Many of us dreaming of the expat life are from places where it gets pretty darn cold. Where I live, for example, we pretty much have winter 6 months of the year. So, yes, I do dream of heading somewhere warmer for at least part of the year, where it doesn’t feel like my head is going to fall off when I go outside in January. Shout out to all my fellow peeps in the Canadian prairies!
I think we can state pretty broadly that most expats share a similar desire to head somewhere warmer than their home country.
Not too cold. Not too hot. Not too dry but especially not too wet. Lots of sunshine.
And that’s not just my opinion, it’s science! According to researchers, the ideal combo is +23°C (72-73°F), sunny, and dry. Basically, a standard Mediterranean-summer climate. It does sound pretty perfect, doesn’t it?
While there are some who prefer warmer and some who prefer cooler, this is the Goldilocks range where most people feel comfortable.
Well, slip on those flip-flops and get sunscreened up, and let’s get into the Top 4 Expat Destinations with the Best Weather!
It probably does not surprise you that Mexico is at the top of this list. It is always at the top of these kinds of lists! But for very good reason.
Whether you are looking for the heat of the coast or cooler mountain temperatures, Mexico has something for everyone. In fact, Mexico has one of the most diverse climate systems in the world, ranging from arid to tropical depending on both latitude and elevation.
While coastal locations such as Puerto Vallarta and Cancun provide the beautiful beaches and warm to hot temperatures all year round, they can also get pretty humid. Luckily, you will have refreshing ocean breezes to cool you down if things get a little too toasty in the summer months.
Head to the interior of this beautiful country and you’ll find more spring-like temperatures and a drier climate. Places like Lake Chapala and San Miguel de Allende have huge expat populations as Canadians and Americans, in particular, flock there for the beautiful weather, lower cost of living, and rich culture.
No matter what your ideal climate looks like, you will definitely be able to find it in Mexico!
I’m going to go ahead and guess that this one doesn’t surprise you, either. Portugal is another top pick for expats the globe over, and in no small part due to its climate.
Considered to have the best weather in Europe, Portugal boasts a temperate climate and tons of sun. Much like Mexico, the weather varies greatly between regions of the country.
Generally speaking, Portugal gets hot in the summer and stays nice and mild in the winter. You’ll find it a bit cooler with more rainfall in the north, with drier, hotter conditions as you head south.
With the Atlantic Ocean influencing the weather on the coast, you’ll get some nice, warm summer days while still enjoying the refreshing ocean breeze. It very rarely drops below freezing in the winter. Move further inland and you’ll find much more of a temperature swing, with both hotter summers and cooler winters (but still no match for a Canadian prairie winter!).
The Azores High, a subtropical center of high atmospheric pressure, ensures sunny skies all summer long for pretty much the entire country so you can soak in all that vitamin D.
Those expats looking for moderate year-round temperatures and beautiful ocean views will flock to cities like Porto and Lisbon along the Atlantic coast. Looking for a little more heat? Head to the Algarve region, a favorite vacation destination for European travelers for its long sunny days and hotter summer temperatures.
Another destination renowned for its climate is Portugal’s neighbor, Spain.
As you may have guessed, Spain has a similar climate to Portugal, starting with cooler, wetter weather in the north along the coast, providing a gorgeous green landscape.
Moving down into the interior where you’ll find the capital city of Madrid, you’ll get those continental temperature swings with the hotter summers and colder winters. It can get pretty darn hot in the summer and sometimes even get frost in the winter. If you are someone that really enjoys having distinct seasons, this may be more your style.
The great news is, it is very common for people to escape the extreme heat of interior Spain by heading to the coast for some cooling ocean breezes. If that sounds like a good plan to you, you’ll be in great company, as this is common among Spanish people and expats alike!
#4: Costa Rica
As I was researching for this article, I was actually quite surprised at how many times Costa Rica came up. As someone who has never been to Costa Rica, I think of a hot, humid beach climate. Generally, those are nice for a vacation, but a little too hot for most of us year-round.
But, much like the other countries on this list, Costa Rica is so much more than just its beautiful beaches! Being the closest country to the equator of all the countries on this list, Costa Rica has a tropical climate characterized by two seasons: dry and rainy.
During both seasons, and wherever you are in the country, you usually will get a solid 12 hours of sunlight, with perhaps a burst of showers in the afternoon in the rainy season, followed by more sunshine in the evening.
The Caribbean coast gets more rainfall than the Pacific coast and, as you head inland towards higher elevations, you’ll find the temperatures become cooler than on the coast. The Central Valley, home of Costa Rica’s capital city of San José, is the most desired region for expats due to its near perfect year-round weather.
Whether you prefer to be a beach bum or stick to milder temperatures, there are numerous microclimates in Costa Rica, so you will be able to find your slice of heaven somewhere!
While these are my top picks for expat destinations with the best weather, some other common destinations mentioned by expats also deserve honorable mentions, including:
- New Zealand
Your Ideal Expat Climate Awaits!
No matter what your climate preference, there is a destination out there for you. One of the things that really stood out to me when I was researching this topic is that, while no climate is perfect, you can ideally position yourself in a destination that provides most of what you are looking for, while still having quick access to the “nice to haves” on your list, such as beaches or mountains.
Each country I looked at, even the ones that are tiny compared to Canada and the US, had a variety of different climates to choose from within its own borders. What I love about that is it gives you the freedom to fall in love with a culture, a people, and a land, and then find your own special place there, where you feel comfortable and can live happily.
If this article has you dreaming of your ideal expat location, make sure you subscribe to Escape Artist Insiders, our monthly magazine that gives you the tools to set up your Plan B and guides you on your expat journey.
See you next week!
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