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Could you retire to Cuba?...

Calgary, Canada
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Could you retire to Cuba?...

This subject came up in a PM today... it's an interesting discussion... here's my dos centavos...

Even though I've spent a considerable amount of time in Cuba I could never live there for an extended period and I could never consider it as a retirement option.

A few (of many) issues for me: Can't own property... can't buy a vehicle... telecommunication infrastructure horrible... crap Internet... if you're into variety it's difficult and expensive to buy/cook your own food... banking is a joke... news sources all government controlled... satellite dishes illegal... health care is generally very poor outside of tourist centres... the beer selection is horribly boring... Honestly, the list is endless.

The people, the general safety, culture, music, etc. and all the other MANY positive aspects that I adore simply can't overcome the glaring negatives for a long term stay.

That said, it's entirely possible (I've done it several times) to find an area you like, rent a long-term casa and "kind of" live like a (rich) local for a period of time... but it will be much more expensive for a lot lower standard of living than in countless places throughout Mexico and Central/South America.

What do you think?

Cheers,

Terry

Edited: 2:16 pm, September 11, 2012
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179 replies to this topic
Saskatoon, Canada
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1. Re: Could you retire to Cuba?...

So then what I hear you saying, Terry is that to 'play as a snowbird' - you would get better bang-for-your-buck in Mexico and/or Central/South America...

Would it be better then, to do a number of 2-3 week Cuban vacations - staying at casa particulars as opposed to all-inclusives, throughout the year? This would still probably be more expensive than Mexico/Centra/South America but if those places don't excite a person......just saying.....

Denise

Montreal, Canada
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2. Re: Could you retire to Cuba?...

I think a couple of months at a time would be all that I could take. First off, its just to darn hot most of the year. I'd be afraid of being too bored unless I had something interesting to be obsessed with, possibly drawing and photographing plants and wildlife.

Would also not want to live in the city or a town but rent somewhere near water and natural areas, forests, marshes. Of course then I would be paranoid whenever I left my house about burglaries since I would be proabaly a bit isolated. Would also need a bicycle for transport

I've spoken to people who have retired to places like Costa Rica and having nothing to do but hang out at bars and drink all the time is a potential downside.

So maybe small bit is the best way to do it.

Nova Scotia, Canada
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3. Re: Could you retire to Cuba?...

I agree pretty well 100%. Slogging in out in a cubicle here in Canada, it is sometimes easy for my little mind to drift off to Cuba, thinking that I could do most of my work from a beachfront office there ... IF I had secure internet and ability to access information. But without that, everything else just isn’t even possible to consider.

In retirement I might be willing to risk half-and-half – 50% in Nova Scotia & 50% in Cuba. I couldn’t imagine being away from this gorgeous province from May till November, but I wouldn’t at all mind being gone from January to May.

Mind you, maybe I could open a branch of TATA® and work from Cuba. I wouldn’t need access to hi-speed internet, and it would be somewhat easy to control a lot of discussions on travel forums or anywhere else that open discussions were being held on-line.

Maybe I could marry a rich Cuban, and be a kept woman! I’ll chat with Conner about it. LOL ☺ ☺ ☺

Calgary, Canada
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4. Re: Could you retire to Cuba?...

I can't imagine staying at an all-inclusive that often Denise, I would go bonkers. Different strokes.

My favourite longish-term stay in Cuba that I've done several times is a slooooooow trip, staying in a nice casa for several days (or longer) at a time then moving onto the next destination, and repeat.

But yes, all things being equal you get way better bang-for-your-buck elsewhere. For a foreigner Cuba is still one of the most expensive developing countries on the planet.

Cheers,

Terry

Ontario
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5. Re: Could you retire to Cuba?...

Like most things that are special in small doses, Cuba would get old pretty quick if it was an all the time thing. Most of us would get bored doing the things that we enjoy for a week or two if there was no break from them. As an interesting comparison, when I was young and foolish, and had one horse kept at a boarding stable, I did a lot more riding than when I had my own place and five of them in my backyard. (no, none of them were named Santiago). :-)

Edited: 2:34 pm, September 11, 2012
Sherwood Park...
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6. Re: Could you retire to Cuba?...

I love living in Cuba!!! However, my situation is somewhat different as I do have most of the luxuries...Internet, satellite, spices, good appliances, etc....I embrace the food challenges, definatley find many uses for what is in season...avacado muffins anyone... I cant have and do everything i can at home...but im not at home and am enjoying the Cuban culture. Produce is very cheap, (for an canadian expat) have gotten 21 lbs of potatoes for 1 cuc (when you can get them), as many as 13 mangoes for 1 cuc, lack of variety in vegetables can be tough at times, so is powdered milk.... I actually have a hard time when I return to Canada, the grocery store drives me nuts....we have way to much "stuff"!! Not long ago when I returned and went to the grocery store the next evening and a father and son were shopping, the son was around 10 years old. I saw them in the dairy section looking at the milk shelves that were not completly full, nothing was out but it was kind of messy and the dad said to the son "is this all they got". I laughed to myself and thought wonder how he would like powdered milk or the milk in the tetra pack....if he could afford it. Living in Cuba you make the best of the situation and make do with what you have and yes it is hard for me to speak about life in Cuba as I have many more privliges but also have many friends and know and appreciate their simple but hard life.

Calgary, Canada
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7. Re: Could you retire to Cuba?...

loveSFO, your situation is very unique though and couldn't be duplicated by a normal person looking to retire or live long term in Cuba... apples and oranges...

It's easy to live in any developing country when your situation makes it possible to have access to first world amenities.

Cheers,

Terry

Cartagena, Colombia
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8. Re: Could you retire to Cuba?...

The longest I've stayed in Cuba at any one time was 3 weeks. As an investor, it's difficult for me to even be away from high speed internet for even a few hours.Other then that, I actually find the day to day challenges in Cuba interesting. Of course for longer then 3 weeks, I'd find it absolutely infuriating!

Sherwood Park...
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9. Re: Could you retire to Cuba?...

I agree my situation is unique, and am not making light of how Cubans live compared to me. Having said that, if one is retiring to another country you would go there with some money.... and would probably live more like I do than the average Cuban. When there are power outages my power is out too, often you turn the water tap on and....no water. I share many of the same experiences that Cubans living in Varadero experience too. I too am dependent of what the markets and grocery stores sell. I may have some first world amenities but at times they become useless too. I have learned how to become much more resourceful out of necessity. I love the challenge and embrace it. Living in Cuba is not for the lighthearted, but I do love it.

Calgary, Canada
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10. Re: Could you retire to Cuba?...

loveSFO, money is not the main factor here. When you're on a tourist visa like a "normal" long term visitor you simply can't (legally) acquire many of the first world amenities that you are blessed with.

You are VERY fortunate with your unique living situation.

Cheers,

Terry

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