2012 Retirement Index 

Most Exciting Haven: Entertainment and Amenities

Brazil, Scored 99/100

It’s no surprise that Brazil secured first place in the Entertainment and Amenities category in the 2012 Retirement Index—this is a country famed for its energy and pace of life.

Whether you are in the heart of Rio or a quiet beach in Fortaleza, life in Brazil is lived outdoors. People eat outside, drink outside and socialize outside—and that’s not limited to during festival season. It won’t take you long to find something to do whenever you set foot outside…it’s very difficult to get bored in Brazil.

Brazil also boasts some of the world’s best beaches – and Brazilians really know how to make the most of them. Watersports are hugely popular here so whether you fancy a thrilling ride on board a jet ski or relaxing snorkel through a colorful reef, Brazil has you covered. In fact, Brazil is crazy about sports in general. Drop by any one of the country’s gargantuan soccer stadiums to see the game played at its thrilling best—with Brazilian flair.

If you’re eager to find out whether this thrilling corner of the world is for you, check this out.

France, Scored 98/100

France came in joint second place in this category, thanks in large part to its rich, fascinating culture. But you don’t need number-crunchers to tell you its bon vivant lifestyle is special. Step off a plane and you’ll experience it first-hand.

It’s impossible to enumerate the joy of lingering for hours over dinner and a bottle of red wine in a Parisian brasserie…strolling beside the Seine on a spring morning, poking through the book vendors’ wares…buying buttery croissants in bohemian Montmartre…or hearing Notre Dame’s bells…walking antique streets paved with poetry.

Romantic Paris offers the best of everything, but services don’t fall away in Alsace’s wine villages…in wild and lovely Corsica…in lavender-scented Provence. From nights at the opera to strolls through heritage towns, there’s something to do in every corner of this country.

Italy, Scored 98/100

Italy managed a score on par with its European neighbor. What Italians don’t know about la dolce vita (the sweet life) isn’t worth knowing.

Cities like Rome, Venice, and Florence are crammed with an implausible array of art and architecture that would take years to fully explore. In fact, some 60% of the world’s art treasures are located in Italy.

Italians brought their food to the world, but eating out in Italy itself is still a real treat. We’ve all tasted Italian food innumerable times, but once seated at a checkered tablecloth in a Venetian pasta restaurant, you will quickly realize that these masters of Mediterranean food kept some of the secrets of their cooking to themselves.

Thailand, Scored 97/100

Thailand is known as ‘The Land of Smiles’, the reason for which will be writ large across the beaming faces of its ultra-friendly locals from the moment you step off the plane. The Thais have good reason to smile—their country is a lot of fun.

From trekking through verdant jungles in the northern province of Chiang Mai on the back of an elephant to snapping photos of Bangkok’s lively floating markets, there is no shortage of things to do here. You can pet a fully grown tiger in an animal refuge run by orange-robbed monks in the morning, haggle for cut-priced designer goods in Asia’s biggest market after lunch before taking your pick from the array of authentic Italian, French, Japanese, Irish, Moroccan,  Chinese, Indian or any food type found here thanks to Thailand’s huge and varied expat communities.

Honduras, Scored 96/100

The island of Roatan off the coast of Honduras, is the country’s biggest attraction and the location most popular with retirees and visitors. Roatan is all about life by the sea and it has long been known to divers for its aquatic beauty.

The world’s second-longest coral reef reaches to and surrounds the island, allowing direct access from white-sand beaches. The water is clear and warm all year, reflecting colors from deep blue to turquoise. There are very few places on the planet that can rival Roatan when it comes to snorkeling, diving, swimming, yachting or just lazing in a hammock beside a stunning stretch of coast. There is also great fishing off the coast and boats can be chartered or rented at reasonable rates.

Roatan has a rich and varied multi-national culture. Locals mix with a large expat community from the U.S., Canada, Holland, Germany, and several other countries. You won’t get a night at the opera here, but an evening out in the eateries and bars strung along the coast is a relaxed, sociable affair. On Roatan, people from different backgrounds get together in an atmosphere of welcome relaxation and an appreciation for a slower pace of life.

Editor’s Note: This article was taken from a past issue of International Living’s monthly magazine. To get full access to all past and future articles and to receive the magazine in the mail or online each month, simply click on the below button to subscribe to International Living magazine at the special introductory price of $49. You will get instant access to the current issue of the magazine as well 10 years of back issues. As an added bonus, we will also send you a FREE report – How to Retire in Paradise on $30 a Day. (You can cancel your subscription at any time.)


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