US & Canada: 888 829-8246
| UK: 0800 612 8718
| International: +1 920 434-7485
Book Now

Costa Rica Nabs 2021 Award – The Best Retirement Destination in the World 

In a move that surprises no one, Costa Rica has just been named the top retirement destination in the world for 2021

International Living retirement index 2021The International Living Global Retirement Index is released yearly and considered one of the most reliable sources of information, particularly for North Americans. It’s voted on by actual expats living abroad so its ranking is revered for its boots-on-the-ground reliability.

When categorizing destination, International Living takes some fundamental considerations into account and carefully compares and ranks over two dozen nations.

Ready to plan your retirement activities?  Start here!

Here are the main reasons Costa Rica was awarded the top spot:

Costa Rica is outstandingly beautiful

There’s no denying Costa Rica is devastatingly beautiful – uncrowded by humans and full of exotic wildlife thriving in luscious wilderness, Costa Rica is a country where Mother Nature is allowed to reign supreme. About 25% of the country is designated as national park areas, so if you’re dreaming of breathing fresh air, casting your eyes on unspoiled nature and enjoying the great outdoors, you simply will not find a better retirement destination.

Yes, it’s true: Costa Rica is world-renowned for its glorious beaches (and you’ll certainly find plenty to choose from on the Pacific and Caribbean coastlines) yet it’s the array of distinct geography that makes it so enticing for retirees.

Believe it or not, some foreign US expats who retire here don’t fancy living right by the beach (shock horror!) and luckily, they have abundant choices. In Costa Rica, you can live out your blissful retirement in cloud forests or in the quaintest mountain towns. You can have a verdant jungle at your doorstep or spectacular views of one (of the many) country’s magnificent volcanoes.

Cano Island Costa RicaYou can live just an hour away from one of the county’s two international airports and have jaw-dropping views right outside your front door.

Costa Rica offers something for everyone and that’s why it’s been awarded the top retirement destination title for 2021.

Ready to plan your retirement activities?  Start here!

The top retirement destinations in Costa Rica are:

Costa Rica offers exceptional value for money

Even the most gorgeous place on earth is not nearly as enjoyable if you struggle to make ends meet. Costa Rica’s enviable financial value is what makes it a win-win destination for retirees.

Costa Rica RentalsHere, you can rent a beautiful beachfront condo for $500 a month and spend very little on wholesome, locally-grown produce. You can own a car, travel and explore lots, eat healthy food and enjoy your life, every single day, and life will cost but a fraction of what it would cost at home. According to IL, a retired couple on a budget of $2,000 can live a very comfortable life in Costa Rica, whilst one with $2,500 to $3,000 can enjoy a lifestyle that’s considered quite ‘extravagant’.

You don’t need to be a millionaire to live in Costa Rica but, according to countless expats who’ve made the move, you will certainly feel like one.

Costa Rica is paradise made affordable.

Ready to plan your retirement activities?  Start here!

High quality of life for foreign retirees

Costa Rica consistently rates highly on the Global Happiness Index and it’s easy to see why locals consider their lifestyle to be so desirable. Foreign retirees agree: when it comes to the stellar quality of life, no country compares, thanks to the low stress, low cost and high reward benefits of living here.

You simply get so much more for your buck in Costa Rica and this is essentially what affords you a better quality of life.

Ready to plan your retirement activities?  Start here!

World-class, low-cost healthcare

Costa Rica’s excellent healthcare system is great news for retirees, who often worry about the cost of accessing world-class medical assistance, should they need it. Citizens and residents alike pay about 10% of their income into the social Medicare system and, in return, they have access to more than 24 brilliant public hospitals and over 300 regional clinics, spread out throughout the country. Medication costs very little when compared to North America and this is a huge benefit for anyone spending exorbitant amounts monthly for their prescription meds.

Most expat retirees decide to pay for extra private insurance through recognizable agents like Cigna and Blue Cross, which costs just a tiny fraction of what it costs back home. This way, you can be treated in the country’s best private hospitals, which are as good as any you would find in the US.

Expats who don’t buy private healthcare coverage still choose to go private anyhow, because it is so affordable. When it costs only $80 to see a specialist, many deem it worthwhile to pay out of their own pocket if needed.

