retiree beach retirement

Panama for Retirees

Does your version of the perfect retirement haven have a low cost of living, modern amenities, great healthcare, and excellent weather? Would you like to spend your hard-earned golden years travelling, exploring new cultures, making new friends, and enjoying the fruits of your labor without worrying about burning through your funds?

Your dream retirement doesn’t have to be only a dream. Meet Panama.

Located safely outside the hurricane belt and only a few hours by plane from the United States, Panama has been booming as a top international retirement choice in recent years. While low-cost destinations can be found around the world, here are some of the reasons Panama stands above the crowd.

Low Cost, High Quality
Typically, a person must choose between cost and quality and cost, but not in Panama! Panama retains affordable housing prices even in areas with many amenities and beachfront vistas. Forget “roughing it”, these homes have American-style floor plans with amenities comparable to those found in luxury buildings throughout the United States.

Discounts Abound!
One of the biggest concerns for most retirees is “Will I outlive my money?” This, understandably, can cause a lot of anxiety, but rest assured Panama is here to help! Panama offers a “pensionado program” a special discount just for people who have a lifetime pension or retirement fund of at least $1,000 per month. This program does not have any age minimums or maximums and offers discounts of 15-50% on everything from utility bills to hotel stays to bus fares to movie tickets. Additionally, the requirement for monthly income falls to $750 per month if you own Panamanian property valued at $100,000 or more.

An Opportunity for Additional Income
Not everyone who purchases property in Panama wants to live there year round. Sometimes it’s more appealing to spend only the coldest parts of our North American winters, or perhaps you’re looking for an opportunity to stay somewhere for only a short time, but without the restrictions of a timeshare. A popular choice in situations such as this is to rent or sublease your property. In Panama, you can choose to purchase property in a development that is set up to facilitate this sort of transaction. Property owners can opt to have their apartment building coordinate this meaning little hassle with the potential for a great return on investment. If you are a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you may qualify for additional tax credits due to your foreign property investments. Make sure to consult with an experienced tax professional to learn exactly how a purchase would effect you.

True Tropical Paradise
Cost isn’t the only reason to choose a home in Panama. On average temperatures range from highs of 85-90°F to lows of 76-78°F throughout the year. The country has more than 1,500 miles of coastline, more than 500 rivers, and is considered a hotbed of biodiversity in a lower-risk environment. Situated safely outside the hurricane belt, Panama has never been hit by a hurricane and while the country is home to three volcanoes, the last volcanic eruption was in the 17th century.

A Taste of Home
Another reason Panama makes a great place to retire is how familiar it feels. Many people compare Panama City to Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Florida while the islands often remind visitors of Galveston Island, Texas. The U.S. dollar is the official currency in use and hold the same value (although it does stretch much farther), vehicles drive on the right side of the road (although driving in Central America does come with a learning curve!), and while Spanish is the official language, English is widely spoken, especially in the major cities.

Interested in learning more about how you can take your retirement to a new level? Check out the amazing properties for sale now in Panama and be on your way to living la vida Panama!

travel woman abroad asia

5 Things to Know Before Moving Abroad

As the United States heads into the depths of winter, many begin to think about leaving their frigid homeland for a foreign paradise. While most people are not in a position to drop everything and retire to island life, the rising popularity of remote work has allowed more people than ever to pursue a more nomadic lifestyle abroad.

These “digital nomads” come from all walks of life, but sharing similar goals of traveling the world, exploring new places, and supporting their interests and hobbies through a location-independent lifestyle. While spending weekends on the beach and evenings strolling a foreign promenade sound magical, as a U.S. citizen there are some important things you to know before you buy your plane ticket.

 

1). It’s not always as easy as hopping on a plane or train

Americans are privileged to have some of the strongest passports in the world. There are more than 160 countries that US passport holders can visit without needing a travel visa — just board your transportation of choice with your passport and you’re good to go!

That said, there are some countries like China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Russia, among others that require a visa and passport to enter. While some visa-requiring countries like Cambodia or Vietnam allow for e-visas or on-site visas, others require this paperwork to be completed ahead of departure.

P.S. If you’re looking to make a  get-away, here is what you need to know about passport validity and traveling for U.S. citizens!

2). Even if you aren’t living in the U.S., Uncle Sam is coming for your money

Ben Franklin once wrote that “…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” and for U.S. citizens that holds true, even if they aren’t living in the United States.

