The favorable climate, the cost of living, international connections, the friendliness of the locals and access to health services are some qualities chosen for a retired person and even nomadic workers for going to destinations in Latin America.
In the Central American region, Costa Rica and Panama are among the 10 destinations in the world where people of retirement age can settle, according to the Global Retirement Index 2023.
In addition, it is one of the “most welcoming” regions of Latin America according to another study carried out with the opinions of thousands of users by the start-up company for tourism reservations Booking.com.
“I have built a house in the central Pacific of Costa Rica and I am doing a co-working so that foreigners come here to telework, there is a good opportunity in that sector”, comments the young lawyer Willy Carvajal.
In the selection of the Latin American countries that are considered suitable for establishing themselves as a foreigner, the Global Retirement Index 2023 has included, in addition to Panama and Costa Rica, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia and Belize in an expanded list of 15 nations, most of them Latin American and European.
Among the conditions evaluated to make a home in these tourist destinations are the climate, the quality and cost of living, security, access to health services and good connectivity to the United States and Canada, but above all the hospitality of its people.
The study carried out based on the opinions of visitors by Booking.com also established that the coastal zone, such as Limón, in Costa Rica as a “cosy” place due to multiple factors that make it attractive for visits and long stays.
“I think that Costa Rica has a great attraction, because apart from the institutional strength, it is a country with a lot of human warmth, tourists are treated very well, it is easy to make friends and they give you help in case you need it, it is part of the work that the country has been doing very well, it is also a very ecological country”, says Carvajal.
International Living magazine’s annual Global Retirement Index further finds that the Central American countries on this “select” list have created special “bundling” plans that foreigners may be attracted to.
Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico facilitate temporary and permanent residence visas for people who demonstrate monthly income above $1,000, either as retirees or foreign employees, or for the purchase of a home and proof of bank deposits, among others.
“The Pensionado de Panama visa facilitates the move, if you have a pension of at least 1,000 per month. If you do not have a pension, but plan to buy a house here, you can qualify for the Friendly Nations visa with the purchase of $200,000 with or without financing. If you just want to test the waters, stay for up to 18 months via the new temporary telework visa,” says an International Living publication.
Costa Rica offers numerous real estate options throughout the territory and with price ranges for different purchasing power capacities.The Ecoquintas sales manager, Andrés Zúñiga, says that the “green project” of this company focuses on future retirements, with investment in a property or people who want to move to that country.
From the outset, the person can start the process of buying a lot to start the construction of a house with “the payment of the first monthly payment and the copy of the identification document”, even before being admitted by the immigration authorities of the country.
Costa Rica also prides itself on having a first-rate social security and health care system, coupled with the factor of social stability, and is also known as one of the most democratic nations on the continent, where civil rights and rights for minorities such as the LGBTQ community.In May 2020, it approved equal marriage and to date it is the only country in the region where same-sex couples are legally recognized.
“Maybe it’s the tropical climate, the abundance of nature, or the friendliness of the locals. Or the numerous real estate options almost everywhere livable. With a lower cost of living, it’s no surprise that Costa Rica remains firmly near or at the top of international retirement charts,” says International Living expert Kathleen Evans.
Mexico and Ecuador
From Mexico and Ecuador, the first with a long-standing trail of violence and the second with a growing phenomenon of citizen insecurity, experts in locating optimal places to live say that the advantages outweigh these problems.
Thanks to its proximity to the United States, Mexico is one of the main destination countries for American and Canadian retirees, who flock to the Aztec country attracted by the climate, gastronomy and its culture.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico explains on its website that to qualify for a Temporary Residence visa “with the objective of staying for a period of more than 180 days and less than 4 years”, the person must demonstrate before the authority “economic solvency”, among other requirements.
Mexico considers sufficient monthly income of between $2,100 per month as proof or an amount greater than $36,000 in the bank and $2,700 per month to obtain permanent residence.
From Ecuador, the expert Donna Stiteler of International Living recommends that foreigners looking for a country where they can live comfortably with 1,500 dollars a month, including housing, food, health services and entertainment, have it as a viable option.
“Don’t be fooled by its obscurity. Ecuador’s tourism has grown 30% in the last five years and the country attracts North Americans, Europeans, gap year backpackers, explorers and expats from around the world, all of whom come to enjoy its perfect combination of climate, culture and affordability,” he said.