10 Best Countries With Warm Winters To Relocate To (For Retirees & Digital Nomads)
What is GAFFL?

GAFFL connects solo travelers with similar itineraries to explore destinations together. Whether you are backpacking in Asia, road tripping in Australia, or exploring national parks in the US, simply type the destination you are traveling to, find travelers who are going there at the same time as you, connect with them, plan trips, meet, and travel together.

GAFFL
17th Jun | 17 min read

Table of Contents

    As the winter chill sets in, many retirees and digital nomads start to consider relocating to warmer destinations. Whether you're looking to escape the cold or simply seeking adventure in a new environment, there are many countries around the world that offer warm and welcoming climates during the winter months. In this blog post, we'll explore the 10 best countries with warm winters for retirees and digital nomads. We'll delve into each country's visa requirements, healthcare options, transportation, activities and entertainment, and provide a detailed cost breakdown to help you make an informed decision on where to relocate. So, if you're ready to trade in your winter boots for sandals and sunshine, keep reading to find your next dream destination.


    If you find this guide helpful, be sure to subscribe for more posts like this.

    Also, if you're planning to relocate soon and you're looking for new friends in the place you’re headed to, be sure to check out GAFFL. On GAFFL, you can connect with travelers and locals from over 190 countries, chat, plan trips, meet up and explore Europe together.


    Join The GAFFL Newsletter

    Join our subscriber list to receive the best tips on solo travel, helpful travel guides, inspirational travel stories, and more. You can unsubscribe anytime with just one click.

    SUBSCRIBE

    Mexico


    Visa Requirements

    With its warm climate, friendly locals, and affordable cost of living, Mexico is the ideal choice for those looking to settle down permanently or retire in style. The visa process is straightforward, and you can even bring your loved ones along for the ride. For temporary residents, the minimum income requirement is around $2,100 USD monthly, and $2,700 USD for permanent residents, with bank account requirements of about $36,000 USD and $149,000 USD, respectively. 

    Healthcare

    Government programs cover low-income residents, and private hospitals and specialists offer high-quality care at a fraction of the cost compared to other countries.

    Getting Around

    With a variety of transportation options available, including taxis, buses, the metro, ride-hailing apps like Uber, and rental cars, you'll have no problem exploring this beautiful country. Just remember to take precautions and stay safe while traveling.

    Activities & Entertainment

    And when it comes to entertainment, Mexico has something for everyone. From exploring ancient ruins and relaxing on the beach to sampling Mexican cuisine and learning Spanish, the possibilities are endless. And with a low cost of living, you'll have more money to spend on experiences that enrich your life.

    Cost Breakdown

    Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant 150 MXN = $8 USD

    A single person estimated monthly costs without rent are 10,170MXN = $537 USD

    Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 9,300 MXN = $491 USD

    Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 5,710 MXN = $302 USD

    Costa Rica


    Visa Requirements

    Costa Rica is an ideal place to relocate or retire to for several reasons, including a low cost of living, warm climate, friendly locals, and easy visa access with reliable healthcare. To qualify for residency, there are a couple of visa options. The Pensionado visa requires a minimum of $1,000 USD monthly income from a permanent pension source or retirement fund. Alternatively, the Rentista program requires a minimum of $60,000 or monthly income of at least $2,500 from a guaranteed source for at least two years.

    Healthcare

    One of the best things about Costa Rica is its excellent healthcare system, which offers both public and private options. The national medical program has no co-pays or exclusions and is available to residents, while private healthcare can be self-insured or paid through a private insurance policy.

    Getting Around

    When it comes to transportation, there are plenty of options, including renting a car, taking public buses, private shuttles, taxis, and domestic flights. Renting a car is the most convenient way to explore the country, but be prepared for rough, narrow and winding roads, and a 4WD is recommended. Public buses are an affordable option, but they can be crowded and schedules may not always be reliable. Domestic flights are a quick way to get around, but they can be more expensive.

    Activities & Entertainment

    Costa Rica offers a wide range of activities for everyone, from exploring national parks to surfing in Tamarindo and Jaco, relaxing on beautiful beaches like Manuel Antonio and Tortuguero, and experiencing the adrenaline rush of zip lining and rafting. The country also boasts volcanic hot springs for a therapeutic soak and cultural sites like museums and galleries in San Jose.

    Cost Breakdown

    Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant 5,000 ₡ = $9 USD

    A single person estimated monthly costs without rent are 415,075₡ = $757 USD

    Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 308,864 ₡ = $564 USD

    Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 211,687 ₡ = $386 USD

    Panama


    Visa Requirements

    Panama is the perfect place for retirees and digital nomads alike! With its warm climate, low cost of living, and excellent healthcare, it's no surprise that North Americans are flocking to this Central American gem.