Generally speaking, the US government doesn’t really care where you live or make your money when it comes to taxes — as long as you pay your taxes. The rules for filing income, estate, and gift tax returns and paying estimated tax are usually pretty much the same no matter where you reside.

This can mean that if a traveller isn’t careful about choosing their new home wisely, they can be taxed by the US and the country they are physically located in. There are a couple of “solutions” to this issue including using a “foreign earned income exclusion” or special business/corporate structures that can be established to help reduce this burden. To find out more about those, it’s best to contact a trusted lawyer and/or accountant with expertise in this area.

 

3). You’re going to want to look into healthcare

While those looking to make a move abroad in 2019 no longer have to think about the tax implications of not having healthcare (thanks to the effective repealing of the individual mandate in the 2019 tax bill), it is still something to be carefully considered.

Many US-based health insurers offer little to no coverage for those living, even temporarily, abroad. While there are many countries across the world have universal healthcare, they are under no obligation to provide those services to non-citizens. Coverage can also come from unexpected places. In some cases, credit card companies offer medical care coverage services (including helping to cover air transport back to the United States), so make sure to investigate all possibilities.

 

4). Beware of driving… for many reasons

In general, avoiding driving overseas is the best option. Road signs, signals, and even which side of the road to travel on can vary by location so it’s often in your best interest to avoid the issue altogether.

In the event you choose to drive yourself in another country, it is important to have the proper credentials.  While some countries like the United Kingdom and Ireland honor U.S. driver’s licenses, many others do not. For these countries, an International Driving Permit may be required. In the United States, these can be obtained fairly from the National Automobile Club or the American Automobile Association (AAA).

 

5). The power struggle can be real

One of the biggest surprises can come from the most mundane of places. While appliances in the United States run primarily on 110 volts, countries abroad use anywhere from 110- 240v. Additionally, the standard for plugs in the US is two elongated vertical openings, sometimes with a third half-round hole below, while other parts of the world use very different electrical plugs. This is all to say, that don’t plan on your electronics working in other countries as is. Thankfully, a rather inexpensive and convenient solution can be found at most hardware or large retail shops: converters and adapters. These simple devices can manipulate the current so your devices can use the electricity coming from the power supply as well as modify the outlet so that your plug can fit. Be sure to pack a couple before you head out on your trip!

 

Living abroad, even temporarily, can help to expand your horizons, open you to new experiences, and introduce you to new people and ways of life you had never imagined. Have you ever lived abroad? Any tips you would like to share? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

christmas mall

Most Impressive Malls in the World

Thanksgiving in the United States is always the last Thursday in November and while some spend the day dressing the turkey and watching football, others prepare for the retail sporting event which follows: Black Friday.

The first mall, as we think of it today, opened in Edina, Minnesota in 1956, but has since spread across the world. Black Friday signals the official beginning of holiday shopping season, but shopping centers across the world have already rolled out the festive decor. Check out some of the most extravagant commercial centers in the world.
 
Metropole Shopping Monte Carlo – Monaco


 
Palladium – Prague, Czech Republic


 
LOOM Bielefeld – Bielefeld,Germany


 
City Square Mall – Singapore


 
Aventura Mall – Miami, Florida, United States


 
Dream Mall – Kaohsiung, Taiwan


 
Mall of America – Bloomington, Minnesota, United States


 
Corio Center – Heerlen, Netherlands


 
Queen Victoria Building – Sydney, Australia


 
GUM – Moscow, Russia


 
Toronto Eaton Centre – Toronto, Canada


 
Puerto Cancun Marina Town Center – Cancun, Mexico


 
Elements – Hong Kong


 
Metromall Panama – Panama City, Panama

Island Escape 101: Exotic Tropical Fruits

One of the first things you realize when you move to a tropical land is just how many fruits you’ve never heard of or tried before! Sure, US supermarkets are stocked to the brim with far more products than you’ll find in nearly any store in the Caribbean, but that doesn’t mean you can find the same things.

Once you step foot into your local tropical market, supermercado, or roadside stand and find these tasty treats, you’ll be reminded just how different life in the tropics really is.
 

 
Ackee
This strange fruit looks like a cross between brains and scrambled eggs and is known as Jamaica’s national fruit. The flavor is buttery and nutty and scrambles well with saltfish.
Note: Unripe ackee is toxic and will likely cause vomiting if ingested.
 

