinion, I feel that many folks have placed everyone who speaks Spanish into one big lump.  Also, there is the holdover West Side Story image.  Puerto Rico is not an extension of Mexico or Latin America.  It is true that many young Ricans go to the states, but it is also very true that they come back.

PR cost of living is higher than the other places you mentioned although it is an easier transition for Americans. That's one reason it's not mentioned as often. As far as living in a small community in the U.S. You might find places where cost of living would be comparable but unlikely to give you the lifestyle that Caribbean life offers ... I just retired and living in PR and I am loving every minute of it!!!! Regardless of other people's opinions you must experience wherever you go for yourself.... Johnny

While those countries are cheaper to live than PR, they are not part of the US. You need a passport, you need to leave every so often, medical is to their standards, the US laws do not apply. You are also dealing with a foreign currency and issues with transferring wealth.

Puerto Rico is part of the USA, the people there are also American Citizens, they have the same protections as you living in any state of the US. The main difference to you is the language and most Puerto Ricans speak some level of English when they need to or to help you out.

Doctors in Puerto Rico have the same laws governing them and a number of them are trained in the US, like Harvard University for example.

If you ever get in trouble, the American Federal laws apply, they don't apply in those other countries.

Money is the same and you can use the American Stock markets like if you were in Ohio for example.

State laws are different just like laws in OHIO and Texas for example, the only real difference in PR is that the laws are in Spanish but most PR laws use the laws in other of the 50 states as guide.

Leaving PR, is simple, you just buy a ticket, no passport, no visas, no restrictions, just like flying from your home state to NY for example.

You also do not need to give up your USA citizenship to live in PR permanently, unlike those other countries.

Just like OHIO and Texas give each other driver license special treatment, PR does the same. You are required to get a PR license within 30 days just like Texas requires the same. But nobody is monitoring if you been there a year or 30 days.

ALso Federal taxes, US Federal taxes do not apply to income you generate within PR. That is taxed by PR. PR also gives you credit for Federal taxes payed and taxes payed to another state.

Customs are different and the language is different, but other than that, you are living in the USA.
Anything else that you will like me to go into?

Johnnyhulk :

PR cost of living is higher than the other places you mentioned although it is an easier transition for Americans. That's one reason it's not mentioned as often. As far as living in a small community in the U.S. You might find places where cost of living would be comparable but unlikely to give you the lifestyle that Caribbean life offers ... I just retired and living in PR and I am loving every minute of it!!!! Regardless of other people's opinions you must experience wherever you go for yourself.... Johnny

I agree!

PR cost of living may be the same and to some areas of the mainland more expensive, but living in the Caribbean, not having to deal with snow to me is priceless....also, one main difference, PR is part of the USA, follow the same laws as the mainland. So you can own your land, not like in some of the Latin America countries.  No need for visas, living permits or having to worry about that county instability.

Before I forget ..... You do not have to carry an ID or "Papers" in PR, just like you don't need to carry them in other states.

In those other countries they require you to carry your passport or other entry papers at all times and if they stop you on the street and you don't have them with you, you are going to spend at least a day in jail and their jail are very unpleasant!!!!!!

I can't speak for other countries but, in 11 years, I have never been stopped and asked for identification in Costa Rica except once for an expired Marchamo. I didn't have any ID on me and was let go with a warning.

Also, I did not have to give up my US citizenship when I became a legal resident of Costa Rica.

ReyP :

Before I forget ..... You do not have to carry an ID or "Papers" in PR, just like you don't need to carry them in other states.

In those other countries they require you to carry your passport or other entry papers at all times and if they stop you on the street and you don't have them with you, you are going to spend at least a day in jail and their jail are very unpleasant!!!!!!

Here is a wiki entry about identification papers in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica[edit]
Every Costa Rican citizen must carry an identity card immediately after turning 18. The card is named Cédula de Identidad and it is issued by the local registrar's office (Registro Civil), an office belonging to the local elections committee (Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones), which in Costa Rica has the same rank as the Supreme Court. Each card has a unique number composed of nine numerical digits, the first of them being the province where the citizen was born (with other significance in special cases such as granted citizenship to foreigners, adopted persons or in rare cases with old people where no birth certificate was processed at birth); after this digit, two blocks of four digits follow; the combination corresponds to the unique identifier of the citizen.

It is widely requested as part of every legal and financial purpose, often requested at payment with credit or debit cards for identification guarantee and requested for buying alcoholic beverages or cigarettes or upon entrance to adults-only places like bars.

