The 10 Best Places to Retire as an Expat in 2023
Retiring as an expat in a foreign country can be an exciting next chapter of your life. However, with so many amazing destinations, it can be daunting to pick the right location. Hence, in this guide, you’ll discover the best places to retire as an expat.
We cover noteworthy factors like climate, culture, living costs, and healthcare. You’ll receive interesting ideas you can explore further to decide on your dream retirement destination.
Top 10 Best Places to Retire as an Expat
Portugal regularly tops the charts as one of the best places to retire in the world. Firstly, the cost of living is affordable — in fact, a couple can live comfortably for around $1,500-$2,000 per month. The costs depend on the exact location where you’ll decide to live, though. Small towns like Evora, Faro, and Lagoa are more affordable than the capital, Lisbon.
Healthcare is important during retirement, and choosing private care costs around $5 to $46 per month. Alternatively, you can use the state medical system for no more than $10 in most cases. You’ll need a residence and Portuguese ID number to enter the national medical system.
Furthermore, Portugal has warm winter months, perfect for retirees who want to avoid cold climates. For example, in December, the daily average temperature is 60°F (15°C), and it drops down to 45°F (8°C) during the night. There is plenty of sunshine throughout the year, and the coast is never too far away from most locations.
2. Costa Rica
Retirement abroad in Costa Rica is ideal for those seeking great weather all year round and a relaxing vibe with the locals. The average temperature in December is in the upper 80s to low 90s Fahrenheit, with around three rainy days.
The cost of living in Costa Rica is affordable since you can live on $1,600 to $2,000 per month, and the figure is around $2,500 for couples. This reflects a high standard of living in desirable locations like Central Valley.
You’d pay $50 to $80 for a single visit to the doctor’s office. Also, you must have a monthly pension plan of at least $1,000 to be eligible for a retirement visa in Costa Rica. Overall it’s one of the best places to retire if you want to make frequent visits to the United States to see family and friends.
France is one of the biggest European countries with a lot to explore, and the food is world-class. The country is known for its cheese, wine, croissants, ratatouille, onion soup, and the French baguette has recently been added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
You can afford to live comfortably in France with a budget of $2,500 if you can find accommodation for a maximum of $1,200. The rental costs vary significantly based on location, with tourist hotspots attracting the highest prices.
France is one of the best places to retire overseas for affordable and efficient health care. It has the highest-rated healthcare system worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Expect to pay around $9 per visit to the doctor’s office because the government has fixed the price.
Malta is a top destination for retirees seeking good weather and a small village feeling across the entire country. In fact, it’s the 10th smallest country in the world and an island. Also, around 15% of the residents are expats, so you’re likely to meet people from back home.
The average cost of living in Malta is around $2,300 per month, but you can reduce the figure by $500 if you find a cheap rental property. The above figure factors in living expenses such as transportation, food, healthcare, utilities, and rent.
The public healthcare system is not available for expats, but private options are inexpensive and of excellent quality. Basic visits cost $20, and you’ll pay around $65 for a specialist. Overall, your overseas retirement in Malta will be affordable.
Expats retiring in Spain note the increase in the quality of life. Overall, the cost of living is lower compared with the United States, the food options are amazing, and during the winter, it never gets cold enough to require avoiding the outdoors. Also, there is a lot to see, from the breathtaking architecture in Barcelona to the captivating museums in Valencia.
Retired couples in Spain can expect to live comfortably on $2,200 to $2,400 per month but the cost will be higher in cities like Madrid and Barcelona. Focus on the small regional towns if you wish to live on a smaller budget.
Spain requires residents to have private health insurance for five years, which costs around $136 per month. Overall, the country is one of the best places in the world to retire for a laid-back lifestyle.
Retiring in Uruguay could be an exciting next chapter of your life. The country is dotted with interesting little towns and natural beauty that promise something interesting to look at just around the corner. The temperatures in Uruguay rarely go below freezing, and there are many beach towns where you can settle for a relaxing lifestyle.
The cost of living for a retired expat couple in Uruguay is around $3,000, which includes basics such as entertainment, groceries, transportation, healthcare, rental costs, and utilities. You’ll also need a monthly pension check of $1,500 to qualify for the retirement visa.
Furthermore, monthly healthcare costs around $50-60, and it’s called mutualista. It’s the option most people choose when seeking retirement abroad in Uruguay. Plans for this price include discounts on medication, surgeries, emergency room visits, and routine appointments.
Panama also regularly claims one of the top spots for retirement. That’s because it’s strategically positioned between North and South America, with a flight to Miami only taking three hours. Therefore, you can visit family and friends back home or take trips to the surrounding countries.
The cost of living in Panama is lower than $3,000 per month, and a single person can retire at around $1,700 per month. The quality of hospitals is excellent, so it’s one of the best countries to retire to if you have health issues.
You’ll need to have a pension check of at least $1,000 to be eligible for a retirement visa, and you’ll need a Panamanian lawyer to apply for one. However, expat communities are not well-established in Panama compared with alternatives like Costa Rica.
Ecuador also doesn’t have a big expat scene, so your retirement would be focused on enjoying the local culture. There are multiple positives to choosing Ecuador, though, including the U.S. dollar being the national currency, beautiful countrysides, high-speed internet, and good transportation. There are many activities to explore in Ecuador that are perfect for an active retirement.
More than anything, the very low cost of living put Ecuador on our list of the best places to retire as an expat. A retired couple can live lavishly for about $1,800 per month, which is cheaper than other options on this list. Furthermore, beach houses cost around $150,000, which is a good investment if you want to avoid rental costs. You’ll also have something to leave behind for family members.
Premium healthcare in Ecuador costs about $70 per month for a 60-year-old resident. It’s also possible to opt into the national healthcare system. The cost varies based on the size of your pension check.
Colombia is one of the best places to retire in the world if you are looking for natural beauty. The country boasts a thriving rainforest, amazing beaches, and massive biodiversity. Also, many major U.S. cities have flights to Colombia, which is perfect for visiting friends and family. Also, there is a big expat community in places like Medellin.
The cost of living in Colombia is around $2,700 for a retired couple, but it varies based on your location. For example, a 3-bedroom apartment in Bogota or Medellin costs around $1,250 per month. However, the rent drops to just $500 when looking for accommodation in smaller towns.
Visiting the doctor costs around $4 to $10 per visit, so Columbia is one of the best places for retirees to live for cheap healthcare costs. Furthermore, you can take advantage of Entidades Promotoras de Salud (EPS), which is the nation’s public healthcare system and costs 12.5% of your pension income.
10. Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is an expensive Latin American destination. Most expats live in Santiago or Santo Domingo, or you can choose a quaint tourist town like Boca Chica, Puerto Plata, and Punta Cana. The island offers beautiful beaches and a relaxing vibe—perfect for expat retirees looking to enjoy a slower pace of life.
A retired person can live comfortably in the Dominican Republic for $1,200. For this amount, you can eat at restaurants to enjoy the local cuisine and rent a beachfront property with amazing views. Overall, the Dominican Republic is one of the best countries to retire for U.S. citizens because of how much you get for your money.
Finally, the Dominican Republic has a 3-tier healthcare system, and citizens can enjoy free healthcare. However, in most cases, you may want to pay out of pocket for a private doctor’s visit to cut the waiting times and enjoy better service.
The best place to retire in the world can be different for everyone based on what culture they want to explore and the food they’d like to eat. However, the ten destinations in this article are among the highest rated among the retiree expat community. With so much variety, there is something for everyone to find a place to call home.