 
Chayote
Similar to a zucchini in flavor and texture, these wrinkled, pear-sized fruits soak up the flavor of whatever they’re paired with and tend to work well in savory dishes.
 

 
Cherimoya
Once referred to as “the most delicious fruit known to men” by Mark Twain, Cherimoya has a very soft texture and a flavor somewhere between banana and pineapple.
 

 
Mamey
Mamey has a sweet and creamy flavor falling somewhere along the lines of a mellow mango or milky papaya. These fruits can get quite large have a custard texture, which along with the flavor profile, make it ideal for milkshakes.
 

 
Noni
Typically served as a juice, noni are known for providing a boost of energy and have a strong, bitter flavor.
 

 
Rambutan
This ping pong sized fruit is eye-catching with its bright pink/red exterior covered in soft spikes. Making a slice in the center reveals an almost iridescent fruit inside which will peel easily from the spiky shell. The fruit itself has a flavor similar to a soft cherry or kiwi.
 

 
Sapodilla
While not the most glamourous looking, this fruit is best eaten plain–it tastes like a very sweet pear!
 

 
Sour Orange
Sour oranges, like the name implies, are extra-sour fruits (although not orange!) with a flavor closer to what Americans think of as lime with an extra bitter kick. Sour oranges can be eaten out of hand, but a much better use is to use it in cooked, savory dishes.

door county wisconsin farm

Beyond the Brewery: Explore Door County’s Hidden Charms!

Door County, Wisconsin is regarded as the “Napa Valley of the Midwest” thanks to an abundance of wineries, art galleries, and other cultural activities, but not everything on this peninsula isn’t as prime and proper as it seems. Beyond the award-winning artisan cheeses and world-renowned cherries, lays another Door County–one that’s funky, spunky, and so much fun! Here are some of the best festivals, fairs, and side trips that Door County, Wisconsin has to offer!

Annual Roofing of the Goats Parade
Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant, located in Sister Bay, is one of the most popular Door County eateries. While the menu contains tons of delish items, it’s the roof that gets all the attention. During the summer months, the grass-covered roof is occupied by live goats! Of course, since the goats don’t live on the restaurant’s roof year-round, Sister Bay welcomes them back to town with the annual Roofing of the Goats Parade! In addition to participating in the parade (it’s a BYOG-bring your own goat-event), there is also live music, kid’s games, food and beverages, and a Swedish Pancake Eating contest!
Date: June 9, 2018
More Info: Visit Sister Bay’s website

Fragrant Isle
Located on Washington Island, it’ll take a Ferry or personal boat to get to this Door County fragrant farm, but you’ll be glad you did! Fragrant Isle is the Midwest’s largest lavender farm and a shop with more than 20,000 lavender plants! Each year the farm welcomes visitors to enjoy the beauty and fragrance of the blooming buds. Whether you choose to shop for one of their more than 150 lavender-based products, visit the Le Petit Bistro for a mouth-watering snack, or just stroll through the extra instagrammable lavender fields and enjoy the natural beauty. Every other year, the farm hosts an “All Things Lavender” fest which is not to be missed!
Date: 2018 dates TBD
More Info: Visit Fragrant Isle’s Website

Rock Beaches
Typically when people think of beaches, it’s soft sand that comes to mind, but Door County does it differently. While some sand beaches can be found, Door County is known for the pebble beaches that populate the shores. On Washington Island you’ll find smooth, skipping stone-like rocks at Schoolhouse Beach while other parts of the peninsula have a mixture of smooth and rough rocks. At Cave Point County Park, located just outside Sturgeon Bay, you’ll find many rough, but easily walkable rock cliffs jutting out into the water. Come for the nature, stay for the zen atmosphere thanks to the many impromptu stacked rock sculptures.
Dates: Open throughout the year, but May-October are the best to visit
More Info: Learn More Here!

Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Yoga
Yoga has become the workout of choice for people of many backgrounds, interests, and skill levels, but Door County takes it one step further by incorporating the abundant freshwater sources the peninsula offers! Here full-time yogis and novices alike can hop aboard a stand-up paddleboard and try their hand at one of the many SUP yoga classes. Classes generally run $25-$35 per hour and include all equipment. Not sure about trying your hand at a floating yoga practice? Many companies rent the boards and also offer guided tours making this another great way to explore the area by water.
Dates: Memorial Day to Labor Day will have the best water conditions
More Info: More information found here or here!

unknown island remote beach

Island Escape 101: Unknown Islands

Many travelers get a special thrill when they tell someone about their latest adventures and get blanks stares and questions of “Where’s that?” While many people travel to Jamaica (more than 4 million a year) or the Dominican Republic (more than 5 million annually), it’s not as often that you hear of travels to Montserrat or Guadeloupe. Here are some of the best Caribbean Islands you’ve never heard of!

marie-galante

Marie-Galante
Country: Guadeloupe
Location: Northeast of Venezuela
Language: French
Getting There: There are no scheduled flights from Guadeloupe, although charter flights are available in addition to several available ferries which take about 45-60 minutes from Pointe-à-Pitre or St. François in Guadeloupe.
Best reason to Visit: The beaches of this tiny island are nothing short of spectacular, but the three rum distilleries found here are not to be missed!

Providencia
Country: Colombia
Location: East of Nicaragua
Language: English Creole
Getting There: Getting to Providencia is a challenge. Personal boat travel or chartered flights are the best options. Flights (15 minute ride) and ferries (2.5 hour ride) are available from nearby San Andres island, which can be accessed by direct flights from various Colombian cities.
Best Reason to Visit: The remoteness of this island makes it a truly unspoiled Caribbean gem. From golden sand beaches to idyllic turquoise waters to friendly locals, this is is the Caribbean paradise that movies and stories are made of.

st johns saba island

Saba
Country: Netherlands
Location: East of US Virgin Island, South of Antigua
Language: English, although Dutch is common
Getting There: Easily accessed by boat and has 4 flights per day from Saint Maarten. Take off and landing are sure to be memorable experiences as the runaway at Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport is only 400m in length–reported to be the shortest commercial runway in the world!
Best Reason to Visit: The diving is world renowned and the dense vegetation and dramatic landscape made this the perfect setting for the original 1933 King Kong movie.

Montserrat
Country: Montserrat
Location: South of St. Kitts & Nevis, West of Antigua and Barbuda
Language Spoken: English
Getting There: 20 minute flight or 90 minute ferry ride from Antigua
Best Reason to Visit: Check out the buried city of Plymouth. For more than 300 years this was the capital of Montserrat until 1995 when it was laid to waste by a volcanic eruption. You’ll need a certified guide to take you as this is area is now in a mandated exclusion zone.

Esperanza Vieques

Vieques
Country: Puerto Rico
Location: Southeast of Puerto Rico
Language: Spanish
Getting There: Ferries run from the Puerto Rican mainland, but the best way is to take a commuter flight from one of four airports in Puerto Rico. No passport is needed for US citizens as Puerto Rico is a Free Commonwealth of the US.
Best Reason to Visit: A peaceful island full of beautiful beaches and with wild horses strolling through grassy meadows, this beautiful island caters to any travel taste from beach huts to fancy hotels. The real gem of this island, though, is Vieques’ dramatic Bioluminescent Bay, a lagoon full of microorganisms that glow purple-blue when disturbed after dark.

Wanting to make a more permanent island getaway? Check out the latest Caribbean properties on RealtyHive here.

beach of english speaking country

Island Escape 101: English Language Paradises

You’ve been dreaming of escaping the drudgery of the 9-5 Monday through Friday workweek. You’ve got your sights set on sun and fun in a tropical paradise, but where to go? There are many great places to choose from, but if you’re looking for an easy transition it may be a good idea to find a new home where you won’t face a language barrier. This can help you overcome other manners of “culture shock” in a much easier fashion. Keep in mind, though, that just because you share an official language, being able to communicate across dialects, accents, and cultural differences can still be a challenge!


Anguilla
English is the only official language of this small island British overseas territory.

Antigua and Barbuda
A former British territory, Antigua and Barbuda has seen it’s language shift since winning independence in 1980. These islands have different accents and the people of Antigua and Barbuda commonly speak in a Creole dialect, but you will be understood without it. After a lengthy stay in this beautiful country you will find yourself familiar with the sound of it and even picking up a few expressions!

Bahamas
English speakers will be able to manage quite easily in the Bahamas. Newspapers, television, and radio are all in English and all business is conducted in English as well. The most common secondary language you will hear is Creole, thanks to a number of immigrants, mostly from Haiti.

