Once you’re on the path of retirement, the world is your oyster and it’s time to enjoy yourself. This can also mean finding a place to live that you adore, can afford, and are close to loved ones. For many, the thrill and potential savings of living abroad is too much to pass up. If this is you, you’ll be glad to know that there are some amazing Central American country options available right now in terms of cost, climate, culture, accessibility, and healthcare.
Looking for an incredibly stable haven with mild and consistent temperatures? Then Ecuador could be your new home. You can expect temps between the interior and the coast to range from 75F to 90F year around, with minimal humidity compared to its other Central American counterparts. Although only the size of Colorado, you can look forward to a range of natural features from the Andes mountains to the Amazon River basin. All of this on a monthly budget of about $1,700 per month.
The private healthcare system is top notch and affordable, particularly in the larger cities. Another retiree perk is a refund of up to $250 per month on any VAT (value-added tax) purchases.
If you want options, then Panama is the place to be. It’s the only Central American country with a First World city – Panama City – with the added bonus that it’s only about a three hour direct flight to Miami. Here, along with most parts of the country, you’ll have access to all of your favorite activities from golf to beach lounging to a thriving nightlife. Plus, if you’re coming from North America, the currency is the American Dollar so it’s as convenient as it gets.
For retirees, their Pensionado plan is unbeatable. Despite your age, if you have a corporate or government pension of at least $1,000 a month, then you’re applicable for residency. If you don’t have a pension, then a new visa program called “Friends of Panama” can offer you residency if you have a local bank account with $5,000 in it and if you open a business, get a job, or buy property. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.
For over thirty years Costa Rica has been a retirement dream with a warm reliable climate, beautiful beaches and rainforests, and accessibility to expats.
Besides all this, the healthcare system is one of the biggest draws for retirees. Similar to Panama, Costa Rica’s Pensionado program only requires an income of $1,000 per month from either disability, Social Security, or a pension to qualify for residency (this covers the spouse as well). Once you’re a resident, for only about a $100 a month you get full coverage through the Caja healthcare system, including surgeries. If healthcare is your prime concern, then Costa Rica is a top choice.