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Panorama of the Catarata del Toro waterfall in Costa Rica with surrounding mountains. This waterfall is located in Juan Castro Blanco National Park on the Toro Amarillo River and is 90m high.


Imagine waking to the sounds of tropical birds and howler monkeys with tropical breezes blowing through the trees, then taking a short walk to town to browse markets with fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood, and more. Many ex-pats experience this every morning. Some choose to relocate to an even more luxurious lifestyle than they can experience in the United States. However, many choose to relocate to another country for affordability, climate, lifestyle, and, yes, even healthcare.

Caribbean Sea scenery with green turtle in Mexico


The top destination for ex-pats is Mexico. An estimated 1.6 million Americans currently live in Mexico, and that number grows each year. People flock to the white sand beaches, warm weather, and a cost of living that is significantly lower than in the U.S. Mexico is known for its legendary easy living. Because of its affordability, many retirees have chosen to have a second home or move permanently. The Riviera Maya and Cabo San Lucas are two of the most popular areas along the 6,000+ miles of coastline. Direct flights to numerous destinations in Mexico make it easy to travel back and forth to see family and friends or to have them visit you.

Aerial View Belize


As an English-speaking country where the U.S. dollar is widely accepted, Americans flock to this popular destination. Belize makes it easy for ex-pats to relocate there permanently with its Qualified Retirement Program. Belize has an overall lower cost of living than the U.S. The country may be small in acreage, but it has a vibrant culture with Creole, British, and Latino influences. Belize is located on the second-largest barrier reef system in the world and has a series of islands; the largest and most popular is Ambergris Caye with an established ex-pat community.

The sun rays break through the palm trees that line Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica

Costa Rica

One of the most popular destinations for Americans and Europeans alike, Costa Rica offers retirees a safe, affordable lifestyle with excellent quality health care. Costa Rica is no longer a “secret spot.” It has been discovered by surfers, adventure travelers, and a lot of retirees. It’s also known as a medical tourism destination. The people literally chose to save the rainforest, and now 25 percent of the land is protected from development. Costa Rica is one of the most bio-diverse places on the planet, with its rainforests, cloud forests, and beach areas. The quality of life in Costa Rica is best summed up in two words, “Pura Vida” or the pure life.


The View from Ancon Hill – Panama City, Panama


There’s a lot more to Panama than a shipping canal. Panama City is a multicultural city with over 1.3 million people. Panama has high-tech cities, mountains, beaches, and much more. Wherever you go in Panama, you will discover a lower cost of living than in the United States. You’ll also find quality health care that won’t break the bank. It has some of the best healthcare in Latin America. Panama uses the U.S. dollar as currency, and the temperature is moderate. There are well-established ex-pat communities in Panama City, Boquete, and Coronado, where people have become accustomed to the slower lifestyle.

Cuenca’s Cathedral La Inmaculada Concepcion. Cuenca, Azuay Province, Ecuador.


Along the equator, the sun rises and sets at approximately the same time all year, and temperatures do not vary much between summer and winter. Ecuador is known as the “Land of the Eternal Spring.” The temperatures are cooler in the highlands in the Andes Mountains and a bit warmer in the beach communities. While the official language is Spanish, many people speak English. The Ecuadoran people are amicable and accommodating and use the U.S. dollar. Whether you want a metropolitan city like Quito, a mountain ex-pat oasis like Cuenca, or a beach locale, home prices and cost of living are more than affordable.


Beautiful turquoise Aegean Sea with the Island of Crete.


It’s no secret that Greece is a popular vacation destination, but it’s also a fast-growing location for ex-pats and retirees. The glorious weather and amazing food are just two of the many reasons to consider Greece. This country also has a very relaxed lifestyle, and English is widely spoken. The scenery is impressive, with the ancient historic monuments set against the deep blue Aegean Sea. And, just south of the mainland, the isle of Crete is a popular destination with its crystal-clear waters and luxurious amenities. For those seeking a luxury lifestyle, the coastal towns of Elounda and Agios Nikolaos on Crete could be your perfect destination.



Reposted from an article in Ideal-LIVING Magazine, 2023 Summer Issue – Best Places to Live

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