Barbados
All entertainment, education, and business in Barbados in conducted in English. At times you may hear a local dialect, which is a mix of British English and a Barbadian dialect, Bajan. Bajan is similar to Creole and has no written form.


Belize
Belize is the only Central American country with English as the official language. As a result, all official document and signage are in English. Nearly all of the resident population speaks English fluently and many also speak Spanish thanks to the Mayan heritage of the country. Belize kriol (also known as Belizean creole) is a widely spoken dialect that is based on English, but incorporates Spanish words and intonations.

Bermuda
The main spoken language in Bermuda is English, but you’ll find that most Bermudians have a strong, distinct accent. This accent is not really similar to any others found in the Caribbean, except potentially the Bahamas, but people have likened it to the Southern U.S. accent in some cases.


British Virgin Islands
The official and most widely spoken language in the British Virgin Islands is English with about 75% of the population using it as their main language. Also commonly spoken are Spanish or French and French Creole, especially on the islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix. Here you’ll find that speakers generally have an accent and speak rapidly, so though you may share a language, it might be hard to catch on to the first few words of a sentence.

Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands claims English as the official language, but the large Jamaican population there speaks a typical creole English dialect and Spanish is common thanks to immigrants from nearby Cuba.

Dominica
You’ll find English to be the most common language in Dominica, especially among the younger generations. The country’s history of French colonization, as well as neighboring Martinique and Guadeloupe, mean that French and French Creole are also a part of the culture and heritage, although only commonly spoken by older Dominicans.

Grenada
The language barrier is near non-existent in this friendly and welcoming Caribbean melting pot. In the rural areas, it’s not uncommon to hear some African, Creole English, Grenadian Creole French, and French Patio and the most common language in the streets in Grenadian Creole. Most English speakers will have no troubles understanding the locals, although you may run into a bit of difficulty if someone is speaking too quickly or with a very heavy accent.


Jamaica
Most Jamaicans speak Jamaican Creole, a language with a heavy usage of English words, but significantly different pronunciation and vocabulary than American English. This can be nearly unintelligible for those not familiar. Luckily, English is understood and spoken by nearly everyone on this island.

Montserrat
This small volcanic island was a part of the former British West Indies and continues to be a British Overseas Territory. As such, English is the official language. Montserrat’s language was shaped by a heavy influx of Irish settlers in the 17th and 18th centuries and some say their accents continue to resemble Irish accents.


St. Kitts and Nevis
Governed by the British until 1983, St. Kitts and Nevis has English as both the national and official language. The islands boast a literacy level of more than 98% so this country is very easy for visiting English speakers to communicate with locals.

St. Lucia
The island of St. Lucia has English as an official language with all signs posted in English or with an available English translation, although Creole is widely used. St. Lucian Creole is a dialect by itself and is a mix of French and African grammar with mostly English vocabulary, but has some Spanish and French words mixed in. It is estimated that approximately 20% of the islanders do not speak any English.


St. Vincent and the Grenadines
English is the official language of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and is the exclusive language used in the education system, although Vincentian Creole is practised as the native tongue across the country.

Trinidad and Tobago
Although English is the official language of this dual-island nation, different dialects are heard on the islands; Trinidadian Creole and Tobagonian Creole which each have their own grammar and articulation. Because of Trinidad and Tobago’s proximity to South America, you will also often hear Spanish, but standard English will be found nearly everywhere on these islands.

Turks and Caicos
Another British Overseas Territory, English speaking expats and visitors from the United States will feel right at home on this island. Here you’ll find the US dollar as the national currency and most major American television networks are available.

With the language barrier as one less thing for you to worry about, you’re one step closer to your island escape!

men fighting in a field

The Battle of Toledo: How a Real Estate Deal Prevented a War

If you take a look at a map of the Midwest United States, you may notice something strange with Michigan. More specifically, you may notice that Michigan is effectively two land masses that aren’t connected (save for the Mackinac Bridge) and that the northern part, known as Upper Michigan, is actually completely attached to Wisconsin except where divided by the Montreal River. This connection isn’t a thin strip of land; the two states share a straight-line border that’s approximately 100 miles long. So how did Michigan come to lay claim to this area that makes up nearly 30% of the state’s landmass? The answer lies in the real estate deal that prevented a war.

