The thought of retirement might be met with equal parts anxiety and equal parts jubilation, with some people craving leaving their jobs and relaxing in an idyllic environment where they can enjoy the rest of their time on earth, while the others might hate the idea of not working anymore and fear that retirement might evoke boredom. Whatever your thoughts around retirement might be, choosing where you spend the rest of your life does not mean that you have to go into a retirement home. Instead why not contemplate retiring abroad, to a beautiful and tranquil overseas destination that will make you fall in love with life once more? From the sun soaked shores of Portugal where mermaids play a gleeful game of hide and seek in between waves, to reveling in the gastronomic excellence of Mexico’s culinary delights, here are four beautiful countries to retire to in 2019 that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. After all if you have been dreaming about leaving your country for another one to meet retirement, this post might be helpful in making the right choice.
As of 2019, there is an ever-growing number of amazing destinations to live a happy life. From housing costs to activities offered, knowing what factors to take into account when choosing your favourite destination for retirement can be a tricky skill to master. You might decide that Portugal, named as ‘Europe’s Best Retirement Haven’ by International Living might be the overseas home for you, with its enviable coastlines, gorgeous eateries and stunning vistas that effortlessly intermix culture with nature in one effortless stroke. On the other hand maybe Costa Rica a popular and safe retirement destination might be more up your street, having been named as number one in this years International Living Annual Global Retirement Index. Whatever you choose, here are five beautiful places to retire to in 2019.
Picture the scene; the sun hangs heavy in the sky plump with warmth, its rays wrapping you in its soothing hug, lulled by the sun’s daytime lullaby. You go skinny dipping in warm tropical lakes, feeling the Goddess of the River bathe you in her magic touch and watch the stars waltz across the sky in procession, as you tuck into the feast of nature that is bountiful on your plate. The smooth and spicy pinto bean soup is divinity personified, with creamy pureed pinto beans, chiles and tortillas, while the fried avocado tacos are a real treat that even the most avid of meat eaters couldn’t proclaim to salivate over, fresh vegetables and fruits a mainstay of Mexican cuisine. And while the food was a delight to behold, you mused that climbing Mexico’s majestic mountains, while walking through dry deserts and visiting cosy picturesque villages could be a pastime that you could jolly well get used to, gravitating away from the modern cities where the rat race of work would continue to thrive.
It is little wonder that Mexico is one of the most recognized places to retire to as not only does it have an excellent gastronomic scene but it is also naturally beautiful renowned for its diverse landscape of mountains, deserts and jungles, as well as being located close to beautiful Caribbean beaches. Furthermore for the history buffs among us Mexico is rich in historical excellence with ancient ruins such as Teotihuacán and the Mayan city of Chichén Itzá which are scattered throughout the country, as are Spanish colonial-era towns. But don’t worry, if you crave the city lifestyle, in the capital Mexico City there are upscale shops, renowned museums and gourmet resturants that can cater to modern life. If however a beach destination is more your cup of tea, you will be surprised to find that despite it’s natural presence, the price of living in Mexico is a lot lower than you may think. If you decide to find a beachfront bungalow in Mexico to watch a sunset, you will be surprised by the scandalously low cost of living. To rent an apartment for one person costs around $400 a month. If you become a resident of Mexico, you get an opportunity to sign up for a national healthcare plan which is highly important for people who have no retirement savings. International Living goes further to say that Mexico is a prime draw because healthcare is rated as ‘good to excellent’ as private healthcare costs a quarter to half of what it does in the US, with public healthcare being free if you are over 60 and a legal resident.
2. Costa Rica
Imagine living out the rest of your days in a country that is as peaceful as its natural surroundings dictate, a rugged rainforested Central American Country with coastlines on the Caribbean and Pacific. The Red Eyed Tree Frog morphs into a wood nymph, its vibrant green body splashed with stripes of blue and yellow, red eyes peering out from lush rainforest trees. National Parks are in abundance, the Corcovado National Park internationally renowned among ecologists for its biodiversity, where big cats and tapirs roam in equilibrium, and rare monkey’s are sheltered from the devastating affects of deforestation. For the environmentalists among us, Costa Rica might be an ideal location to retire to in 2019 as despite only having o.03% of the world’s landmass, it contains 5% of the world’s biodiversity. In fact around 25% of the country’s land area is in protected national parks and protected areas, as well as having successfully diminishing deforestation from some of the worst rates in the world from 1973-1989, to almost Zero by 2005, which is a rare feat to manage.
