Help us find a place to retire (not in the US)
May 29, 2016 8:26 PM   Subscribe

Americans looking for a place to retire not in America. We are looking to purchase a place now, rent it out, and retire in a few years. Here is our must haves: * 1 Bedroom, 1 Bath * Ocean view, access * In walking distance to a town, if not in it * Americans have to own property out right * Public transportation a plus * Public Infrastructure (doesn’t have to be completely development) * Stable government * Rentability * Under 100K Any suggestions? So far we have: Ecuador, Belize, Cyprus, Albania
posted by bleucube to Home & Garden (24 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Having once looked at Panama, please go feel the heat in those equator-ish places for a few days. This is one hot planet if you are native only to the northern temps. As in heat stroke risks. Really.
posted by Freedomboy at 8:30 PM on May 29, 2016 [4 favorites]

Costa Rica has a very large expat population and is really very lovely.
posted by zug at 8:34 PM on May 29, 2016 [3 favorites]

The nicer parts of Ecuador for retiring Americans are not near the ocean. Also, expect an economic crisis.

I went to Albania about 10 years ago. That's a lot of time in country-emerging-from-dictatorship-transition years, so the culture may have changed. However, if it IS the same, and one or more of you are female, I would take that into consideration. When were there there just weren't women out in public. My friend and I were frequently the only women in a restaurant and we did get kind of looked at for it. Also, though the adult men were respectful as far as we know (see next point on language), there were several instances when boys (say 10-14) made obviously vulgar remarks and gestures at us. Also, hardly anyone spoke English. Fair enough since the language there is Albanian, but there are lots of places you can go in the world and count on the ridiculous privilege of being understood. 10 years ago, Albania was not one of them. Again, this may have changed.

What has probably not changed about Albania is that it really was beautiful. But the landscape and the museums/ruins/architectures/mosques etc. that we visited were all interesting and beautiful for sure. We even visited some ancient Roman baths, near Serande, with the names of the patrons carved in the walls, including Cleopatra, which was neat.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:04 PM on May 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh, and Ecuador is beautiful, too, I should add. More beautiful landscape wise than Albania, for sure, but the more beautiful bits aren't near the ocean.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:06 PM on May 29, 2016

Seconding Costa Rica, except it doesn't make the < 100k requirement. It is at least as expensive as the U.S. and in some aspects considerably more so. It is the safest Central/South American country, afaik. Beautiful beaches and mountains.
posted by allelopath at 9:07 PM on May 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

You can get a condo in costa rica within your cost guidelines. Belize is beautiful and glorious and wonderful BUT the non-rainy season is very brief compared to the rest of central america, I think it's because they have no pacific coast?
posted by poffin boffin at 10:59 PM on May 29, 2016

Roatan in Honduras has a lot of ex-pats. Tons of Canadians, especially.
posted by egeanin at 11:43 PM on May 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

What about Croatia? It's stunning, is on the Med, isn't too expensive, and felt very safe. I would live there in a heartbeat.
posted by ukdanae at 12:56 AM on May 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

Your requirements don't include ability to get legal residency. Unless you can acquire that, it rules out EU countries like Croatia.
posted by humboldt32 at 1:17 AM on May 30, 2016 [3 favorites]

South Africa, specifically Cape Town on the Atlantic Seaboard.
posted by PenDevil at 1:52 AM on May 30, 2016

Ah, I was going to say Croatia too, especially because it offers excellent health care, but you'll definitely need to consult immigration rules. I'll also agree with Costa Rica!
posted by heavenknows at 2:57 AM on May 30, 2016

i guess chile would work. somewhere like viña del mar, or one of the small towns nearby (like zapallar, although that may be too expensive). i believe you can get a visa for retirees with evidence of monthly income of $1k.
posted by andrewcooke at 3:43 AM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Puerto vallarta/Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico has a thriving American expat population. It checks all your must haves.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 3:51 AM on May 30, 2016

Manzanillo, Mexico maybe? I don't know how purchasing property works though.
posted by leahwrenn at 5:21 AM on May 30, 2016

Does Puerto Rico count as America? I saw 3 bd / 2 ba houses for the low hundreds only a few blocks from the beach in the Ocean Park area of San Juan - definitely an area you could live in car free. So I imagine condos in the same area could be had for 100ish. On the west side of the island Rincon is sort of an ex-pat area where I think you could do that within a couple blocks of the beach, although Rincon is more surfer hippie town than city so public transport is limited, if it exists.
posted by COD at 6:40 AM on May 30, 2016

I would second looking at Croatia over Albania. You can definitely find a 1 br w/sea view within your price limit, and Croatia has so many nice, smaller seaside vacation towns up and down the coast--if you look past Dubrovnik you'll get more for your money. English is widely spoken and the tourism economy is strong and growing, which should make it easier to rent out your place until you're ready to retire.
posted by drlith at 7:24 AM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Bulgaria fits the bill in terms of your price limit. From what I understand it's fairly popular with the British. Beautiful beaches.
posted by Lescha at 7:37 AM on May 30, 2016

Wouldn't the * Americans have to own property out right requirement eliminate Mexico? I thought they sell American's leases, but not the property outright.
posted by willnot at 7:39 AM on May 30, 2016

On googling it looks like foreigners may be able to own property through a trust in Mexico, so carry on with your Mexican recommendations.
posted by willnot at 7:42 AM on May 30, 2016

Hi, I've stayed in American-owned property in Mexico. Yes, Americans can buy property in Mexico with probably just a little extra paperwork. Many of the expats or "winter birds" in Puerto Vallarta rent their apartments/condos/houses in the summer through VRBO or AirBnB or using agencies.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 8:01 AM on May 30, 2016

My husband is Chilean, and he said that places like Viña, Valpo or Santiago can have some amount of crime (theft etc. is pretty common) so that might feel weird, if you're not used to it.

Maybe the Azores? Madeira? (Portugal)
posted by speakeasy at 11:54 AM on May 30, 2016

+1 for Croatia. Phenomenally safe, relatively good infrastructure, stable government, beautiful country.
posted by lecorbeau at 1:27 PM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

There is a restriction in Mexico against foreign nationals owning property outright within a certain number of kilometers from the coast. As noted above, you are allowed to "get around" this by having a bank hold it in trust for you. This arrangement has to be renewed periodically (20 years, I think, but I'm too lazy to look it up right now).

Other than that, Mexico ticks all your boxes.
posted by bricoleur at 3:43 PM on May 30, 2016

Please factor health care into your calculations
How good it is and how affordable it is.
posted by SLC Mom at 6:59 AM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

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