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Central Valley, Atenas, Costa Rica

Costa Rica has lush tropical foliage and beautiful beaches but there’s one thing that really sets it apart: Health care.

Because the country doesn’t have an active military, they invest a lot in healthcare. Real estate isn’t as cheap as it was 10 years ago, Budd said, but it’s still pretty affordable.

The Central Valley, which is more laid back than some nearby resort towns but still close enough to San Jose, offers a nice balance. Plus, there are about 50,000 Americans living in Costa Rica.

“It’s just a real comfortable place to live overall,” Budd said.

Photo: John Coletti | Getty Images || Source: AARP