In the 2014 edition of its annual Global Retirement Index, American magazine InternationalLiving.com places Panama at the top of the list of the best places to spend retirement.
Panama is a particularly attractive destination for retirees moving from the US, as the American dollar is the official currency and English is widely understood. But the Central American nation stands out most of all for its pensioner residence program. In addition to offering discounts on real estate loans, entertainment and medical expenses for pensioners, the program simplifies the immigration process for them.
"In the past year, Panama has introduced new visas, which make it easier to gain residence there," notes InternationalLiving.com's executive editor, Jennifer Stevens. She also points out that "the country has made major advances in infrastructure" recently.
A total of 24 countries are listed in the magazine's ranking, which is based on the analysis from its correspondents around the globe. Each destination is evaluated across eight areas with an effect on everyday life, including real estate, climate, cost of living, entertainment and healthcare.
In second place, just behind Panama, Ecuador also emerges as an ideal destination for retirees. The low cost of living, the heavenly climate and the incredible scenery are among the benefits highlighted by the magazine.
One trend emerging from the ranking is the attractiveness of Latin American destinations, which account for 12 of the top 24 places to retire according to InternationalLiving.com. Spain, meanwhile, is listed as the most attractive European destination for retirees, in fifth position overall. The magazine describes the country as "arguably the best bargain in Europe, offering First-World living at a cost that can compete with some Latin-American countries."
The best places to retire according to InternationalLiving.com's Global Retirement Index 2014:
4- Costa Rica
12- New Zealand
23- Dominican Republic