Ready to plan your retirement activities?  Start here!

Costa Rica is politically & economically stable

Costa Rica decided to forego an army in favor of extra spending on health care, education and environmental protection in the late 1940s. Nowadays it is considered a unique haven of tranquility in a region that often suffers from political, social and economic instabilities.

Because life, and retirement in particular, are only truly enjoyable if you feel free and safe.

Beneficial tax breaks (especially for property owners)

Property tax is famously low in Costa Rica and, coupled with inexpensive property prices, it makes buying your own piece of heaven even more achievable in retirement.

Genially located & wonderfully set up

All of the above considerations would (almost) be useless if you were to need a torturous long-haul flight to get home and visit family. Most retirees hold back on moving abroad in retirement because they fear missing their children, grandchildren and close friends too much. Yet with short and direct flights from so many cities in North America, Costa Rica can ease that anxiety.

Moreover, you need not be a retiring trailblazer to move to Costa Rica. Countless foreigners have been living comfortably here for more than three decades which means your move, and life can be immensely easy. In the Central Valley, for example, you’ll find clusters of expat communities, US-style shopping malls and all the amenities you seek. The more touristed an area, the more services you’ll find at your disposal.

Choose a retirement town with all the mod-cons you would like or move to more remote areas where you’ll find fewer foreigners but a few more challenges. The choice, in Costa Rica, is solely yours to make.

Ready to plan your retirement activities?  Start here!

Warm & welcoming locals

The friendliness of Ticos (local Costa Ricans) is one of the main enticements for adventure vacations in Costa Rica and for expats looking for a new home. Tourists love feeling like they’re welcomed and appreciated in their host country and so do foreign retirees.

Ticos are a warm and hospitable people and they love nothing more than to share their bounty – be it natural, cultural, culinary etc – with foreigners who show a deep appreciation and a desire to learn more about their blessed country.

A very heartwarming aspect of life in Costa Rica, again as asserted by IL, is that discrimination and racism are fervently rejected, not just by the government but by the people. Minorities who’ve suffered greatly back home find their haven of acceptance in Costa Rica and this is something that makes Ticos even prouder.

Ready to plan your retirement activities?  Start here!

Idyllic, year-long climate

Costa Rica is a tropical heaven with year-long warm temps which ease all those age-old aches and pains. It’s absolutely blissful to wear summer clothes, all year long!

The rain season can be a bit of a drag, especially in more rural settings when mud becomes another element to everyday life. Yet many expats solve the issue of dealing with the wettest months (Sept and Oct) by flying back to visit family and friends.  These are wonderful months to travel to the northern hemisphere anyway, so it’s a double-bonus!

Costa Rica is a wonderfully progressive country

When the country chose to spend more of its national funds on education and healthcare, it set the bar pretty high. Costa Rica is an incredible nation of well-educated people who hold traditional values as close to their hearts as they do social advancements. Everyone is welcome, here, and everyone is free to soak up the incredible benefits of living in such a beautiful country.

Is it all and always a bed of roses? Of course not! Some expat retirees find the bureaucracy, lost-in-translation moments and torturously slow online deliveries frustrating but, at the end of the day, the benefits far (far!) outweigh the downsides – that’s what makes Costa Rica the very best retirement destination in the world.

Want to discover what the accolades are all about? Then consider this your unrivaled chance for a stellar introduction to the magic of Costa Rica. Head on over to enjoy a marvelous Costa Rica adventure vacation and you’ll soon discover why EVERYONE who visits dreams of moving here, permanently.

Call us to know more.




Our latest

Vacation Offers

Recent Blog Post

Best Time to Visit Costa Rica for Adventure and Fun

Costa Rica's diverse climate means there's always a good time to visit, depending on your interests. This guide ...
Read More »

Is Costa Rica Adventurous? Best Things to Do in Costa Rica

  Costa Rica offers a wealth of adventure opportunities, making it a prime destination for thrill-seekers. ...
Read More »


Best Adventure Travel Companies

Voted one of the Best Adventure Travel Companies(on Earth), by National Geographic Adventure.

Lonely Planet

as recommended by Lonely Planet

Best of Groupon Getaways Costa Rica
ICT Costa Rica