At some point in life the question pops up as to where to stay when you retire.  With improved medical and healthcare services, we live a longer life, but at the same time, we need to spend more money to sustain a longer life. Also, who doesn’t want to rest and relax after many decades of working? Well lets cut the chase, here are the 10 best places in the world for you to retire with low living cost, stunning natural scenery, and large expat communities.

1. Crete, Greece

▲ Agios Nikolaos, a coastal town in Crete come as a surprise. This island is filled with sunshine, beaches, and great hospitality. It is a highly recommended option for retirees.

  • Cost of living: $1,090
  • Major language: Greek
  • Population: 623,065 (2010 stats)
  • Healthcare services: Free medical care and hospital care in public hospitals if you are covered by IKA National Insurance.
  • Entertainment: Hiking, cave tours, water activities, festivals in summer

2. Barcelona, Spain

As Spain’s second-largest city, Barcelona offers a low-cost living experience, with a fully developed public transportation system. You can enjoy pre-Roman architectures, art galleries, museums, and also beaches all in this metropolis.

  • Cost of living: $1,183
  • Major language: Spanish
  • Population: 1.602 million (2014 stats)
  • Healthcare services: Healthcare is largely subsidized in public hospitals if you own a Targeta Sanitaria Individual (TSI) health card.
  • Entertainment: Museums, art galleries, monuments, theaters, beach activities

3. Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Surrounded by volcanoes, Lake Atitlan is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Villages around the lake are filled with Mayan traditions,1 and it is definitely a great cultural experience for retirees.

  • Cost of living: $700
  • Major language: Spanish
  • Population: 11,142 in Panajachel (in the 2000 census)
  • Healthcare services: Very few funds are allocated to healthcare, while 88% of the population relies on public healthcare system.
  • Entertainment: Hiking, water activities, cultural tours

4. Santa Fe, Panama

This tiny mountain hideaway is the perfect retirement spot for people from the city. Although English is not commonly spoken like in other more developed cities in Panama, Panamanians still show wonderful hospitality and often lend a helping hand to foreigners.

  • Cost of living: $800-$1,000
  • Major language: Spanish
  • Population: 3,047 (2010 stats)
  • Healthcare services: Panama’s pensionado visa program allows expats and retirees to get discounted healthcare services, like medical check-ups and prescriptions.
  • Entertainment: Hiking

5. West Des Moines, Iowa, United States

This might be a shocker for most people. How is a town in the Midwest with snowy winter a possible retirement place? Well, West Des Moines offers excellent healthcare programs, alongside with low living cost and crime rate.

  • Cost of living: $2,230
  • Major language: English
  • Population: 61,255 (2013 stats)
  • Healthcare services: Both the federally funded Medicare and Medicaid programs provide healthcare coverage for retirees, especially those above 65.
  • Entertainment: Music festival, winery and brewery tours, golfing, live horse racing

6. San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Now let’s jump back to the tropical, beach life. San Juan del Sur is known for it’s sunny weather and great healthcare, with a perennial temperature of 85 to 95 degrees. Also, the country offers an irresistible retiree program (you don’t need to pay any taxes). Fun fact: Nicaragua produces world-class coffee and chocolate!

  • Cost of living: $1,000
  • Major language: Spanish
  • Population: 7,790 (2012 stats)
  • Healthcare services: There’s no health insurance, but the Metropolitan hospital offers two packages with discounts to healthcare services. The general rates per month are: 51-65, $61; and over 65, $65.
  • Entertainment: Water and beach activities, art center, religious festivals and celebrations

7. Algarve, Portugal

For 3 years, Algarve has been the most highly-rated place in the world for retirement. Apart from a low cost of living and rent, the region also offers an extensive expat community with more than 100,000 resident foreign retirees. It has amazing food and wine too!

  • Cost of living: $1,500-2,000
  • Major language: Portuguese
  • Population: 451,006 (2010 stats)
  • Healthcare services: Services are available for registered legal foreign residents, and if you are working in Portugal, you are automatically entitled to the publicly funded National Health Service (Serviço Nacional de Saúde, SNS).
  • Entertainment: Golfing, mountain-biking, beach activities

8. Nha Trang, Vietnam

If you are looking for a low-cost, affordable retirement spot in Southeast Asia, Nha Trang would be the best place to stay. This sandy, rural town is fused with historic temples and exotic cuisines that will satisfy foodies.

  • Cost of living: $650-$800
  • Major language: Vietnamese
  • Population: 402,000 (2015 stats)
  • Healthcare services: Medical costs in Vietnam are low, and there might not have English-speaking doctors, but the healthcare system is developing. Some expats and retirees will seek medical care in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, or Singapore.
  • Entertainment: Water activities, temple tours

9. Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Other than Nha Trang, the tranquil Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia is also a great place. It is a small, walkable island with a low cost of living and a high standard of healthcare. You can also travel to nearby islands to explore what nature has in store for you.

  • Cost of living: $1,200
  • Major language: Malaysian
  • Population: 207,214 (2010 stats)
  • Healthcare services: Foreigners are recommended to look into international health insurance plans. Public hospitals are inexpensive with high medical standards, while private hospitals are more expensive with a shorter wait, but they both provide the same quality of healthcare services.
  • Entertainment: Water activities

10. Vilcabamba, Ecuador

The hustle and bustle may often bring negative impacts to our health. An alternative to excellent healthcare is living in a stress-free and organic environment. With clean air and constant sunshine, Vilcabamba attracts expats and retirees because of such healthy lifestyle.

  • Cost of living: $1,100-$1,485
  • Major language: Spanish
  • Population: 1,293 (2005 stats)
  • Healthcare services: Health insurance programs are of low costs, and hospitals and doctors are available even in small towns.
  • Entertainment: Hiking

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