Let’s take it back to 1784. It’s 8 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and just one year after the end of the Revolutionary War. The 13 colonies are well defined, but there’s a lot more land to the west that had been included in the Treaty of 1783 that is yet to be explored. The founding fathers saw the need to create a system for expanding into the territory (and raise some money since direct taxation wasn’t allowed yet), so selling it to adventuresome pioneers seemed like the best idea. This idea was put in motion by The Land Ordinance of 1785. Among other things, this ordinance called for a survey to be done of the land to divide it up for sale. In 1786, Thomas Hutchins set off from a stake placed by a Pennsylvania/Virginia survey team in 1785 on the north bank of the Ohio River. Still, this survey was done to help sell off plots of land to settlers, not create new states.

At the Second Continental Congress, which happened the following year in July 1787, the United States adopted The Northwest Ordinance which chartered a government for this territory and provided a path for admitting new states to the Union. There were three main parts of this ordinance, with the first one being: The Northwest Territory needed to be divided into “not less than three nor more than five States”. The first order of business was to use the survey maps to divide the whole of the Northwest Territory into smaller territories that could then apply for statehood as their populations reached sufficient numbers.

Fast forward a couple decades and we’re now at 1805. Ohio has been an official state for two years and Michigan is looking to get official “territory” status. When Congress drew the border for this Michigan territory, the southern portion overlapped into the northern border of Ohio, creating a point of ambiguity. This strip which measured only eight miles wide at the east end and five miles wide at the west end covered an area of approximately 468- square miles and was called the Toledo Strip.

Here’s where things get tricky. Ohio believed it was theirs. Michigan believed the same. And neither one was ready to budge. As it turned out, the survey done in 1786 didn’t accurately place the line, leading to this tension. For the most part, the two areas just agreed to disagree and didn’t pursue the issue until Michigan officially applied to join the Union as a state in 1833.

Ohio, who remembered the Toledo Strip and was not about to give up that precious chunk of real estate, blocked Michigan’s application when Michigan refused to relinquish control of the area. It was after this that armed men from Michigan and Ohio took to the field in what became known as The Toledo War. Despite a series of border skirmishes, the only reported casualty in The Toledo War (as recorded by the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs) was a Michigan sheriff who was stabbed by an Ohioan during a tavern fight.

A compromise was drafted in 1836. Ohio would get the Toledo Strip and Michigan’s territory was expanded by more than 16,000 square miles of land to include all the Upper Penninsula. This was not immediately agreed upon by Michigan, as it was widely assumed that the land in the U.P. was useless, but the state did concede and officially joined the Union in January 1837. It was Michigan who had the last laugh over this battle when vast resources of iron ore were found in the U.P. in 1844.
 
 

deck view white wine table beach

Island Escape 101: Passport Requirements

With thoughts of the sand between your toes and the intoxicating smells of suntan lotion mixing with the spray of the ocean, it’s easy to imagine spending your days living your best Caribbean life. Before you find a long-term rental or property to own and kiss your mainland life goodbye, you’ve gotta make sure you can even get to paradise.

Sure, Caribbean countries are known for their easy-going attitudes, but even the most “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” countries have immigration rules that need to be followed before you can set sail with Captain Morgan (even if you never plan to leave dry land!) While many Caribbean countries are very accommodating to US tourists, a certain amount of passport validity, blank stamp passport pages, or other requirements may be enforced either at boarding of the plane (while still in the US) or after you disembark in your destination. Here’s what you need to keep in mind to ensure smooth sailing!

Note: This list is only a guide as immigration rules are often in flux. Please check the US State Department’s website here to get the most up-to-date information before you leave. Also, please note that this guide is designed with United States Passport holders in mind. If you hold a passport from another country, please check with the State Department in the country from which your passport was issued.

beach loungers in jamaica

Anguilla
Passport Validity: Must be valid at time of entry
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required for entry stamp
Not required if you have an onward or return ticket, confirmation of accomodation, and can produce evidence of your ability to maintain yourself.

Antigua and Barbuda
Passport Validity: Must be valid for 180 following your departure date
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required for entry stamp
Not required if you have an onward or return ticket, confirmation of accomodation, and can produce evidence of your ability to maintain yourself.

