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Worldwide Dwelling: Right here Are The 10 Finest Locations within the World to Retire

If you are considering retiring abroad, you need information, and you need a lot of it. You will also need guidance on how to interpret this information. That's what we're here for, and that's why we've put together the 2021 Annual Global Retirement Index: to help you in the exciting business of deciding where in the world your needs are best met.

When first conceptualized, our retirement index was our particular way of dealing with an embarrassment of wealth. By this point, IL had already spent over a decade exploring all kinds of dream areas. The result was a huge and exciting choice and opportunity. Fast forward to 2021.

It has been three decades since our scouts cleaned the world many times. The result is a much larger and ever growing selection of great travel destinations where you can live healthier, happier lives, spend much less money, and get much more.

But how do you choose

The Retirement Index is the most comprehensive, in-depth survey of its kind. It is the best way we know of sifting through the wealth of opportunities the world has to offer to help organize and help you find the best destination for you .

Our index is based on hundreds of opinions and real world experiences – information – compiled from our trusted sources in the world's top retirement destinations. We consider it a tool for you, our reader. A way for you to quickly compare and contrast your best options and narrow down your choices.

We have our people out there knocking on the sidewalk in attractive overseas communities. We know you should think about it. They tell us with insights and information about what is really going on. You are not obliged to hire moving services, real estate agents, tourism associations or business development organizations. They work for you.

Our Global Retirement Index is in no way intended to be a scientific result. It is designed to be a useful tool for people, built from real-world, on-site information interpreted through a lens of well-informed experiences and opinions.

Our sources live in the places where they collect their information. And we trust their judgment. When they say the health care is good, or that a meal for two in a nice restaurant is $ 20, we believe them.

We intend this index to be really useful. We're not looking for random input from random people around the world – you can do this with a simple internet search. Instead, we make educated recommendations on a refreshingly limited number of options.

In addition to data, it offers information, opinions, perspectives and instructions.

What did your research reveal about the best retirement homes in 2021? Continue reading…

10. Vietnam

By Wendy Justice

"You will know whether you love it or not within 36 hours of your arrival," says 65-year-old expat Deb Aronson from Redwood City, California. “I knew within three months of my stay in Vietnam that this would be my home. It captured my soul. “That was 21 years ago and she's still under the spell. She is one of a growing number of expats living in Vietnam for the long term.

I've lived here for 10 years now – in the coastal city of Nha Trang, in the progressive and wonderfully livable city of Da Nang and currently in Hanoi, the 1,010 year old Vietnamese capital. When I'm not home, I often explore other parts of the country – the wild, remote mountains of the far north, the pristine beaches of the central coast, the waterfalls and pine forests of the central highlands, and the skyscraper-filled skylines of the rapidly developing cities of Vietnam.

The meteoric rise of Vietnam was nothing short of phenomenal. It is hard to imagine that this war-torn nation grew into the fastest growing economy in the world 40 years ago in 2020. The signs of growth are everywhere: high-rise condos and residential complexes with private yacht clubs and international schools, shiny new hospitals with state-of-the-art equipment, controlled-access freeways, and the occasional Rolls Royce.

Despite the development you see in every city, Vietnam hasn't sold its soul. Ancient traditions, such as the burning of offerings on the full moon and exotic ceremonies in honor of the mother goddess, are still an integral part of life here. The ornate mansions that the French left behind during their long occupation are now home to embassies, government offices and chic restaurants. The many parks and streets lined with centuries-old shade trees – also a legacy of the French – give the urban areas of Vietnam a certain European dimension. Glitzy malls filled with the latest fashions and electronics compete with cavernous traditional markets selling gallon sized jugs of ginseng, traditional medicines, and $ 2 jeans.

Smart restaurants serving fresh lobster and Wagyu steak are found alongside modest street stalls selling spring rolls and chicken soup. The rising middle class has no problem having a meal in either location. You may enjoy indulging yourself occasionally, but nothing compares to sharing a modest kettle of hot pot with friends and family.

Vietnam may grow by leaps and bounds, but it remains one of the cheapest countries on earth for retirees looking for a comfortably comfortable lifestyle. Couples who settled in the mountain town of Dalat say they don't sacrifice anything to stay within a budget of $ 800 a month or less, and expats in Nha Trang rave about spending $ 1,000 a month and “living rich ". Even in the most expensive cities – Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) – you can live comfortably for less than $ 1,500 a month.

The 70-year-old Larry Chilcoat from Texas has lived in Dalat since 2018. He says: “I can only live well on my social security. My monthly budget with travel and everything is $ 800 to $ 1,000 a month and I'm not hurting anything – I have everything I want and need. It's so reasonable here. "

The Vietnamese language is notoriously difficult to learn. Fortunately, the Vietnamese know this and are thrilled if you try to speak just a few words of the language, no matter how badly you might tear them apart. Many locals speak excellent English, especially in urban areas. Vietnam does well in the English Proficiency Index – higher than most other Asian and even Latin American countries. They are also eager to practice their English skills; Many friendships arise through informal language exchanges.

This is one of the things that sets Vietnam apart from other countries: it's an easy place to make local friends. Here, too, age is not an obstacle. A retired couple I met in Da Nang said they were invited to their neighbor's prom. My best friend is my daughter's age. Whether they want to practice their English or are just curious to see a new face in town, the Vietnamese are not afraid to start conversations. They ask for your name, your age, whether you are married and, if so, how many children you have and how old they are. Before you know it, you will be invited to their home for dinner or a visit to their ancestral home in the country.

Many expats are drawn to Vietnam for its beaches, which stretch for more than 2,000 miles the length of the country. Places on the central coast like Da Nang, Hoi An and Nha Trang have exceptionally beautiful beaches and also offer residents the benefits of city life. In other locations, such as the south-central village of Mui Ne and the southern island of Phu Quoc, the laid-back lifestyle is concentrated on the coast.

Wherever you are in Vietnam, you are never far from quiet country roads, breathtaking mountain landscapes, and tiny hamlets where life hasn't changed much in the last century. It is a land that invites you to explore and adventure. scenic wonderlands like Halong Bay and Sapa, minority villages overlooking terraced rice fields that stretch to the horizon, and the world's largest caves attract tens of thousands of visitors.

