Boca Chica is a slow-paced fishing village of only 300 inhabitants, right on the Pacific Ocean. Here you won’t find any grocery stores, gas stations, or services—but that’s the beauty of it. Boca Chica is where you come to experience nature and the beauty of Panama.
For decades Costa Rica has been among the world’s premier retirement destinations. It still is. Chuck and his wife Anna launched their Pura Vida lifestyle in 2012. They sought a mild climate, better healthcare, amazing views, and lots to do…and all at a lower cost of living. You’ll find established and welcoming expat communities all across the country. It’s easy to make friends to explore the jungle with, or to share an ice-cold, two-buck Pilsen beer while watching the sun set from a beach.
Turns out one of the best places to find small-town America… is in Costa Rica. I’m talking about Atenas, a village of 5,000 in the Central Valley region in the interior of the country. Expats that have made their home here—mostly retirees—say the warm and friendly locals and a very welcoming expat community remind them of where they grew up.
Not surprisingly, Europe delivers strongly on healthcare; in each of our five picks, you’ll find healthcare professionals and facilities of a world-class standard. But perhaps more surprisingly, the care on offer in these countries won’t leave you counting pennies.
Mexico is not only the nearest destination abroad for U.S. and Canadian expats; it is also one of the most popular. More than a million expats are estimated to live in Mexico full- or part-time…the largest concentration of North American expats anywhere in the world.
Panama is a diverse country with differing climates and geography. In Chiriquí, many expats seem to settle in David, Boquete, and Bocas del Toro. These three locations are uniquely different from each other in climate, location, and the size of their expat communities.
Several years ago, I found the dream car I’d always wanted, sitting on a lot in Phoenix, Arizona. It was a 1988 Mercedes 560SL—a two-seater with a removable hardtop—with only 40,000 miles, for just $15,000. And for just another $800, the guy even delivered it to my driveway in Vermont. It was the perfect car for going on a Sunday drive…when it wasn’t raining or snowing that is, and when there was no salt on the road.
Playa del Carmen lies about midway between the all-inclusive resort hub of Cancún and the up-and-coming, low-key, and still somewhat bohemian destination of Tulúm. It’s a happy medium between those two extremes and a favorite for those seeking to live an active retirement in an atmosphere that is sophisticated, yet laidback at the same time.
Somehow, in my adult life, I developed the belief that I needed money to have a good time. However, living in Montevideo reminds me that’s just not so. Here, there are so many public spaces, celebrations, and ways to socialize... all for little or no money. In fact, the idea that the finer things in life should be available to all is so important to Uruguayans that they dedicate a whole weekend to it every spring.
Penang ticked all the boxes for me when I was researching a place to live overseas. This cosmopolitan island in Malaysia provides me with all the things I wanted from my new home, including a lower cost of living and friendly locals and expats.