Live Like a Local


How To Find An Apartment in Cancun

Posted by | Live Like a Local, Mexico, Negotiation, Quality of Life, Traveling Tips | 22 Comments

I’ve been calling Cancun home since September of 2010, using it as a base of operations for other travels, such as my trip to Bogota, Colombia and my explorations in and around Mexico. In that time, I’ve learned to speak Spanish reasonably fluently, I’m a permanent resident, I got married, and we’ve kept our living expenses under $12,000 a year. That includes groceries, Internet, utilities and, most important, our apartment rental.

How do we manage to live so affordable in a city known for Spring Break, its decadence, all-inclusive resorts and vacation rentals that regularly cost foreigners and tourist visitors $3,000 a month or more? By living like a local and knowing how to navigate the minefield. Every month I receive the same question over and over from readers: “How do I find a cheap apartment in Cancun?”  Read on for the full details. All costs are valid as of 2016. Read More


Why Mexico Is Becoming a Hotter Investment Than Brazil

Posted by | Live Like a Local, Mexico, Quality of Life | No Comments

Last year, The World Bank declared the Latin American Spanish market the fastest growing market in the world. We’ve seen some of the effects already coming out of the Chilean market with their “Chilecon Valley” development frenzy going on in Santiago, spawning such programs as Start-Up Chile and online, same-day business registration taking place by behest of the Chilean government, allowing anyone, anywhere, to register a business online with the click of a button.

While the Western World is struggling to deal with their own behemoth that is the so-called “global crisis”, the Latin American and Asian markets are thriving. Brazil passed the United Kingdom in 2011 to become the world’s 6th largest economy. And this year, Mexico is making strides past Brazil in several ways. Read More


Road Trip To Valladolid, Mexico

Posted by | Live Like a Local, Mexico | 10 Comments

It was a hot day in late August of 2012, the warmth of summer still sticking around. I had been working hard all year and decided it was time to take a mini vacation, so I rented a car for the week and headed out to visit some of the local sights in and around Cancun. During my excursion I hit up Valladolid, Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, Coba, Akumal, Puerto Morelos and the Ruta de Cenotes just south of Morelos. Read More


An expat’s guide to living in Madrid

Posted by | Live Like a Local, Madrid, Quality of Life, Spain, Traveling Tips | No Comments

Spain. While the country itself has been hit in recent years by a number of economic hardships that have resounded around the world, it still remains one of the hottest destinations that digital nomads and expats alike should consider as a long-term destination for their location independent lifestyle. When you are working online and making a digital income, and are thus not affected by a slow economy, you can make the best out of a bad situation.

The heart of Castilian Spain, Madrid is a city with a history dating back over the centuries, home to the kings and queens of the country and rife with castles, museums, opera houses and more. Although it can be a bit more expensive than, say, Thailand or Mexico as far as long-term living goes, there are still a variety of residential areas that you can consider if you are looking to get the most out of your money.

And despite the economic downturn of the early 21st century, the Spaniards remain resilient and the city marches on regardless. The bars and restaurants remain packed full of locals and tourists alike, and there is plenty of modern infrastructure to keep you connected and working no matter which part of the city you choose to live in.

There are a variety housing options based on what you are looking for, starting with studio apartments and going up to three-bedroom houses, villas and small farm retreats just outside of the city. Not to mention there are numerous museums, parks and traditional plazas spread around the city, not only in the historic district that tourists usually explore when they visit Madrid, but also around the surrounding residential areas that house the majority of the locals. Everything is connected by a large subway network and there are also a network of buses that connect the city’s neighborhoods to nearby towns.

With that in mind, the following list showcases some of the residential areas that you can consider, as well as the prices associated with living there.

La Latina

The city center, with its ancient churches, museums and parks, is the place for nomads who want to be in the center of the city’s cultural developments. The district of La Latina, a short walk south of the historical city center, is a typical madrileño district, with tapas bars, clubs, restaurants and traditional shops. The area is filled with students and with madrileños who have lived in this area for generations.


Bikes are used in this area, walking will get locals to anywhere in the city center and the La Latina subway station is the area’s main transport link.


Studios can be found for less than 500€ a month, and a two bedroom apartment costs around 700€ a month. Obviously, the farther away from the city center and transport links, the cheaper the rent is. Most of the apartments out from the city center are in need of upgrading, so don’t expect pristine, newly washed walls and fresh ceramic tile, and a room in a shared flat is around 250€ a month.

