19 Apr 2016 by Olga Brighton
With countries all over the globe offering more and more retiree-friendly incentives, dependable healthcare, and a wealth of activities, more people are choosing places to retire abroad than ever before. Whether it's sun and sand you seek or an area rich in museums and cultural opportunities, there are a number of locales waiting to welcome you.
With year-round sun and mild climates, Central America is a top destination for retirees with countries like Costa Rica, Belize, and Panama leading the pack. If it's entertainment opportunities and top-notch cuisine you're after, look no further than the western European countries of France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.
If endless natural beauty is your thing then Costa Rica is your place. It would be hard to beat the splendour of this Central American gem with its rainforests, beaches, hidden lagoons and turquoise waters. Aesthetics aside, Costa Rica boasts a superb yet affordable healthcare system and a stable government. Kick back in some of the most reasonably priced property around with the famously friendly locals and enjoy that Pura Vida.
Formerly known as British Honduras, Belize remains the only country in Central America with English as its official language. Combine that with the Qualified Retired Persons (QRP) Program, one of the top retiree programs in the world, mix in a little island vibe and the world's second largest barrier reef and you've got a prime location to settle down.
The hip and laid-back Central American country of Panama is quickly growing as one of the world's top retiree destinations thanks to repeated perfect scores on International Living's Annual Global Retirement Index (and the number one spot seven years in a row). With the most benefits of any country, Panama also offers extensive golf options, high-end gated communities, and a safe location outside the hurricane belt.
Paris aside, France offers many affordable locations for retirement and an excellent quality of life. Entertainment options abound in this country of immense culture. Museums, art, and mild temperatures all year long make this a retirement destination worth looking into.
Read also: 3 Best Places to Retire in France
Though it may sound like a dream, retiring in Italy is a possibility for many. Historic walled towns and Tuscan landscapes offer a beautiful escape from the rest of the world but with all the comforts of home. Though lacking in official retiree benefits packages, Italy more than makes up for that in world-class cuisine, countless historical and cultural sites, and affordable housing options.
Retiring in paradise is possible in Spain. Famous for its sunshine and seaside living, Spain offers retirees one of the lowest costs of living in all of Europe. With low property taxes and no sales tax at all, Spain is quickly rising as the place to settle down. Add in eternal romance and endless options for entertainment, anyone would be crazy not to retire here.
Portugal is often overlooked as a retirement destination but that's quickly changing. The abundance of beaches, resorts, golf, and wine are attracting more and more retirees from overseas. Portugal joins Spain as having the lowest cost of living in Europe but boasts a quieter, more reserved atmosphere than its neighbour to the north.
Whatever your priorities for your retirement, be it affordable and reliable healthcare, tax benefits, entertainment options, or even cuisine, the world offers endless options. Retirees from EU countries are relocating abroad now more than ever and countries around the world are jumping on this trend. The incredible retiree benefits found in Central America prove this is the start of something great.