Vietnamese cuisine is wonderfully regional, with hearty broths in the north, spicy noodles in the south and incredibly delicious dishes and specialties that can only be found in one town or village in the whole country. The food is fresh and healthy, with complex flavors expertly blended to create unique dishes. The country is also famous for its coffee – strong, rich, and locally grown. It is a source of pride for the Vietnamese, who are its largest consumers.

Vietnam is a regional travel center. Several international airports serve regional destinations, while airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have flights to all major global destinations, including direct non-stop flights to the US, and are likely to do so again after the borders are reopened. Budget airlines like VietJet Air, Pacific Airlines and Bamboo Airways offer ridiculously low special rates, while Vietnam Airlines offers full-service flights. Get Your Free Report On The World's Best Places To Retire:

9. Malta

From Mary Charlebois

Malta is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea and combines the best of southern European grace with one of the best quality of life in Europe. First World service and infrastructure standards, a wealth of historical and architectural treasures from earlier eras, and the glistening Mediterranean Sea – all in a land one-tenth the size of Rhode Island – keep this tiny island on your mind.

Malta has three islands, Malta, Gozo and Comino. The three islands have a total area of ​​122 square miles and a population of just over 500,000 people. Malta and Gozo are populated while Camino is virtually uninhabited and has only 1.35 square miles of land.

The weather is stable and the same everywhere in Malta. The average temperature is 72 F. Malta has one of the highest hours of sunshine per year in Europe. Blue skies appear almost every day. Cool northwest and dry northeast winds make life sweet. Malta's ancient towns and villages were laid out to catch the prevailing breeze. The natural air conditioning flows through narrow streets and cools apartments and houses through windows and ventilation slots in the sandstone.

Whether it's a lazy day at the beach or an afternoon exploring, there is plenty to see, do, and try. Explore megalithic temples, Bronze Age burial sites, ancient salt farms, spectacular churches, museums, and fortified cities. Immerse yourself in local festivals and celebrations for harvests, fishing, seasons, Village Saint Day, and more.

Local, fresh and high quality food is the standard in Malta. A trip to the market seems like a bargain. Supermarkets stock a wide variety of local and imported foods. Village shops, bakeries, greengrocers, fishmongers and butchers are even better. Prices are up to 25% lower than in the US.

Meals in cafes and restaurants also cost less than in the US. From traditional street food to sophisticated European cuisine, the quality is excellent and the value is remarkable. A traditional street food pizzette lunch and a local Cisk beer are around $ 2.60. A three-course meal with a bottle of local wine and dessert in a village cafe costs around $ 30 per person.

Living in Maltese cities is more expensive than in the country. Life at the port or on the beach costs a little more. A modern one-bedroom apartment, fully furnished, including utilities and WiFi, costs just $ 460 per month. A fully furnished classic four bedroom villa with a pool, gardens, and breathtaking views is closer to $ 1,930 per month. There are bargains to be found on Gozo, especially for long-term renters.

These are small islands so a car is really not needed. Public transport in Malta is efficient and inexpensive. A monthly bus card is $ 26. Lower rates are available for seniors and residents. Round-trip ferry tickets to Gozo cost $ 6.15. Permanent residents pay $ 1.50. Ferries are free for permanent residents aged 60 and over. Taxis, rental cars and carpooling are ubiquitous.

Malta has modern and high quality healthcare. It is a popular medical tourism destination. Maltese citizens have a choice between free public health care or paid private facilities and doctors. Permanent residents can take advantage of the discounts available in the private sector with the right type of insurance.

Malta is a bilingual country, both English and Maltese. English is taught in schools and spoken by everyone. Maltese is a Semitic language that is heavily influenced by a mix of Arabic, Italian, English, and some French. Maltese lessons are offered in local schools.

A permanent residence permit is easy to obtain for 12 months at a time. The status can be obtained from non-E.U. Citizens made in person in Valletta with an application and a small fee. It can be renewed every year.

One of the best reasons to live in Malta is its location. It is 60 miles south of Italy, 176 miles east of Tunisia, and 207 miles north of Libya. A short flight away is – Greece, Turkey, Syria, Israel, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Spain, France and many more. This tiny island nation at the center of the Mediterranean and at the crossroads of history is surrounded by Europe, the Middle East and Africa. All are a ferry ride or short flight away.

Malta is ideal for traveling to Europe, Africa and the Middle East. But the best will be to live the charming, easy-going Maltese way of life.

8. France

From Tuula Rampont

France is a dynamic, diverse country that has retirement options to suit all tastes and budgets. If you are a fan of fine European life, you have come to the right place with this gourmet and cultural gem. From the flowing lavender fields of Provence to the charming cafes of Paris and the breathtaking scenery of the Breton coast, there are opportunities across the country for a rich, fulfilling retirement.

While France is keeping pace with the modern age, much of its appeal lies in the ancient traditions practiced across the country. Long lunches with fine bottles of wine or picnics in the local vineyards are examples of the joie de vivre that comes with living in France. Life is never rushed and great care is taken to ensure that each day is lived to the fullest.

You can find it at your local village cafe, where friends share a cafe au lait and croissant before doing their morning shopping. A visit to the farmers' market is one of the most important stops of the day. The market stalls are crammed with the freshest seasonal fruits and vegetables – each beautifully presented with the best local produce. No detail is overlooked. The cheese maker (fromagerie) distributes several goat cheeses made on a nearby farm, while the baker (boulanger) puts together a selection of freshly baked dishes – rustic baguettes, flaky pain au chocolats, and specialty breads like fougasse (a pretzel – similar specialty from the south of France). Every craftsman takes great pride in their work, as they have been doing for generations. The wine merchant (Kavist) can talk for hours about the importance of the location (terroir) to viticulture and make sure you have the perfect wine pairing for your meal. The French passion for the kitchen is contagious and life in La Belle France gives you access to the many gourmet delights.

While it all sounds a bit sophisticated, enjoying the French lifestyle doesn't have to be expensive. While retirement will be a more costly option in one of the country's larger cities (e.g. Paris or Lyon), France is full of more affordable regions. A couple can comfortably live on $ 2,083 to $ 2,483 a month – some retirees live on less than $ 2,000. Actual daily savings come from housing costs, where two-bedroom, one-bathroom homes can be found in certain areas for less than $ 150,000.

While you can get these bargain prices in different pockets of the country, some of the most popular travel destinations (combining attractive property offers with a high standard of living) include Normandy, Brittany, Dordogne and areas of Occitanie (formerly Languedoc). .

