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The Truth About Assisted Living in The Latin Tropics

For many seniors moving abroad, learning the truth about assisted living in the tropics can be an important first step in the decision process. In fact, it may come as a pleasant surprise that retiring abroad and living in a community that provides care and assistance are not necessarily choices that exclude one another.

Nearly one million Americans of retirement age have moved beyond the borders of the United States. As more and more “baby boomers” reach that life milestone, the demand for facilities and communities that can offer the services required by an aging population will also increase.

the truth about assisted living in the tropics

Kristopher Schultz

Assisted Living in Paradise Is a Viable Option

With rising medical costs, a volatile market, and general uncertainty about the future, it comes as no surprise that more and more Americans of retirement age are choosing the Latin American tropics as their preferred destination. With many countries actively promoting programs that can benefit seniors, the truth about assisted living in the tropics is that it is a viable choice for both retirees and their aging parents.

There are a number of compelling reasons to make such a move. The lower overall cost of living, improved access to high quality medical care, and the more relaxed lifestyle are just some of the features that should make the expat option a strong consideration as a way to spend your senior years.

the truth about assisted living in the tropics

Danny Kim

Latin Locations That Offer Assisted Living

Below are examples of four countries that offer high-quality assisted living in the tropics. Each of these locations provides the opportunity for a full and vibrant retirement combined with the individualized care some seniors need.


Mexico has been a retirement destination for Americans for many years. With the median cost of long-term care in the U.S. averaging over $43,000 per year, it is not surprising that may retirees are exploring the options that the land south of the border can provide for retirees and their aging parents.

One of the most popular regions is the Lake Chapala area. As one of the largest expat communities in the world, there are a number of facilities that cost half (or less) what similar residences in the U.S. cost.

Seniors would find the Lake Chapala locations very similar to high-end retirement settings in the U.S. Offering clean, comfortable residences, amenities like swimming pools, access to medical professionals and even hospice services at a fraction of the cost, it is little wonder that baby boomers are looking to the region as a long-term option for themselves and their aging parents.

With close proximity to the United States, a familiarity with the culture, plus fresh food and quality medical care, the potential that Mexico has for seniors is undeniable.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica was the first Central American country to initiate programs geared towards attracting retirees. Once qualified as a “pensionado,” retirees can sign up for the country’s social security program, which includes full coverage for things like hospitalization and prescriptions.

As the Central and Pacific zones of Costa Rica become more developed, the rising number of expats also will increase the demand for retirement centers that can provide a high quality of life at a more affordable rate. Seniors will be pleasantly surprised to discover that living “la Pura Vida” is more than just an unreachable dream.

Many visitors to the country ultimately decide to relocate there upon retirement. Whether your choice is an independent living center or a community where 24-hour onsite assistance is available, the cost is still far less than equivalent operations in the States.

the truth about assisted living in the tropics



Interest in Guatemala as a retirement option has grown dramatically recently. The area around Lake Atitlan has seen the development of modern assisted living communities where the lower price tag is not reflected in the high quality of the residences there.

The term “assisted living” has a somewhat different meaning in Guatemala. Instead of a dedicated community, assisted living means, literally, hiring someone, or a number of people, to clean, cook, and care for a person.

This cost for one full-time care provider may run as little as $150 to $300 per month. Even on a fixed income of $1200 per month, for example, this can allow a senior who needs assisted care to still enjoy life in a tropical paradise.


Panama is rapidly overtaking Costa Rica as the premier retirement destination in Central America. First world amenities, greatly improved infrastructure, and many discounts available for seniors have proven to be a magnet for older Americans looking to find a tropical retirement location.

While there are a number of options for retirees who are independent and looking for communities that cater to that population, the number of assisted living facilities is still quite small. However, with the continued influx of foreign investment, the potential for growth in this area is promising.

Is Tropical Assisted Living for You?

Discovering the truth about assisted living in the tropics opens the doors to infinite possibilities. Moving to paradise may just be the best way to make those golden years truly golden.

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