Ecuador ranked top nation for U.S., Canadian retirees

Thu Jan 3, 2013 5:22pm EST
 
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - With its low cost of living, balmy climate and cheap property prices, Ecuador has been ranked the top foreign retirement destination for North Americans for the fifth consecutive year.

The South American nation bordered by Colombia and Peru scored the highest marks in InternationalLiving.com's annual ranking of the best places to retire.

With monthly estimated living expenses ranging from $900 to $1,400, Ecuador surpassed Panama, Malaysia, Mexico and Costa Rica, which rounded out the top five countries.

"I think the combination of a welcoming culture, the great weather, the affordability and its proximity to the United States all go together to make it a good package," Dan Prescher, the special projects editor for the website, said on Thursday.

"Panama has a lot of the same things going for it, but it isn't quite as affordable as Ecuador," he added in an interview.

Editors at InternationalLiving.com analyzed data and information from correspondents in the countries most popular with American and Canadian retirees to compile the results, which were based on a host of categories: cost of living, climate, property prices, healthcare, ease of integration, retirement infrastructure, entertainment and amenities and special benefits for retirees.

A large part of Ecuador's appeal is how inexpensive it is for retirees. A beer costs just 85 cents. A doctor's visit is $25, roughly the same price as a one-hour massage.

"Seniors resident in Ecuador qualify for half-price entertainment and local transport, discounted airfares and refunds of sales tax," Prescher added.   Continued...