Health care costs also play a big role when considering moving to France. Often referred to as one of the best healthcare systems in the world, residents enjoy high quality care at affordable prices. After three months in the country, expats are entitled to universal coverage. Under the French system, members are reimbursed 70% of doctor visits and up to 100% of prescription drugs. Given a $ 29 doctor visit, the out-of-pocket cost is $ 9 – a 70% discount. The prices are set by the government. So you pay the same $ 9 to see a doctor in Paris, Nice, or Strasbourg. There are no age restrictions or pre-existing condition restrictions, everyone is entitled to medical care. While you pay a small percentage of your annual income to join, passive income (pensions and social security benefits) are exempt from the fee due to a tax treaty with the United States.

France, along with its enticing lifestyle and impressive social system, is a traveler's paradise. Each region is more beautiful than the other and with the country's efficient bullet train, exploring the best of France is just a train ride away.

As one of the most fascinating cities in the world, Paris may be an expensive retirement choice, but it's a wonderful stopover for travel. From top-notch cuisine to classic bistros to eye-catching fashion, the City of Lights is one of the top attractions when moving to France. And it's all a lot closer than you might think. Aix-en-Provence, a popular retirement destination in southern France, is less than four hours away by TGV (bullet train).

In the east, Alsace and Lorraine are refined regions that fascinate with their cozy, flower-filled villages and half-timbered houses. A stone's throw from the German border, the cuisine is hearty and the people are friendly and inviting.

History buffs are drawn to the maritime regions of Normandy and Brittany. In addition to a rich cultural heritage, these maritime strongholds offer some of the most picturesque landscapes in France. Gorgeous coastal towns like St. Malo and Dieppe are delightful hideaways and enticing retired locals.

The sun-kissed regions of southern France have made life an art form. Splash around like a celebrity in lavish Côte d & # 39; Azur vacation towns such as Nice, St. Tropez and Cannes or head to the “other” south of France – Provence and Occitania. Here you will find France in its most open and exuberant form. The university cities of Toulouse and Montpellier draw heavily on Spanish influences and are full of fiestas. Life is meant to be lived outdoors, and you'll find residents basking in the sun on the city's café terraces – a chilled glass of rosé and a few spicy tapas make for the perfect happy hour in the south.

There are many other fascinating areas for travel or retirement. Bordeaux and Burgundy attract wine lovers from near and far, while the Loire Valley and Dordogne offer breathtaking views of the castle and lush, romantic landscapes. There is no shortage of things to keep you busy in France, and you can find an endless list of hobbies and activities to participate in – cooking classes, crafts, outdoor clubs, and volunteer opportunities to name a few.

Whether retirees want to settle down on the beaches of the Mediterranean or settle down in a charming mountain village in the vineyards of Provence, France offers an idyllic retirement for those looking for the best of Europe.

7. Malaysia

By Keith Hockton

Cities with lively, idyllic beaches, islands that seduce the senses, and some of the most pristine ancient rainforests in Southeast Asia – this is Malaysia. And those are just a few reasons I call it home.

It has everything. The weather is tropical all year round and the beaches, islands, and jungles are pristine. It has some of the best street food in the area, great restaurants, bars, shopping malls and cinemas – and everything is affordable.

My wife Lisa and I went on vacation to Malaysia in 2008 and at that point we were taking at least two vacations a year somewhere in Asia. When we came back and made the buzz, we found that we could actually live in Malaysia and vacation at home to effectively reverse our situation and save a ton of money. We started planning just that and moved to Penang in early 2010.

Malaysia is an easy place to make friends and integrate as English is the unofficial first language. So you don't have to learn another language here if you don't want to. Malaysian law is based on the UK system and all road signs are in both English and Malay which makes it easy to drive around. Many expats live in Kuala Lumpur and Penang and numerous organizations here can help you settle down and integrate.

At a monthly price of $ 2,500, a couple can live very well in a modern high-rise building with a pool, gym, 24-hour security, covered parking lot or two, and a shared communal area with a grill, and it costs between $ 750 and $ 1,000 Dollars per month. For that price, you get a modern 2,300 square foot apartment with three or four bedrooms, three to five bathrooms, and a balcony overlooking the ocean. If you don't want to live with a view or on the beach, you can rent a two- or three-bedroom space for around $ 550-650, which means you can easily live on less than $ 2,000 a month.

When you compare surgery prices between the US and Malaysia, the healthcare benefits are obvious. More than 1 million foreigners seek treatment in hospitals in Penang and Kuala Lumpur each year. Every hospital has specialists, but unlike the US, you don't have to wait months to get an appointment. Just come to the hospital, register, take a number and wait for your turn. If you are then referred to another doctor or need an X-ray or scan, it will also be done on the same day in the same location.

Recipes in Malaysia cost a fraction of what you pay for at home. But it's not just the cost that is attractive. It's the service. The pharmacists, like the rest of the medical staff in Malaysia, are well trained and informed. Malaysians are friendly people, but it is the real interest they have in you, no matter how small or big the problem, that impresses. It transports you back to a time when personal service meant something. The same ministry is alive and well here.

There are direct flights to more than 30 different countries from Kuala Lumpur and Penang International Airports. The country is a perfect base from which to explore the myriad natural, historical and cultural treasures of Southeast Asia. The proliferation of cheap Asian airlines in recent years has made it easier (and more affordable) than ever to explore Thailand, Indonesia, India, and Japan. In Malaysia, Asia is really on your doorstep.

There are also many international grocery stores, Tesco is one of the most popular and you don't have to miss out on your little tastes like good cheese and French wine. All of the major cities have cinemas showing the latest Hollywood movies and fantastic air-conditioned malls for retail repair.

Making friends and meeting new people in Malaysia is easy. The locals are nice and curious about what expats and tourists think of their country. You are proud to be Malaysian and when asked where are you from the question arises, "Have you eaten yet?" Food is an important part of culture across Malaysia. As such, it is not uncommon for your taxi driver, salesman, or hairdresser to tell you where to buy the best plate of pasta.