    Now, if you're thinking of retiring in Panama, there are a few things you should know. Firstly, to qualify for the Panama Retirement Visa, you'll need to prove that you have a minimum monthly pension income of 1,000 USD for the rest of your life. But don't worry if your pension is less than that, you can buy real estate in Panama with a value of at least 100,000 USD to qualify instead. Plus, if you're applying with your spouse, you can combine your pension totals to meet the requirement.

    For non-retirees, there are other ways to obtain permanent residency in Panama, such as the 'Friendly Nations' scheme or as a Qualified Investor. 

    Healthcare

    And when it comes to healthcare, Panama has a two-tier system with public and private options. While the public system has lower costs, most retirees opt for the private system, which offers excellent care and facilities at reasonable prices.

    Getting Around

    Getting around Panama is a breeze, with taxis, buses, metro, Uber, car rentals, and domestic flights all available. Buses are the most affordable option, while renting a car gives you more freedom to explore the country.

    Activities & Entertainment

    But Panama isn't just practical, it's also fun! There's plenty to see and do, from exploring the historic sites of Panama City's Casco Viejo to taking a boat tour of the incredible Panama Canal. You can soak up the sun on beautiful beaches like Bocas del Toro, hike in diverse rainforests, and even attend cultural events like the Panama Jazz Festival and Carnaval.

    Cost Breakdown

    Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant $8 USD

    A single person estimated monthly costs without rent are $707 USD

    Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre $791 USD

    Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre $465 USD

    Portugal


    Visa Requirements

    Have you ever dreamt of relocating or retiring in a warm, affordable, and vibrant country with access to excellent healthcare? Look no further than Portugal! The country boasts a mild climate with warm winters and plenty of sunshine, making it perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. With the Portugal D7 Visa, you can apply for residency as a retiree and must prove a passive income outside of Portugal of no less than   per month, which could be a pension, rental income, or remote work salary.

    If you're not retiring, but rather a digital nomad seeking a change of scenery, then the Portugal Digital Nomad Visa is perfect for you. As long as you work for a foreign company and make around €2,836, you can relocate and start working remotely in Portugal. With this visa, you can live and work in Portugal for up to a year, or even apply for residency to stay longer.

    Healthcare

    In terms of healthcare, legal residents can register with the National Health Service for access to public hospitals and health centers. Private insurance is required as a condition of receiving a residency permit. 

    Getting Around

    When it comes to getting around, Portugal offers a variety of transportation options, including public transportation, taxis and ride-sharing services, car rentals, bicycle rentals, and walking.

    Activities & Entertainment

    Of course, the real draw of Portugal is its beautiful coastline, historic towns and cities, and delicious local cuisine. Popular destinations like Lisbon, Porto, and Sintra offer plenty of opportunities for exploring charming cobblestone streets, beautiful architecture, and trying fresh seafood stews, grilled sardines, and custard tarts. And for retirees and digital nomads who love outdoor activities, there are opportunities for hiking, cycling, golfing, and surfing. Finally, Portugal is home to many museums, art galleries, and cultural sites, making it an ideal destination for those who want to explore the country's rich history and culture.

    Cost Breakdown

    Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant 9 € = $9.67 USD

    A single person estimated monthly costs without rent are 591€ = $635 USD

    Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 770 € = $828 USD

    Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 590 € = $634 USD

    Ecuador


    Visa Requirements

    If you're thinking of relocating or retiring to a place with a warm climate and a low cost of living, Ecuador might be just the ticket. With its retiree visa program, you'll get benefits like discounts on flights and medical care. To qualify for the program, you'll need to have lived in Ecuador for at least 21 months under a temporary visa, and show proof of a minimum income of at least $450 per month from Social Security or another form of pension, plus an additional $250 for each family member you bring along.

    Healthcare

    One big perk of living in Ecuador is the high-quality, affordable healthcare available to all citizens and visitors. Foreign retirees can join the government system for around $100 monthly for full coverage or provide proof of private insurance.

    Getting Around

    As for transportation, there are plenty of options available, including buses, taxis, and ride-sharing services like Uber and Cabify. Renting a car is possible, but can be more expensive and require an international driver's license. Traveling by train offers breathtaking views of the Andes Mountains and Ecuadorian countryside, while walking is a great way to explore historic areas like Quito and Cuenca.