The card must be renewed every ten years and is freely issued again if lost. Among the information included there are, on the front, two identification pictures and digitized signature of the owner, identification number (known colloquially just as the cédula), first name, first and second-last names and an optional known as field. On the back, there is again the identification number, birth date, where the citizen issues its vote for national elections or referendums, birthplace, gender, date when it must be renewed and a matrix code that includes all this information and even a digitized fingerprint of the thumb and index finger.

The matrix code is not currently being used nor inspected by any kind of scanner.

Besides this identification card, every vehicle driver must carry a driving licence, an additional card that uses the same identification number as the ID card (Cédula de Identidad) for the driving license number. A passport is also issued with the same identification number used in the ID card. The same situation occurs with the Social Security number; it is the same number used for the ID card.

All non-Costa Rican citizens with a resident status must carry an ID card (Cédula de Residencia), otherwise, a passport and a valid visa. Each resident's ID card has a unique number composed of 12 digits; the first three of them indicate their nationality and the rest of them a sequence used by the immigration authority (called Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería). As with the Costa Rican citizens, their Social Security number and their driver's license (if they have it) would use the same number as in their own resident's ID card.

Here is a link to the different types of residencies and the amount of income you need to have or invest.
http://www.vivacostarica.com/costa-rica … ident.html

Good post. I would guess most societies have need for identifications; including Costa Rica. I just don't think being thrown in jail is a common occurrence for this type of infraction in Costa Rica. CR is a very emotional society so if you're being rude, obnoxious, or offense then you have a pretty decent chance of getting thrown in the pokey (or is it hoky?). If you're, generally, polite then your chance of getting pinched for such an offense is very rare. It is the reason for my example in my last post. I was pulled over for a bad Marchamo and was let go with a warning to hurry up and get my Marchamo taken care of even though I did not have identification on me at the time.

ReyP :

Here is a wiki entry about identification papers in Costa Rica.

Been polite will apply every ware, I have been to several countries and for general, officials will be more willing to work with you if you are behaving with courtesy and respect. I can say for personal experience it have save me from getting a ticket here in the states.

I agree 100% so I'll have to take back my "emotional" comment regarding Costa Ricans. People everywhere are emotional beings. It's just that being considerate of people's feelings in Costa Rica can make a big difference in your daily life in many tangible ways. In the US, there are a lot of rules that are written in stone and no amount of pleasing personality is going to change them. In Costa Rica...you'd be surprised at what seemingly impossible situations can be adjusted in your favor because Ticos (Costa Ricans) are, generally, place more value on the person and their situation than the rules.

adlin20 :

Been polite will apply every ware, I have been to several countries and for general, officials will be more willing to work with you if you are behaving with courtesy and respect.

LOLPuertoRico :

Good post. I would guess most societies have need for identifications; including Costa Rica. I just don't think being thrown in jail is a common occurrence for this type of infraction in Costa Rica. CR is a very emotional society so if you're being rude, obnoxious, or offense then you have a pretty decent chance of getting thrown in the pokey (or is it hoky?). If you're, generally, polite then your chance of getting pinched for such an offense is very rare. It is the reason for my example in my last post. I was pulled over for a bad Marchamo and was let go with a warning to hurry up and get my Marchamo taken care of even though I did not have identification on me at the time.

ReyP :

Here is a wiki entry about identification papers in Costa Rica.

Here is the issue, some country that has issues with terrorist, an or illegal immigrants will perform random checks of people in the street to find anyone not legally in the country. If you can not prove that you are legally in the country or that you are a citizen, there is a good chance that they will throw you in jail until they can determine if you are legal or not. If you smile and bat your eyes at the cop he may let you go, or ..... he may not.

Same can happen in the states to some degree, for example leave your driver license and ID at home, go driving, and if a cop pulls you over, you will be taken in, the car will be impounded until you come up with proof you have a license.

But in the states and PR you do not need an ID if you are just walking around.

Sure if you are friendly they may give you a break, but don't count on it.

Plus, I rather face a justice system within the USA than outside.

adlin20 :

Plus, I rather face a justice system within the USA than outside.

Yea, in many countries, people in jail do not get pork chops or steak and baked potatoes with butter and sour cream.
In some countries if a prisoner wants to eat he has to buy his own food.
Prisoners in the good old USA are in a resort compared to prisoners in other countries, especially if the country is poor and or full of corruption.

In some countries Americans and other foreigners are taken for ransom. Is good business.

No need to take those chances, go to PR, is the same law system as N Y.

