Where could you retire and never have to worry about surviving another winter? Imaging a lifestyle that includes no more snow, ice, or cold weather. Even better, what if this place also has no stifling summers, excessive heat, or high humidity?
Key places around the world enjoy what are generally referred to as climates of "eternal spring." These are mountain cities with low humidity and cool temperatures by day and cooler, even chilly temperatures at night, 365 days a year. Living in one of these places, not only would you never again have to shovel snow from your driveway or scrape ice your windshield, but you could also say goodbye to monthly heating and air conditioning bills, helping to stretch your retirement budget.
Five of the world's best places to retire to eternal spring are also interesting, appealing, and welcoming cities. You could enjoy a rich and full life on a budget, in some cases, of as little as $1,000 per month. Check out these places with year-round pleasant weather:
Eternal Spring Retirement Haven #1: Cuenca, Ecuador. Cuenca is a colonial city of parks, flowers, churches, and the world's fastest-growing community of foreign retirees. In the last eight years, the number of foreign retirees enjoying year-round spring in this charming and walkable city has increased from less than 50 to several thousand. International-standard health care and one of the most affordable costs of living and of real estate in all of Latin America also contributes to making Cuenca a top choice if you're looking to retire to eternal spring, especially if your retirement budget is small.
Eternal Spring Retirement Haven #2: Medellin, Colombia. While Cuenca is quaint and charming, Medellin, another mountain town, is sophisticated and cosmopolitan. This is the ideal choice if you want to be able to enjoy the distractions and diversions of city life in retirement. The European undertones are strong in Medellin, from the parks and plazas to the museums and outdoor cafes. The people are well-dressed, well-mannered, and helpful. However, Medellin is more of an emerging than an established retire overseas choice, meaning you'll need to speak at least a little Spanish to navigate life here. The cost of living is affordable, though not as low as in Cuenca. And, yes, despite what you may have heard or read otherwise, the city is safe. (Remember, Pablo Escobar is long dead.)
Eternal Spring Retirement Haven #3: Boquete, Panama. Boquete is one of the two most established communities of foreign retirees in Latin America (the other is in Ajijic, Mexico). While down at sea level this country is hot and steamy, the climate in this mountain valley town is cool, even chilly. Some homes in this part of this country come with fireplaces. As Boquete has long been recognized as a top retire overseas choice, many private communities have been developed here specifically for the foreign retiree, meaning you have good turn-key options for enjoying a life that could well resemble the one you left behind "back home." You could easily retire here speaking not a word of Spanish, and Panama uses the U.S. dollar as its currency, meaning no currency exchange risk.
Eternal Spring Retirement Haven #4: Cafayate, Argentina. Cafayate is more remote and rugged than the other destinations on this list. On the other hand, it could be an ideal choice for anyone who has imagined life among the grape vines and all that can include. Situated in the Andes in northern Argentina, Cafayate is a quaint village, reminiscent of Santa Fe, N.M., with a dry temperate climate that has been attracting tourists and wine-lovers in growing numbers for the past decade. This is both wine and horse country, and a vast and dramatically beautiful region. In Cafayate town there are great restaurants and lots of colonial atmosphere. In the surrounding countryside there are classic-style haciendas and miles and miles of vineyards. You'd need to speak some Spanish and be the independent sort to be happy here, but there's no denying the lifestyle appeal.
Eternal Spring Retirement Haven #5: Lake Atitlán, Guatemala. "It's got a terrific climate, natural beauty, ancient culture, affordable living, and a growing expat community." That's how Guatemala expat Mike Anderson describes Lake Atitlán and its surrounding villages. Indeed, Lake Atitlán, generally recognized as "the most beautiful lake on earth," has both an "eternal spring" climate and a cost of living that, as reported by resident expats, can be about 50 percent less than in North America. The international community here is a thriving, sociable, welcoming, and slightly unconventional. Perhaps that's because the expats and retirees in this part of Guatemala are more interested in retiring among the local community than in creating a private, gated one of their own. If you are fit and healthy (healthcare is the Achilles heel of this region), enjoy an active outdoor life, can embrace a different culture, and are willing to learn some Spanish, this could be a very good choice.
Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter. Her book, How To Retire Overseas--Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.