What are the top ten places to retire to internationally?
They have looked at a wide range of criteria including the ease and cost of buying or renting property, the visa and residence options available, the cost of living as a retiree, the ease of fitting in and enjoying a healthy lifestyle in an agreeable climate and the available entertainment and amenities. They also looked at the infrastructure in terms of transport as well as internet connectivity and the freedom available under local governance.
Costa Rica is top of the list. It is not the cheapest, but scores well in all categories and provides a healthy lifestyle backed by an excellent national health system open to expat residents for a low cost averaging around $95 per couple a month. Costa Rica has a low crime rate and steadily growing economy and has a reputation as being very hospital and welcoming for expats. For a small country it has a wide range of climates and landscapes. This gives choices of where to live ranging from beaches to rain-forest covered mountains. Rentals are low with two- and three-bedroom homes in good locations with views, starting at $800 per month. Purchase is also attractive with mountain-view homes in the Central Valley available for under $100,000.
Many US and Canadian citizens already live there full or part time and many vacation there attracted by the beach-resorts, surfing, fishing, rain forest treks. Although Spanish is the main language most Costa Ricans speak English. There is no official retirement incentive plan, but they make it easy for expats to retire in Costa Rica and there are many attractions to do so.
Mexico came in second and expats point to the vibrant life and culture as well as the sunny and temperate weather all year. The low cost of living is clearly another factor: “A couple can live here for anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 a month, depending on location—and that includes rent and healthcare.” Fast internet, free long distance calls and cheap air fares help to make this very attractive as a retirement location.
Panama also scores well. “Modern, convenient, and close to the U.S.—not to mention sunny, warm, and welcoming.“ Panama is very welcoming for expat retirees with excellent benefits and ease of obtaining residence. International Living advises that you can live in Panama City for $2,500 a month or for much less outside the capital.
Ecuador, last year’s winner, is rated fourth, followed by Malaysia and Colombia.
Portugal is the highest rated destination in Europe in seventh place with its tax incentives, pleasant climate and friendly people. The healthcare system, public and private, is excellent and low cost. Property is not expensive with a four-bedroom, four-bathroom house outside Lisbon available for $1,000 a month.
Nicaragua is rated in 8th place with its low costs and tropical climate and appeals to more adventurous spirits. “Nicaragua is different enough to be interesting, but not so different as to be bizarre.”
Spain also comes in the top 10 in 9th place. It has long been a popular holiday and retirement destination for Europeans, particularly Brits and Scandinavians, and increasingly Americans are also choosing Spain. The extensive coastal locations, warm temperate climate, laid back lifestyle and the cultural amenities offered by its cities make this an excellent place for people to retire.
The country has one of the lower costs of living for a European country and International Living estimate that you can live for around $2,100 a month. “It’s true First-World living, with first-rate telecommunications, modern housing and amenities, and superb, widespread public transportation.” Healthcare is excellent and the state system is available to expats.
Peru completes the top 10 with “a climate to suit every taste…1,500 miles of coastline stretching from Ecuador to Chile…centuries-old Spanish colonial cities…hundreds of archaeological sites to explore….and towering mountains to climb and deep canyons to hike.” There is not an extensive expat community and this is a destination for more adventurous expats.
It is fairly easy to obtain residence in Peru and the cost of living is low. International Living report that “You can find two-bedroom apartments to rent for as low as $250 per month and couples report monthly expenses of less than $1,000”. Although it does not have the best public healthcare there is an excellent network of private clinics and hospitals and health insurance can be obtained for around $100 a month.