Retire to the World’s Best Weather in These 6 Places—InternationalLiving.com

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A new report from the editors at InternationalLiving.com reveals the countries across the globe with the best weather. These six good-value overseas retirement destinations score highest in the Climate category of International Living’s just-released Annual Global Retirement Index 2019.

Olon Ecuador

Olon Ecuador

"One of the strengths of our highest-scoring countries in the climate category is that they all offer a variety of climates, so retirees can find the spot that best suits their tastes—from steamy beaches to cooler highlands.”

Climate is one of the most critical considerations for retirees choosing where to settle overseas. In the 2019 Annual Global Retirement Index, the countries that claim the best climates in the world all offer a variety of options—from hot beach areas to year-round spring-like temperatures.

“Whether moving abroad full-time or part-time, it’s possible to escape the extremes of weather back home—be it the bitter cold in a place like Minnesota or the unbearable heat someplace like Arizona—and you live in greater comfort while spending less than it would cost to stay home,” says Jennifer Stevens, Executive Editor of International Living.

“In identifying the world’s top retirement destinations, climate is a key consideration and our experts pinpoint the best options in the Climate category of our Global Retirement Index, where we factor in data about rainfall, temperature, humidity, and more.

“The sort of weather you prefer is a very personal thing, of course. And one of the strengths of our highest-scoring countries in the climate category is that they all offer a variety of climates, so retirees can find the spot that best suits their tastes—from steamy beaches to cooler highlands.”

Each year, International Living uses its ever-expanding network of editors, correspondents, and contributors all over the world to give the on-the-ground information and recommendations needed to put the index together—ranking and scoring each of the 25 countries in the index across 13 categories, climate among them.

The six countries that scored the highest marks for Best Climate in the World in this year’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2019 are...

#1 Ecuador

Ecuador is consistently a front-runner in the Climate category of International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index and takes the top spot again this year, scoring 95 out of 100.

“Quite simply, some of the best weather on the planet can be found in Ecuador,” says Jim Santos, IL Coastal Ecuador Correspondent. “The unique combination of its position on the equator, the cooling sea breezes from the Humboldt Current, the Andes mountain range and the Amazon basin have conspired to create a variety of climates.

“There are beaches that are warm year-round but rarely muggy (and are too close to the equator to ever have hurricanes or tropical storms), and places in the hills where you do not need a heating or cooling system. Lush, green hills and fertile valleys are the norm in Ecuador.”

Ecuador has four distinct geographical areas—the La Costa (Pacific coastal plains), the Sierra (mountains), the Oriente (eastern rainforests), and the Galapagos Islands. And because Ecuador lies directly on the equator, the entire country enjoys 12 hours of direct equatorial daylight 365 days a year.

Ecuador gives retirees options, the power to select whatever climate they want—just like Donna Stiteler, IL Cuenca, Ecuador, Correspondent.

“I’m a Florida girl who spent over 40 years living within blocks of the Gulf Coast. I traded sweaty summers in Florida—which now last close to seven months with temperatures climbing to 100 F—for mountain views in Cuenca with year-round average highs in the mid-70s.

“The weather here makes walking during the day possible. I can exercise anytime during the day, not worry about humidity frizzing my hair, or have those high $350 air conditioning bills. I brag that I don’t need central air for hot or cold. If it’s cold, I light the fireplace. If it’s hot, I open the windows. All that, with an Andes view and sunsets over the mountains.”

#2 Costa Rica

Costa Rica claims second place in the Climate category, scoring 91 points. The third-smallest country in Central America offers an extensive array of different climates—so much so, no matter what climate retirees choose, they are guaranteed to find it here.

“With a dozen microclimates, there is someplace for everyone to fit personal weather preferences,” says Kathleen Evans, IL Coastal Costa Rica Correspondent.

“Many people love the temperate ‘eternal spring’ climate of San José , the capital, and all the surrounding Central Valley. Or the dry, hot beaches of Guanacaste, or the lush, green landscape of the jungles in the south. Personally, having grown up in the brutal Chicago winters, I love living in flip-flops in Tamarindo with my coat collecting dust!”

Meanwhile, Texas native John Michael Arthur, IL Central Valley Correspondent, lives in the Central Valley—home to about two-thirds of Costa Rica’s population.

