Ecuador tops list of best retirement havens around the world

Quito, Ecuador (Paul S. Wolf /

Quito, Ecuador (Paul S. Wolf /


, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

Latin American countries dominate a list of the world's top retirement havens, with Ecuador taking top spot for its unbeatable real estate prices, retiree benefits and sun-soaked climate.

After looking at criteria such as climate, health care and cost of living, Ecuador received the highest mark on International Living magazine's Annual Global Retirement Index, which ranked 25 countries based on overall quality of life for expat retirees.

Despite rising prices, Ecuador resident and senior editor Dan Prescher says retirees can find some of the best real estate deals in the South American country.

Cost of living is also low, with monthly expenses for retired couples clocking in at $1,400, he added.

Retirees enjoy a raft of benefits including senior discounts on flights out of Ecuador, 50 percent off entry to movies, sporting events, and discounts on public transport and utilities.

The country, sandwiched by Colombia and Peru in the north-west of South America, was also named the best country for expatriates last fall, among 14,000 respondents in a poll by InterNations, a network of expats around the world.

Second to Ecuador, Panama took second place on the retirement index for offering expat retirement programs and benefits that are among the best in the world.

Retirees who settle in Panama and can prove a lifetime pension of more than $1,000 USD a month, for instance, are eligible for a Pensionado visa that includes discounts for medical services, entertainment, restaurant meals, airfare, electricity and phone bills, editors noted.

Aside from Latin American countries, the top 10 list is also represented by Spain, Malta and Portugal in Europe and Malaysia and Thailand in Asia.

Here are the top 10 destinations for expat retirees on the Annual Global Retirement Index:

1. Ecuador
2. Panama
3. Mexico
4. Malaysia
5. Costa Rica
6. Spain
7. Malta
8. Colombia
9. Portugal
10. Thailand

For the full results, visit