The World's 10 Best Beach Destinations For Retirement in 2019
Western European conveniences meet leisurely beach living in Spain. Northern Spain, nearing the French border, offers picturesque mountains and forests, hideaways for people seeking solace from cities. But if you like bustling streets and beaches brimming with life, head to the southern coast to great locations like Barcelona, Valencia, and Alicante.
LIO calls out Fortaleza, Brazil, as one of the best places to retire this year if you’re looking to become an expat in South America. Why? It’s still a bargain to buy there. Plus, the northeastern Brazilian city is brimming with cultural offerings and economic opportunity.
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If what you want out of retirement is a home base for endless exploration, settle in Thailand. IL says the Southeast Asian country, which is surrounded by waters from the Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand, is very inexpensive—a studio apartment can cost you just $400 per month—and full of active, vibrant expat communities. What’s more, travel within the country is affordable, so you can see thousands of miles of beautiful beaches, or you can use your home in Thailand as a launch pad for seeing the rest of Asia.
Vietnam’s fast-growing economy is a great place for retirees who are looking to start a business or find economic opportunity in act two of life. (IL included “Opportunity” as one of their criteria for ranking best places to retire for the first time this year.) A couple can live here for less than $1,000 a month in many places. Coastal Da Nang, which is the region LIO recommends specifically, feels very intimate despite its million-person population. Da Nang is bookmarked between Vietnam’s more well-known cities Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. If you want to be further inland, LIO recommends Da Lat in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, too.
In the fourth spot on IL’s list of best places to retire in 2019 is Ecuador, a South American country that straddles the equator for warm, tropical weather year-round in most parts of the country. The landscape, however, is as diverse as its people, so there’s a climate for everyone. For $40,000, LIO says you can buy a small condo in Cuenca, Ecuador, an inland city with about 325,000 people. On the coast, prices are higher, but only by a bit—a home on the beach costs about $150,000, IL says—but they’re still a bargain by almost any measure.
Southeast Asia is rich with retirement opportunities for American expats who want a good bargain, good healthcare, and lots of opportunities for adventure. Malaysia, with its idyllic beaches and pristine ancient forests, certainly fits that bill with thousands of miles of coast, year-round warm weather, and bargain living costs. In the coastal city of Penang, a family can live for about $1,800, including rent, IL says. Apartments can be as cheap as $400, even in coastal cities. Better yet, most people in Malaysia speak English, and road signs are in English, too. It’s the unofficial language, so that makes acclimating easier.
Related: 10 Best Islands for Retirement
Life on Bali, Indonesia’s jewel islands, is inexpensive (as is vacationing aside from the flight), so retirees looking for a beautiful place to spend their second act will find it here. Rich expat communities help new arrivals settle in and find their way. Many Australian retirees are also settling on Bali, which makes English prolific. Like many of the other Southeast Asian countries on this list, you can spend all of your retired years exploring this boundless country, with its rich diversity and gorgeous islands. Or you can use it as springboard to dive into Asia, Australia, or other Pacific islands.
#3 Costa Rica
A hop, skip, and a jump from North America, Costa Rica is an enclave of peace and prosperity in a region that’s currently seeing its fair share of economic and political turmoil. Costa Rica, often called the “Switzerland of Central America,” is a stable democracy with a progressive government and a welcoming, peace-loving culture. Costa Rica has many microclimates, despite its proximity to the equator. You can find temperate weather in San Jose and lush jungles in Puerto Jimenez on the Osa Peninsula. Outdoor living is at its prime here, with yogis, surfers, and hikers all bound to find a community they love. The cost of living is low, and you get top-notch, low-priced medical care, too.
Both retirement lists included Portugal, at different rankings. The LIO list put The Algarve, Portugal—a coastal region in the southernmost part of the country— and Cascais—a coastal resort town just west of Lisbon—as numbers one and five respectively on their list. The IL list gave the European country as a whole the seventh spot. Both stipulate that Portugal is great for several reasons, chief among them: lower costs of living (it’s the second least expensive European country); long days of warm sunshine (more than 3,000 hours per year, says LIO); and the “Golden Visa” program, one of the easiest paths to residency in Europe for non-natives.
Costa Rica’s popular neighbor Panama topped the IL list of best places to retire in 2019—and it’s been among the contenders of best places to retire on many other lists. Panama, with its strong economy and low cost of living ($1,800 per month will pay all your bills), earned top marks for opportunity. It’s also incredibly easy for Americans to get a Visa to live in the country. In fact, they even incentivize the move, offering expat retirees a variety of benefits and discounts, such as lower electricity bills and discounts on healthcare (a year of premiums will cost you about $3,000). Thanks to its year-round warm weather, beach lovers can find a lot to enjoy, especially since this Central American country is outside the hurricane belt.