International Living’s annual Global Retirement Index compares, contrasts, ranks, and rates 25 countries across 10 categories.
“All over the planet, we’ve identified friendly, good-value, warm-weather escapes where you could effectively upgrade your life—places where it’s possible to live better, but spend less. For many expats, that’s the end goal.
“Even if you could afford to retire at home, in the right spots overseas, you could live two or three times better, afford to save for great travel adventures, and never worry again that you’d outlive your nest egg,” says InternationalLiving.com.
The three regional winners provide a sense for the diversity of options people have around the world today: Costa Rica, Portugal, and Malaysia.
While each is unique in character, all offer great beaches, welcoming locals, and comfortable low-cost living.”
IL’s Top Pick in Latin America: Costa Rica
Given that Costa Rica is the overall leader of the Index this year, that also puts it in the position of the best location in Latin America.
Costa Rica is a beautiful country, with long stretches of deserted and undeveloped beaches, dense jungles teeming with exotic wildlife, towering volcanoes, lush green valleys, and crystal-clear rivers and lakes.
It attracts many different types of expats, and all can find a place in its tolerant, welcoming society. “I left the U.S. in 2005,” says Costa Rica expat Roni S. Cher. “I am an environmental and peace activist who had just had enough. I came to live a less stressful, gentler life growing a lot of my own organic food, being a hermit, and making art. I have been much happier here.”
Roni’s experience is a happy one, but maybe her lifestyle is more niche than the average Joe would choose. Hers is not the only way of life in Costa Rica, though.
For Lisa Burnham, originally from San Francisco, California, life in Costa Rica is the realization of a long-term dream. “Something kept bringing me back to Costa Rica for over 30 years, and now I have lived here as an expat full-time for three years,” she says from her home in the beach town of Tamarindo.
“Life is thriving and abundant here, the commerce and culture is a wonderful eclectic mix of a global community that comes to visit, those who end up staying, and, of course, the Ticos [locals]. After three years, the U.S. feels like a foreign land, and a truer sense of a happiness lifestyle that suits me better seems to have emerged. Life really is simpler here.”
Beaches, lakes, valleys, urban amenities, and untracked wilderness—they’re all packed into this small Central American nation. Not only that, but the country offers a warm climate year-round, a neighborly atmosphere, no-hassle residence programs, excellent healthcare, a stable democracy, and safety and security. It doesn’t hurt that many retired couples report living well on $2,000 a month—and that includes all their costs. –
It comes as no surprise to the overseas experts at International Living that Costa Rica is the top destination in Latin America—and the world—for 2021.