Aruba
Passport Validity: Must be valid at time of entry and for duration of stay
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required for entry stamp
Not Required for US travelers

Barbados
Passport Validity: Must be valid at time of entry
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required for entry stamp
Not Required for stays under 6 months

beach in belize

Belize
Passport Validity: Must be valid for length of stay
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required for entry stamp
Not Required for stays 30 days or less

Bermuda
Passport Validity: Must be valid at time of entry
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required for entry stamp
Not Required

Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba
Passport Validity: Must be valid for period of stay
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required for entry stamp
Not Required for visits up to 180 days

beautiful beach in bvi

British Virgin Islands
Passport Validity: Must be valid at time of entry
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required for entry stamp
Not Required for visits up to one month

French West Indies- Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Martin, Saint Barthélemy
Passport Validity: Must have six months validity at entry
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required for entry stamp
Not Required for visits up to 90 days

The Bahamas
Passport Validity: Must be valid at time of entry
Blank Passport Pages: 2 pages required for entry stamp
Not Required

Cayman Islands
Passport Validity: Must be valid at time of entry and exit
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required for entry stamp
Not Required

costa rica beach view

Costa Rica
Passport Validity: Must be valid for length of stay
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required for entry stamp
Not Required for stays less than 90 days, but return ticket required

Cuba
Passport Validity: Must be valid at time of entry
Blank Passport Pages: 2 page required for entry/exit stamps
Tourist travel to Cuba remains prohibited. You must obtain a license from the Department of Treasury or your travel must fall into one of 12 categories of authorized travel. See here for details.

Curacao
Passport Validity: Must be valid for length of stay
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required for entry stamp
Not Required, however return/onward ticket, sufficient funds, and any needed documents for return travel are needed.

Dominica
Passport Validity: Must be valid at time of entry
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required for entry stamp
Not Required for stays under 6 months

Dominican Republic
Passport Validity: Must be valid at time of entry
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required for entry stamp
Not Required for stays less than 30 days

El Salvador
Passport Validity: Must be valid at time of entry
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required for entry stamp
No visa required, but a $10 USD tourist card must be purchased upon arrival and is valid for 90 days.

grenada beach

Grenada
Passport Validity: Must for 6 months beyond the date of entry
Blank Passport Pages: Sufficient space is necessary for ¼ page entry stamp
No visa required, evidence of return/onward travel is required

Guatemala
Passport Validity: Must be valid for at least 6 months beyond date of entry
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required for entry/exit stamp
No visa required for stays of 90 days or less

Haiti
Passport Validity: Must be valid for 6 months from time of entry
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required per stamp
No visa required for stays of 90 days or less

tropical view with chairs

Honduras
Passport Validity: Must be valid for 6 months from time of entry
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required for entry stamp
No visa required for stays of 90 days or less

Jamaica
Passport Validity: Must be valid at the time of entry and exit
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required for entry stamp
No visa required for stays of 90 days or less

Mexico
Passport Validity: Must be valid at time of entry
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required per stamp
No visa required for stays of 180 days or less

Montserrat
Passport Validity: Must be valid at time of entry
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required for entry stamp
No visa required

Nicaragua
Passport Validity: Must be valid for length of stay
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required per stamp
No visa required for stays less than 90 days, but must purchase a $10 USD tourist card upon entry and pay a $42 USD departure tax. Other requirements may apply. See here for details.

beach near bocas del toro panama

Panama
Passport Validity: Must be valid 3 months beyond date of arrival
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required per stamp
No visa required

Saint Kitts and Nevis
Passport Validity: Must be valid for 6 months from time of entry
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required for entry stamp
No visa required for stays of 90 days or less

Saint Lucia
Passport Validity: Must be valid for 6 months from time of entry
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required for entry stamp
No visa required if you have an onward/return ticket, confirmation of accomodation, and can produce evidence of your ability to maintain yourself.

view in st vincent and the grenadines

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Passport Validity: Must be valid at time of entry
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required for entry stamp
No visa required

Sint Maarten
Passport Validity: Must be valid for duration of stay
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required for entry stamp
No visa required

Trinidad and Tobago
Passport Validity: Must be valid for 6 months from time of entry
Blank Passport Pages: 1 page required per stamp
No visa required for stays of 90 days or less

Turks and Caicos
Passport Validity: Must be valid duration of stay
Blank Passport Pages: none
No visa required for stays of 90 days or less

turks and caicos beach

neon rock totems in desert southwest

Beyond the Grand Canyon: Awesome Places to Visit in the Southwest

In Europe, it’s not uncommon for someone to leave their home on a Friday for a weekend trip that includes crossing international borders. For much of the EU, a few hours drive or train ride will land you in another country—or perhaps a few countries over. In the United States, that same scenario is pretty rare due to the sheer size of the country. Residents of many states can drive for hours without ever leaving the boundaries of their home state, much less the country.

