Affordable Retirement Destinations

Looking for your next big adventure after retirement? How about a move to a brand-new county? Maybe somewhere warm, sunny, with a great beach?

International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2018 pulled together the best beach towns where expat retirees report a healthy, fun, fulfilling lifestyle — all for an affordable price.

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Costa Rica took the top spot in the Global Retirement Index for the first time this year. The beach town of Tamarindo is located on the Pacific Coast and offers an abundance of nature, seafood and golden sands. The town is located within a “blue zone,” or an area of the world where residents regularly reach 100 while still in good health; perhaps it’s partially thanks to the culture of fitness prevalent in Tamarindo?

Overall, Costa Rica provides high-quality medical care, real estate at an attractive value and already established expat communities.

Pedasi, Panama

Situated four hours from Panama City, Pedasi is likened to 1950s, small-town America. It offers friendly locals, a relaxed lifestyle and overall safety.

The cost of living is low and the unspoiled beaches, Pacific waters and rural agricultural operations all add to the welcoming vibe.

Playa Venao near Pedasi in Panama. Beach, ocean.

© Marek Poplawski |

Salinas, Ecuador

On the Pacific Coast of Ecuador, Salinas earns the nickname “Little Miami Beach.” The beaches are wide and clean and the water’s calm. The cost of living is low and the weather is great, with a sunny season lasting mid-December through April and warm waters January through March.

Penang, Malaysia

Across the world, former outpost of the British Empire Penang is more than 100 square miles of tropical paradise. There are plenty of luxury amenities, plus the opportunity to get away from it all when natural calls. The expat community is large and the cost of living low, with an additional advantage of being home to quite a few English speakers. Many condominiums come with extra amenities such as Olympic-sized swimming pools and tennis courts, plus easy access to shopping and dining.

Cascais, Portugal

The third-safest country in the world, Portugal provides both security and luxury. Cascais is just 20 minutes from Lisbon and offers an artistic community at a steal, perfect if you want to be close to a major city for travel purposes. The weather is mild and wind conditions make the shores perfect for surfing, sailing, windsurfing and more.