Chueca and Malasaña

The district of Malasaña, with its many art galleries, chic lounge bars and ethnic restaurants, is favored by young visitors and out of town professionals who want to live near the places where they party on a nightly basis. The Fuencarral shopping street, with several organic stores, boutique stalls and independent shops, is an area for the younger, hip crowd. Nearby Chueca is considered the capital’s gay district and is known for its many bars and lounges. 


The subway stations of Alonso Martínez, Chueca and Tribunal connect this district to the rest of the city.


Smaller studios in old apartment buildings, most of them located close to the bars, can cost upwards of around 500€ a month. There are many shared rooms available for around 300€ per month. This district is close to the historical city center, where a small apartment is around 800€ a month. The stately apartment buildings located on the other side of Malasaña, where the larger, two and three bedroom apartments are found, start at around 1100€ per month and go up from there. Really only ideal if you are a family or several people living and working together for a set amount of time.


Located north of the city center, near the business district of Plaza Castilla, Chamartín is an area perfect for expats with families and expats who travel on business. The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is one of the area’s main landmarks and the Berlin Park is one of the largest nearby parks. There are several international kindergartens and schools nearby, including the German School, the kindergarten section of King’s College British school and several private and public Spanish schools.


Chamartín’s main subway station has three lines and a regional train station. The subway has access to the main train station that links the district to other main cities.


Price for a 90 m² apartment is around 1000€ per month in those areas closest to the subway. The neighborhood’s secluded ancient villas can cost twice as much, so don’t expect to spend a lot of time in this part of the city unless you can afford to shell out 2-3k Euro per month in rent, plus utilities.

Las Rozas and Majadahonda

Another expat area, this one adapted to families with children, is the town of Las Rozas. Located to the northwest of the city, the houses are larger and expats can choose between chalets and apartments, all of which are surrounded by green spaces and plenty of parks. The nearby town of Majadahonda, located a bit farther from the city center, is another place for families. There are numerous international schools, malls and parks in these two towns, and while you are out a bit from the city center, it’s also significantly more tranquil.


A car could be considered necessary for those who live in this area, due to the fact that you are quite a ways out from Madrid proper. These towns are connected to the city by several highways and there are buses that link the towns to Moncloa, a central neighborhood in Madrid. A cercanías regional train provides a link to the business district and the city center.


A three bedroom, two bathroom apartment costs at least 900€ a month, and a house is around 1500€ a month. Most apartment buildings and houses have swimming pools and sports facilities, which gives you more “homey” options in comparison to the smaller apartments of central Madrid.

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Market 23

Whole Foods and Healthy Living Abroad

Posted by | Live Like a Local, Quality of Life, Traveling Tips | 4 Comments

One of the often ignored aspects of pursuing a life abroad as a digital nomad is the ability to explore greater health and wellness through food. While most people are familiar with the traveling aspects of going to a country and living first-hand things that most people only see on vacation for a mere handful of days per year, there are numerous other benefits…such as getting away from the United States and their blatant poisoning of the population through companies such as Monsanto and federally funded genocide.

Last year (2012), the CDC released a report to ABC News. According to its casual estimates nearly 50% of Americans will be classified as obese by the year 2030. Not overweight, not merely a little chubby…but obese. As in so grossly overweight they are toxic to themselves. The current numbers show that 75% of the population are overweight, 35% of them are obese, and only about 5% of people have a genetic reason for being overweight or obese: the rest are simply fat because they want to be, or fat because they don’t know any better. That number continues to rise dramatically every year.

A perfect example of sheep led to the slaughter without even knowing it is the usage of elements such as pink slime, which contains the same ingredients as antifreeze used to cool the engines of cars. You know…the stuff that has a poison label on the side which tells you that if you drink it you will die. The FDA states that meat producers can use up to 15% of this toxic additive in U.S. ground beef without being required by law to tell people that it’s an actual ingredient; they are only required to put it on the label if it goes above 15%. Meanwhile, Canada, the U.K. and the European Union have all banned the substance for use.

(Pink slime made international headlines in March of 2012 when news agencies began reporting on the fact that 70% of the known beef in the United States contained the additive. Anyone who thinks that 70% was the actual number is smoking that propaganda pipe a little too often; 100% is a far more realistic number, because food producers in the U.S. can’t lift a finger without the FDA’s approval, which means they knew the whole time what was going on…and they didn’t do a thing to stop it.)

Then, in more recent times, we have the sweeping legislatures passed allowing GMO monster Monsanto a free and clear slate to modify and experiment with anything they want…free and clear of government control.


