Retiring abroad to a tropical destination is no longer only for the rich and famous. Sunny days, sparkling blue water, and palm-lined beaches are becoming retirement realities for many Americans looking to spend their golden years happier and healthier in tropical destinations such as Panama, Ecuador, and Costa Rica.
Many retirees find their lives improving greatly after retiring abroad and contributing that sentiment are a variety of factors such as climate, diet, and lifestyle. Sunny days and warm weather year round make it easier to get out and about and the lifestyle in Costa Rica lends itself to easy exercise, such as strolling the beach, daily swims in the ocean, or biking around seaside towns. Access to fresh fruits and vegetables also lead to more healthy retirement lifestyle and many retirees lose up to 40 pounds of excess weight during their first year living abroad.
Costa Rica ranked 4th overall in International Living’s 2016 list of Best Countries to Retire and held the same position in IL’s Healthy Lifestyle list, the latest addition for the Global Retirement Index. For years, Costa Rica has been a hotspot retirement destination and it has not lost its charm or appeal.
Most Costa Rican towns hold weekly ferias, or farmer’s markets, where residents have access to fresh, local produce. Cooking with fresh fruits and vegetables helps reduce stress and create a healthier and relaxing way of life. For just $30, a retired couple can stock up the fridge for the week with locally grown, healthy food. Locally raised meat and poultry is available as well, not to mention endless fresh seafood options for those living right on or near the water. The country enjoys warm weather year round so the growing season constantly provides residents with healthy food options.
In addition to healthy food, retirees in Costa Rica find themselves presented with exercise options daily. Thanks to the sunshine and warm climate, getting outside and enjoying the natural environment is easy and accessible. In small beach communities, riding bikes is the main form of transformation for many Costa Ricans and retirees soon find this to be the most pleasant way to get around and stay healthy. Low impact water activities are also prevalent such as surfing, stand up paddle boarding, and kayaking. The chore of exercising and going to the gym is replaced by fun pastimes.
Ranking first and second on International Living’s 2016 list of Best Places to Retire were Panama and Ecuador respectively. In order to compile the list, IL posed questions to wealthy retirees, or soon to be retirees, regarding affordability, tax environment, friendliness, whether the country is a place where one would want to live, climate, respect for property rights, and the country’s public health system.
Costa Rica’s year round warm weather, variety of lifestyle options and progressive environmental policies were all key factors in the country’s 4th place ranking. In addition to these factors, Costa Rica’s pensionado residency program was also a favorable factor, helping keep Costa Rica as one of the world’s top retirement destinations.