If sun and sand are calling your name for retirement, the Central American region is sure to be high on your list. With benefits such as year-round sun and its beautiful tropical scenery, as well as a low cost of living haven, Central America has become one of the most highly desirable countries to retire. Read about the top 5 recommended countries to retire in Central America:

Here are top 5 recommended countries to retire in Central America:

1. Belize

Expat locations in Central America to Retire

Belize has recently been on the rise as a desirable country to retire. It not only offers expats a comfortable lifestyle with reliable phone service, internet, housing, power and water, but also all of the above at a relatively low cost of living. On average, a retired couple living in Belize can live comfortably off $3,500/month USD. Belize’s healthcare system is also one of the most robust in the Caribbean.

Located on the Western edge of the Caribbean Sea, one of the many benefits of living in Belize is the diverse and active community that you can engage in. With the ability to sit on a beach and have some well-deserved R&R, or if you prefer an active lifestyle of scuba diving and adventure – Belize has something to offer for everyone’s desires.

Three quick reasons to move to Belize for your retirement:

  1. Natural beauty & beaches – Belize is renowned for stunning natural landscapes and scuba diving, but you can also experience lush rainforests and Mayan ruins. Whether you enjoy snorkelling, diving, hiking, or exploring ancient archaeological sites, Belize provides a picturesque backdrop for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.
  2. English Speaking is Common – One significant advantage for English-speaking expats looking to retire to Belize is that it is an English-speaking country. Global nomads and retired citizens will love this country as this can make the transition much smoother. Learning a new language when you are older can be more difficult, so many American and UK expats will love that communication there will be easy.
  3. Friendliness – Belize is known for its cultural diversity and warm, welcoming atmosphere. The population is a rich blend of various ethnicities, including Creole, Garifuna, Maya, Mestizo, and more

2. Honduras

Honduras is a beautiful country on the East Coast of the Caribbean Sea. With a variety of hilly, green mountaintops, a rich coral reef environment, and tropical white sand beaches, Honduras is a highly sought-after retirement destination.  Honduras is a relatively quiet and laidback lifestyle in comparison to other Central American countries. Naturally, the cost of living is on the lower end for many expatriates,  which drives many retirees to Honduras every year. To learn about the healthcare system in Honduras, check out our healthcare region page.

For those looking to retire in Central America, there are three advantages to living in Honduras:

  1. It is Affordable – Honduras is a cost-effective destination for Western-based retirees. Most expats will consider the cost of living in Honduras as relatively cheap and this means retirees can stretch their retirement savings further. From housing and groceries to healthcare and entertainment, expenses tend to be more budget-friendly than other retirement destinations.
  2. Culture – Honduras has a rich cultural heritage with influences from indigenous communities, Spanish colonial history, and Afro-Caribbean traditions. Retirees looking to immerse themselves in a vibrant and diverse culture may find Honduras appealing.
  3. Great Climate & Beaches – Honduras boasts diverse and breathtaking natural landscapes, including beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, and mountainous terrain. The beaches there are first rate and you can often find a place that will be on or near the ocean.

countries in Central America to retire

3. Mexico

Mexico’s proximity to the United States is a highly popular factor that leads Mexico into the top 5 countries to retire. If access to health care in Mexico is a high priority for you or your spouse, Mexico is definitely a country you should consider for retirement. Once residency is granted, Mexico allows expatriates to obtain a national health care plan coverage, although it is highly recommended that you seek out international health care coverage as well.

Apart from its health care advantages, Mexico also offers a wide variety of scenery for any desire. Whether you want to live in Mexico City and maintain a relatively active lifestyle or if you prefer the quiet and laidback lifestyle of Sayulita, both are easily achievable.

Mexico is a key destination for Canadian and American ex-pats for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Low cost
  • Familiarity
  • Amazing food
  • Excellent infrastructure in key regions such as Cancun
  • Lots of flights are available
  • A huge expat community

4. Costa Rica

Costa Rica has been deemed to have it all: beautiful weather, modernized cities, white sand beaches, Pacific coastlines, mountain tops and an option for quiet or upbeat towns. Costa Rica is home to thousands of expatriates choosing to spend their retirement abroad. It has one of the highest standards of living for Central America, in comparison to its neighbouring countries. As much as Costa Rica has to offer, it is not recommended for those wanting to retire on a stricter budget. It has the highest cost of living for any Central American country, but those high costs of living come with its perks – quality health care, proper infrastructure, safety, and a large expat community. To learn about the healthcare system in Costa Rica, check out our healthcare region page.

countries in Central America to retire

5. Panama

According to the 2019 Annual Global Retirement Index, Panama has placed in the top 5 countries in Central America to retire. Panama has all the benefits of beautiful weather and stunning beaches; it also has the added benefit of being completely outside of the hurricane belt. The hustle and bustle of Panama City allow for an upbeat and lively lifestyle or the mellow beach town of Las Tablas, retirees have the option to choose how they would like to live their retirement years.

The government in Panama also offers retirees a program named Pensionado” which allows for discounted prices for a wide array of purchases at significant price-saving costs.  How the program is designed is by allowing any pension-holding retiree to register for the discounts and then utilize them at their easiest convenience. The discounts range from medical care, flight savings, hotel savings & discounts for monthly utility bills.

We have been working with expatriates in Panama for years and get a lot of calls and emails from retiring expats. They often note that Panama is a great spot to retire because:

  • Excellent healthcare facilities and hospitals
  • Modern infrasture
  • Panama City has everything you need
  • Amazing climate and natural beauty
  • Stable economy & government

Final Thoughts for Future Retired Expats

Choosing one of these five countries in Central America to retire is an exciting experience. An important element to remember as an expatriate moving abroad for retirement is that it is crucial to obtain Global Health Insurance before departure to Central America. You can apply up to 45 days prior to your move abroad. Global health insurance is the safest and most reliable option for long-term global medical care. International health insurance has the ability to travel with you from country to country. This is extremely important for expat retirees who plan on visiting family back home for the holiday season. Contact Expat Financial for expert advice and to discuss your international insurance needs and requirements.