Top seven expat retirement cities in Latin America include Cuernavaca, Cuenca and Punta del Este

Oct 14, 2022 | 25 comments

What are the top seven retirement destinations in Latin America?

By Crystal Mayer

With the cost of living skyrocketing in the United States, more and more Americans are deciding to retire south of the border. Countries like Mexico and Panama offer ex-pats a comfortable lifestyle with breathtaking scenery at a much more affordable price tag.

According to, the cost of living for one person in the United States is $2,112 per month. The cost of living in the U.S. is 2.96 times higher than it is in Mexico and 3.2 times higher than in Brazil. Retirees, hoping to maximize their savings, might want to opt for these less expensive locations to live out their golden years.

So, if you want to save big but still live a luxurious life, consider these seven places to retire south of the border.

Cuernavaca, Mexico

  • Cost of living for one person: $661 per month

Dubbed the “City of Eternal Spring,” Cuernavaca, Mexico, is a hidden gem nestled among the mountains. The quiet oasis sits 50 miles south of Mexico City and has long since been a weekend getaway for the city’s elite. With a moderate, year-round climate, lush gardens and rich history, the city is beloved by residents, vacationers and newly welcomed retirees alike.

Rent is highly affordable for one person at $272 per month, but for those wanting a few extra bedrooms for visitors, the city offers sprawling estates that are still budget-friendly compared to the states.

Florianópolis, Brazil

  • Cost of living for one person: $712 per month

For retirees hoping to live along the coast with gorgeous white sand beaches and endless surf, Florianópolis, Brazil, might be more fitting. Known as Floripa to locals, the city is the capital of the country’s Santa Catarina State. The cost of living for one person is nearly one-third that of the national average in the United States.

Ex-pats dreaming of a beach retirement can do so without breaking the bank in this stunning city located in the southern region of the country. Rent for one person is reasonable at around $327 per month and food will run you approximately $233.

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

  • Cost of living for one person: $953

Retirees seeking a more modern lifestyle will love the hustle and bustle of the Dominican Republic’s capital city Santo Domingo. The city seamlessly merges old and new with modern architecture standing side by side with centuries-old colonial buildings. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the city’s exquisite parks, gardens and beaches.

Rent will cost one person approximately $370 per month, but getting around the city is costly. Transportation expenses are estimated at $169 each month for the average resident. Overall, the cost of living is still less than half of what it is, on average in the United States.

Chitré, Panama

  • Cost of living for one person: $847

Many Americans are surprised to find out that Panama regularly ranks as one of the best places to retire in the world. The country is highly affordable, dripping in history and home to a near-perfect climate.

Ex-pats can be spotted throughout the Central American country, but are highly concentrated in cities like Chitré. The capital of the Herrera Province is vibrant but low-key, making it ideal for retirees hoping to slow down during their later years. The city is bordered by El Agallito Beach on the Pacific Ocean and is home to world-renowned wetlands teeming with coastal creatures.

Punta del Este, Uruguay

  • Cost of living for one person: $1,088

Another remarkable seaside getaway for Americans hoping to retire on a budget is Punta del Este located in southern Uruguay. The resort-like nature of the city makes it a highly sought-after location for recent retirees still hoping to live a glamorous lifestyle. From world-class dining to one-of-a-kind boutiques, there is a little something for everyone.

With beaches as far as the eye can see, few people will want to pass up this steal. The cost of living for one person is nearly half of what it would cost in the United States. For active retirees, the city offers countless opportunities for water and land activities.

Cuenca, Ecuador

  • Cost of living for one person: $741

Ecuador’s third-largest city is home to a thriving community of expatriates. Cobblestone streets, colonial architecture, and a pleasant climate make Cuenca ideal for retirees. The city is also known for being incredibly safe and offering a “high quality of life” for a very reasonable price.

Cuenca sits thousands of feet above sea level in the Ecuadorian Andes, making it cooler than many other areas south of the border. Hikers in the Cajas National Park are often greeted with light showers and awe-inspiring views. Rent for one person in the city is around $325 per month, making it considerably less expensive than living stateside.

Mazatlan, Mexico

  • Cost of living for one person: $699

Our final destination is a beachside resort city located on Mexico’s west coast. Known as the “Pearl of the Pacific,” Mazatlán was founded in the 1500s. The city, famous for its culture, food,  and scenery, is a bargain for ex-pats. Retirees can live moments away from the ocean for pennies compared to trying to live on the coast in the U.S.

The city is old, one of the only colonial strongholds on the western side of the country. Fifty-foot cliffs can be found along the ocean’s edge, begging for a thrillseeker to jump. With rent for one person costing only $319 per month, retirees will have plenty of money left over to explore the city’s treasures.

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