Every day more people are seeking international locations to retire away from their home countries. Whether looking for more opportunities or peace of mind, there are a plethora of reasons why retirees are leaving the US for sandy shores and remote places once they’ve wrapped up their working days. But where exactly are the best countries to retire?

International Living released its list of the best places in the world to retire in 2023. Compiled into their Annual Global Retirement Index, the list ranks the best countries to retire based on in-depth surveys with retirees from all over the world. 

Based on data, personal insight, and perspective, these countries are offering a little bit of everything to retirees from every place. Here are the best countries to retire in the world.

1. Portugal 

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Portugal took the number one spot as the best country to retire. The foreigner-friendly nation has a lot to offer retirees with a business culture and infrastructure similar to the US. Expats and retirees enjoy stable electricity, drinkable tap water, high-speed fiber internet, and other necessities that make retirement carefree and easy. 

Over 500,000 foreigners reside in Portugal and they have a variety of options when it comes to cities to live in. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone. On the low end, retirees can find suitable housing and live a comfortable life on $2,500 to $3,000 per month if they reside inland, according to International Living. Larger cities like Lisbon and Porto may be a bit pricier, however, according to the Annual Global Retirement Index, many retirees believe it is worth every penny. 

Those who chose to retire in Portugal enjoy an array of beautiful landscapes at every turn. From lush coastal villages with cobblestone streets to hillside cities overlooking markets and grazing sheep, Portugal has become a retiree’s dream destination. Not only that, but Portugal ranks 12th by the World Health Organization for their affordable, quality healthcare, and the country’s friendly demeanor makes it one of the safest countries in the world according to Global Peace Index.

2. Mexico

Mexico has been a forever favorite for US travelers and it’s increasing in popularity among retirees. More than 1.6 million Americans reside in the Spanish-speaking country and the many convenience it offers has made it a favorite for retirement. Just a short plane ride from the States, there’s a plethora of reasons why Mexico is one of the best countries to retire. 

According to International Living, most couples can live comfortably in Mexico for between $2,000 to $2,500 per month. That includes housing, transportation, food, and even healthcare, which cost 50 percent less than in the US. Additionally, the cost of living in Mexico is cheaper than in the US so retirees are able to stretch their dollars further. 

Mexico also offers many services to those 60 years or older at a discounted rate. Through the INAPAM program, seniors have access to discounted prescriptions, transportation services, utilities, and more. 

Retirees also enjoy how stress-free the residency process is for Mexico. Instead of jumping through hoops, endless paperwork, and FBI background checks, a visit to the consulate with the proper documentation is all you need.

3. Panama

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It’s no surprise that Panama made the Global Index of the best countries to retire. Retirees have been flocking to the country for decades and the perks keep getting better and better. Panama is one of the sunniest places in the world so if tropical, rainforest vibes are your preferred aesthetic, this is the place for you. 

According to Nomad Capitalist, “To acquire the retiree residence status in Panama, you have to prove a monthly income or pension of $1000 for life.” However, it would depend on the luxuries you want to indulge in. The expat community is huge so there’s no issue with finding friends and community. The deep blue water, excellent weather, and lush mountains are just a few added benefits of living under the Panamanian sky.

4. Ecuador

With its “tranquilo” culture, diverse ecosystem, and growing tourism industry, Ecuador has begun catching the eye of retirees worldwide. The family-friendly country has excellent weather, good transportation, and affordable housing and healthcare. The cost of living is relatively inexpensive compared to other countries and retirees can land a two-bedroom condo for only $500 per month, according to the study. Depending on where you chose to live, retirees can live comfortably in Ecuador for $1,500 to $1,800 per month.

5. Costa Rica

With more than 10 percent of its population being expats, Costa Rica is described by many as a magical paradise. Nothing short of a fairy tale, it’s no wonder the country made the Global Index as a favorite for retirees. 

Costa Rica has remained dedicated to the environment for years. Considered the “Switzerland of Central America”, the country operates on 98 percent renewable energy most years, prioritizes protecting its green landscape, and dedicated its military budget towards education and healthcare reform when it was abolished in 1948. 

For approximately $2,500 to $3,000, a retired couple can live in Costa Rica and enjoy all of its benefits including locally grown, tropical produce, varying climates, and a blended healthcare system.

6. Spain 

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The cost of living in Spain is relatively low so retirees are beginning to head over to its Mediterranean shores. Expats say retirees can live happily in the country for around $2,000 to $2,500 per month. Of course, this increases a bit if you choose to live in pricier cities like Barcelona or Madrid. But retirees can easily find a cute one-bedroom apartment for $700.

Retirees enjoy access to fresh coastal fruit, vegetables, and cuisine in Spain. Many of them use the country’s private healthcare system, which only costs about $100 a month. Although pickpocketing is still common in large cities, Spain is considered one of the safest countries and retirees appreciate that when seeking somewhere to live.