The CA Forum is the best I have found re: Central America

elsalwizard's picture

I have been living in Central America, with a 14 month stint in México DF, yes the 'big city' for nearly 24 years now, the time has gone by fast, mae mistakes, errors in judgement, plenty of them, on this forum members admit they are not 'perfect' nor 'golden' expats who assume they are G-ds gift to the host country on one hand and cheating new arrivals on the other hand by selling land, real estate, rentals at sky high prices to the naive who don't speak Spanish (big mistake, if planning to relocate, learn the basics before and after arrival. Travel first to your target city, town, country, region and find the place where YOU feel Safe, Comfortable and Accepted by locals, a place that fits your budget. Do not worry at first about bring 'accepted' by other ex pats, unless you live in the Ex Pat BOX caled a gated community! (Ex Pat only gated comunities are most common in Nicaragua around SJDS, Costa Rica all over, of course, and some areas in Panama populated by Ex Pats,, also the popular destinations of Antigua in Guatemala, Roatan Island in Honduras, etc.
With Ex Pats who of course speak your language keep your pesonal life and business to youself as much as possible, if you are a heavy drinker and wish to hang out in a gringo watering hole or two, make friends with teh owner/bartenders and ask discreetly whom to avoid.
I have had few problems with natives oer teh years, some major problems with ex pats, semi ex pats..the 6 month snowbirds and teh ever present floating gringo, the PT who moves from place to place, some of them, due to fact tehy are rootless, are big time scammers, I avoid any stranger who asks me to invest or go into 'partnership' with them, since I speak Spanish, am part Salvadoran due to immigrant family ties and know the ins and outs, small business, tourism, whatever, I avoid nosy Ex Pats. If chemistry is there, just like at home, you'll eventually click with a few good people and make friends you can trust. No matter who you are or where you relocate do not expect to build up a trust or bond with new neighbors in a week or two, takes time. If your choice to relocate does not work out, then search around and move. It's your journey, your time, your dime, your life, you need not seek aproval from anyone, anywhere, especialy those online hiding behind computer screens. Get a life, re invent yourself if need be, volunteer or teach English if you have the time and keep practicing your Spanish with the locals, overly 'friendly' bi lingual locals are often brownosers who are eager to get into your business
never loan money nor invest with either local or ex pat, unless you know them well for years. If you are in a solid cross cultural relationship, local spouse, fiance, etc. great, you are 50% over teh hill already, but avoid living with and suporting a large extended family. I made that mistake in the 80s, the family got visas and moved into my tiny NY apartment, one day returned all was gone and she filed for divorce..she got the coveted US Green Card. So for me marraige is forever out the question. Live and learn. Always something to do whether you live in a small beach or mountain pueblo or in or around the capital city or popular destination. Many ex pats who become residents get involved in small tourism ventures, believe me, teaching English ok for a while but not for everyone! Best of luck to one and all..buena suerte..your political leanings and philosophy matter not at all to me is your character..if mine 'matter' to you then best we shake hands and part company, no hard feelings, same goes for missionaries and those of faith, just don't try and convert me, I know how to survive and I know how how to pray (I am non observant, but proud of my culture) doing it for nearly 6,000 years. Here is the url for my Primer for those traveling/relocating to El Salvador, Guatemala & the rest of Central America first time. entonces véase
saludos desde El Salvador


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Good Post

I can not agree with you more. I have been doing the part time thing, back and forth from the USA/Nicaragua for 20+ years now. I have seen so many scammers (Ex-Pats) in my time it would make your head spin.

Also the Johnny come lately – wow what a group that is! I look forward to your postings and further insight to the “Ugly Gringo/European” and other experiences you have had.

I am married to a Nica and I find it very easy to “cut off” the extended family when it comes to $$$$$$ - I think what happens is one starts to feel guilty about “having” and you start giving to the point that you go broke financially, spiritually and mentally. I just tell them that I am only responsible for my wife, daughters and grandkids, other than that get a job.

interested to see your primer... but access problem

Hi, Nice to have your contributions here as well!  I remember being in touch with you many years ago when I was first learning about Central America.  I tried to look at your primer, but it appears that the document is restricted; possibly you need to adjust the viewing permissions on it?


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