A new report from International Living, a website about living and retiring overseas, figured out some of the best places to live in world for under $2,000 a month, and four of them are tropical destinations.
"Most Americans don't realize just how expensive the United States is in many regards," Jennifer Stevens, executive editor of International Living said in a statement.
According to 2018 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Consumer Expenditure Survey, the average American household spends $5,102 every month. That means that the average American budget is $61,224 — a 1.9% increase from 2017.
But Stevens says most Americans are "pleasantly surprised" to discover what $30,000 a year or less can get you internationally.
"On $30,000 a year or less, all in, you could live in a UNESCO World Heritage town in Mexico, for instance. You could enjoy a slow pace of life, great food, lots of cultural activities, solid healthcare, and weather that suits you year-round," she says.
At the moment, due to Covid-19, many places have barred American travelers. But that won't last forever, says Stevens.
Here are four tropical countries where you can live well for under $2,000 a month, according to International Living:
International Living Latin American editor Jason Holland says there are already more than 1 million Americans living either full- or part-time in Mexico.
The reason? Because of the country's vibrant culture, great weather and low cost of living.
For instance, San Miguel de Allende, a town about 170 miles from Mexico City, has been attracting American retirees since the late 1930s, says Holland.
Expats there make up about 10% of the 125,000 residents. Couples can live in San Miguel de Allende for $1,857 a month or $22,284 a year.
(Americans can still travel to Mexico, and the country currently has nearly 574,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases.)
2. Costa Rica
International Living Costa Rica correspondent Kathleen Evans describes this small but eco-friendly country as "one of the happiest places in the world for expats seeking a healthier life overseas."
It's also close in proximity to the U.S., with a less than a three hour flight to Orlando, Florida.
A couple can live well in Atenas, which is located about 45 minutes west of San Jose, for $1,518 a month or $18,216 a year.
(On September 1, U.S. citizens from New York, New Jersey, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont will be allowed to enter Costa Rica on limited flights departing from the U.S. However, they must complete a digital epidemiological health pass and obtain a negative coronavirus test within 48 hours of their departure. The country currently has about 36,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19.)
International Living Colombia correspondent Nancy Kiernan says the country has seen a steady growth of expats since being a top retirement destination since 2017.
According to the World Health Organization, Colombia ranks No. 22 for its healthcare system, while the U.S. ranks at No. 37.
What's more, the cost of living is very low: a couple can live comfortably in Medellin, the second largest city in Colombia, for $1,394 to $1,994 a month or $16,728 to $23,928 a year.
(Colombia currently has over 572,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases, and Americans are currently not permitted to enter the country.)
International Living editor Jessica Ramesch describes Panama as one of the few places that "welcomes new residents with attractive and inexpensive residence programs."
For $800 a month or $9,660 a year, you can rent a two-bedroom house in Boquete, a small mountain town in Panama, about 37 miles from the Costa Rica border. The cost of living in Boquete can be as low as $2,076 a month or $24,918 a year.
What's more, Panama also ranked in the top five retirement destination, according to International Living's 2020 Global Retirement Index.
(Panama has over 89,000 Covid-19 cases, and Americans are currently not permitted to enter the country.)
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