I long have had dreams of a special kind of retirement. For me, this means a more remote existence on a beach -- away from the chaos of urban.
You know, heading off to live somewhere affordable, with a relaxing vibe, great food and warm weather. I'd love to keep it simple, finding a way to enjoy every day immersing ourselves within the community -- with enough creature comforts and plenty of adventurous activities to keep us happy.
In this spirit, International Living magazine has identified five beach towns where you can live for less than $26,000 a year and have and exceptional time living abroad, soaking up the sunshine and relaxing on luscious sandy beaches. Check out these little gems located in Europe, Latin America, and South America:
The beach-resort town of Salinas is probably the country's best-known beach vacation spot. Living in Salinas, Ecuador, you can have all the necessary amenities: modern condominium buildings (which line much of Salinasâs miles-long beach), restaurants, coffee shops, and bars.
The beach is large and clean, bordered by the blue, calm Pacific waters. The sun gleams off motor yachts and sailboats in the marina, and the curving shoreline stretches for miles into the distance, with scores of modern, tall buildings mixed with old-fashioned apartments and seaside restaurants.
For folks looking for an upscale beach lifestyle at an affordable price, then Salinas might be the perfect destination.
A monthly budget for a couple living in Salinas runs around $1,400 a month, or almost $17,000 a year.
Santa Marta, Colombia
Located on Colombia's Caribbean Coast, Santa Marta is quickly and quietly becoming a sought-after destination. With an average daytime high of 90 degrees and an evening low of 75, the tropical climate is idyllic. The greater Santa Marta area features history, beautiful white-sand beaches, water sports opportunities, ecotourism, a nice variety of restaurants and a vibrant nightlife.
Restaurants, bars, coffee shops and bakeries surround the plaza. From Thursday to Saturday night, the park draws people out to enjoy eclectic cuisine, watch street performers or purchase crafts from street vendors.
A couple can live well in Santa Marta on a monthly budget from $1,190 to $1,790, or about $14,280 to $21,480 a year.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Puerto Vallarta has been an expat haven for more than 70 years. During its early years, the city's main business was exporting agricultural products grown in the rich farmlands of the state of Jalisco and the surrounding area. Today, Puerto Vallarta has become one of Mexico's biggest tourist destinations.
Puerto Vallarta has a vibrant culture that will stimulate your senses. The town is filled with smells and sounds of sizzling food as street vendors serve up spicy specialties. Feel the smooth texture of the multicolored bead arrangements sold by the Huichol people from the western Sierra Madres and see the 11 majestic sculptures from all across the world poised on a mile-and-a-half stretch along the malecon. The bronzed sculptures are set against the soft powder blue of the ocean.
Here, a couple can enjoy life by the coast on a monthly budget of $2,049 -- or $24,588 a year.
Lagos is a popular coastal town in southern Portugal's Algarve region. Located on the Bensafrim River, Lagos features top beaches, such as Praia Dona Ana, and numerous opportunities for watersports. The town also offers a scenic marina and a host of restaurants and bars boasting an active nightlife. You Foodies will love the vast array of choices -- quintessential fast-food to gourmet cuisine â available along the "Marginal,â the name given to the road/walkway along the coastal area. There is ample shopping and even a few stores specializing in imported foods.
The center of the marina area features a merry-go-round for the kids and cafes, bars and pubs. A diverse collection of eclectic shops mixes well with the obligatory beach fare. In short, it is a sweet combination of ordinary residential living and resort offerings.
You can live nicely here on a monthly budget of $2,080 -- or $24,960 a year.
If folks are torn between the choice of country life and beach living, then Rocha might be the happy compromise. This beautiful region in Uruguay is a mostly rural area with pristine beaches.
Rocha is a department (similar to a state or province) that stretches more than 100 miles along Uruguay's Atlantic coast. It is marked by lush pastures dotted with palm trees, pine forests, lagoons and areas of green hills with granite outcroppings. Rocha's coastline of long sand beaches is punctuated with bays, dunes, rocky points and small towns.
The most popular area for retirees in Rocha is in and around the coastal town of La Paloma.
La Paloma's Centro is on the Cape of Santa Maria. The main street is lined with restaurants, a few hotels, low-rise condos, markets, a casino and many shops. At the end of the cape, you'll find a large bay, a lighthouse and a commercial boat harbor. On each side of the cape, there are residential beach neighborhoods. La Paloma is also located near small farms and private communities.
A couple can live well here on a monthly budget of $2,165 -- or $25,980 a year.
This article is provided in collaboration with International Living. The magazine also has compiled an extensive list of The World's Best Towns and Cities for a Low-Cost Retirement.
Thanks for reading and happy travels!