    Activities & Entertainment

    But the real draw of Ecuador lies in the numerous options for retirees and digital nomads to enjoy. From exploring Quito's colonial architecture, museums, and churches to visiting the Galapagos Islands for its biodiversity and natural landscapes, there's plenty to keep you busy. Beach lovers can soak up the sun and sand in Montañita and Salinas, while culture-seekers can check out the Otavalo market, attend festivals like Carnival, and learn Spanish while immersing themselves in the local culture. Outdoor enthusiasts can get their fix with my activities like hiking, cycling, and zip-lining in the Andes Mountains. Ecuador truly has something for everyone!

    Cost Breakdown

    Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant $3 USD

    A single person estimated monthly costs without rent are $500 USD

    Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre $368 USD

    Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre $253 USD

    Colombia


    Visa Requirements

    Colombia is a great option for those looking to relocate or retire in a warm climate with a low cost of living. The country offers several visa categories, including the Pensionado visa for retirees and a dedicated visa for digital nomads. To qualify for these visas, applicants must meet certain income requirements, but the good news is that the minimum required income is relatively low, at around $750 per month for retirees and $604 per month for digital nomads. After five years, retirees can apply for a resident visa. Visa holders can also apply for a Foreign ID Card which provides access to the healthcare system and other benefits.

    Healthcare

    Visa holders also have access to reliable healthcare through the public health plan or private insurance.

    Getting Around

    When it comes to transportation, the bus system is the most popular and economical option, with buses operating between cities and towns regularly. Taxis are also widely available, and ride-sharing services such as Uber and Cabify are available in major cities. Domestic flights are also available and offer a convenient and fast way to travel long distances. Private drivers are also an option for those who prefer a more personalized and comfortable experience.

    Activities & Entertainment

    But what really sets Colombia apart is its diverse range of activities and entertainment options. From exploring museums and historic sites in Bogotá, Medellín, and Cartagena, to hiking in the Amazon rainforest and Tayrona National Park, to salsa dancing and enjoying the vibrant nightlife, there's something for everyone. Digital nomads will also appreciate the growing coworking scene and reliable internet throughout the country.

    Cost Breakdown

    Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant 15,000 Col$ = $3.20 USD

    A single person estimated monthly costs without rent are 1,757,182Col$ = $376 USD

    Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 1,145,973 Col$ = $245 USD

    Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 964,468 Col$ = $206 USD

    Belize


    Visa Requirements

    Belize, the land of sunshine, sandy beaches, and a relaxed Caribbean vibe, is a top destination for those looking to retire or relocate. And why not? Not only is it easy for retirees to get a visa to live here, but the low cost of living is definitely a plus.

    But before you pack your bags and hop on a plane, there are a few things you need to know. To qualify for residency in Belize, you'll need to prove that you're financially stable and can sustain yourself and any dependents during your stay.

    Healthcare

    Once you're settled in, you'll have access to free or low-cost healthcare services from publicly run healthcare providers. 

    Getting Around

    Belize offers a range of transportation options for getting around, including buses, taxis, water taxis, car rentals, and bicycle rentals. Buses are affordable and connect major towns and cities, but can be crowded and unreliable. Taxis are readily available, but fares should be negotiated in advance. Water taxis are a great option for island hopping or coastal travel, while renting a car allows for greater flexibility and exploration at your own pace. For a more eco-friendly option, bicycle rentals are available in some areas. It's important to plan ahead and exercise caution, especially when traveling at night or in remote areas.

    Activities & Entertainment

    But it's not just practical considerations that make Belize such an appealing destination. Retirees and digital nomads alike will find plenty of cultural experiences, outdoor adventures, and a relaxed lifestyle to enjoy. From exploring Mayan ruins to snorkeling and diving in the second-largest barrier reef in the world, Belize has something for everyone.

    Cost Breakdown

    Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant 5$ = $2.50 USD

    A single person estimated monthly costs without rent are 655$ = $327 USD

    Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 360$ = $180 USD

    Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 263$ = $131 USD

    Malta


    Visa Requirements

    Looking for a Mediterranean paradise with a warm climate, low cost of living, and friendly locals? Look no further than Malta! This small island nation has it all, from stunning beaches to a rich history and culture.

    If you're thinking about relocating or retiring in Malta, you'll be happy to know that the country offers a retiree visa program that includes a 20% tax rate for foreign income. To be eligible for Malta's Permanent Residence Programme, applicants must have stable financial resources, and capital assets of at least €500,000. They should also have a clean criminal record, not hail from sanctioned countries, and not benefit under other relevant regulations and schemes.

    Healthcare

    Once you're settled in, you'll have access to Malta's reliable healthcare system, which provides practically universal coverage through the National Health Service.

    Getting Around

    To get around Malta, you can use the extensive bus network, rent a car or hire a taxi. Cycling is also an option, with dedicated cycling paths available. Walking is a great way to explore Malta's towns and cities, as most tourist attractions are located close together. Malta is a small island nation, so it's easy to navigate and explore using any of these transportation options.

