Costa Rica, a popular, safe, low-stress place for tourists and U.S. expats, jumped from No. 4 to No. 1 in this year’s International Living Annual Global Retirement Index. The economy is growing, the thermal springs are bubbling and the beaches are enticing.
The Central American country known for its Pura Vida (rough translation: “life is good”) performed strongly in all 12 categories that comprised the rankings, but was especially impressive for these four: Buying & Investing, Entertainment & Amenities, Health Care and Healthy Lifestyle.
A furnished two-bedroom home can be rented for $500 a month and you can buy an oceanview property for under $200,000. Costa Rica’s national health care system (Caja) is open to expat residents at a low cost — about $95 a month for a couple. A retired couple can live comfortably on $2,500 a month in Costa Rica, say International Living’s editors. And expats can qualify as residents if they have at least $1,000 a month in income from Social Security, a pension or a similar source per couple.
The downsides: mosquitoes on the beaches, a rainy season and a bureaucracy that means getting some things done can take time.