6. Ecuador

By Donna Stiteler

Ecuador is the land of diversity. Whether you live in Ecuador, vacation, retire or just want to relax, you will find the perfect combination of climate, culture and affordability to make your dreams come true. It is a country that Anthony Bourdain calls the "republic on the equator on the west coast of South America" ​​and is the second smallest country on the continent. With 1,200 miles of beach, one of the highest active volcanoes in the world, and the Galapagos Islands, it's one of the most ecologically diverse places in the world. "

Ecuador is a largely undiscovered country that has not yet been gentrified, but still offers the conveniences of modern living, including high-speed fiber optic internet, US dollar currency, moderate weather, good public transportation, and affordable health care and housing. It has a calm culture where manana means sometime in the future, and people greet each other with kisses on the cheek and deep hugs. It's often described as going back to the 1950s. Only now are the indigenous men in tribal clothing pulling donkeys on long ropes talking on iPhones. If you walk down a major city street, you'll see a mix of indigenous, Spanish descendants, mixed races, North Americans, and Europeans.

Due to its unique geological topography with the equator creating temperate weather, you can live on the beach and enjoy the cool sea breezes that make the weather in the 70s and mid 80s. Or settle in the Andes, where the equator brings the mountains closer to the sun, so even locations at 8,000 altitudes produce weather in the 60s to 70s.

Visit the beaches and sit on the shores of Puerto Lopez and watch whales while you sip a beer and eat freshly made ceviche under canopies on the beach. If you venture north on the coast, you'll encounter small sleepy coastal towns that attract expats looking to escape the rat race, surfers, and hippies cycling in towns like Montanita. Further north is the starting point for exploring the Galapagos Islands and their famous blue-footed boobies and giant green turtles. On the southern tip of the coast of Ecuador is Salinas, a modern seaside city known for its party bars, seafood, and year-round fiestas.

Go inland and you will find yourself in the Andes, where you can zip line over mountain valleys and white water rafts, be cleaned by shamans, and buy colorful textiles that have emerged from the indigenous people. Many expats settle in Quito or Cuenca to enjoy the Spanish colonial architecture of the 16th century and the French republican architecture of the 18th century, which these cities have declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Both colonial cities offer modern amenities and a booming tourism industry. Ihre mit Steinen beladenen Straßen sind gesäumt von Geschäften, schicken Bars und Restaurants, die in malerischen historischen Gebäuden versteckt sind.

Wenn Sie nach Osten in die Amazonas-Regenwälder gehen, können Sie den Puyo-Fluss hinunter paddeln, wo Sie die indigenen Stämme sehen, die mit ihren Kindern auf dem Fluss leben und Schlagpfeile hochziehen, um ihr Ziel zu testen.

Expats sind je nach Lebensstil in ganz Ecuador verstreut. Größere Expat-Gemeinden befinden sich in Salinas mit seinen Stränden, die von modernen Eigentumswohnungen gesäumt sind. Cotacachi, ein kleines verschlafenes Dorf, in dem Handwerker alles herstellen, von Lederwaren bis zu Alpaka-Ponchos; Cuenca, die moderne Andenstadt, die das kulturelle Zentrum Ecuadors ist, wo Musik, Kunst und Architektur im New Orleans-Stil Besucher aus der ganzen Welt anziehen; und Vilcabamba, die Heimat des Valley of Longevity, bekannt für seine einheimischen Zenturios und entspannten Expats, die draußen in Cafés sitzen und Handelsphilosophien handeln.

Während ich die natürliche Schönheit und die Mischung aus indigener, Inka- und spanischer Kultur schätze, ist einer meiner Lieblingsvorteile der erschwingliche Lebensstil. Es gibt nur wenige Orte, an denen das Leben so erschwinglich ist wie in Ecuador. Es ist für jeden etwas dabei, unabhängig von Ihrem Budget. Bedenken Sie, dass Sie für weniger als 150.000 US-Dollar ein Haus an einem Strand an der Pazifikküste oder eine Eigentumswohnung mit herrlicher Aussicht in den Anden besitzen können. Die Vermietung ist reichlich und auch erschwinglich mit einer Wohnung mit zwei Schlafzimmern und zwei Badezimmern in der Innenstadt von Cuenca für 500 US-Dollar.

Ein Paar kann hier für 1.650 bis 1.825 US-Dollar pro Monat leben, je nach Standort und Lebensstil.

Da das Land ausgezeichnete Lebensmittel produziert, hauptsächlich während der ganzjährigen Vegetationsperiode, sind die Preise bei lokalen Mercados so niedrig, dass es schwierig ist, Obst und Gemüse im Wert von mehr als 15 USD zu transportieren. Haushaltshilfe kostet 20 US-Dollar pro Tag, und Dienstleistungen wie Pediküre und Haarschnitte kosten nur wenige US-Dollar. In den meisten Teilen des Landes sind keine Heiz- und Kühlkosten erforderlich, und Sie können an den meisten Orten ohne Auto leben. Sie zahlen 30 Cent oder weniger für Busse und 2 bis 5 US-Dollar für Taxifahrten.

Es gibt engmaschige aktive Expat-Communities und viele Aktivitäten, an denen man teilnehmen kann – Tagesausflüge in nahe gelegene Städte, Kartenspiele, Dinnerclubs, Wissenswertes, Kunstkurse, Wanderungen in den Cajas und lange Mittagessen mit Freunden. Jeden Tag stehe ich auf und habe die Wahl, was ich tun möchte. Das Leben in Ecuador hat mir den Ruhestand gegeben, von dem ich nur hätte träumen können, wenn ich in den USA geblieben wäre.

5. Portugal

Von Terry Coles

Kein Wunder, dass Portugal im Laufe der Jahre die Charts für die besten Orte für den Ruhestand angeführt hat. Dieses winzige Land im Südwesten Europas hat für jeden etwas zu bieten. Lebendige Städte voller Charme der Alten Welt, kilometerlange goldene Sandstrände, grüne, sanfte Hügel, einige der besten Gesundheitseinrichtungen der Welt, niedrige Lebenshaltungskosten und Sicherheit.

Aber für mich sind die Menschen das Beste am Leben in Portugal. Die Portugiesen sind herzlich, freundlich und begrüßen alle mit doppelten Wangenküssen. Da Englisch in den Schulen unterrichtet wird, sprechen viele Portugiesen etwas Englisch, was die Pensionierung hier etwas erleichtert.

Letztes Jahr hat mein Mann Clyde unser Auto für einen Ölwechsel in ein Service-Center gebracht. Um sich die Zeit zu vertreiben, ging er nebenan in ein familiengeführtes Café, um eine Tasse Kaffee zu trinken. Die Dame des Hauses war im Nebenzimmer und bereitete sich darauf vor, ihrer Familie das Mittagessen zu servieren. Sie bestand darauf, dass Clyde sich ihnen anschloss. Da er bereits gegessen hatte, lehnte er ab, musste aber über ihr großzügiges Angebot lächeln.

