Costa Rica took first place on International Living's Retirement Index 2018, beating out Mexico (2), Panama (3), Ecuador (4), Malaysia (5) , Columbia (6) and Portugal (7) for the top spot. International Living compiles the top 24 retirement destinations worldwide based on criteria such as cost of living, healthcare and climate.
In an increasingly uncertain world, Costa Rica is known for its stability. Costa Rica has been quietly transforming into a model country, with a steadily growing economy that attracts multinationals like Amazon and Microsoft who have major operations here.
The low crime rate means you can feel safe just about anywhere in the country, day or night. There is a priority on preserving the environment, with 25% of the country’s territory protected. And there is commitment from the government to power the country on solely renewable sources, especially hydroelectric, wind, and geothermal. Tens of thousands of expatriates from around the world already live in Costa Rica full or part-time and millions have traveled here over the years for eco-adventures, beach vacations, surfing, fishing, rain forest treks, and more.
Costa Rica has maintained its own rich culture and distinct way of life while welcoming foreigners from around the globe. This is expressed in a tradition of hospitality and a relaxed approach to life in general. The unofficial national motto is "Pura Vida," which translates to “pura life” or "life is good." Ticos, as Costa Ricans call themselves, have a live-and-let-live attitude and value time with family and friends above all else. A strong sense of community exists and with it an emphasis on personal freedom, which appeals to many expats.
Costa Rica abolished its army in 1949 and has enjoyed a stable democracy since then with peaceful elections. The funds that would go to the military are used to fund education (the literacy rate is 96%) and a national healthcare system, which is open to expat residents.
Private healthcare is also available, along with traditional and herbal medicine, natural foods, including abundant tropical fresh fruits, vegetables and fish. Most of us also enjoy a very active lifestyle in Costa Rica as it never gets cold, so you can exercise outdoors year-round. All this combines to help many expats feel healthier than they have in years.
You’ll find that most people are relaxed and low-stress too. The need for status symbols and the anxiety that comes with a consumer mentality disappear. In Costa Rica, you’ll come to enjoy a healthier body and mind.
With all these benefits, it’s not surprising that Costa Rica has topped the Happy Planet Index three times and is International Living's best place to retire for 2018.
1. Costa Rica
Contact us to start your search for the perfect retirement property in Costa Rica!