    Activities & Entertainment

    But what really sets Malta apart is its wealth of leisure activities. Explore fascinating historical sites like the ancient walled city of Mdina and the Megalithic temples of Malta, or soak up the sun at one of the island's beautiful beaches like Golden Bay or Mellieha Bay. There are also plenty of cultural events throughout the year, including the Malta International Arts Festival and the Malta Jazz Festival. And for foodies, be sure to sample the delicious Maltese cuisine at local restaurants and cafes.

    Cost Breakdown

    Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant 15 € = $16.12 USD

    A single person estimated monthly costs without rent are 766 € = $823 USD

    Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 832 € = $894 USD

    Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 700 € = $752 USD

    Thailand


    Visa Requirements

    Thailand is a warm and welcoming country with a low cost of living and mouth-watering cuisine that is sure to satisfy any foodie. And the good news is, it's not just for vacationing, but also for retiring or working remotely!

    If you're 50 or older, you can apply for the One-Year Thailand Retirement Visa or the Ten-Year Thailand Retirement Visa, which are both easy to renew. But that's not all - working nomads can also apply for a visa if they meet certain criteria, like having an annual income of at least USD 80,000 over the last two years; or with an income above USD 40,000 per year if they hold some intellectual property rights; or if they have received “Series A” funding, with five years of work experience.

    Healthcare

    Thailand also boasts reliable and affordable healthcare, with most medical centers located in larger cities like Bangkok.

    Getting Around

    Thailand offers several options for transportation, including taxis, tuk-tuks, motorbikes, buses, and trains. Taxis are a good option for those who want comfort and convenience, but they can be more expensive than other options. Tuk-tuks are a fun and unique way to get around, but fares should be negotiated beforehand. Motorbikes are a popular choice for travelers, but they require a valid license and caution when driving. Buses and trains are great for longer distances, but they may not be as comfortable or as fast as other options. Ultimately, the best way to get around Thailand depends on your budget, comfort level, and destination.

    Activities & Entertainment

    But perhaps the most exciting part of living in Thailand is the wide range of activities and entertainment on offer. For retirees, there are historical sites like ancient temples and palaces to visit, as well as cooking classes and meditation retreats. Meanwhile, digital nomads can take advantage of networking events, conferences, and skill-sharing sessions.

    And let's not forget about the food, night markets, and shopping - not to mention the nightlife, including bars, clubs, and live music performances. Whether you're a retiree or a digital nomad, Thailand has something to offer everyone. 

    Cost Breakdown

    Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant 75 ฿ = $2.18 USD

    A single person estimated monthly costs without rent are 19,000 ฿ = $550 USD

    Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 13,364 ฿ = $388 USD

    Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 7,548 ฿ = $219 USD

    Malaysia


    Visa Requirements

    Malaysia is a warm and affordable place to live, and retirees can obtain a long-term visa through the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program, which requires a monthly income equivalent to RM 40,000 ($8850 USD) and a fixed deposit of RM1,000,000 ($221,000 USD). The program also allows withdrawals from the fixed deposit account for expenses such as buying a house, car, or medical expenses. Additionally, digital nomad visas are available for highly skilled professionals to work remotely in the country on a temporary basis.

    Healthcare

    The healthcare system in Malaysia is of a high standard and is affordable, making it an excellent option for retirees and expats. Public healthcare services are available to all citizens and permanent residents at a nominal fee. Additionally, many private hospitals and medical centers offer world-class medical facilities, and the costs are much lower compared to other developed countries.

    Getting Around

    Public transportation is a great choice, affordable, and convenient with buses, trains, and subways available in major cities. Taxis and ride-hailing services like Grab are also widely used, while rental cars are perfect for those who want to explore the country at their own pace. Motorbikes are popular, but safety should always come first.

    Activities & Entertainment

    Malaysia offers a diverse range of entertainment options, from exploring bustling cities like Kuala Lumpur and Penang to enjoying the beautiful beaches and islands of Langkawi and Tioman. Visitors can also experience the country's rich cultural heritage by visiting historical sites such as the Batu Caves and Malacca. Additionally, Malaysia's food scene is a must-try, featuring a delicious mix of Malay, Chinese, and Indian cuisine.

    Cost Breakdown

    Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant 12 RM = $2.67 USD

    A single person estimated monthly costs without rent are 2,112 RM = $470 USD

    Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 1,652 RM = $367 USD

    Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 1,109 RM = $247 USD

    Join The GAFFL Newsletter

    Join our subscriber list to receive the best tips on solo travel, helpful travel guides, inspirational travel stories, and more. You can unsubscribe anytime with just one click.

    SUBSCRIBE