Wenn Sie sich in einer Stadt voller Charme der Alten Welt zurückziehen möchten, besuchen Sie Lissabon. Die Stadt wird mit farbenfrohen Kacheln, Museen, Palästen, Nachtleben und einem Straßenbahnsystem lebendig, das auf den steilen, gepflasterten Straßen fährt. Atmen Sie tief ein und atmen Sie die Süße des Gebäcks ein, das überall ist. Probieren Sie eine originale Pudding-Torte in der berühmten Bäckerei von Belem, die seit 1837 diese köstlichen Leckereien backt.

Fahren Sie nach Norden, um Portugals zweitgrößte Stadt, Porto, zu besuchen. Es ist berühmt für seine Portweinproduktion, seine stattlichen Brücken, sein farbenfrohes Flussufer, seine Universitätsatmosphäre und seine Touren entlang des Flusses Douro. Es gibt viel zu entdecken. Porto hat auch einen internationalen Flughafen, einen von drei im ganzen Land, der das Kommen und Gehen erleichtert.

Looking to retire and live without a car? Then city life in either Lisbon or Porto might be for you. Portugal has an excellent long-distance bus and train system also making it easy to visit other areas of the country.

South of Lisbon is the Alentejo region that includes the cities of Beja and Évora. The largest and most rural region of the country, it is famous for the fields of wildflowers, stately cork oaks, historic towns, and a sparse population. Life here is slow, winters are cool, and summers are hot and dry.

The southernmost region of Portugal is the Algarve. Known for its Atlantic beaches, fishing villages, golf resorts, water parks, hot, dry summers, and tourists. Due to its long history of British tourists coming here on holiday, English is widely spoken.

So, how much do you need to retire to Portugal? Although it depends on many factors, you can estimate that you can live on about one-third less here. A couple can live comfortably, but not lavishly in Portugal on $2,500 per month. If you want to live in Lisbon, Porto, Cascais, or the Algarve, you should bump that number up to $3,000 or more.

My husband Clyde and I have called Portugal our home for over two years now. We began life here one hour north of Lisbon near the city of Caldas da Rainha. For just $400 per month, we rented a fully furnished, three-bedroom home. The house offered views of lush, rolling hills and fertile farmland that we loved. But the winters were too cold and wet for us, so we moved further south.

Now we live in Vilamoura, an unincorporated area near the city of Quarteira. Here we rent a two-bedroom condominium in a gated complex with a pool for $1,030 per month. We love Portugal and have never regretted our decision to move here.

Read: Want to retire to Portugal for less than $30,000 a year? Check out these seven places

Likewise: Hot springs in January, no traffic, and universal health care — the best retirement escape you’ve never heard of

4. Colombia

By Nancy Kiernan

Located at the northern tip of South America, the gateway country of Colombia is where the Pacific and the Caribbean collide with the Andes mountains and the Amazon rainforest. It’s a country that is more beautiful, dramatic, and diverse than nearly any other. It offers colonial towns and thriving cosmopolitan cities; places to enjoy the mountains and Caribbean beach towns to soak up the sun. Just three hours from Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Colombia welcomes nonstop flights into its major cities of Bogotá, Medellín, Armenia, Barranquilla, Santa Marta, Cartagena, and Cali.

Colombia offers something that will appeal to just about everyone. You will find that Colombia is a more developed country than most in Latin America, with the infrastructure, modern products, and services you’d expect in a country on the move. Colombia is no longer Latin America’s best-kept secret because more and more expats are moving here to start a new life in this beautiful country…either retiring or continuing to generate an income.

Colombia provides high-quality healthcare at a low cost with easy access for expats. I spent 30 years working in healthcare when I lived in the States, so I know good healthcare when I see it. The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks Colombia’s health system at number 22 in the world, far better than Canada at number 30 and the U.S. at number 37. Colombia is home to 24 of the top 58 Latin American hospitals. Four of them are Joint Commission International accredited hospitals. Two are in the capital of Bogotá, one is in Medellín, and one is in Bucaramanga.

Medellín is one of the fastest-growing expat havens in Colombia. Due to the near-perfect climate, flowers are constantly in bloom and dot the streets with color year-round. Spend just a few hours walking around the city and you will see why it is nicknamed “The City of Eternal Spring.” This is what first drew me to the city. I lived in Maine for 27 years before I moved to Medellín in 2012, and I am ecstatic to announce that I have not had to deal with snow since my move.

If you want hot and tropical, consider retiring to the lovely Caribbean coastal cities of Santa Marta or Cartagena. These cities are havens for sun and sea worshipers. The clear, tranquil waters off the beaches offer scuba divers the opportunity to spend hours exploring the coral reefs and photographing the large variety of vibrant-colored tropical fish, who have made their homes in the wrecks. Or spend hours soaking up the sun on the sandy beaches.

Eddie Echeverri opened the Coffee Tree Boutique Hostel in the quaint town of Salento, within Colombia’s coffee triangle. He says, “for tourists, they kill three birds with one stone in Salento. There is colonial architecture, coffee farms, and then one thing that no other town has, even other colonials: Valle Cocora. That’s the number one attraction. It’s a beautiful hike of five to six hours that takes you through a striking landscape. I haven’t met anybody who wasn’t impressed by it.”

Visiting Colombia is simple. You can come for 90 days with just your U.S., EU, Canadian, or Australian passport, and then extend for another 90 days. Any longer than that and you will need a visa. Retirement visas are relatively easy to get, require proof of at least $750 monthly Social Security income, or $2,500 from a private pension or 401(k), and are issued for up to three years.

Retirement dollars go much further in Colombia. A couple can live in many cities around Colombia for $2,000 per month or less. Of course, your cost of living will depend on your lifestyle and where you choose to live. I can tell you that my living expenses are 60% less than they were back in Maine. Just the fact that I don’t have to pay heating or cooling costs has saved me about $3,400 per year alone.

Michael Huseby freelances as a copywriter for clients around the world from his home in the coffee triangle region. “My modern, top-floor apartment in Manizales, Colombia—with a gym and a balcony—costs $500 per month. I found this accommodation through Airbnb, and in my experience, long-term rentals on Airbnb tend to have reasonable rates in Colombia. Many of the country’s larger cities also have English-language websites dedicated to helping expats find furnished houses and apartments.