With Costa Rica’s emphasis on the natural world,it should come as no surprise that it is known for a great outdoor culture which includes activities such as fishing, golfing, horseback riding, hiking, diving and so much more. Diving in Costa Rica is said to be particularly memorable, where you can go cave diving in the Catalina Islands and come face to face with a shark cave, which is definitely not for the faint hearted. For those who are interested in underwater plants, you’ll also find interesting arches and vibrant coral growth on volcanic formations. For foodies like myself, perhaps the idea of retiring to somewhere like Costa Rica is made an attractive prospect because of the Costa Rican cuisine which undoubtedly deserves special attention. There are much less processed foods here compared to the USA, where making healthy food choices becomes easy with an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood and organic products. And have no fear if you are a vegetarian or vegan as Costa Rica is extremely vegetarian friendly, with authentic Costa Rican cuisine including the simple but delicious Gallo Pinto (rice and beans) served for breakfast, Arroz Con Vegetales (rice with vegetables) and vegetarian casado (rice, beans and fried cheese) making rice and beans a staple in a Costa Rican’s diet.
Costa Rica offers numerous advantages to its visitors and residents. Costa Rica is a peaceful country with a stable democracy which attracts many US citizens who come here to retire. Not only are expats impressed by its beautiful picturesque landscapes and warm tropical climate, but it is also-like Mexico- a cheap country to retire to, making its . natural beauty even more tantalizing than ever before. According to Internationalliving, to rent an apartment in the center of San Jose for one person would cost around $700. In total, a monthly budget for a couple can be estimated as $2,000, which is far cheaper than living in the USA. Moreover with its cheap living costs and postcard beauty, it would be hard to believe that Costa Rica has more award winning attributes to its name but Costa Rica has excellent social care, often called the “Switzerland of Central America” as it has highly developed education, healthcare and banking systems. In addition, Costa Ricans are some of the most welcoming people in Central America. If you are able to acquire a residence permit in Costa Rica, you will need to pay from 7% to 11% of monthly income. This will allow you to participate in the social medical programs as well as take advantage of the services of both public hospitals and private clinics.
A Mermaid’s paradise, Cyprus is one of the pearls of the Mediterranean sea, where mer-unicorns frolic in teal blue waters and locals feast on the fruits of the land, gorging themselves on fresh fruit and vegetables, seemingly plucked by the Gods themselves. Chalcolithic period carved figures dating back to 10,000 years ago, stand proudly in the villages of Khoirokoita and Lempa where art and culture reign, and who could forget the mastery of the Lefkara Lace characterized by its distinct design patterns and intricate time consuming production process. It it little wonder that the Lefkaratika art form which originates from the village Lefkara is recognized as an intangible cultural heritage by Unesco when a genuine Lefkara lace with full embroidery can take hundreds of hours to make? So if you are looking to retire overseas to a destination that isn’t just a pretty face but culturally resonant, then Cyprus might be the home for you, with its emphasis on stunning architecture that is heavily influenced by the French Gothic art movement and Italian Renaissance introduced in the island during the era of Latin Domination (1191-1571). Needless to say thousands of people from around the world come to this tiny island to explore its history, glory and beauty as Cyprus is full of beautiful archaeological sites and old churches which means that those planning to retire somewhere in Europe may consider exploring the beauty of Cyprus.
It goes without saying that Cyprus is an amazing place for swimming and hiking, but the island also boasts numerous attractions like visiting Kolossi and St. Hilarion’s castles, taking a walk around ancient Kourion, spending holidays at the seaside resorts in Larnaca, exploring artworks at the Cyprus Museum and so much more. If you are planning to settle in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, you will be amazed by the rich cultural life of the place. From ‘The Cyprus Museum’ (which is the largest and oldest archaeological museum in Cyprus) to the Leventis Gallery, art lovers who choose to retire to Cyrpus won’t be missing out, with the aforementioned gallery hosting over 800 paintings from Cypriot, Greek, or European Artists. If musical and theatrical events are more your kind of thing then it might be worth paying a visit to The Cyprus National Theatre which contains two performance spaces; the 550 seat Lyric Theater with a bold exterior in an intimate theatrical environment and the 150 seat New Theater, which is an open ended workshop space.
