I saw in an online "slideshow" that 3 Central/South American countries are listed among the top 8 to retire to, namely Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador.

Mexico is an old standby for many Americans, too, but the thing about Mexico that kind of puts me off is the "guilty until proven innocent" justice system that prevails there.

Are Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador the same as Mexico in that way?

Another option could be Cuba - can anybody tell me what the [dis]advantages might be for a Spanish-speaking retiree to settle in Cuba?

  • 3
    If the legal system worries you (and the US system has some pretty major failings by international standards!), you could look at justice comparison projects like the World Justice Project - Rule of Law Around the World rankings. That shows Costa Rica as doing pretty much the same as the USA, for example. (They also have a full report on their reasonings so you can check!)
    – Gagravarr
    Jun 2 '16 at 9:30
  • Thanks; I have never even had a traffic ticket, and I don't do anything that should cause me to worry about problems with the law. Having said that, it still makes me nervous that I could be arrested for DWW or some such and be locked in the calaboose for who-knows-how-long. A relative of a friend has been in prison in Mexico for years, and she is completely innocent. Jun 2 '16 at 13:42
  • Interested in seeing an answer to this.
    – Citizen
    Jun 13 '16 at 22:08

I have lived and done business in Panama for 12 years. There are hundreds of thousands of retirees in a tiny country of only 3 million people. Foreigners are considered as "superior" and are generally well respected by the authorities.

In Panama, there are many networking opportunities with thousands of expats participating. One such network is Internations that has thousands of members https://www.internations.org/panama-expats.

Here is a video siting 48 Reasons why Panama is a good place to retire: https://asset-protection-panama-visa.wistia.com/medias/wj7u0coo29 .

  • Awesome - thanks! As long as flights back to California (Frisco or Sacramento) are reasonable (where family lives), this seems like a viable option. Jun 16 '16 at 14:55
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    I don't know about Frisco or Sacramento but I take the red eye from LAX and it's direct. It leaves at midnight and arrives in Panama at 6am. It's a direct flight and it feels like you didn't travel at all. Make no Real Estate investments till after you have lived in Panama for six months at least. This country has three distinct climates and lifestyles.
    – Ermis
    Jun 17 '16 at 0:10

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