“Other living expenses are likewise significantly cheaper than in the U.S. In Manizales, a movie theater tickets cost $2, beer at a bar costs $1, and a crosstown taxi rarely costs more than $5. Meanwhile, health insurance premiums run up to 70% less than in the States.”

The dark days of Colombia’s past are gone, and it has been transformed into a country that is thriving. One of the best things about the country is the warm, welcoming Colombian people. Don’t let a lack of Spanish keep you from trying out life here. As the expression goes, “You don’t meet a Colombian…you meet the entire family.” Here you’ll always feel part of the community.

3. Mexico

By Jason Holland

Mexico has been a retirement haven for residents of its North American neighbors to the north for 50, 60 years. More than 1 million Americans and a half-million Canadians call the country home today, living there either full-time or part of the year (often in winter, to escape cold weather). This makes Mexico one of the most popular—if not the most popular—expat destinations in the world.

That makes your transition to a new life in Mexico all that much easier. This large expat community is very welcoming to newcomers, and there is no shortage of activities, clubs, events, happy hours, and more to take part in. you can easily meet new people and make friends. Plus, because of its proximity and trade and cultural ties to the United States, you’ll find that much of what you find on store shelves, on restaurant plates, on TV, and elsewhere is familiar to you. And you have modern conveniences like a well-maintained highway network, cellphone service, high-speed internet, including fiber optic, cable and satellite TV, and any other amenity you might want.

Yet, at the same time, the distinct culture of Mexico is still very much alive. With its traditions, celebrations, and holidays very much in evidence throughout the year. The Mexican people have a real zest for life, with plenty of singing and dancing in the streets, welcoming attitudes towards new neighbors, and a live and let live attitude.

Oh, and don’t forget the food, which comes in as many varieties as their distinct regions. It’s not just tacos, although they are all very delicious. You have ceviche and other seafood on the coasts, the marinated roast pork cochinita pibil of the Maya people in the Yucatán, hefty tortas (sandwiches) at street stalls, and grilled corn slathered in mayo and cheese and sprinkled heavily with chile powder. And that’s just a small taste of real Mexican cuisine.

Those who move to Mexico are drawn by a multitude of other benefits too.

A retired couple can live well in Mexico on a fraction of what they might spend back home. Cost of living is, of course, very dependent on specific people and their lifestyle, but on average, you could spend under $2,000 per month per couple—for all expenses, and have a life filled with fun, no scrimping necessary. This is possible because of low-cost real estate (to rent and buy), affordable food at the market and in restaurants, cheap transportation, low-cost medical care, free and affordable entertainment options, and more.

Residence is easy to qualify for and obtain. The application and approval process is streamlined, much of it is online, and you can secure residence in a matter of a few months. You start with an initial appointment at the Mexican embassy or a Mexican consulate in your home country. There are dozens of consulates in the U.S. You can make an appointment online and then bring in documentation to prove your home country citizenship, marriage (if applying with a spouse), and income. You finish the process at the immigration office nearest your new home in Mexico.

There are two types of residence most expats apply for. Temporary residence requires an income of $1,600, or $82,000 in the bank. (These amounts vary based on the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and Mexican peso.) Some consulates require that the income comes from Social Security, a pension, or some other guaranteed source. Some are okay with investment or other forms of income. You can be a temporary resident for up to four years at a time. At that point, you can re-apply for temporary residence or convert to permanent.

For permanent residence, which you can apply for right out the gate, you must have $2,000 in monthly income, or $102,000 in the bank.

Once you have either form of residence you are free to stay in Mexico as much or as little as you want. There is no minimum amount of time required to stay in the country, except you can only renew your residence in Mexico.

One of the major benefits for folks of retirement age in Mexico is the widespread availability of high quality/low cost healthcare. In one of the government-run healthcare systems, INSABI, care is actually free to Mexican citizens and foreigners with temporary and permanent residence. There is also another government program, IMSS, that provides coverage (but excludes pre-existing conditions) for $40 per person per month.

There are also private doctors (of every specialty), clinics, and world-class hospitals with all the modern equipment throughout the country, including several that are Joint Commission International certified, which is the gold standard in healthcare. You can pay cash at private facilities or use local or international insurance. Costs are a fraction of what you’d pay in the U.S.

Plus, because Mexico is so large (it’s about three times the size of Texas), it has a great diversity of climates, landscapes, and lifestyles. You can be in a world-class big city, rural village, colonial town, funky beach town, or bustling resort area… You can be in a condo or villa on the beach, high in the cool mountains, off-grid, and in the middle of the jungle… You can enjoy heat, humidity, and sea breezes on the coast. Temperate climates in the Colonial Highlands… the dry heat of Los Cabos… or the southern California “perfect” climate of northern Baja.

With so many locations to choose from, there really is something for everybody in Mexico. And no matter where you go, you can expect a comfortable life of friends and fun, along with a no-hassle residence process, warm weather, beautiful landscapes, modern conveniences, quality healthcare, and more.

Read: I’m 60 and want to retire on between $800 and $1,200 a month, ideally near the ocean in Mexico — where should I go?

2. Panama

By Jessica Ramesch

Panama has ranked at the top of IL’s retirement index many times for many reasons. Even after all these years, the country consistently delivers when it comes to overall value. This is particularly true for anyone looking to stay in the Western Hemisphere. Panama offers ocean views, warm weather, and big-city amenities in a hurricane-free environment. Think about it—how many places in the region offer so much while also making it easy and affordable to live there?

Thanks to Panama’s strategic position outside the hurricane belt we enjoy very mild weather, with lots of sunshine throughout the year. Even during the May through November “rainy season” we have mostly sunny mornings, with an hour or two of rain in the afternoon. Daily highs in the city and beaches are usually around 88 F, with lows around 78 F. In mountain towns like Boquete and El Valle, temperatures are 10 to 15 degrees cooler. There’s truly something for everyone here.

Panama’s location also made it the ideal “Hub of the Americas.” Completed in 1914, the Panama Canal has helped make Panama one of the richest countries in the region. These days big ships pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for each transit. Panama is also a flight hub. It’s just over three hours from Miami, and many of the airlines that serve the U.S. offer direct flights here. Panama’s Copa Airlines is one of the best regional airlines, while Tocumen International Airport is the best airport in the Central America/Caribbean region as well as one of Latin America’s top 10 passenger-friendly airports.

