Retiring in Latin America: Top 3 Destinations to Explore

Planning for retirement in a beautiful and tropical destination might seem like a distant dream but it can actually be your reality and for less than you might think. Just look south; Central America has what you are looking for. There is a reason this region, landmarked by endless beaches and blessed with perfect weather year-round, is quickly becoming the top retirement and travel destination for North Americans. Latin America has something for everyone— exotic and secluded islands, sandy Caribbean beaches, untouched jungle & rainforests, as well as a rich & diverse group of cultures. The top 3 Latin American countries to look at right now are Nicaragua, Belize, and Panama;  each offers a high quality of life alongside a low cost of living in a tropical paradise along with retiree benefits that feature accessible residency programs.

Even though it’s only a short plane ride from the U.S. and Canada, Belize, Panama & Nicaragua can seem daunting to many North Americans and safety is always a common concern when looking at any long term . Most often, people have concerns about safety. We put together some information to help. Keep reading to learn about the top 3 safest places for retiring in Central America.


1. Belize


USNews recently ranked Ambergris Caye in Belize as one of the best places to retire in Latin America. Once a small fishing village, Ambergris Caye has evolved to provide all the services and amenities retirees and expats could ever want from a tropical destination. Ambergris Caye is now home to a thriving expat community that truly enjoys the relaxed lifestyle this small Caribbean island provides. Also, the homeownership opportunities in Belize are poised to appreciate in value as Ambergris Caye, continues to develop as a top travel destination in the region.

Belize is also the only country in Central America where English is listed as the official language. North American and European retirees need not worry as you can move freely throughout the country without the language constraints you may experience in neighboring Spanish speaking countries. This allows you, like most people who choose to call Belize home, the ability to fully immerse yourself in the country and the culture.

With exceptional cuisine, colorful culture, long white-sand beaches, and crystal-clear waters giving way to the world-famous Great Blue Hole and other legendary dive spots, Belize offers a never-ending choice of activities for every traveler.

Additionally, when considering safety and security within the country, civil unrest has been quite rare, according to the U.S. Department of State, and as such, Belize is considered a politically stable country whose government distinguished itself this 2020 for its efficient management of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, imposing the appropriate safety measures reasonably quickly, and which outcomes delivered better results than man countries in Latin America. Read more here to know about Belize opening up to international travelers here.


To learn more about everything Belize has to offer and why it should be on your list of countries to visit, check out this blog.

2. Panama

Also ranked as one of the best places to live in Latin America, Panama is also home to a large expat population. With the Panama Canal and the amount of business and migration that come with it, Panama has become an important “Business Hub” for both Latin America and North America as a whole.

Often called a “mini-Miami,” Panama City is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in all of Central America. North Americans and Europeans alike will feel at home in Panama City with its US-inspired layout containing Central America’s tallest skyscrapers, as well as many first-class amenities. Panama City is an international city with a diverse population that offers a wide variety of events and activities all year long, for all audiences from all backgrounds.

Once out of the city Panama offers breath-taking beaches along both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and is known for its incredible volcanoes, large rainforest areas, pleasant weather, internationally influenced first-class cuisine, low taxes, and a diverse-welcoming population.

Panama also exhibits a level of stability that most people do not associate with Central America. With a government that supports civil liberties and incentivizes foreign investment and business, Panama is a safe country with both political security and economic consistency.

In terms of security, Panama has decreased in robbery and theft and the overall crime trend is downward, according to the U.S. Department of State

Additionally, public transportation, although must be used with caution, is safe. New metro buses have reduced instances of violent crime.

Regarding other security concerns, Panama’s police force (PNP) has a special Tourism Police Unit to deal with crimes against tourists and foreigners. PNP performance and responsiveness to incidents involving U.S. citizens has been good, if not always timely. Moreover, incidents of police being accused of harassing foreigners for bribes are uncommon, contrary to many Latin American countries.

As an added bonus for North Americans used to pay a premium for health coverage, universal healthcare in Panama is of excellent quality and very inexpensive. You can rest assured that your medical needs will be taken care of with the best services at a fraction of the cost.

Regardless of your preferences and budget, with a variety of options at hand, Panama guarantees stability, convenience, safety, and high quality of life without financial strain.


3. Nicaragua


Regarded as the safest country in Central America, Nicaragua is a hidden gem amongst travelers and retirees. Nicaragua offers incredible Pacific and Atlantic beaches, as well as colonial cities, rainforest expeditions, and, best of all, a very welcoming local community. As one of the most affordable countries in Central America and Latin America overall, Nicaragua is becoming known as the land of opportunity—as both international corporations and individuals are increasingly investing in the country.

Nicaragua offers many of the same attributes as its more famous neighbor, Costa Rica, but with far cheaper prices in a country that has preserved its essence and natural richness. In Nicaragua, a land of undiscovered cultural and resource wealth, a small budget affords true luxury.

Listen to an interview with Mike Cobb (CEO of ECI Development), Living in Nicaragua, he offers many pros and very few cons not to consider.

Many are mesmerized by Nicaragua’s beauty, alongside the high quality of life attained by affording conveniences and commodities harder to afford in North America and Europe. And on the plus side, it has a great retiree program, and top-quality universal healthcare to suit the needs of retirees looking to make the most out of their pension plans.

Latin American countries have so much to offer for those who are willing to give it a chance and discover the wonders of living a luxury lifestyle full of easily affordable commodities and conveniences in a tropical paradise. These countries provide the security and assurance you need to make your life-changing decision. What are you waiting for? You are one step away from the life of your dreams, a life that you deserve.







Secure Your Future Today Featuring Michael Cobb

ECI Development delivers affordable luxury residence and resort communities in Central America, providing our clients with various premier lifestyle options from the Caribbean to the ...
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Building A Legacy That Lasts

Building A Legacy That Lasts

Mike Cobb is the co-founder & CEO of ECI Development and President of Gran Pacifica. He has been named among the “100 Outstanding CEOs in ...
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