It’s huge, and covers a continent and then some. I’ll be traveling around Latin America next year and checking out potential retirement spots. Fortunately in the 21st century a lot of the leg work can be done online. This I’ve been doing for the last couple of years.
I have criteria I’ve been rather loosely applying as I’ve been researching. Concern for affordable health insurance and health care has risen on my list, but the basics remain the same, and the bottom line is being able to live on my Social Security of $1300 a month (plus whatever extra income I can generate).
Here is my current short list:
Mexico meets a lot of my criteria. Unfortunately, there are rather high financial requirements for a permanent visa, and legal status is required for the national health plan. There are other plusses and minuses, and I’ll be spending time there and filing a full report.
Guatemala has risen on my personal list because the visa financial requirements are quite doable, there is good quality affordable health care, and it’s close to Mexico and the US.. Antigua and Lake Atitlan seem to be two favorite spots due to their climate and beauty. Guatemala City may be getting better, but it has a reputation for danger.I plan to spend some time in Guatemala.
This is another country with low entrance and residency barriers. The health care is reportedly good and affordable. The cost of living is cheap, and they are some beautiful locations. It hasn’t risen to a must visit yet, but I am paying attention.
Panama offers the best package for retirees. The communities that meet my criteria in terms of climate and size tend to be more expensive than Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico. The medical care is reputed to be excellent. Panama City is a cosmopolitan city, with a challenging climate. Like Nicaragua, I am still researching Panama, and it does have a lot to offer.
I met someone recently who convinced me that Columbia would be an excellent choice. The visa requirements are quite reasonable. There is very good health care and a national health plan. The cost of living is low, there are great beaches and old colonial towns and cities. Medellin gets good reviews, though it is a big city and I am not convinced that it is as safe as it is lauded these days. I do plan to visit and check it out.
There are many publications these days that rate potential expat retirement locations. The income requirements for a visa are quite reasonable. Cuenca Ecuador often tops these lists. In the mountains, it has a springlike climate. There are a lot of expats living in this colonial city. Health care is both excellent and affordable, with a national health plan available to legal residents for about $80 a month. Personally, I am not so keen on the “lots of expats” part of it, and will probably be more interested in places where there is a smaller presence of us. I’ll be checking out Ecuador and will be reporting back.
Next time I’ll go through the map and talk about what places I’ve ruled out and why. Maybe something will move up to my short list, and something else may fall off. I can’t wait to get started!