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Beach vs Mountains

Beach vs. Mountains for Living Abroad

Are beaches better than mountains for living abroad?

living abroadIt depends on who you ask. Everyone has a different idea of paradise. For me it’s living on or near the beach. For Tim, it’s living in the mountains. In either case, for both of us the main priority is living somewhere warm and beautiful.  The climate is one of the main reasons we decided to go with Latin America for living abroad.

Personally, I absolutely love the ocean, in particular the Pacific and the Caribbean.  It is totally amazing to me that one can swim in such a huge body of water as the Caribbean Sea and have it feel like a bath with water temperature close to 80 F.  Incredible!

However, with the ocean comes humidity and there are very few people I’ve met that like humidity – myself included.  Many of the beautiful tropical beach destinations I’ve visited are very hot and humid. Nonetheless, it doesn’t deter me from wanting to live there.  Something happens in those tropical places – life slows down. It’s almost as if the humidity and the temperatures beat stress right out of me.  I am forced to slow down and stop and smell the flowers. Besides, the ocean has its own unique beauty that cannot be substituted with anything else – at least in my opinion.  I love it! My choice is beach.

The mountains, on the other hand,  have a rugged, natural beauty.  Tropical (especially volcanic mountains) are incredibly lush, green, and amazing.  I can see why Tim likes them.

living abroadHiking is usually awesome and the temperatures tend to be cooler and more comfortable.  In fact, many of the places we’ve looked into do not use AClike EVER! That’s because the average temperatures are usually around 70-75 F. Humidity also tends to be lower – well, depending on where you are. But generally speaking mountains = cooler and less humid weather. Check out these amazing pictures of the mountains.


So, how do we resolve this conflict of beach vs. mountains for living abroad? We’ve been thinking about it and decided to compromise. We hope to find a destination that is in tropical mountains but within half-day driving distance to the ocean – not asking for much, are we? So ideally, we will be able to get to the beach a couple of times a month and chill-ax, while we live in comfortable cooler temps the rest of the time. This will also eliminate the need for high electricity bills since we won’t be running AC. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?  Yep, we think so. We are also confident we can find this little paradise of ours – somewhere…

Contenders currently high on our list are:

  • Boquete, Panama
  • San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
  • Cuenca, Ecuador
  • La Fortuna, Costa Rica

How about you? Which do you prefer? Do you have suggests on which towns would be best for us?

You may also like our posts on Is retiring Abroad for You Quiz and Cost of Living Comparison.


About Joanna

is a Polish American living in Arizona with her husband Tim. She is a founding partner of JTR Tech and she is proud to be a professional geek. She had dreamt of living abroad for many years. So, she and Tim created AbroadDreams.com to document the process of making their dream of moving abroad come true. They spent 2 years in Puerto Rico and several months in Spain and Poland. Now they are exploring the American Southwest.

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  1. For me personally, Boquete is too cold, too cloudy and too wet. A classic example of “A great place to visit. But I wouldn’t want to live there.” But there are MANY great options in the province of Chiriqui, where Boquete, David, AND Puerto Armuelles are located ! I chose this area after MANY years in Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua and visiting EVERY country in Central America. Mainly because of the wonderful variety. For example…..Check out the new “Coconut Beach Community” at http://www.coconutbeachpanama.com

    And you mention La Fortuna, Costa Rica . . . But you didn’t mention anything about liking WINDY locations ! Beware there.

    • Hi Kevin,
      Thanks for the info. Which town in Chiriquí did you settle in? Sounds like you have a ton of experience. We are going to be renting for a while for exactly the reason you mentioned. We want to find that perfect spot and sometimes it takes a little exploring.


  2. That’s a tough compromise. I prefer to hear the ocean. We live in Oregon less than a half a day gets us to the beach, but that’s not often enough for me.

    • Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking too. My understanding is that Boquete Panama is in the mountains but only 45 min from the Pacific beach. I’m very curious about it. We’re going to check it out in November.


      • Please keep us informed. Thanks. Ideally I’d rent six months in Mazatlan or PV and then when it was humid, go six months in San Miguel.

        • Michael,
          We diffidently will. We plan writing up our entire experience in Panama. We’re hoping soon, we’ll be able to start the longer stays in our favorite spots, too. We also plan on renting, just because we want to be location independent.