Back in 1993, Fred, an Oklahoma native, took a teaching post in Cochabamba, which is now one of Bolivia’s most popular retirement destinations. He returned as a retiree 10 years ago and has lived here ever since with his wife Elizabeth, enjoying its highly affordable lifestyle.
My friend Marie, from the Washington, DC area, recently emailed me: Could I offer her advice on having dental work done in Costa Rica? She’d already heard a lot about living in Costa Rica from me.
When my husband Mark and I first decided to move to Cuenca, Ecuador, six years ago it wasn’t because of the spring-like weather, the low cost of living, the abundant fruits and vegetables, the proximity to the U.S., or even the picturesque colonial architecture. It was the medical care that drew us to Ecuador.
Sometimes the level of uric acid in my blood gets too high and I get very localized, very painful arthritis. In my case, it’s usually in the joints of my big toes. They turn an angry red and throb with a slicing, burning pain that makes walking—or even drawing a bed sheet over my foot—impossible.
Jason Holland – IL Roving Latin America Editor As International Living’s Costa Rica Editor, I can comment on that country. We definitely have beaches here and the weather is warm year-round. So it fits the bill on that score. More importantly Costa Rica has low-cost but high-quality healthcare. It’s one of the big reasons why Read more...: “Which country has good healthcare at an affordable cost?”
Working my way through the busy marketplace exploding with vibrant colors and bustling with locals carrying out their daily grind, my heart swells with content. Not a day goes by that I am not grateful to live in such an interesting and friendly place that is so full of life. I have become so accustomed to the laissez-faire lifestyle of Tarija in Bolivia, that I could never return to the rat race.
In many of the world’s best retirement havens, embracing a healthier lifestyle just comes naturally. And it’s easy to see why. With warm weather year-round, it’s easy to get out and about whenever you feel like it. Abundant fresh air fills your lungs with each breath. With everything you need within walking distance, many expats can get by just fine without a car. And those extra yards you walk each day add up to a shrinking waistline over time. Lower costs make it much easier to eat healthily, too.
Recently, I spent a few weeks with my left arm in a sling. While walking on the malecon, the brick walkway along the Pacific Ocean at our home in Salinas, Ecuador, expat friends and neighbors would stop and ask me what had happened? When I replied that I had surgery, it was surprising to me how often the next statement was “Oh really? I didn’t even know you went back to the States!”
I’ve been living in Panama full-time since 2005, and one of the best things about life here is the medical care. I’m not the only one who thinks so, either. Over the years I’ve met dozens upon dozens of expats who were deeply impressed by Panama’s healthcare. International Living editor Dan Prescher was able to experience Panama’s modern, affordable healthcare for himself when he visited an eye doctor in Panama City. Dan liked the doctor and the modern facility, so he signed up for laser eye surgery. He estimates he saved up to 50% by having the procedure in Panama instead of back in the States.
Time and again, we hear back from readers looking for a healthier lifestyle overseas. So in this year’s Annual Global Retirement Index, we’ve added a Healthy Lifestyle category. Finding a healthier retirement abroad is a key consideration for many expats. And while many countries on our beat scored strongly in this regard, Costa Rica earned top marks.