World’s Best Retirement Locations


World’s Best Retirement Locations

If the ongoing global financial crisis hasn’t deterred your overseas retirement plans, but you aren’t sure which nation would best suit your needs, this post may help your decision making process.

At the close of last year International Living magazine listed the world’s top retirement havens for 2013. Six months on, these destinations remain popular with retiring expats across the globe.

In this post we’ll discuss the locations which topped International Living’s list, and see what makes them so suitable for expats looking to enjoy their golden years in different climes.


The number of expats choosing to flock to this South American paradise is on the rise. The peaceful beauty of some areas, and the metropolitan excitement of others, offers a lot of scope for enjoyment.

The climate is idyllic and household goods can be imported duty free. Housing is also exceedingly reasonable and healthcare is both affordable and of a high quality.
Senior residents of Ecuador are also entitled to half price local transportation and entertainment.

Furthermore, if you’d like to keep active during your retirement Ecuador is also one of the best places for expats to start up small businesses, like cafes, shops and restaurants.


One of Panama’s major draws is its pensioner visa, which ensures that pensioners are able to get residence with minimal hassle and entitles the holder of the visa to a variety of discounts.

One such discount is for healthcare, which is of a good standard.

Other Panama positives include a large proportion of English speakers, a low hurricane risk and an easily convertible currency (the US Dollar).

Then there are the stunning natural features, like the rainforests and the beaches, the wildlife and the unique culture.


If you have your heart set on settling in Asia you couldn’t do much better than Malaysia.

With a diverse and world renowned cuisine, a comparatively low cost of living and tropical temperatures there are plenty of upsides to living in Malaysia.

English is also the unofficial first language and there are large expat communities to help newcomers integrate.

The healthcare in Kuala Lumpur and Penang is considered to be excellent and of comparatively low cost.

Another major plus point in Malaysia’s favour is that expats can buy homes and land freehold, something which isn’t an option in many other Asian nations.


The colourful, unmistakeable culture of Mexico is a big attraction for expats. Free street entertainment is common and the general cost of living is far lower than in the US. Generally speaking the quality and variety of amenities available is as good as in North America, and healthcare is of a reasonable standard.

Furthermore, any expat with Mexican residence qualifies for Mexico’s nation healthcare system.

Property rental and purchase values are affordable and the vast nation offers a variety of landscapes and sites of historical interest to explore.

Although expat communities are popping up all over Mexico, some favourite expat areas include Oaxaca, San Miguel de Allende and San Cristobal de las Casas.

Costa Rica

With affordable and high quality healthcare and a health-promoting environment, Costa Rica is becoming an increasingly popular retirement location among expats who have specific care needs.

Residents of Costa Rica are entitled to join the universal healthcare system where a flat monthly rate is paid (the rate is calculated based on income) and there are no additional costs to meet.

Some areas of Costa Rica, like San Ramon, also have active and inclusive expat communities.

With a stable climate, plenty of space and a close proximity to the US, Costa Rica might be the retirement location of your dreams.

If you’ve retired overseas and have a nation to recommend get in touch on Twitter or Facebook, or leave a comment in our forum!

The Expat Hub
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