There’s a strong case to be made for communities where the welcome mat is rolled out for expats and your new adventure can begin with a minimum of frustration.
What makes a place “easy?” First, it’s not too far from home. If you need to get back for an emergency or friends and family want to visit, it’s not a chore. When you can still get many of the same goods and services you’re used to, culture shock won’t disorient you.
When there’s at least a small expat community already established, it means you can make friends in your own language and you can ask questions of folks who have “gone before you.” That increases your comfort level exponentially.
In a place that’s “easy,” you can rent a home or apartment you’ll be comfortable living in, and that means you can take your new life for a test drive. And an “easy” place offers good, affordable health care…restaurants…and things to do.
The places we’re looking at today all meet those criteria. Yet they’re hardly cookie-cutter destinations. And you won’t mistake any of them for Kansas. They each have their individual appeal. What they have in common is that they’re all places where you can settle in easily…and start enjoying your new life fast.
First up is Costa Rica. It’s a country known for its beaches, but the majority of foreigners who move here tend to settle in the Central Valley. At an elevation of about 3,600 feet above sea level, daytime temperatures average 75 to 80 F.
In Belize, meanwhile, the language is the same, the money is the same, even the electrical system is the same. Everyone speaks English. The U.S. dollar is accepted everywhere it’s a two-hour ﬂight from Houston.
For an expat easing into city living there are few places as convenient and appealing as Panama City in Panama. Most foreigners arriving here for the ﬁrst time are happily surprised by what they ﬁnd. It doesn’t ﬁt the stereotypical image of the Third World… The infrastructure, diversity and sophistication are utterly First World. This is a tropical city with a taste of home.
Editor’s note: Eoin’s full article, Seven Easy, Affordable Retirement Spots, in the current issue of International Living magazine, identifies the easiest places within Costa Rica, Panama, and Belize to retire. Plus, he does the same for Mexico, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and others. Access the current issue online is restricted to subscribers only. Become a subscriber here and get instant access to this issue.