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Bahia, Ecuador

Ecuador scored the highest of all the countries on International Living’s 2012 Retirement Index because of the real estate prices, the discounts for retirees and the cost of living. Ron and Patricia Farmer retired to the coastal Ecuadorian city of Bahia in February 2011, and Patricia told International Living that they’re living the good life at a low cost. “We live in a nice high-rise condo overlooking the ocean,” she said. “We enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle — even more luxurious than we had in California. You can live on less, no doubt, but our current budget is $1,500 (per month),” Patricia Farmer said.

Beyond their reduced expenses, the Farmers also receive the free health care that’s standard for all senior citizens in Ecuador, and which requires no co-pays or deductibles for doctor’s visits, dental work, medications or hospital stays. “If you’re looking for exciting night clubs, Kentucky Fried Chicken, or a night at the opera, Bahia, Ecuador, is not for you,” says Patricia Farmer. “But for peace, simplicity, a dish of Pingüino ice cream, and soothing natural beauty, this is heaven. You would be hard-pressed to find such tranquility in any beach resort town in the U.S.”

Martin Zeise | Creative Commons