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An Expat Talks about Retiring in La Libertad, El Salvador

Submitted by busman7


La Libertad, El Salvador

A Canadian retired in La Libertad, El Salvador to enjoy the lower cost of living, beach life and stable political climate. He has found that the medical care is better than he had in Canada, he can live without a car and there is very little crime (petty crime).

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

La Libertad

Why did you choose to retire abroad?

Economic reasons, weather, the people.

Are you retired abroad all year or part of the year?

All year

Why did you choose the country you retired to?

I could drive here from Canada, cheap housing prices, tropical climate, on the ocean and stable political situation.

Did you ever live abroad before you retired abroad?

No

How long have you lived abroad since you retired abroad?

5 years

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How many countries (other than your home country) have you lived in as a retiree?

4, I never lived in my home country Canada as a retiree

What have been the most challenging aspects of being retired abroad?

Learning the language, applying for residency, getting married.

What have been the most rewarding aspects of being retired abroad?

Cheap living, palm trees, beach, house with pool, living near the beach 1/2 hr from the airport and the capital city San Salvador.

What would you do differently if you were just starting the retire abroad process?

Have all the Canadian documents for residency before leaving Canada.

What is life like for a retiree in your city and its surroundings? (Is there an active expat community? Cultural Attractions? Recreation? Nightlife?)

There is only 1 expat couple living in my community year round. The rest is what you make it within the local community.

What residency documents or visas did you need to obtain to retire in your host country? How difficult was this process? (Please describe)

Passport, birth certificate, criminal record from home country and El Salvador Proof of guaranteed pension income, local bank account, medical from local doctor, local address, all documents notarized and translated into Spanish, process is simple but a SalvadoraƱ Immigration lawyer simplifies the process.

Did you buy a home or apartment, or rent one? Is this a difficult process? (Please describe)

Bought a house, same process as in Canada, have a lawyer make sure everything is done properly.

Financially, has living abroad in your host country met your expectations? Exceeded them?

It has met them, I did my homework before the move.

What are the most important financial considerations for retiring to your host country?

Open a US bank account to have pension direct deposited, Canadian money is useless in SV.

How much can a retiree live on comfortably in your host country?

Without an inordinate amount of partying US $650 will keep up the house-pool, pay utilities, food, car expenses, maid & caretaker.

Do you have access to quality medical care? (Please describe - is it close? Expensive?)

A better doctor than I had for the past 30 yrs in Canada runs the FREE clinic in town 10 minutes away. Ambulance in our community 3 minutes away. Good hospitals in San Salvador 1 hour at a fraction of Canadian prices.

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Is there a lot of crime where you live? (Please describe)

Other than some petty theft, if you're not vigilant, next to none. I personally have never had any problems and I ride the chicken buses locally and into the city quite often.

Describe available transportation where you live. Do you need a car? Is there access to safe public transportation?

A car is completely unnecessary! There is a direct bus to San Salvador every morning at 05:20 for 60 cents. Local bus service to La Libertad 06:00 - 18:00 every 1/2 hr for 25 cents. Regular bus service La Libertad - San Salvador 06:00 - 21:00 every 20 minutes for 60 cents. Buses to eastern beaches every 1/2 hr for a quarter. In town micro bus service every 10 min for a quarter. Tica Bus coaches run a couple times daily to the other CA capitals. I have actually travelled from Playa San Diego (my community) to Peterborough ON, Canada by bus.

Is there high-speed internet access where you live?

Unfortunately not here on the beach but there is in town.

Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share about retiring abroad?

Do your homework, rent for a year before buying and GO FOR IT!

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Comments about this Report

2cartalkers
Jun 9, 2014 09:53

The beach life is wonderful but what else is there to do for entertainment? Can you expound on restaurants in your area or San Salvador? Is there a "high" season when "snowbirds" arrive to take advantage of the tropical climate? Thanks!

2cartalkers
Jun 9, 2014 09:57

More questions: You mentioned opening a U. S. bank account; how do you access funds from the account? What currency is used in El Salvador, the U. S. dollar? Do you transfer funds into an El Salvadoran bank or use an ATM? How are bills like rent paid, in cash or deposited into a local bank, etc? Thanks again.

busman7
Jun 21, 2014 09:11

2cartalkers I am not much for fancy entertainment, just make do with the Saturday or holiday night music at the local Bamboo Bar on the malecon or local entertainment events. The local restaurants also have good food at good value for the buck. However in the city less than an hour away there are clubs, movies, dining and sports events. The main tourist time is Dec thru Feb mainly on the surfing beaches near La Libertad but never an influx of "snowbirds. However on holidays there are lots of locals from the city invading the beaches. The US dollar is the currency used in El Salvador, currently I use a debit card to access funds which I then deposit in my local account however once I get my residency my US bank has an agreement with a local bank where I can do a monthly transfer of funds for free. I own my home so no rent, the electricity bill can only be paid in cash but other bills can be paid by debit/credit card though I usually pay everything in cash.

themayor
Aug 16, 2014 11:43

Thanks Busman7. Its great to know one can retire to a simple, inexpensive beach lifestyle. If I may ask, you mentioned you can drive from Canada. Have you done it> How long and any tips on border crossings in Mexico and central America?

souix
Oct 19, 2016 16:37

Excellent tips from an intelligent ex pat. ESP about...going first for a visit. If you still see a wife...let me know. I am 63 yrs old. Good sense of humor & solvent!

cntroes
Jan 20, 2017 15:37

Great advice. I'd like to chat with you more as my wife and I are considering moving to a beach home in that area. If you have time please email me at Thanks Charles

tinapatita
Mar 16, 2018 10:27

Hi , very happy to read about how much you loved El Salvador . I was born in Candelaria de la Frontera , depto of Santa Ana , El Salvador , I lived in USA , just retired and back to my hometown . I'd have never been so happy . The future here is turismo , just like in those small countries in Asia .

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