Does your retirement plan include sunshine, warm water, and long stretched out sandy beaches designed for lounging and relaxing? If so, you might not know about some of the top non-U.S. retirement cities in the western hemisphere. After reading this article, you may just find yourself making a few phone calls to your travel agent so that you can see these hot spots firsthand.
Playas, Ecuador: Thanks to its tucked-away position in the Gulf of Guayaquil, which protects it from the open Pacific and the cold waters of the Humboldt Current, the waters at Playas are warm and calm year-round. The area boasts 320 days of sunshine annually (again thanks to its position in the gulf). This is an important distinction along Ecuador’s coast, most of which is overcast for a good portion of each year.
Viña del Mar, Chile: Viña del Mar came into its own as a resort in the 1920s. Today, it’s Chile’s most popular seaside destination, drawing people from around the country as well as a large number of international visitors. Despite its latitude, the weather in Viña del Mar is comfortable all year, thanks to the Pacific Ocean’s modifying influence on temperatures. The Humboldt Current keeps summertime temperatures cool and winter temperatures moderate.
Santa Marta, Colombia: Everyone has heard of Cartagena, Colombia, this country’s best known destination. However, just 150 miles up the Caribbean coast from Cartagena is another coastal city, Santa Marta, that offers sandy beaches, calm waters and excellent diving. The city also has an upbeat and energetic culture, warm weather year-round and diverse and attractive retirement lifestyle options. Cartagena is for tourists. Santa Marta is for living.
Mazatlán, Mexico: Mazatlán is an ideal choice for your beachfront retirement. Its large and restored colonial historic center is both an appealing place to spend time and very affordable. There are 20 miles of beautiful beaches, and great options for restaurants and cafés. The atmosphere is more Mexican than many of Mexico’s coastal cities, where foreigners can dominate the culture. There’s also easy access to the United States. Mazatlán is 1.6 hours away by air or 13 hours by car.
Natal, Brazil: Natal is noted for its miles-long crescent beach, protected by a giant dune that shelters it from the onshore winds. The adjacent waters are calm, clear, warm and shallow. The cafés, restaurants and nightlife of Natal are renowned throughout Europe and Brazil. And thanks to the weak Brazilian real, property prices are attractive.