Why More And More Retirees Are Moving

To Latin America

As the cost of living in the United States continues to rise, more and more retirees are considering moving to Latin America as a viable option for retirement. With its lower cost of living, favorable climate, and welcoming culture, Latin America has a lot to offer. In this article, we’ll explore the most popular destinations for retirement in Latin America, and what you should know before making the move yourself.

Popular retirement destinations in Latin America

While there are many countries in Latin America that are popular among retirees, here are some of our most recommended destinations:


Mexico has long been a popular destination for retirees due to its proximity to the US, warm climate, and affordable cost of high-quality living.

Housing, food, and transportation are all relatively inexpensive, making it an attractive option for retirees on a fixed income. Healthcare in Mexico is also affordable, with high-quality private medical care available at a fraction of the cost in the United States.

With its convenient location close to the US, Mexico is a great option if you want to regularly visit family and friends back home. Many cities in Mexico are only a few hours drive or a short flight away from major cities in the United States, making travel back and forth simple and affordable.

And of course, Mexico’s rich culture and history also make it a fun and enriching destination. The country has a vibrant art scene, excellent cuisine, and a fascinating history that dates back thousands of years, so there’s always something to see or do.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica may be one of the most expensive countries in Latin America, but it also has one of the best healthcare systems – both public and private – making it a desirable living option for retirees.

The country’s proximity to the United States also makes it a great option for those who plan on making regular trips back to visit family and friends. Houston is only a 3 ½ hour flight away from most airports in Costa Rica.

You’ll also be able to enjoy safe drinkable tap water, fast internet speeds, and great cell reception. For entertainment, you can enjoy the theaters and galleries of the city life, or the stunning rainforests, and beaches throughout the country. There are ample opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as hiking, swimming, and bird-watching.

But probably the biggest benefit of retiring to Costa Rica is the access to a healthier lifestyle. You’ll have plenty of options for locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables, and the warm weather all year round makes it a great place to relax, unwind, and look after your physical health.


The weather in Panama remains the same all year round. At sea level it’s 90 degrees, and drops 4 degrees with every 1,000 feet of elevation. You can therefore pick your desired year-round comfort level of temperature.

The country also boasts a long history of democracy and stability, with a strong economy and a reliable government, making it an ideal destination for retirees looking for peace of mind and a sense of security. You’ll also find the Panamanians to be some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet!

Panama is divided into three lifestyle choices – city life, beach life, or mountain life. So you get to choose your neighborhood according to what you like to do in your spare time.

And of course, not unlike most regions of Latin America, Panama offers a very affordable cost of living, with housing, food, health care, entertainment, and transportation all much more affordable than the US.


Columbia is arguably one of the best countries in Latin America in terms of cost of living. This means that as a retiree you can enjoy a high-quality lifestyle without worrying about your finances or stretching your retirement savings too thin.

This country also has one of the top 25 healthcare systems in the world, with low-cost subsidized insurance accessible to expats with residency. In recent years alternative medicine clinics offering preventative medicine have also become common, while costing a fraction of what they do in the US.

And of course, Colombia is known for its stunning natural beauty, as well as its rich and vibrant culture that is steeped in history and tradition. You can explore the country’s museums, art galleries, and historical landmarks, and experience the vibrant music, dance, food (and coffee!!) scene that makes Colombia such a unique and exciting place to retire.


While Uruguay is not one of the cheapest countries in Latin America, it’s known as one of the safest. Uruguay offers a stable economy, mild climate, affordable health care, friendly locals, safe drinking water, minimal taxes, and well-developed infrastructure.

Uruguay has earned the nickname “Switzerland of Latin America” due to its reputation for stability, neutrality, and financial privacy. Like Switzerland, Uruguay has a long tradition of political stability, which has allowed it to develop a strong economy and attract foreign investment. The country also offers non-residents and non-citizens the opportunity to buy and own property in the country, making the option for property investment more accessible to retirees.

But probably what Uruguay is most well known for, is its peaceful and relaxed way of life. Retiring to Uruguay means a simple and stress-free lifestyle.

Most expats choose to live in the city of Montevideo, which offers a higher quality of living at a more affordable cost than the US.

Retirement visas in Latin America

Some countries in Latin America offer retirement visas, which are designed for individuals who are retired or close to retirement age and wish to move to the country. Retirement visas allow you to stay in the country for an extended period of time without needing to leave.

These visas are typically available to those who can demonstrate that they have a steady stream of retirement income, such as a pension or retirement savings, and can support themselves financially without working.

The specific requirements for a retirement visa vary by country, but typically include proof of income, proof of health insurance, and a criminal background check. In some cases, you may also be required to provide evidence of your health and wellness, such as a medical examination or vaccination records.

These Latin American countries offer a retirement visa in 2023:


  • Argentina: Rentista y Pensionado Visa Program
  • Belize: Qualified Retirement Program (QRP)
  • Brazil: VITEM XIV
  • Colombia: Special Temporary Pensioner’s Visa
  • Costa Rica: Temporary Residency Visas (Pensionado and Rentista)
  • The Dominican Republic: Dominican Pensionado Visa
  • Mexico: Temporary Residency, and Permanent Residency Program For Retirees
  • Nicaragua: Nicaragua Pensionado Visa
  • Panama: Friendly Nations, Retirement and Investment Based Visa Program
  • Peru: Rentista Visa
  • Uruguay: Permanent Residency Visa Program

Things to Consider Before Making the Move

If you’re considering retiring to Latin America, there are a few important things to consider to help you to make the most of your experience:

Language: While Spanish or Portuguese may be the dominant languages in Latin America, many locals are eager to help you learn and embrace the local dialects. This is a wonderful opportunity to expand your language skills and make new friends.

Culture shock: Moving to a new country can be a big adjustment, but it’s also an opportunity to embrace new customs and immerse yourself in a vibrant and diverse culture. From delicious cuisine to colorful celebrations, there’s always something new to discover.

Safety: Like any other country, there are certain areas of Latin America that may require extra precautions. However, with common-sense safety measures, you can feel safe and secure as you explore your new home.

Check out this article for an overview of safety in Latin America: A Real Look Into The Safety Of Expats Relocating To Latin America

Social connections: Retiring in Latin America provides a unique chance to make new friends and connections from all over the world. With a friendly and welcoming community, you’re sure to find plenty of like-minded people to share in your new adventure.

Final thoughts

Retiring to Latin America is a wonderful option for those who are looking for affordable and comfortable living with a high quality of life.

With its warm climate and rich culture, Latin America offers retirees the opportunity to enjoy their golden years with great community, and a plethora of options of things to see and do. Whether you choose to retire in Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, or another country in Latin America, you are sure to find a warm welcome and a rich and rewarding experience.

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