Destination Guides

Retire and live the beach life cheaply in these 9 spots

Dreaming of retirement? There are plenty of affordable destinations around the world where you can retire early and travel. We’ve rounded up the top spots to retire and live the beach life for under $30,000 a year.

1. Lagos, Portugal

rocky bay Lagos Portugal

Lagos is a beautiful seaside town in the Algarve region of Portugal. It’s the perfect place to live the beach life, with stunning nature and trendy bars and restaurants.

It has a pleasant year-round climate and is easy to get around on foot as most of the city is flat. There’s also an international airport in Faro just one hour away.

The tourist population increases in the summer months, but prices never soar too high. A couple can live well in the best beach locations on a budget of $24,960 a year.


2. Cuenca, Ecuador

blue cathedral spires Cuenca Ecuador

Famous for its food, festivals and natural scenery, Cuenca is one of South America’s best retirement destinations. It’s Ecuador’s third-largest city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll find a wealth of history, architecture and artistic tradition.

The climate is mild and it’s easy to get around on foot. Best of all, a couple can live a wonderful lifestyle on a budget of $20,160 a year.

3. Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

aerial view Puerto Viejo coastline, Costa Rica

Retire early and travel to Costa Rica, where you’re spoilt for choice with the best beach locations.

The small town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is the ideal destination for living a tranquil beach life. You’ll find plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants, not to mention low-cost healthcare.

Spend your days snorkelling, surfing and soaking up the Caribbean sun. A couple can live well on a budget of $24,300 a year.

4. Phnom Penh, Cambodia

palace Phnom Penh Cambodia

Venture to Cambodia in Southeast Asia, where you’ll find one of the world’s lowest living costs. The country has claimed the top spot in IL’s Annual Global Retirement Index for the third year in a row. 

You’ll discover a large community of expats who have retired in Phnom Penh. There’s also plenty of rich history, culture and cuisine to explore.

A single retiree can live a comfortable life on a budget of $13,800 a year in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.

IF YOU LOVE CAMBODIA, WHY NOT TRY: Vietnam and Cambodia Uncovered

5. Akumal, Mexico

hammock palm tree beach Akumal Mexico

Set between Playa del Carmen and Tulum on the Riviera Maya, Akumal is one of the best beach locations for retirement. The town is blessed with sugary white beaches and a stunning clear bay. You can even go snorkelling and diving to spot sea turtles.

Akumal is a growing tourist hotspot, but it remains a small coastal community. A couple can live comfortably by the beach on a budget of $26,880 a year.

6. Volterra, Italy

town green hills Volterra Italy

Volterra dates back over 2,500 years and is one of Italy’s most historic towns. It’s just 32 kilometres from the famous town of San Gimignano in Tuscany, yet remains peaceful.

Retirees can spend their days exploring the trove of archaeological sites. You’ll find a Roman theatre, Etruscan acropolis, medieval monuments, and the gorgeous Piazza dei Priori.

Although Tuscany is typically expensive, Volterra is the exception. A couple can retire early and travel on a budget of $20,580 a year.

RELATED CONTENT: A culinary map of Italy

7. Placencia, Belize

Crystal water white beach Placencia Belize

Placencia is a dreamy seaside town in Belize. With 25 kilometres of palm-lined coast, you’ll live a blissful beach life at an affordable price.

Discover the freshwater lagoon filled with wildlife and the towering Maya mountains. In town, you’ll enjoy a fantastic selection of cafes, bars and restaurants.

A couple can live a relaxed Caribbean lifestyle here on a budget of $30,000 a year.

8. Medellín, Colombia

mountains around city Medellin Colombia

Medellín is Colombia’s second-largest city, surrounded by the Andes Mountains. Known as the City of Eternal Spring, Medellín has a pleasant year-round climate.

It’s the ideal destination for those looking to retire and travel in the outdoors. You’ll find a green oasis of parks, forests and blooming flowers. There’s also a wealth of culture and history, with theatres, museums and galleries.

Two people can live comfortably in Medellín on a budget of $24,000 a year.

IF YOU LOVE COLOMBIA, WHY NOT TRY: Colombia Rediscovered

9. Central Valley, Costa Rica

green mountains Central Valley Costa Rica

The Central Valley is another fantastic destination to retire early and travel in Costa Rica.

The region is filled with lush mountains, forest, farmland and nearby beaches. You’ll also enjoy excellent shopping, restaurants, and medical facilities.

A single person can live the good life on a budget of $21,600.

Have you visited any of these destinations? Tell us where you’d like to retire and travel in the comments.

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