A Review of AARP’s 10 Best Places To Retire Abroad

The AARP website (www.AARP.org) includes a page titled Best Places to Retire Abroad. It is a list of 10 countries that AARP thinks would be excellent places for retirement.

The site also includes links to an array of information on topics such as health, money, work and retirement, personal growth and relationships. The page that includes information about retiring abroad (http://www.aarp.org/home-garden/livable-communities/best_places_to_retire_abroad/) also has links to home and garden resources, the association’s driver safety program, mobility guides, housing and other topics that might be of interest to seniors.

Its 10 best places to retire abroad in alphabetical order are:

Argentina–the AARP likes Argentina because it considers it to be both scenic and sophisticated. It suffered an economic meltdown in 2002 and has been the retiree radar screen ever since then. The country’s economy is on the rebound and prices are edging up. but the country still offers a rich culture and European ambiance at a bargain price.

Belize 10 best places retire
Belize - One of the 10 best places to retire

Belize – this Central American country offers beaches, beauty and what the AARP describes as a fast track of residency status. It is the only Central or South American country where English is its official language. The country is sparsely populated and generally regarded as a paradise with tropical jungle vegetation, beautiful white beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see, the aqua marine Caribbean and a number of the world’s best reefs for snorkeling.

Costa Rica–according to the AARP, this is where you go to live the lush life. It’s a country that’s lush with nature–including extraordinary wild life, active volcanoes and fabulous beaches. It also offers amenities such as malls, supermarkets, restaurants, social clubs and museums. US retirees have been moving there for years drawn by its climate and its prosperity.

France–offhand, you might not think of France is a great place to retire but according to the AARP, it really is. The Association says that if you avoid area like Paris, the Riviera and Provence, the cost of living is not outrageous. France offers much in the way of culture with its plentiful museums, concerts and festivals. But it is also great if you love the outdoors with its beaches along the Mediterranean and its rocky, picturesque hills. Needless to say, France offers amazing food and also boasts excellent healthcare.

Italy–if you enjoy wine and good food, what’s not to enjoy about Italy? As the AARP points out, it offers an amazing combination of fine vineyards, snow capped mountains and gorgeous Adriatic coast beaches. The country also has incomparable culture. Savvy ex-pats tend to settle in less publicized and pricey areas such as La Marché, which offers more pristine beauty for the money than anywhere else in central Italy. The AARP reports that if you exclude the cost of housing, you can actually get by in the area for about $20,000 a year.

Mexico–the AARP strongly recommends the Puerto Vallarta region of Mexico with its rich Indian and Spanish culture, spectacular beaches and charming hill towns. The area offers some real bargains in real estate and is close to the United States. Without question, Mexico is the number one destination for American retirees. It has friendly ex-pat communities in Lake Chapala near Guadalajara San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato in the Baja and Cancun on the Yucatán Peninsula. However, the Puerto Vallarta region is AARP’s #1 choice due to its combination of first-class amenities and charming palm-fringed villages.

Nicaragua – the AARP says that this country is a good place to retire because the dollar goes a long way in Granada and there is breathtakingly beautiful landscape. It also says that while it’s one of Central America’s poorest countries, it capitol, Managua, now has shopping malls, casinos and SUVs. The AARP articles go on to report that Nicaragua has beautiful beaches, lakes, volcanoes and a natural rain forest. Plus, it offers some remarkable housing bargains.

Panama – According to the AARP, Panama is a great place for retirees “who want it all.” It is not only an attractive retirement destination, it also offer an unbeatable combination of benefits and discounts. Its currency is tied to the American dollar and

Portugal 10 best places retire
Portugal - One of the 10 best places to retire

retirees pay no tax on income that comes from outside Panama (read Social Security and pensions).


Portugal–while American retirees have long overlooked Portugal, the AARP says this is changing. It has a plethora of beaches, resorts, golf and trendy cafés. This makes Portugal one of Europe’s most lovely surprises for retirement locations. The country’s low cost of living is lower than in many other parts of Europe and the country prides itself on having a more civilized and relaxed pace of life than its neighbor Spain.

Spain – Spain is home of some of the most well known cities in all of history including Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Toledo and Seville. The AARP says it offers an interesting mixture of attractions including snowcapped mountains, a magnificent Mediterranean coastline, fantastic cuisine, near-perfect weather and ancient hilltop towns. The AARP says there’s another reason to seriously consider Spain as a best place to retire. Its recent economic slump has cut home sale prices in many areas, sometimes by as much as 40%.

In summary – good but not great

While this website definitely provides good information on 10 best places to retire abroad, it’s only 10 places. Any “10 best places” list basically comes down to someone’s (or some people’s) subjective opinion of what’s the best. While the 10 places on this website are certainly good places to retire, there are other countries – for example, Panama, Brazil, Argentina and Croatia – that might make someone else’s top 10 list. So, in summary, the site gives good information but before you make a decision to retire abroad, make sure you research more than just this site.


  1. Would like to find group to travel to these various retirement locations for short stay (4-7days)


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