Saturday, March 20, 2010
The debate on US healthcare took a strange turn last week, with Rush Limbaugh announcing that if the health legislation became law, he'd move to Costa Rica. He later recanted somewhat, saying that he wouldn't move to Costa Rica--he would just seek medical care there.
His comments focused attention on Costa Rica's social healthcare system, dating from 1941. Costa Ricans pay a 9% income tax, which funds the system. As of March 1, under Costa Rica's new immigration law, all residents must opt into the system too. The cost is around $50 a month per resident, and it covers pre-existing conditions, medications and doctor and hospital visits.
You won't just find modern hospitals in Costa Rica's capital, San Jose. The Southern Zone has a modern 85,000 square-foot hospital, opened in April 2008. The hospital has a state-of-the-art emergency room, a pediatrics wing, a neurology center and an obstetrics center. The hospital is out of proportion to the area right now...this part of Costa Rica is not densely populated. However, plans are afoot for a new international airport here. The government has already chosen the site and allocated funds. Eventually, the plan is to have a runway capable of accommodating even the world's largest passenger planes. An airport of this scale needs to be close to a modern hospital...which is why they built one.
A new airport will improve accessibility...and improved accessibility means more people traveling to the Southern Zone, falling in love with it, and wanting to own a piece of it. That means one thing: property prices should rise. It's already starting: the upgraded coastal road officially opened in January, making travel here quicker, easier and more comfortable. Our Southern Zone chill weekends have gone from one a month to three this month, to cope with the increased demand.
The UK-based author of a Belize article set out to write a thoroughly researched piece on this English-speaking country's benefits, but was somewhat sidetracked by its Caribbean laid-back charms (and its beer).
Belize's benefits include that Caribbean lifestyle...white sand, tropical palms swaying in the breeze, clear water... friendly, quirky locals...and property prices a fraction of what you'd pay in other English-speaking Caribbean destinations.Our friends at Orchid Bay will help you experience Belize's laid-back lifestyle (and the beer!), on their upcoming chill weekend in April--for only $299.
We're bullish on Brazil. It's now an investment-grade middle class country. The country's economy is poised to expand 5.7% this year. This strong economy is growing Brazil's middle class, both in numbers and income level. As soon as they can afford to, this middle class is buying property, and vacationing, driving the property and short-term rental market in cities such as Fortaleza.
Brazil not only has a strong economy--it's also energy-sufficient. We wrote about Brazil's discovery of 12 billion barrels of oil offshore last September. One oil bed alone was eight billion barrels...and that discovery helped create two-thirds of the wealth of Eike Batista. His net worth of $27 billion placed him as Brazil's richest man last week, and the eighth richest man in the world, in the Forbes Billionaires List.
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