5 Places to Retire for the World’s Best Climate
A new report from the editors at InternationalLiving.com highlights the countries around the world where the climate offers the best options for just-right comfort. These five good-value overseas retirement destinations score highest in the Climate category of International Living’s just-released Annual Global Retirement Index 2020.
Climate is one of the most important considerations for retirees choosing where to settle overseas. In International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2020, the countries that claim the best climates in the world all offer a variety of options—from warm beach areas to higher-altitude regions that offer year-round spring-like temperatures.
In this category, International Living rates the climate of each country, considering factors like amount of rainfall, average temperatures, and levels of humidity. Rankings favor places that offer a variety of climates, providing greater choice for retirees.
“Climate and weather are a hugely important considerations for retirees and expats moving abroad,” says Dan Prescher, Senior Editor for International Living.
Think about it. If you had a chance to move someplace, why wouldn’t you opt for someplace with weather you actually liked? That’s a subjective judgement — everybody likes different weather. Which is why several countries near the top of the Global Retirement Index don’t offer only year-around tropical weather…they have different climate zones, allowing retirees to choose a spot to match their preferences.
“An advantage to a mild climate—neither too hot nor too cold—is that it 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. The point is that people thinking about retiring abroad can use the Index to actually sort locations by which weather and utility budget combination suits them best."
The five countries that scored the highest marks for Best Climate in the World in this year’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2020 are...
Portugal, the winner of International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2020, takes the top spot in the Climate category this year scoring 88 out of 100.
“Portugal’s climate is a mix of temperate in the north to Mediterranean heading south, making it ideal in that it offers so much to so many in a space so compact,” says Tricia Pimental, International living Portugal Correspondent.
“The north, where Porto is located, is breezy, beautiful, and sunny in summer, with daytime highs 80 F and above. Winter brings chilly, gray, and rainy days and an average 20 degree drop in the temperature, day and night. Moderated temperatures and precipitation are as you would expect in the shoulder seasons of autumn and spring.
“Heading south through the central region, including locations such as the University town of Coimbra, temperatures are a few degrees warmer each season, with less rain (35 inches per year compared to Porto’s 49).
“Inland in the central region you’ll find the Serra da Estrella mountain range. So, if you’re not 100% sold on giving up winter weather, this is where to come to ski—or just have a good old-fashioned snowball fight.
“Still farther south, in the capital of Lisbon, the progression continues, with slightly warmer seasonal temperatures and a still dryer climate, with an average rainfall of 25 inches per year.
“The southernmost region of the Algarve is predictable, given the pattern I’ve outlined: It’s the warmest, driest area of the country (with 20 inches of annual precipitation). Summer temperatures range from 84 F in the daytime to 64 F at night, and in winter, daytime highs are in the low 60s, slipping to the mid-to-upper 40s.
“Winds off the Atlantic Ocean from north to south along the coastline have varying effects, from creating a colder atmosphere in winter to refreshing, cooling, breezes in warmer weather. The eastern Algarve is protected from the Atlantic currents, and in fact experiences winds from Africa, making this area near the Spanish border highly desirable for those seeking a warm and pleasant climate.
“Having said all this, it’s important to know that there’s no guarantee you won’t experience some extremes in temperature. In the Alentejo (roughly south of central and east on the border with Spain), the mercury can rise to 90 F and beyond in summer, and dip below freezing in winter.”
(Colombia, Ecuador and Peru are all tied for second place in the Annual Global Retirement Index 2020 Climate Category with a score of 87.)
“I will admit that the perfect year-round, spring-like weather was the first thing that drew me to retire to Medellín, Colombia,” says Nancy Kiernan, International Living Colombia Correspondent. “I had lived my whole life in the north-eastern section of the U.S., and I never wanted to see or shovel snow again.
“But Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world, so you can find whatever climate and environment that suits your taste.
“If you want hot and tropical, then I think you should consider retiring to the lovely Caribbean coastal cities of Santa Marta or Cartagena where crystal-clear, blue water laps against warm, sandy beaches.
“For those who prefer more temperate climates, then I suggest my adopted mountain city of Medellín or anywhere in the ‘coffee triangle’ of Pereira, Armenia and Manizales where you’d be surrounded by lush green mountain scenery.”
“Climate in Ecuador varies by altitude, not latitude,” says Sean Keenan, International Living Editor. “That's significant here, of all places, because the equator runs right through the country. In fact, Ecuador was named after it.
“What that means is that days and nights are evenly spaced at 12 hours each, and temperatures can get exceedingly hot. However, in towns and cities such as Quito, Cuenca, or Vilcabamba, the high temperatures are moderated by altitude, meaning that in the right spot, expats can live in year-round spring-like temperatures, with near constant sun.
“At sea level, and on the coast, the dynamics are slightly different. You can expect hot, sunny weather with temperatures in the 80s F for half the year, and milder temperatures with cloud cover in the wet season from May to October.
“Even so, with such an indented coastline, microclimates offer a range of options to choose from, including cloud forest, tropical jungle, and dry scrub landscapes. Sometimes the microclimates are separated by less than 10 miles.
“And with some of the highest mountains on the planet, suffice to say, you'll find snow-covered peaks year-round too. Essentially, pick your climate, and you'll find it somewhere in Ecuador.”
“After living abroad for over a decade in several locations I think we have found our perfect weather,” says Steven LePoidevin, International Living Peru Correspondent who lives in Huanchaco, a northern surfing and fishing village located just 20 minutes from the larger city of Trujillo.
“With 28 of the world’s 32 climates stretching from the Pacific to the Amazon, that’s easy enough to do in this country.
“The temperatures here in Huanchaco range from the low 60s during the coldest part of the year to the high 70s during the summer months. With a light breeze and no bugs, 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.
“The southern half of the coast is warm and dry during the summer months but tends to be foggy and cool during the winter.
“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.”
As many as 1 million U.S. and Canadian citizens already call Mexico home, with more joining them all the time. Thanks to Mexico’s large size, varied geography, and affordable real estate, prospective residents are spoiled for choice among colonial towns, fishing villages, beach retreats, and cosmopolitan cities.
“Mexico is a big country—about three times the size of Texas,” says Jason Holland, International Living Roving Latin America Editor. “And that means it has a wide variety of climates—there really is something for everybody.
“You have the spring-like year-round climate of Colonial Highlands towns like San Miguel de Allende. In beach towns like Puerto Vallarta and Playa del Carmen it’s always warm – and humid too, although sea breezes help.
“For a more dry heat, head to arid Los Cabos. Further up on the Baja Peninsula you have towns like Rosarito, with a nearly identical climate to Southern California.
“Winter is actually one of the best times of year, weather-wise, to visit Mexico’s Caribbean and mainland Pacific beaches because it’s the coolest (highs in the lows 80s F) and least humid time of year.”
More details on the top six countries in the Climate category of International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2020 can be found here: The World Best Climate 2020
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