For foodies, there is plenty of tasty food and drink, with hotspots including To Elliniko Ouzomezedopoleio, Cook Shop, the Pivo Microbrewery and so on. Cuisine in Cyprus is largely influenced by French, Byzatine and Middle Eastern Forms; cauliflower- a staple in Cypriot and European cuisine- is an example of a Cypriot food ingredient entering the Western European canon, while Halloumi (which would have been familiar to the Lusignans ) is a common vegetarian dish in Cyprus, recorded in Cypriot history in 1554. Other traditional delicacies include Pourgouri (bulgar used to make the delicacy Koubes and a Levantine dish) Souvlaki (pork and chicken cooked over charcoal), Churchkhela (traditional Georgian candle shaped candy) and Malmonia ( a Medieval and early modern period stew made with chicken or fish).
If gorgeous art, culture, and naturally beautiful vistas hasn’t been enough to tickle your fancy, then perhaps knowing that the cost of living in Cyprus,is quite low compared to other European countries might. While it has slightly risen after Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, it nevertheless is relatively cheap. To rent an apartment for one person in the city center of Nicosia costs around $600 and in total, you might need to spend about $3,000. You might also consider ‘buying’ instead of renting a property for sale in Cyprus, as you can find a great deals. So let your inner mermaid free and head to Cyprus for culturally rich retirement living.
Rated as seventh in International Living’s Top 10 Places To Retire Abroad In 2018, as well as International Living’s ‘Best Retirement Haven in Europe’, it can be easy to see why so many people move to Portugal once they retire, with its stunning black and white sand beaches, levada walks, gorgeous islands like Madeira and impressive cultural attractions like The Belem Tower. So it should come as no surprise to learn that Live and Invest Overseas has dubbed Lisbon, Portugal’s capital as the number one place to live in the world, whose airports have the most direct flights to most major cities, where the cost of living is remarkably cheap and a location where there is a large English speaking community. But Portugal is more than just a retirement haven; culturally relevant, intelligently presented and rich in culture, history and gastronomic cuisine, there is more to Portugal than meets the eye. For a start Portugal ranks highly for its affordable lifestyle, and friendly residents, where a couple can pay $1000 a month for a four bedroom, four bath home near Lisbon, in contrast to the UK where in parts of London a small double room in a house or flatshare can be £950 +. Because the cost of living is more affordable, retired residents have more time and money to enjoy on the finer things in life,and that is something that Portugal is not shy of flaunting. From distinctive traditional architecture including the Manueline (also known as Portuguese Late Gothic) a stunning composite Portuguese style of architectural ornamentation to diverse cuisine (bacalhau, a dry salted cod is a famed seafood dish), you might be retired but you certainly wont be bored.
Portuguese cuisine is fresh, diverse and bountiful, with few processed foods, an emphasis on using the land and sea to create masterful dishes, and a growing number of vegan and vegetarian eateries to cater to a modern diet. As Portugal is by the sea, seafood affecinados among us might be pleased to know that fish features heavily in Portuguese cuisine, with the aforementioned Bacalhau, grilled sardines and Caldeirada (a potato based dish made from several types of fish) popular dishes to order while you are down at the beach. For meat eaters typical dishes include frango de churrasco (salty roasted chicken cooked on the Churrasquiera, -a BBQ-spiced with hot red chili sauce), Prego (grilled beef or steak sandwiches often sandwiched in bolo de caco bread) and Feijoada, a stew of beans with beef and pork served with rice and assorted sausages such as chourico.
For vegetarians looking to retire to Portugal, there are more vegetarian options than ever before with Caldo Verde ( a popular Northern Portuguese soup made with Portuguese cabbage , potatoes, olive oil, salt, garlic and onion, Sopa De Pedra (made with cubed potatoes, celery,carrots,onion, garlic, bay leaves, chickpeas, paprika, chopped tomatoes), accorda (which while usually a meat based dish can be made vegetarian, composed of thinly sliced bread with garlic, finely chopped coriander, olive oil,vinegar and poached eggs) and milho de frito often served with bolo de caco, fried cornmeal atop a flat circular bread. If you have a sweet tooth Pastel de nata, a Portuguese custard tart, arroz doce with sugar, rice, milk, eggs, cinnamon and lemon peel which is Christmas favourite and bolo de mel a honey cake native to the Madeira Islands might be right up your street, as traditional delicacies that both tourists and natives love alike.
Which Country Would You Choose To Retire To And Why?
Please note this is a collaborative post but all thoughts are my own and are not affected by monetary compensation.