Try taking a doctor in another country to court for gross negligence or malpractice, it may not work at all.

There are a lot of mainlanders in the island, it is just that most of them congregate is particular areas and in gated communities, some of those communities have their own banks, supermarket, pools, beaches, and many other facilities. As such they are mostly seen inside the gate.
Some of the most popular places are San Juan, Condado, isla verde (all metro), but also in Rincon and surrounding tows and another big bunch in Humacao  But they are all over the island in smaller numbers.
I can understand why as Spanish is hard to learn and the customs are different. But the ones that have the most fun are the ones that integrate into the society and live simpler and more Rich lives.

Plus, most of those places will charge over price rent. When I see people here paying $2k for rent it amaze me, you can buy a $150k home in PR, or even in the mainland and will not pay that much. To me the idea of retiring is to simplify my life. Slow down and enjoy my retirement money not renting a house for an exorbitant amount of money.....but thats just me.

From what has been said, I think I'll fly down to check out PR this fall and stay for a few weeks or months.

It does seem like it would be far easier to make PR work for an American retiree than the other countries mentioned.

I'll start another post as to what I am specifically looking for in PR and ask for more help.

If you want to continue reasons to retire or move to PR, please do so. I can use all the encouragement that's out there. Thank you for the information that's been given so far.

Let us know when you are arriving, some of the people here may want to meet you.

Very well said, FrogRock. I know that many young people here leave like many of our parents to make a better life for them and their future kids, but many wish to return. I guess I am doing what my Mom wanted to do(to return) but unfortunately she didn't get the chance.

My husband was born here and he wanted to come back(he left when he was 2) and I came here( I was born in NY from PuertoRican parents) kicking and screaming but to my great surprise, I love it here. It is truly amazing how I have gotten used to everyday life here. Being from NY, I was always used to the fast pace but have slowed down quite a bit.

I do miss NY and will go to visit, grandkids and my daughter but I am here to stay. I even got my PR drivers license. I do miss the different foods that I can't get here but I do not miss the cold or the snow. Maybe that is why many return to this beautiful island.

While you are in Puerto Rico, fly over to the Dominican Republic and visit the north coast towns of Cabarete and Sosua. Real estate prices are lower than in PR, rents are lower and food is generally cheaper.

The DR grows all its fruit, vegetables and cattle. The first two are in the markets the day after harvest. The cattle are all grass-fed and the milk, butter and yogurt are made from milk from grass-fed cows.

There is an extensive ex-pat community from the States, Canada and all over Europe, making it very cosmopolitan.

Rents can be very cheap. I pay $200.00 a month. I am on a breezy hill with a trade winds cross breeze.

Like any place, it does have some drawbacks. Crime, for instance, is everywhere in the world.

It is easier to start a business here than in Puerto Rico, though the gov't could have lightened up since I lived there.

Well, first of all, Puerto Rico is NOT a country.... it's part of the USA, We are BORN citizens. TRUE, we can't vote for the president but it's going to change soon!  WE are subject to all USA laws, SS benefits, VET benefits, Hospital regulations, Health regulations, banking regulations, safety and banking as ANY state in the Union.  we don't need a group... we are all americans and while certainly there are "strange" things here...( there are strange things in every state in union...... it's the USA.... I personally will NOT take my $$ out of the US....  when you go OUT SIDE the USA, you better have a group cause you can be in BIG trouble fast if you don't know the rules or if they "change" in a heartbeat... Stick with the USA!!!  and don't even get me started on the poverty and chaos in the Dominican Republic.... if you go, stay in the compound or hire a body guard.

My wife is Ecuadorean, born and bred. Became a US citizen .Her brother moved to PR years ago. So I have an insight to both places . When we retired, She said no to Ecuador because it was too "iffy", and we chose PR. It is America, and for myself, There are excellent VA medical facilities here.
We did not move to a "US Community" but rather bought a 13 acre cloud forest farm with coffee, plantains, avocados, oranges, guavas, etc, etc, etc, totally isolated and pretty much heaven if you like simple living. The Puerto Rican Government Agro branch provides us with laborers, seed and plantings for free. But my wife being educated, resourceful and Spanish-speaking doesn't hurt, with myself being so dumb.
The only drawbacks I have seen is high prices on just about everything and slow internet. oh, and fire ants.lol
The Puerto Rican people are wonderful. The warmest, friendliest I have ever seen, to all peoples, and I have been to many countries, and certainly beats many "ethnocentric" (to put it nicely) communities on the mainland.

Amen!

Agreed, Greenbean!

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