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15 of the Best Places to Retire Around the World

If you've been dreaming of a fun spot where you can stretch your Social Security payments, here are the top spots around the globe to retire in style.

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Grand palace and Wat phra keaw at sunset bangkok, ThailandTravel mania/Shutterstock


Known as the Land of Smiles, the peaceful Buddhist nation of Thailand offers a low cost of living and great weather, complete with relaxation opportunities, adventure, and culinary and cultural experiences, all of which are budget-friendly. Retirees can take advantage of luxuries including spas with prices starting as low as $10 for a two-hour massage; incredible local cuisine with entrees that cost the equivalent of U.S. $1.00; and reasonable prices for transportation including tuk-tuk rides that zip through the streets of Bangkok for just $1.50 an hour.

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Cathedral of Granada NicaraguaSotoGrant/Shutterstock


U.S. News & World Report recommends this Central American nation as a great retirement destination for its cheap cost of living along with its natural beauty including two spectacular coastlines, adding that “real estate is a steal” here as well. It also suggests retirees explore the beautiful, and culture-rich colonial city of Granada, the oldest city in the country. Just be sure not to make any of these 7 deadly sins of retirement planning.

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View of El Panecillo in the center of Quito with the Cotopaxi in the backgroundEcuadorpostales/Shutterstock


Not only is real estate cheap and the weather beautiful in this South American gem, but Ecuador offers a range of fabulous benefits for seniors, including substantial savings on everything from bus fare to water bills, and even refunds a percentage of monthly sales tax to seniors living here.

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Two lovers point in Guamsegawa7/Shutterstock


A BankRate survey named this as one of the top four places to retire overseas, calling it a “low-cost alternative to Hawaii”—it has the same amazing Pacific Ocean weather and scenery, but a much lower cost of living. Since it’s a U.S. territory, English is spoken everywhere on the island; plus, the currency is the U.S. dollar. Don’t miss these common mistakes people make in early retirement.

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View over the Plaza Independencia in Montevideo , Uruguay.Spectral-Design/Shutterstock


Safe, stable, and transparent are the words most often used to describe the country that’s known as the Switzerland of South America. Uruguay that boasts one of the lowest rates of corruption in the region, according to Live and Invest Overseas editor and publisher Kathleen Peddicord. She recommends the city of Montevideo as one of the safest spots in the world to retire.

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Sunset view of Eiffel tower and Seine river in Paris, France. Autumn Paris. Architecture and landmarks of Paris. Postcard of ParisCatarina Belova/Shutterstock


The City of Light boasts some of the world’s best public transportation thanks to the Metro that covers the entire city and the city’s reliable bus service. There’s also a convenient and fun Velib bicycle rental program and train service for getting from Paris to anywhere else in France or Europe, explains Peddicord. She adds that World Health Organization’s annual survey has consistently rated the health care in France as the best in the world, and the best facilities are in Paris.

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The Chanchhaya Pavilion of Royal Palace, Phnom Penh, CambodiaXuanlu Wang/Shutterstock


Financial Advisor named this Southeast Asian nation adjacent to Thailand as their number one choice for retiring abroad “cheap but well.” According to the report, it offers an affordable cost of living: Western-style apartments go for $300 a month in the capital of Phnom Penh, and meals at quality restaurants cost as little as $10 a person. Another plus for retirees: Brand name medications cost less than 10 percent of what they do in the United States.

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Majestic waterfall in the rainforest jungle of Costa Rica. La Cangreja waterfall in Rincon de La Vieja National Park, GuanacasteNicholas Courtney/Shutterstock

Costa Rica

The number one pick on International Living‘s “World’s Best Places to Retire in 2018,” the country is lauded for being stable, easy to adjust to, and affordable. It’s also beautiful: Costa Rica is renowned for its rainforests, volcanoes, and beautiful beaches. Plus, International Living notes, the country offers a great climate year-round and has “no-hassle residence programs, excellent healthcare, a stable democracy, and safety and security.” This timeline shows you exactly how to save for your dream retirement in any of these locations!

