10 of the best places to retire around the World

Assuming you don’t have an interplanetary voyage on the agenda, you’ll be living your golden years somewhere on this beautiful blue/green planet.

That doesn’t mean you have to settle for the city or town where you’ve lived most of your life.  With some exceptions, the world is your oyster.

Hundreds of thousands of retirees live outside their home countries, tempted by better climates, a lower cost of living and the opportunity for new cultural experiences.

Here’s a quick summary of interesting places to retire:

1. Portugal

As European countries go, Portugal is one of the friendliest. It also has an incredible history, fantastic climate and a relatively low cost of living. What’s more, at only 92 000 square kilometres Portugal is easy to explore by car. If you become a Portuguese resident, which isn’t too hard, you can get access to public hospitals and health centres. It’s best to apply for a residence permit in your home country before moving to Portugal.

2. Panama

If you’ve watched ‘The thief, his wife and the canoe’, a British TV series, you’ll know that Panama has become a popular retirement destination. The Panamanian government has made it easy for people to retire in their country with a ‘pensionado visa’ that requires proof of a fairly minimal monthly income. If you want to stay for more than three months, you’ll need to get a local immigration lawyer onto the job. Panama has a tropical climate with a rainy season from May to January.

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3. Spain

Spain, with all its fabulous food and amazing sights, is an inspired choice for retirement living. It’s a big country, so there are many options to consider. For hot summers and mild winters, your choices include Malaga, Seville, Cordoba or Valencia. You’ll need a visa to stay in Spain for more than 90 days. If you’re a non-EU retiree there’s the choice of a long-stay visa or a residence visa.

4. The Dominican Republic

If retiring to a tropical island (at least for a while) is on your retirement bucket list, the Dominican Republic could be the answer. Sharing a landmass (Hispaniola) with Haiti, it’s a Caribbean nation known for fabulous beaches, golf and year-round swimming.  The average annual sea water temperature is 27°. Most expat retirees live in Santo Domingo and Santiago, but other options include the towns of Punta Cana, Boca Chica and Puerto Plata. If you can show proof of a monthly pension, it’s pretty easy to move to the Dominican Republic.

5. Costa Rica

Costa Rica is getting a lot of things right. Its ‘pura vida’ (pure life) philosophy symbolises the country’s relaxed, sustainability-focused lifestyle. So living in Costa Rica can involve a glorious mix of coastal scenery, water sports and rainforest hiking. The crime rate is low and the climate is tropical. Aggressive monkeys that steal phones could be a problem though! Aside from rent, it costs a retired couple around USD $1 200 per month to live in Costa Rica.

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6. Malta

A tiny country in the Mediterranean Sea, Malta has a big population of expats – around 15%, mostly from Europe, United Kingdom and Australia. Nearly everyone speaks English (it’s an official language), so settling in is relatively easy. The capital Valletta, with nearly half a million people, is located on a peninsula flanked by beautiful harbours. Silema, St Julian’s and Paceville are other urban areas to consider. Living permanently in Malta is possible if you invest.

7. Ecuador

The gateway to the Galapagos, Ecuador has a low cost of living and a stable currency (it uses USD). The city of Cuenca is a popular choice for expats. You can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle in Ecuador for just a fraction of what you’d spend in many parts of the world. Also, Ecuador’s constitution guarantees foreign residents the same rights as citizens.  The most common types of visas are the 9-I Pensioner’s visa and the 9-II Investor’s visa.

8. France

Living in a restored farmhouse in the south of France is the stuff dreams are made of. Or maybe you fancy an apartment on the Côte d’Azur? Either way, you can apply for a long-term visa from the French consulate in your home country. The next step is a ‘carte de séjour visiteur’, which involves proving you can support yourself.

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9. Mexico

Americans and Canadians have been retiring to Mexico for decades. It has a low cost of living, great weather, decent roads, high-speed internet and spectacular places to live. Some retirees make it a full-time location; others live ‘south of the border’ for a few months every year. It’s easy to become a resident of Mexico, although it might not be necessary because temporary residence can be for up to four years at a time.

10. Auckland New Zealand

If you follow the America’s Cup, you will have seen Auckland through the cameras. It’s a spectacular harbour city with a population of around 1.6million. North of the CBD there are charming beach suburbs for retirement living, either independently or in an auckland retirement village. If you’re moving from the UK, Europe, USA or Canada, the beneficial exchange rate ensures you get great value for money.

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