This Tiny Central American Country Is the Best Place to Retire in 2024

The Annual Global Retirement Index was just released, and Costa Rica came out on top for the third time

January 2, 2024 12:40 pm
Aerial view of Tamarindo Beach and Estuary
Tamarindo Beach and Estuary, Costa Rica
Getty Images

Citing its tropical climate, low cost of living and affordable health care, Costa Rica is the best place to retire, according to’s Annual Global Retirement Index for 2024. It’s the third time the Central American country has taken top honors in 33 years.

Aimed at North American expats, the annual rankings are crafted via a network of on-the-ground editors and global correspondents, who utilize their own experiences and a series of statistics to compile the list. Cost of living, housing, healthcare, retiree benefits and climate are all taken into account. These stats are then used to profile “safe, good-value destinations beyond the U.S. or Canada,” with a focus on places where a retired couple can live a comfortable life on as little as $2,000 a month.

Why This Tiny Country Is Always the Winner of “Best Place to Retire” Rankings
It just topped International Living’s annual Global Retirement Index for the 11th time

“Only in Costa Rica can you be at the top of a volcano with big views, an hour later in the cloud forest, an hour later in a pineapple plantation, an hour later on the beach, an hour later by a mountain stream,” says International Living contributor John Michael Arthur. “Costa Rica’s been an expat hot spot for four decades. It’s going strong…and there’s a reason for that.”

As well, contributors to the Index lauded the country’s environmental commitment (it operates on 98% renewable energy) and political stability (it’s often called the “Switzerland of Central America”). The country also offers a dual private/public health care system that’s far cheaper than what you’d find in the United States — the publication estimates that most expats would pay roughly $100/month for coverage. Most importantly, the country actually offers incentives to help visitors “invest, sample life or acquire residency.” They want you there!

The rest of the 2024 Global Retirement Index Top 10:

#1 Costa Rica

#2 Portugal

#3 Mexico

#4 Panama

#5 Spain

#6 Ecuador

#7 Greece

#8 Malaysia

#9 France

#10 Colombia


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