It is perhaps for this reason that the most common destination spots for US travelers are within the borders of the United States. While many people visit Disney World in Florida or The Statue of Liberty in New York City every day, it’s less common that these US travelers know about or visit places such as Antelope Canyon, Seven Magic Mountains, or White Sands National Monument. Check out some of the craziest, coolest, and most intriguing destinations for your next vacation right here in the Southwest United States.
inside Mat Bevel's Kinetic museum in US southwest

Mat Bevel’s Museum of Kinetic Art, Tucson, Arizona
Lose yourself in the intoxicating space where science meets arts meet technology and magic! Located in Tucson, Arizona and billed as “High Art for the Whole Family” this museum is definitely worth the stop. This museum features nearly 100 found-object moving sculptures, a surrealistic pop science theater, hands-on learning experiences and digital media arts.
light beam falling inside Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona
Thanks to social media, and especially Instagram, this spot has become the most-photographed and most-visited slot canyon in all of the American southwest. Millions of years of wind and water erosion have formed the smooth and flowing shapes found in this spectacular canyon. This area is extremely dangerous as it is prone to flash flooding but can be visited through professional guided tours. You can find this stunning natural wonder in Page, Arizona.
Remnants of famous signs at the "Neon Boneyard" in Las Vegas, Nevada LCCN2011636073

Neon Boneyard and Mob Museum, Las Vegas, Nevada
While most people visit Las Vegas, Nevada for the gambling or shows on the Strip, this funky collection of decommissioned neon signs is an impressive stop not far from the action of Fremont Street. To get the most out of your experience, purchase the combo ticket that allows you entry to both the Neon Boneyard and Mob Museum, visit the Museum during the day and schedule your guided tour of the Neon Boneyard just before dusk to experience the signs in natural light as well as lit up.
neon rock totems in desert southwest

Seven Magic Mountains, Sloan,Nevada
Located just 10 miles outside of the heart of Las Vegas, Nevada this art installation features seven 30 foot tall fluorescent “totems”. Visitors can walk up to the stacked works of art, take stunning photos, and even listen to a guided audio tour via their personal cell phones. If you want to see this attraction, you’ve gotta act fast–this installation is only on display until May 2018!
White Sands National Monument.jpg

White Sands National Monument, Alamogordo, New Mexico
When you think of miles of white sands, you probably think of the beach. Not the case in this southern New Mexico attraction! This area is covered in undulating pure gypsum dunes, the most active of which move in a northeasterly direction at a speed of up to 30 feet per year! A reserve can be found at this park which features specially adapted plants and animals, but for a truly unique experience, purchase a sled and try out some dune sledding!

Bonus: If you’re going to be in the Alamogordo area anyway, make sure to stop by the World’s Largest Pistachio! While it’s (probably) not worth the trip to the area just to see this record-holder, it’s another way to spice up your trip to this area!

inside of meow wolf in Santa Fe new mexico

Meow Wolf, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Diving head first into a toilet might not sound like your idea of a good time, but wait until you see the adventure that lies within. Nothing is what it appears at Meow Wolf, an interactive choose-your-own-adventure art and experience gallery which houses the House of Eternal Return, the first permanent installation in Meow Wolf’s collection (and supported by Game of Thrones’ George R.R. Martin).

highway 66 symbol painted on highway

Musical Highway, Tijeras, New Mexico
Located just outside Albuquerque, New Mexico is the famous Route 66. While many people have heard of this famous southern highway, this particular stretch has a novelty of it’s own: It sings. Driving on this stretch of highway at exactly 45 mph treats vehicle passengers to a rumblestrip rendition of “America the Beautiful” over a quarter-mile stretch.
The United States is filled with so many great attractions, tourist destinations, and things to do and see. Have you fallen in love with the weird, wacky, and wonderful Southwest? From Arizona and Nevada to New Mexico and beyond, you’re sure to find the perfect place to call home on RealtyHive.