Top 5 places to retire for the best weather—plus how much it will cost you

Tourists eating ice cream in Ponte de Lima, Portugal
THEGIFT777 | iStock Unreleased | Getty Images

There are many factors to consider, like taxes and quality of health care, when deciding where to retire. But if good weather is at the top of your list — you may want to go international.

International Living's Annual Global Retirement Index for 2020 ranks countries based on factors like rainfall, average temperatures and levels of humidity.

In addition to just being more pleasant, a mild climate "can be a place where cooling and heating costs are low to non-existent, which can have a huge positive effect on a monthly budget and bottom line," said Dan Prescher, a senior editor for International Living.

Here are's top five places to retire for the world's best climate and how much it will cost you to live there.


Tourists eating ice cream in Ponte de Lima, Portugal
THEGIFT777 | iStock Unreleased | Getty Images

In Portugal, "the north, where Porto is located, is breezy, beautiful, and sunny in summer, with daytime highs 80ºF and above," writes Tricia Pimental, a Portugal correspondent for International Living.

But if you hate the rain, head south instead as it only gets 35 inches per year compared to Porto's 49 inches.

And if you're not ready to give up on winter weather just yet, Pimental says you can head to the Serra de Estrella mountain range in the central region to see snow and ski.

But Portugal's best selling point is Algarve in its southernmost region along the Mediterranean, which is the warmest and driest part of the country (with 20 inches of rainfall per year). Summertime temperatures range from 84ºF during the day to 64°F at night, with winter temperatures in the low 60s and 40s, respectively.

The estimated monthly cost for a couple living in cities like Lisbon and Porto in Portugal is around $2,207 a month, according to International Living.

(All estimated monthly costs are for a couple and include rent, electricity, transportation, groceries and entertainment, as well as other smaller expenses.)


Bogota, Distrito Especial, Colombia
Pierre Klemas | Getty Images

Nancy Kiernan, a Colombia correspondent for International Living, who lives in Medellín, Colombia, says its perfect spring-like weather year-round drew her to retire there after living her entire life in the northeastern of the United States.

"I never want to see or shovel snow again," she said.

Colombia has both hot and tropical temperatures year long in coastal cities like Santa Marta or Cartagena, with more spring-like conditions in inland spots such as Medellín, Pereira and Armenia.

The estimated monthly cost for a couple ranges from $1,030 to $2,720 a month in Colombia.


View of the Cuenca Cathedral, in middle of the city, in Cuenca, Ecuador.
AlanFalcony | Getty Images

The climate in Ecuador "varies by altitude, not latitude' and there is something for everyone, according to International Living editor Sean Keenan.

"Temperatures can get exceedingly hot," writes Keenan. But "in towns and cities such as Quito, Cuenca, or Vilcabamba, the high temperatures are moderated by altitude, meaning that in the right spots, expats can live in year-round spring-like temperatures, with the near-constant sun."

On the coast, things are slightly different. Retirees can expect temperature around 80°F for half the year and milder temperatures with cloud cover from May to October. Wintery climates can be found at various mountain peaks of the Andes.

The estimated monthly cost for a couple living in cities like Cuenca is $1,770 a month.


A pescador (fisherman) waits to ride a wave to shore on his reed boat at Huanchaco, in northern Peru. The fishermen ride atop the boats called caballitos de totora (little horses of reeds) and use a segment of bamboo for a pad
Andrew Watson | AWL Images | Getty Images

If you're looking for cool temperatures around 60°F to 70°F with light breezes and no bugs, head north to Peru's popular beach town Huanchaco.

"We leave our doors and windows open for much of the year. No AC or heating is ever needed. And here, we get less than an inch of rain a year," Steven LePoidevin, Peru's International Living Correspondent writes.

If you prefer warm and dry temperatures, you can find that in the southern part of Peru's coast. However, the winter months there tend to be foggy and cool.

"While in the mountains, it is the opposite with rain and cooler weather prevailing during the winter months and dry sunny days during July and August," LePoidevin says.

The estimated monthly cost for a couple living in Peru is $1,861 a month.


Beach house view from Guerrero, Mexico
Elizabeth Knox | Getty Images

Mexico is ideal for retirees who want Southern Californian weather without the traffic.

Due to Mexico's size (its three times the size of Texas), the country has a wide variety of climates. If you are looking for more dry heat, head to Los Cabos, located at the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula, while towns like San Miguel de Allende, which is inland near Mexico's central highlands, have more spring-like temperates, says Jason Holland, International Living editor in Latin America.

"In beach towns like Puerto Vallarta and Playa del Carmen it's always warm – and humid too, although sea breezes help," Holland says.

Wintertime is also the best time of year to live in Mexico because temperatures hover around 80°F.

The estimated monthly cost for a couple living in Mexico is $1,890 a month.

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