Abandoning Ship

As a digital nomad, you can travel to where the food is. And while you might have to pay tens of dollars for “Greek” yogurt and “organic” produce in the United States, you can travel to countries like Bulgaria (home of modern yogurt), Italy, Mexico and beyond and the produce at the local markets is organic by its very nature. It doesn’t need a label because it hasn’t been tainted by the FDA or Monsanto and their chemical tyranny, because most of the farmers are growing food the way it was intended: in the Earth, letting Mother Nature do her job without any aide.

Here’s the facts: the reason Americans are fat isn’t because of their sedentary lifestyle, at least not primarily. A case study mentioned in my Mediterranean Diet and Lifestyle book (there are dozens) shows how around 65% of Americans are regularly going to the gym as of 2012. If that’s the case, why are 75% of the population overweight or obese?

The reason is because it’s 70% diet and only 30% exercise, and you get out what you put in. And the simple fact is that it’s a giant, never-ending cycle of lies and manipulation designed to keep the people sucking down supplements and vitamins and chemicals being sold by pharmaceutical companies (aka the government/FDA/Monsanto) on every level as a means to keep them chemically in check as a fat race of low-energy wave slaves.

Every item on the shelf in the grocery store has been injected with preservatives and sweeteners and chemicals and genetically-modified-gods-know-what which are designed to weaken your body and get you addicted to the smack…which then makes you fat….at which point your doctor recommends supplements to lose weight…or pills to lose weight….and you are right back where you started, paying the FDA to mainline chemicals straight into your system.

Soylent Green.

Meanwhile, the whole foods and natural medicine that the Earth provides for us are forgotten.

Monsanto Ban

Taking The High Road

Look at countries like France, with the French Paradox. Or the Mediterranean region. Or the people living in Colombia, Uruguay and other countries. Their people aren’t fat, they don’t have obesity epidemics, they don’t have an endless cycle of “take this drug to counteract this side effect”. The people in these countries are eating whole foods as they are provided by the Earth around us.

One of the only ways you can escape the deadly cycle yourself is to get away from the system, out of the prison, and escape to a place where you can surround yourself with whole foods that haven’t been tainted by the FDA and their “supposedly” healthy system. Find a country that has banned GMOs, doesn’t allow FDA-approved substances in their country, and bans places like McDonald’s and Coca Cola. Don’t think they exist?

Think again. The vast majority of the planet has banned many of the so-called safe preservatives the FDA allows to continue to be used, and in the last few weeks over 30 countries around the world have banned Monsanto from selling GMO modified seeds in their countries, including one of the major U.S. partners, Japan.

If all of the foods people are eating in the United States, all of which have the FDA-approved label on them, are supposedly so good for you and healthy…why is it that 75% of the population is a greasy, fat, sickly statistic? Why are other countries banning these substances? Why has Bolivia completely banned McDonald’s and Coca Cola from operating within their country’s borders. What do these countries know?

It’s common sense, people. If you want to be healthy, you have to put good things into your body so that you get good things out. And the only way to ensure that you are getting the best quality foods for you and your family is to get away from a controlling government that is pushing poisons down your throat at every opportunity.

Countries like France have strict policies in place regarding the quality of food, with anything other than grass-feed beef banned from being served in restaurants, and the European Union has bans on numerous cancer-causing preservatives and additives which the FDA claims is safe.

Beyond that, take a look at what Hungary just did, literally burning thousands of acres of GMO-modified corn to the ground and banning Monsanto completely from the country. Alongside 30+ other countries (as of this writing) who have taken a stand against the global poisoner and are demanding healthy food only as opposed to genetically modified toxins.

Don’t be a fool. Start living a life of absolute health and wellness today. Live life on your terms, without the interference of governments whose only role is to tax you to death, strip away your human rights and inject you with poison so that they can keep you plugged into the system.

It’s your choice. Make the right one. 

This post originally appeared at The Expat Guidebook blog in 2012. It has been updated to include the ongoing GMO and Monsanto controversies and bans currently raging on the global front.

Don’t forget to sign up for our free newsletter for several-times-a-week, your-eyes-only travel and entrepreneur tips, plus receive a complimentary copy of our 85-page starter book on location independence and living abroad, 30 Ways in 30 Days.

With over 1,500 copies sold, our flagship 568-page eBook is what started it all. Learn how to travel the world like I do: without a budget, with no plans, funded completely by your website and online ventures.

The Expat GuidebookGet Your Copy Today!

Unplug from The System, cure yourself of The Greedy Bastard Syndrome, tap into your universal potential and create your own reality. Build a brand, travel the world and realize your cosmic consciousness.

Beyond Borders - The Social RevolutionGet Your Copy Today!