It’s easy to travel in-country, too. We have reliable inter-city buses and domestic flights to multiple destinations. The capital, Panama City, is home to Central America’s only light-rail or metro system. The infrastructure here is top-notch across the board. Panama is one of few countries in the region that boasts well-paved roads, potable tap water, and top-notch Internet and cellphone connections.

And yet Panama remains affordable and accessible. The Pensionado or Pensioner visa has earned Panama a top score, year after year, in the “Benefits and Discounts” category of the index. The program was created to ensure retired Panamanians could live with dignity as active members of society. If you have a pension—regardless of your age—you too can apply to become a resident pensionado.

The main requirement is straightforward: you must have a pension of at least $1,000 a month. Once you become a retiree resident of Panama, you gain access to all the pensioner discounts offered to locals. The savings are almost too good to be true…25% off power bills, 50% off movie and show tickets, 25% off plane fares, 20% off medication, 25% off meals at restaurants, and the list goes on.

Panama isn’t the cheapest country in the region, but given all it has to offer, it is incredibly affordable. Including rent, it costs me about $2,600 a month to live well in cosmopolitan Panama City. I live in a nice apartment just a seven-minute walk from a metro station. I can take an air-conditioned train and get downtown in 10 minutes for $0.35. If it’s a late night, an Uber home costs me $3 or $4.

On my budget I can afford to go out often. From film and music festivals to gourmet restaurants and wine expos, I’m spoiled for choice. This is Central America’s most modern, happening city. It’s incredibly international, and whatever your interests, they’re likely to be represented here. There are language and cultural institutes, museums and galleries, sporting and fitness events of every type…. From skydiving clubs to motorcycle enthusiasts, I’ve seen it all.

My vacations and weekends away are inexpensive, though they seem very glamorous to my friends back in the U.S. I can get a round-trip ferry ticket to Taboga Island for $20 (the trip takes 45 minutes). Contadora Island is a little more upscale—the ferry costs about $98 and takes less than two hours. Or I can hop in my car and—within an hour and at very little expense—find myself in a completely different environment. There are beaches like Chame, Gorgona, and Coronado…the mountain town of Cerro Azul…Campana National Park…again, I’m spoiled for choice.

Staying home is fun, too. In Panama City we now have great options for everything from sushi and sashimi to pizza and pasta. Many restaurants offer delivery, and with services like Uber Eats things have only gotten easier. The food scene is so exciting that in 2019 UNESCO recognized Panama City as an Ibero-American Capital of Culture with a rich culinary landscape.

Of course, you don’t have to be in the city to enjoy a great meal. I’ve had excellent Indian food in Caribbean Bocas del Toro, Peruvian in the mountain hamlet of Boquete, Argentinian in beachy San Carlos, Cambodian in the rural village of Santa Fe, and Italian in the crater town of El Valle.

At supermarkets and shops across the country you’ll find cheap local produce and products as well as imports from around the globe. From European cheeses to primo aged beef, you can get pretty much anything you want. And when it comes to wine, the prices and selection are unbelievable. (By the way…from wine shops to pharmacies to supermarkets, there are plenty of companies here that offer home delivery.)

Then there’s the worry-free healthcare: Panama’s private facilities are among the best in the region. And there are English-speaking doctors all over the country. I pay $10 to $20 to see a doctor, $40 for dental cleanings, and $100 for five chiropractic sessions. My health insurance is less than $150 a month. I no longer worry about getting older and having medical bills eat up all my savings.

Add to that the warm and welcoming people I’ve met here…the fertile land yielding abundant crops…the two coastlines lined with beaches…and it’s easy to see why I choose to stay. I’ve been here since 2005, and my life has just gotten better and better. Sure, I enjoy traveling and exploring different parts of the world. But I’m always thrilled to come home. For me, Panama still checks all the boxes.

Read: ‘It is an act of insanity to stay in the U.S.’: Why this 63-year-old teacher ditched Massachusetts to retire in the highlands of Panama

1. Costa Rica

By Kathleen Evans

On the narrow, volcanic isthmus of land between the continents of North and South America, there exists a country so rich in natural beauty, the adjective is actually in its name. “Rich Coast” or Costa Rica attracts millions of visitors and foreign residents throughout the year with its tropical climate; lower cost of living; friendly locals; affordable medical care; vast real estate options; and, of course, its natural beauty.

Earning the nickname “Switzerland of Central America” this peace-loving democracy shines in a region often plagued by political and civil unrest. Costa Rica abolished their army in 1948 and pledged that budget to education and healthcare. Resulting in a well-educated population and medical access for all citizens and legal residents.

This republic is internationally known for its safety, neutrality, and commitment to the environment—with roughly a quarter of its land protected as national parks and wildlife refuges. The current democratic government, under Carlos Alvarado Quesada, is considered progressive and LGBTQ equal rights are mandated—officially legalizing same-sex marriage in May 2020.  A rare policy to find in Latin America.

Once you have acquired your residency, you pay approximately 7% to 11% of your reported monthly income into the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social healthcare system (Caja for short) and the national medical program is available to you without pre-existing exclusions or age disallowance. Residents have the option to blend public healthcare with private medical care either through out-of-pocket self-insuring or with the purchase of insurance policies. You can purchase these through familiar names like Blue Cross/Blue Shield, CIGNA, Aetna, or a Costa Rican private policy. All at a fraction of the cost compared to the U.S. You will find three JCI accredited private hospitals in the San José area, as well as numerous private clinics throughout the country. The public system has over 29 hospitals and nearly 250 regional clinics, making it easy to find healthcare no matter where you choose to settle.

A couple can live comfortably, but not necessarily extravagantly, here for around $2,000 a month. This includes renting a two-bedroom home with North American amenities, air conditioning, plus groceries, entertainment, transportation, and healthcare. If your monthly budget is closer to $2,500 to $3,000, you will find a relaxed lifestyle with every comfort you require.

One of the things you hear often from expats is how warm and welcoming the ticos (Costa Ricans) are. They are wonderful people, eager to share the magic of their culture, food, and traditions with foreigners. You will also find engaging international communities of expats who will help you through the process of acclimation. The vast majority of new arrivals say it is very easy to make friends and fit in here. Black Americans are also finding peace in Costa Rica away from the systemic racism associated with the U.S. The Costa Rican government’s official proclamation rejects all forms of racism and discrimination.

