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Livin’ la buena vida

Times Staff Writer

Cheap. warm. friendly. And closer than ever before. Latin America is attracting unprecedented numbers of American retirees in search of the good life.

They’re blanketing small towns such as Boquete, Panama, and weaving themselves into the fabric of big cities like Merida, Mexico. Some are stretching fixed incomes. Others are building lavish spreads or hoping to strike it rich in real estate. Many are looking for adventure after toiling decades in a cubicle.

In the process, they’re changing their new communities and being changed by them. The experience can be as exasperating as it is exhilarating. Is it right for you?

Tag along as we visit five areas with significant contingents of Americans and meet these expatriates making new lives south of the border. Find out what they think about the weather, the healthcare, the taxes, their new neighbors and more. Learn from their adventures and misadventures. What they say may persuade you to stay home -- or inspire you to pack your bags.

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