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Panoramic view from sea at Caye Caulker dock. Caye Caulker is a small island located approximately 20 miles from Belize City Belize.Aleksandar Todorovic/ShutterstockAleksandar Todorovic/Shutterstock


The only English-speaking nation in Central America gained its independence from Britain in 1986. A combination of urban sophistication in the modern capital, Belize City, and gorgeous sleepy islands, this country offers an easy transition for Americans looking to retire abroad. One big perk is the currency, which is locked at a $2 Belize to $1.00 U.S.; because businesses throughout the country accept U.S. currency, your money will go twice as far. Another highlight is the beautiful mild weather, with steady temperatures in the mid to low 80s year round.

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many little yachts and boats from plan wiev to the bay near Valletta in MaltaIn Green/Shutterstock


Another favorite from Live and Invest Overseas, the island of Malta is located in the central Mediterranean south of Italy and it enjoys warm temperatures year round. Malta has two official languages—English and Maltese—and it’s estimated that nearly 90 percent of the population speaks English. The island nation is also a safe place to live, has great healthcare (private healthcare is particularly cheap), and low monthly bills, according to LIO. Looking for somewhere a little closer to home? Check out these 15 of the cheapest towns you will actually want to retire in.

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Panoramic view from sea at Caye Caulker dock. Caye Caulker is a small island located approximately 20 miles from Belize City Belize.Aleksandar Todorovic/ShutterstockAleksandar Todorovic/Shutterstock


Known for its relaxed atmosphere, welcoming people, and vibrant nightlife, Barbados is an island paradise in the far eastern Caribbean (out of the path of most hurricanes). With temperatures between 70° to 90°F year-round, retirees can find the perfect climate to enjoy activities such as horseback riding, golf, tennis, kayaking, and sailing. Barbados is especially appealing for retirees looking for luxury living, but those with modest budgets can find their perfect spot here, too.

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Amazing View On Bled Lake, Island,Church And Castle With Mountain Range (Stol, Vrtaca, Begunjscica) In The Background-Bled,Slovenia,EuropeZM_Photo/Shutterstock


The general cost of living is fairly low in this under-the-radar Eastern European gem (one of our top places to go in 2018), which offers plenty of gorgeous outdoor areas and the lively, historic city of Ljubljana for entertainment and culture. The country is also one of the safest in Europe, and healthiest, as one of the “greenest” countries in Europe, it has some of the lowest CO2 levels in the region, one of the reasons it scores high on the Natixis Global Retirement Report for overall happiness. Be sure to learn from what these 9 people thought their biggest mistake was in planning their retirement.

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Lisbon, Portugal skyline at Sao Jorge Castle in the afternoon.Sean Pavone/Shutterstock


Business Insider calls the capital city of Lisbon one of the best places to retire in Europe. It has one of the continent’s lowest crime rates coupled with a high quality of life. It’s relatively cheap compared to other capitals on the continent, with much better weather than more northern European hotspots such as Paris or London.

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Ireland, CoastLaMiaFotografia/Shutterstock


OK, we know, the Emerald Isle isn’t known for sunshine or fabulous warm weather. But its beautiful rolling green hillsides makes up in scenery what it lacks in sun. Live and Invest Overseas reports that more than 40 million people of Irish descent are in the U.S.; if you have just one Irish grandparent you are eligible for citizenship. This means you can qualify for an EU passport allowing you to live—or work—anywhere in the European Union.

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Beautiful tropical white sandy beach in Cap Cana, Dominican RepublicPreto Perola/Shutterstock

Dominican Republic

Although it may be best known as an all-inclusive vacation destination, there’s a lot to recommend the Caribbean island as a retirement destination. First, there are the beautiful beaches and fantastic weather. According to Live and Invest Overseas, “Infrastructure is improving, establishing residency is easy, and the cost of living is one of the great bargains of today’s Caribbean.” Their pick for expats is Las Terrenas, which offers a French twist to the Spanish speaking nation, noting that the “established community of French expats living in this white-sand beach town means fresh baguette and great restaurants. Next, don’t miss the best small towns to retire to in America.

Melissa Klurman
Melissa Klurman is an intrepid explorer and award-winning travel journalist with more than 25 years of experience. She covers topics ranging from family travel and Disney to honeymoons and romantic beaches and everything in between.