“The thing I love about Costa Rica’s climate is that while it is generally temperate—who can complain about temperatures in the 70 Fs and 80 Fs—you can easily fine-tune your favorite, preferred temperature simply by adjusting your altitude,” he says. “Yes, it’s warmer on the beaches and cooler on the higher mountains, but you can easily find several degrees of variation even in the same town just by going up, down or even around a hillside.”

#3 Colombia

The second-most biodiverse country in world, Colombia takes third place in the Annual Global Retirement Index Climate category, scoring 90.

“From warm, tropical beach weather, to more temperate spring-like temperatures, Colombia has what you are looking for,” says Nancy A. Kiernan, IL Colombia Correspondent.

“Whichever climate you choose, the weather remains the same all year long. So, January looks and feels the same as June or October. Colombia sits just above the equator so there is very little variation in the amount of daylight during the year. I live in the beautiful city of Medellín where the weather has perfect spring-like temperatures. My ‘winter coat’ is a jean jacket.”

(Mexico, Peru and Portugal are all tied for fourth place in the Annual Global Retirement Index 2019 Climate Category with a score of 88.)

#4 Mexico (tie)

Because of Mexico’s varied topography, the country has one of the world’s most diverse climate systems.

Mexico’s climate varies from arid to tropical, with a defined split. The Tropic of Cancer divides the country in two, so one part is temperate and the other is tropical.

Land to the north has cooler temperatures during the winter months while more southerly regions see temperatures remain constant year-round. There is also more variation in the north, with summers being hotter and winters colder.

That doesn’t mean the climate is the same in all southern or northern areas. There can be differences in temperatures, even in areas relatively close together, due to elevation—the higher the elevation, the cooler the average temperatures.

“Perfect!” says Don Murray, IL Riviera Maya, Mexico, Correspondent. “That is the one word that I would use to describe Mexico´s climate. And it´s perfect because Mexico is such a huge country that nearly every climate is available.

“Generally, however, the entire country is warm and mild with small amounts of snow falling only on the highest peaks. Just a light sweater will add some comfort on the few chilly evenings.”

#4 Peru (tie)

With a mixture of desert, high mountains, jungle, and everything in between, retirees are almost guaranteed to find a climate tailored especially for them.

“Almost every climate zone in the world can be found somewhere in Peru,” says Steve LePoidevin, IL Peru Correspondent. “Here in the northern coastal city of Trujillo, the year-round temperature averages almost 70 F with virtually no rainfall. In the popular southern city of Arequipa, residents enjoy similar temperatures and over 300 days of sunshine a year, but the nights are cool because of the high altitude at 7,600 feet.”

The Andes Mountains, the cold Humboldt Current, and the 1,500-mile arid dessert coastline each do their part in creating the multifaceted weather that the country enjoys. Peru can roughly be divided into three climatic areas—the Pacific Coast, the Andean highlands, and the Eastern lowlands. Within each of these general zones there are often several microclimates that provide even more variations.

#4 Portugal (tie)

“Portugal has a warm, moist, temperate climate,” says Tricia Pimental, IL Portugal Correspondent. “It has wet winters and dry summers with the average temperature of 71.6 F.

“You can drive this compact country from north to south in about five and a half hours. A road trip from west to east, from Lisbon to the Spanish border, takes less than half that time. While there’s not a great variation in climate, conditions are influenced by factors like elevation and proximity to the coastline.

“Lisbon’s winter months bring about ten days of rain and daytime temperatures of 50 F or higher, while in the summertime, wet days average from none to one or two, and the mercury hovers around 85 F.

“In the north, winter means rain about half the time, and temperatures run about 10 degrees cooler year-round than farther south. Shorelines can be extremely windy. The same applies going down the coast, to the surfing destination of Nazaré—where a record was set with a 100-foot wave—and even farther south.”

More details on the top six countries in the Climate category of International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2019 can be found here: The World Best Climate

Editor's Note: Members of the media have permission to republish the article linked above once credit is given to Internationalliving.com

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About International Living

Since 1979, InternationalLiving.com has been the leading authority for anyone looking for global retirement or relocation opportunities. Through its monthly magazine and related e-letters, extensive website, podcasts, online bookstore, and events held around the world, InternationalLiving.com provides information and services to help its readers live better, travel farther, have more fun, save more money, and find better business opportunities when they expand their world beyond their own shores. InternationalLiving.com has more than 200 correspondents traveling the globe, investigating the best opportunities for travel, retirement, real estate, and investment.

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