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Costa Rica is the place for a happy and healthy retirement

Retiring abroad is not the distant dream that some may think. With the pull of Caribbean coast lines and yearning for the sun’s rays, retiring abroad has never been easier nor more affordable. Teaming these perks with a variety of lifestyle benefits of certain countries means that dream destinations should be considered a potential reality.

Two recent surveys have seen Costa Rica soaring into the top ranks for a healthy and contented retirement destination. A jewel in Central America’s crown, the country ranked fourth overall in International Living’s 2016 list of Best Countries to Retire. It also held the same position in the publication’s Healthy Lifestyle list – the latest category addition for the Global Retirement Index.

Older individuals considering a move to sunnier climes are often looking for a lifestyle overhaul, with health benefits topping the list of things to consider. Those expats currently residing in Costa Rica state that the country has improved their diet immensely; with some expats reporting weight losses of up to 40 pounds in their first year due to having a plethora of fresh and local produce to cook with.

Many Costa Rican towns have a weekly feria del agricultor, or farmers market, where a couple can fill their fridge for $30 every week. Not only does this encourage expats to ditch processed foods and save money, but also the opportunity to socialise with locals and other expats enables a unique blend of community and culture.

With temperatures remaining warm all year round, the opportunity for exercise and adventure outdoors is an attractive highlight of the climate and has only benefitted the lives of many retirees. The new zest for life felt amongst expats has many claiming that Costa Rica is the best place in the world for a more relaxed, stress-free lifestyle.

First place in the International Living’s 2016 list went to Panama, with retirees commenting that fresh fruit is more accessible than fast food while fish and seafood are very affordable. Like Costa Rica, the draw to clean eating has improved the health of many expats living there.

Similarly, Ecuador ranked in second place due to its extraordinary climate allowing for a year-round growing cycle of an opulent variety of exotic fruits and vegetables.

In terms of a comfortable retirement, the results were gathered from wealthy, retirement age or soon-to-be retirement age individuals who were posed questions in seven areas: affordability, tax environment, friendliness, whether the country is a place where one would want to live, climate, respect for property rights and the country’s public health system.

Costa Rica’s year-round tropical climate, variety of lifestyle options and progressive environmental policies were noted as key features to its success at fourth place in the rankings. The country’s pensionado benefits package for foreign retirees was also marked as a benefit of retiring in the destination.

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