Pura Vida is a common Costa Rican phrase. Although it translates to “pure life,” this definition merely scratches the surface of a phrase deeply woven into Costa Rican culture, and used to convey anything from “hello” and “goodbye,” to “great news,” “cheers!” and countless declarations in between.

Expat, Nicole Rangel, explains it in this way, “What makes Pura Vida such a check-all statement is that it translates to more than just a greeting. It is a solution, an action, and a way of life. When you approach life with a Pura Vida state of mind, you are opening yourself up to the possibilities of life beyond what you experienced before. You are sharing together in this communal acceptance that life doesn’t have to be controlled or mandated, you can make it what you want, you can have friends you never thought you would have, you experience things you never thought possible because you are opening up to a life less complicated.

“That is why so many people come to Costa Rica and find the best version of themselves—they embrace a new appreciation on life. It is just a bonus that it is in such a beautiful setting,” she continues.

Most expats will confirm living a healthier lifestyle once they arrive. Costa Rica is an outdoor culture—with no shortage of physical activities from fishing, golfing, and horseback riding to hiking, surfing, and yoga. Plus, there are less processed foods, and abundantly healthy choices of locally grown fruits, vegetables, organic eggs, and endless seafood and grass-fed beef. It is no surprise to hear reports about expats having shed unwanted weight, taking fewer prescription drugs, and overall better fitness of mind, body, and soul.

This revelation should come as little surprise since Costa Rica possesses one of only five “Blue Zones” on the entire planet—located on the Nicoya Peninsula in Guanacaste. These zones were discovered by National Geographic scientists and longevity researchers in the early 2000s. They consist of regions that have an unusually high population of centenarians (100+ year-olds). Ten times greater than in the U.S. The research confirms qualities such as healthy diets, natural calcium-enriched water, sunshine, active lifestyles, strong familial and friendship ties, and faith contribute greatly to their longevity.

Costa Rica, like all of Latin America, is predominantly Roman Catholic with approximately 75% identifying with Catholicism. However, you will not find the deeply rooted religious holiday traditions you find in other Latin countries. Costa Rica is considered quite secular. The government assures religious freedom for all. You will also find Evangelicals, Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and small numbers of Jews, Mormons, and Muslims. Expats who settle in larger international communities will find English-speaking churches—primarily nondenominational Protestants.

With a dozen official climate zones and hundreds of microclimates, there is someplace for everyone’s personal weather preferences. Many people love the temperate “eternal spring” climate of San José, the capital, and the surrounding Central Valley. Or the dry, hot beaches of Guanacaste, or the lush, green landscape of the jungles in the south and Caribbean side.

Like everywhere in the world, the pandemic has dealt the Costa Rican economy a harsh blow and put strains on the healthcare system. Even so, the country remains a good long-term bet as we move toward a post-COVID world, given its natural beauty, resilient population, and progressive vision.

Read: ‘I could live on my Social Security and still save money’: This 66-year-old left Chicago for ‘calming’ Costa Rica — where he now plans to live indefinitely

How we compile the Annual Global Retirement Index

Each year, we use our ever-expanding network of editors, correspondents, and contributors all over the world to give us the on-the-ground information and recommendations we need to put our index together…

All these people were once in your shoes. All of them wondered if they could find a better life abroad. Many of them were former International Living readers who took the plunge, and now want to share their love for their new home with the world. These are the people we draw upon to put together our index each year.

We rank and score each of the 25 countries in the Index across the following 10 categories:

Housing. This looks at the value of real estate and how easy it is to buy or rent your dream home overseas. We assess things like the price of houses and condos in areas an expat retiree would like to live in, annual property tax, and if there are any restrictions on expats owning property. We also asked our correspondents whether there are good opportunities to invest in property as a means of earning a rental or capital return.

Benefits & Discounts. In some countries, as a retiree you can get discounts on lots of things, from airfare and food to electricity and public transport. All the benefits and discounts retirees can get in the country are factored into this category.

Visas & Residence. If you can’t legally and easily call a country home, it won’t be much good as a retirement spot. This category looks at things like how easy it is to get permanent residence, whether the income you make outside of the country will be taxed within it, and if there are any special residence options for retirees.

Fitting In/Entertainment. This isn’t just about making friends with locals and expats. It’s also about feeling at home. Can you pick up your favorite North American comforts when you need them? And how easy is it to adapt to the local culture? This category looks at all of these things. Also, what will you do when you’re there? Are there lots of museums, events, and exhibitions? Are there lots of outdoor activities? And can you catch a movie in English when you want to?

Development. You wouldn’t want to live anywhere where you couldn’t stream your favorite movies, call home, or access reliable electricity. You’ll also want quality roads and an efficient public transport network. These are just some of the factors that feed into the Development category.

Climate. Moving abroad gives you the chance to escape from the extremes of weather back home. You can find places overseas where the weather is just perfect for you. In this category, we rate the climate of each country, factoring in things like rainfall, temperature, and humidity.

Healthcare. In this category, we put our experts to the test like never before. How much will you have to pay for things like laser eye surgery, a tooth crown, or a blood transfusion? Can you get common medications for things like asthma and diabetes? And do you need a prescription to get a refill? When it comes to assessing healthcare, we factor in both quality and price to give you a fair and balanced view.

Governance. Knowing that your new home respects personal freedom, keeps the bureaucracy to a minimum, and offers a stable and safe environment in which to enjoy retirement is a nice feeling. You’ll also appreciate an efficient banking system. And how well did each country cope with the COVID-19 situation, according to our correspondents? The Governance category examines these factors.

Opportunity. Retirement doesn’t need to be a grinding halt. Maybe you have a business project you’d like to try out, or perhaps you’ve thought about supplementing your income with some freelancing work or online employment. We’ve examined how well the local authorities support small business, whether it’s easy to work remotely, and whether there’s a strong economy in each country. You’ll see the answers reflected in the Opportunity score.

Cost of Living. A country has to be affordable to be a great retirement spot. So einfach ist das. And to assess how affordable each country is, we got our experts on the ground to fill out a comprehensive monthly budget. Everything from the cost of a liter of milk to a bottle of beer to a movie ticket was factored in.

Note: We’ve given Nicaragua and Bolivia low scores in the Opportunity and Governance categories. They’re still viable retirement locations, but because they’ve experienced political instability in recent years, proceed with caution.

This story originally appeared in International Living.

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