For many people, retirement is an opportunity to travel, change environments, see the world, and live a better life. When choosing a country to retire, many focus on the cost of living but there are other things that are just as important like access to top-notch healthcare, the quality of life, climate, safety, among others. Here are the 12 best places to retire internationally.


  • Mexico

Akumal, MX

For several decades, Mexico has been one of the most popular countries Americans retire abroad, and this may be due to the proximity to America. But beyond that, there are many more benefits of retiring in Mexico.

The cost of living is lower compared to the US, the climate is great, the locals are friendly and there’s a large expat community. Overall, adapting to life in Mexico is easy because the differences are not so drastic and it contains so many fun things any person can enjoy.

Some of the best cities to retire in Mexico are:

  • Puerto Vallarta
  • Akumal
  • Merida
  • Mayan Riviera

If you’re thinking about retiring in Mexico, check out this article on 10 things you should know before moving to Mexico.

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  • Portugal

Since Portugal adjusted its laws to allow foreign retirees to receive pension income in the country without having to pay tax, it has been an attractive country for retirement. Portugal is the third safest country in the world and boasts of 3,300 hours of sunshine yearly. It is also the 17th safest country in the world and has lots of golf clubs. 

All these combined with a lower cost of living makes Portugal a very attractive destination for retirement.

Some of the best places to retire in Portugal are:

  • Algarve
  • Lisbon
  • Mafra
  • Lagos

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  • Italy

If you’re looking to live a quiet life in some of the best historic cities in the world, Italy is just the place for you. Italy offers a diverse array of landscapes, an efficient healthcare system, and some of the world’s best wines and dishes.

Some of the best places to retire in Italy are:

  • Volterra
  • Bologna
  • Abruzzo


  • Thailand

With an efficient healthcare system, lower cost of living, and a wonderful climate, the land of smiles is a great choice for retirement. Thailand has several beautiful beaches and lots of outdoor activities to add just the right amount of flavor to your golden years.

Some of the best places to retire in Thailand are:

  • Chiang Mai
  • Hua Hin
  • Phuket
  • Bangkok

If you’re thinking about retiring in Thailand, check out this article on 10 things you should know before moving.

  • Panama

One of the most attractive reasons for retiring to Panama is the lower cost of living compared to the US. Panama is a safe country to live in, the climate is almost perfect (except there’s no snow), and the currency is US dollars. There are lots of expat communities and retirees already in place.

Panama’s pensionado visa also comes with some perks that are attractive to foreigners. To qualify, your pension must be at least $1,000 per month. 

Some of the benefits of the pensionado visa are 50% off entertainment anywhere in Panama, 20% of professional and technical services, 15% off fast food restaurants, 25% off plane tickets, 15% off dental and eye examinations, 15% off hospital bills, 15% off medical consultations, and so much more.

Some of the best places to retire in Panama are:

  • Volcán
  • Pedasí
  • Panama City
  • Santa Fe 

  • Colombia

Colombia is just the perfect place to enjoy a laid-back lifestyle in retirement. In the Colombian culture, things like family and friendships are more valuable than money. 

You’ll also have access to world-class healthcare at your fingertips for a fraction of the prices In the US.

Some of the best places to retire in Colombia are:

  • Medellín
  • Santa Marta
  • Cartagena
  • Bogota.


  • Spain

A lot of people decide to retire in Spain because of the year-round great weather. It creates an opportunity for you to enjoy your live-abroad by engaging in outdoor activities. Spanish dishes also contain more fruits and vegetables and are considered more healthy. The quality of life is great and it’s generally safe to live in Spain.

Some of the best places to retire in Spain are:

  • Barcelona
  • Bilbao
  • Malaga
  • Alicante

If you’re thinking about retiring in Spain, check out this article on 10 things you should know before moving.


  • Belize

Belize is the perfect destination to enjoy your retirement years in the inner peace that comes with living in a nature-rich environment. It has breathtaking beaches and dense jungles that serve as home to jaguars and howler monkeys.

The Belizean government also allows foreigners above the age of 45 to become residents through the qualified retirement program (QRP). This comes with some benefits like tax-free importation of household goods and automobiles.

Some of the best places to retire in Belize are:

  • Placencia
  • Ambergris Caye
  • Corporal
  • Can’t Caulker

Planning to retire in Belize? 

Check out this article on 10 things you should know before moving.

  • Nicaragua

The cost of living is lower in Nicaragua compared to the US and it offers a great opportunity to enjoy a comfortable life in retirement without necessarily having to reduce your quality of life. The US dollar goes a long way. 1 US dollars equals about 35 Nicaraguan Córdoba so you can enjoy the warm weather, beautiful scenery, and the satisfaction that comes with living a simple life for less than you would in the US.

The Nicaraguan government also makes retirement in Nicaragua attractive to foreigners by instituting a pension program. People up to the age of 45 with a pension of $600 per month can enjoy benefits like duty-free importation of household goods up to $20,000 and staying tax-free on earnings from outside the country.

Some of the best places to retire in Nicaragua are:

  • Granada
  • San Juan del Sur
  • Rivas
  • Esteli


  • France

One of the most attractive reasons to retire in France is the state of the art healthcare system. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), France provides the best overall health care in the world so you don’t have to bother about dealing with health-related emergencies.

France has one of the best infrastructures in the world. The beautiful cities, delicious food and wine, and the generally safe environment make France a good place to enjoy a relaxed life.

Some of the best places to retire in France are:

  • Lyon
  • Bordeaux
  • Montpellier
  • Pau


  • The Dominican Republic

In 2007, the Dominican Republic instituted a law that allows foreigners to retire in the country if they have a monthly pension of at least $1,500. Since then it has become a desirable retirement location for many Americans.

The Dominican Republic also provides a lower cost of living. You can live comfortably on $1000 per month, however, this is dependent on your lifestyle. It’s close to the U.S, there are large expat communities, and the locals are absolutely the friendliest you will ever meet. All of these combine to make the Dominican Republic an attractive place to retire.

Some of the best places to retire in the Dominican Republic are:

  • Cabarete
  • Las Terrenas
  • Santo Domingo
  • Santiago

If you’re considering The Dominican Republic, check out this article on 10 things you should know before moving

  • Ecuador

For retirees on a budget, Ecuador is another perfect destination. Everything from food to accommodation and healthcare is relatively inexpensive. You can rent a one-bedroom apartment for as low as $400 a month.

Ecuador is one of the countries that offer a retiree residency program. It comes with some benefits like 50% off all electricity, telephone and water service, 50% off all public transportation, a discount on vehicle tax, and many more.

To qualify for Ecuador’s retiree visa, you must have a monthly pension of up to $800.

Some of the best places to retire in Ecuador are:

  • Loja
  • Salinas
  • Cuenca
  • Otavalo
  • Vilcabamba

However, if you have a history of altitude sickness, you might want to stay away from Cuenca since it sits about 8,500 ft above sea level. You can opt for lower altitude areas like Vilcabamba.

What’s your biggest reason for wanting to retire abroad?

Let me know in the comments section below.

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