Many people dream of leaving their country when they retire, looking for new airs, a better quality of life, and benefits for retirees. When they think about it, they immediately think they need to live in Europe or North America to find what they are looking for.

Here you have full access to the list of the best countries to retire based on the Global Retirement Index reports. Check out this article, the list of the best countries to retire in and be surprised.

Before delving into the topic of the day, we need to quickly reveal the standard used to measure the best countries to retire in.


The consultancy International Living and the Global Retirement Index has a group of people spread across countries on all continents to carry out the index. These are correspondents, editors and collaborators who provide information and practical recommendations to form the ranking. To compose the list of countries, 13 categories are analyzed:

  • Rent;
  • Support to entrepreneurship;
  • Benefits and discounts;
  • Purchase and investment;
  • Cost of living;
  • Development;
  • Entertainment;
  • Lifestyle;
  • Governance;
  • Native hospitality;
  • Climate changes;
  • Cheers;
  • Visa and residence.


Study carried out by the consultancy International Living and the Global Retirement Index selects which are the best countries to retire to. The survey gathers data from countries, evaluating issues such as cost of living, housing and infrastructure. See the current ranking of the top ten countries to retire in.

1. Panama

Panama leads the ranking of the best countries to retire. The country that is famous for connecting South America with Central America, is sunny, rapidly developing and has a very hospitable people.

Its capital, Panama City, is modern and offers excellent structure. It has almost 900 thousand inhabitants and people that are used to receiving visitors well since tourism is one of the main economic sources of the city and the country.

According to the International Living study, it is possible to rent an apartment with an ocean view in Panama City for approximately USD 1,500 per month. The city is considered the only first-world city in Central America.

Panama’s biggest advantage is the discounts and benefits offered. The local Pensioned Program is open to everyone and provides retirees who have a pension with various discounts that range from entertainment to medical expenses.

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2. Costa Rica

Also located in Central America, the second place in the ranking of the best countries to retire is Costa Rica. The country is next to Panama and draws attention for its low cost of living, beautiful beaches and lots of sun.

The place is considered safe and its people are very welcoming. Retirees who obtain residency pay between 7% and 11% of their declared monthly income to have access to the country’s public medicine program.

Its capital, San José, has approximately 300 thousand inhabitants and offers a big city structure, with the peace and tranquility of a small city.

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3. Mexico

Mexico was considered the third-best country for retirees. With its cosmopolitan cities, paradisiacal beaches, infrastructure and rich culture we can understand why it was among the best. Mexico is the second largest and most populous country in Latin America, but it does not lose in quality of life due to its long extension.

Survey shows that a couple lives well and pays all their expenses in Mexico with values ​​between USD 1,500 and USD 3,000 per month, varying by city.

After a residence permit, it is possible to enroll in a low-cost national health care plan, with access to hospital and medical infrastructure. Seniors over 60 can also apply for a discount card.

4. Ecuador

The first South American country in the ranking of the best countries to retire in 2021 is Ecuador. With diversity in landscapes, climates and people, the place is considered excellent to live after retiring. They even say that there is an ideal Ecuador for each type of person.

The country has a unique combination of being located on the Equator, with fresh sea breezes from the Humboldt Current, the Amazon Basin and the Andes, providing a variety of climates that make it have one of the best weather conditions in the world.

The cost of feeding the place is very low, since it is produced a lot and in great variety. Residents manage to have an excellent weekly fair with less than USD 15.00 and public transport is also very cheap. The residents’ hospitality and climatic diversity are some of the main attractions.

5. Malaysia

Located in Southeast Asia, Malaysia is among the best countries to retire from. Malaysia is close to Indonesia and Oceania and is considered a great country to live in after retiring for combining untouched nature, modernity of its great metropolises and ancient culture.

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Local law is based on the British system and road signs are in English and Malay, which makes getting around a lot easier. In the north of the country, in Penang, a couple lives well with USD 1,800 ​​per month, including rent. The food is also low cost and hospital infrastructure is top-notch.

6. Colombia

Another South American country that is on the list of the best countries to retire to is Colombia. With famous and important natives, such as the singer Shakira and the writer Gabriel García Márquez, the country also hosts a receptive and cheerful people. The local climate is tropical, which gives its residents a feeling of spring all year round.

Obtaining a retirement visa to live in Colombia is usually quite easy. For that, it is necessary to have at least USD 750 of Social Security income or USD 2,500 of private pension income. The visa is valid for three years and after that, it can be renewed.

To access the health system, it is necessary to hire a private plan, but the cost is cheaper than in most countries. Colombia’s health system is classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the 22nd best in the world. Canada, for example, was in 30th position and the USA in 37th.

Get out of your head the stereotyped view of violent Colombia and taken over by trafficking. The country has already turned the page and has become an attractive destination for retirees who want comfort and do not want to spend a lot.

7. Portugal

According to International Living, Portugal is the 7th best country to live in after retiring. It is the second cheapest country to live in Europe, second only to Bulgaria.

If you want to live in the capital Lisbon or tourist regions like Algarve and Cascais, you will need about USD 3,000 per month to cover your costs and have a comfortable life. If you are willing to live in smaller, lesser-known cities, the cost of living drops considerably.

Portugal was considered the third safest country in the world by the 2019 Global Peace Index. Portuguese is the official language and most of the residents speak English well.

The country has a good public transport service and it is possible to go to all places by train, subway and bus.

Portugal still has an incentive law to receive retirees from all over the world who wish to live in the country, as long as they prove that they have enough income. There are even tax benefits and tax exemptions.

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8. Peru

Peru is among the best countries to retire in 2021, mainly for its low cost. It is possible to rent a good home for approximately USD 150 per month. Lunch can cost USD 2.50, including drinks.

A couple can have a high standard of living in Lima, which is the capital of the country, with less than USD 2,000 per month. This figure is sufficient for virtually all cities in the country.
In addition to the most popular tourist spots such as Machu Picchu, Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru has a coastline with beautiful beaches. Those who like heat will surely love the country. Except for mountain areas, the place is warm and sunny almost all year round.

9. Thailand

Thailand was considered the ninth best country in the world to live after retirement and is possibly the most contrasting place on the list. In Thai territory we can find tropical beaches, royal palaces, ancient ruins and impressive temples, not to mention futuristic cities. The country receives around 25 million tourists annually, according to data from the World Tourism Organization (WTO).

Thailand was never colonized by a western country, which explains why the local culture is so rich and untouched. It is possible to rent good apartments for USD 400 per month and the food is cheap, mainly vegetables.

10. Spain

The second country in Europe that is among the best countries to retire is Spain. The country has a relatively low cost of living compared to the rest of Europe. Because it is a warm place, it produces a variety of foods, which makes basic food items cheaper. With about USD 2,500 per month, a retired couple lives well in most of the Spanish territory.

The value is only above the cost of living in Bulgaria and Portugal. Spain’s infrastructure, as well as most of Europe, is excellent. It is possible to travel around the country by train and the cities are equipped with buses and most of them by metro.

Outdoor life is encouraged in Spain and its natives love to enjoy the heat, the outdoors and the sun. The country is invigorating, with beautiful beaches, snowy mountains and bucolic landscapes worthy of paintings.

The country grants visas to those who have fixed income, such as retirement, and wish to live in the country.

What about you? Where would you like to retire? In a Central American country? In Europe? The United States? Doing everything with planning can be an excellent option.


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