South America or Asia might not be right up there with Florida on your shortlist of places to retire, but international retirement destinations are worth a look. Lower (often much lower) cost of living, warm weather, and a tight knit community are a few of the things that retiree expats cite as their favorite things about their new homes. If you have a taste for adventure but want to settle down in your retirement, one of these top international US expat cities might be just the ticket.
1. Cuenca, Ecuador
With it's beautiful colonial architecture, mild climate and cheap living, it's unsurprising that Cuenca, Ecuador is regarded as a major North American retiree destination--there are an estimated 5,000 North Americans living in the city. While we don't recommend it, the expat community is so large that some retirees never learn Spanish at all. In the city, you can get an American breakfast, see films in English and even get a full Thanksgiving dinner. Of course, there's also lots of Ecuadorian culture to enjoy as well: Cuenca boasts many cultural events, world class museums and beautiful architecture. With cheap housing and food costs, many retirees report living a very comfortable life on less than $1000 a month.
2. The Algarve, Portugal
If Europe is calling your name, the Algarve region of Portugal might be just right. Nearly 100,000 expat retirees have decided to call this place home, and it's not hard to see why: this region is a land of sandy beaches, medieval architecture, and olive groves. The climate is mild, many people speak English, and if you're worried about your golf game, worry no more: the region boasts over 40 world-class courses. Retirees are also reassured to know that Portugal has world class healthcare. Finally, real estate is more affordable in Portugal than nearly any other place in Europe.
3. Chang Mai, Thailand
If temples and lush tropical gardens appeal, Thailand might suit you. The city of Chang Mai is a popular expat destination with a large North American community--this metropolitan city has around 15,000 foreign residents and supplies all of the comforts of home: western style restaurants, trendy boutiques, and modern grocery stores. The city's location in a river valley surrounded by mountains lends it both a beautiful setting and a temperate climate. Financially, Thailand is an even better deal than the other two locations on our list: whether renting or buying a house or condos for sale at citycreekliving.com, Thailand is very affordable with most retirees budgeting less than $500 for housing costs.