9 Best Places To Retire in Central America

Discover your ideal retirement haven amidst the lush landscapes of Central America.

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Updated June 6, 2024
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Retirement is often a time when people find somewhere new to live. But don’t limit yourself to staying in the U.S. 

There are some excellent options outside the country, and many have a cheaper cost of living that can help you get ahead financially.

Check out these cities throughout Central America if you are willing to consider becoming an expatriate when you retire.

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Coronado, Panama

Rob/Adobe nueva gorgona fishing bay from balcony

Coronado features plenty of pristine beaches and a lower cost of living that can help you keep more money in the bank. The city also has good medical facilities.

Panama is also becoming better known as a retirement destination due to factors such as its friendly tax rules. The country is a tax haven for businesses and uses the U.S. dollar as its currency.

Corozal, Belize

Simon Velazquez/Adobe caye caulker beach during day time

Corozal is a coastal town on the Caribbean Sea that offers a laid-back lifestyle at an affordable price.

The town is also close to Mayan ruins that you can explore as part of your retirement.

Antigua, Guatemala

Autumn Sky/Adobe santa catalina arch and agua volcano

Antigua may be a good option if you’re looking for a place with great weather you can enjoy year-round.

The beautiful city is also home to colorful buildings that you can enjoy while strolling the streets. Or, take in lush views of nearby volcanoes.

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Roatan, Honduras

dietwalther/Adobe paradies küste roatan honduras

Roatan features a vibrant culture and affordable living, making this an excellent option for retirees.

The island off the coast of Honduras is also a great spot for outdoor activities and water sports if you want to live an active lifestyle. Try swimming or snorkeling on the island’s large barrier reef or explore the jungle.

San José, Costa Rica

mbrand85/Adobe san jose costa rica with mountains

San José is centrally located in Costa Rica and serves as the nation’s capital, so there is plenty to do and see in the city of more than 300,000 people.

The area has plenty of natural beauty to explore, or you can wander the streets and visit museums and wonderful restaurants.

San José is also home to several museums, including the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum and the National Museum of Costa Rica.

Granada, Nicaragua

mehdi33300/Adobe granada nicaragua during day time

You can tap into a large expatriate community in Granada if you move there. The city’s low cost of living can appeal to retirees on a fixed income.

Granada is also on the shore of Lake Nicaragua, so you can find plenty of water activities to participate in or simply enjoy the beaches along the shoreline.

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

bartsadowski/Adobe tamarindo costa rica during day time

Tamarindo is another option in Costa Rica. It is located on the Pacific coast.

Enjoy plenty of time in the sun on the beach. You can also participate in water activities such as surfing. Or, go fishing if you want to get a fresh meal from the water.

Placencia, Belize

Dave/Adobe palm trees on sandy belize beach

Placencia features beautiful beaches along the Caribbean Sea. You will also find a reef to explore. Swim with giant whale sharks, or check out the area’s well-known fishing areas.

Placencia also has a low cost of living, which can make it particularly appealing if you’re living on a fixed budget.

Chitré, Panama

diegocardini/Adobe san blas panama caribbean tropical island

Chitré is near the Gulf of Panama. You'll find plenty of outdoor activities here, including fishing and surfing.

The city can be a great option if you want to retire comfortably. Chitré offers access to affordable health care and a lower cost for everyday items and housing.

The city is growing, with more expats finding it a desirable destination due to its laid-back lifestyle and unique culture.

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Bottom line

Camerene P/peopleimages.com/Adobe senior couple unpacking at new house

Central America can be a good option if you are looking for somewhere different to retire. The region’s lower cost of living might especially appeal to those who want to eliminate some money stress if they have a relatively small nest egg.

But before you pack up, create an estimated budget for your expenses so you will know how much you’ll have to save when retiring in Central America.

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Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.