Top 3 Expat Destinations in Central America

Many 9-to-5ers dream of living in an exotic land far away from home, spending long days on the beach, and enjoying a low-stress life. A lucky few have turned this fantasy into a reality. Though expats can be found in every corner of the globe, Central America is a hot spot. Let’s take a look at three popular Central America destinations for creating a new life.

Destination #1: Costa Rica

Costa Rica sunset

gorgeous Costa Rican sunset courtesy of my good friend Shawna

Many people head to this Central American paradise after finding great Costa Rica vacation deals – some never end up leaving. The benefits? Costa Rica was recognized as being the happiest country in the world. The smiling locals, combined with stunning natural scenery, a green-leaning tourism structure, and the widespread use of English, make it an easy choice for a new home overseas.

Destination #2: Panama

Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama

view of the city from Casco Viejo

Panama caters to retirees who are looking to save money and enjoy an easy way of life in their later years. This Central American nation is also a well-known tax haven, and many find their way here just to take advantage of the financial privacy Panama offers. This tropical paradise has a lot to offer the discerning expat: beaches, low costs, and an international airline hub.

Destination #3: Guatemala

San Marcos la Laguna, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Lake Atitlan from San Marcos la Laguna

Guatemala attracts specific types of expats. The capital attracts people who want to be robbed or join a gang. Quetzaltenango, or Xela, and Antigua are popular with long-term backpackers learning Spanish and volunteering. Around Lake Atitlan, you’ll find hippies and new age practitioners in San Marcos La Laguna and hardcore partiers in San Pedro La Laguna. Guatemala is rich in culture, extremely economical, and a great spot for volcano aficionados, mountain climbers, and other adventure seekers.

Are you an expat in Central America? Where do you live and why do you love it?

  • Shawna Giefer

    Gosh – all three look really fantastic right about now – especially with all this election stuff going on over here! I want to sit on that pier and meditate!

  • Anonymous

    Shawna, if you went to San Marcos, I promise you would never leave :)

  • I’m a French expat in Guatemala and particularly on lake Atitlan… And it is true if you come you might never want to live…. I have 2 daughters born here and they go to school to San Marcos la Laguna where there is a waldorf school… escuela Caracole… Atitlan is a great place to retire, raise children or just be…

  • Bryan

    I love Costa Rica and have seen it grow up in the last 8 years since I first went in 2002, when there was less going on. It is nice to have new amenities that make it feel like being home in the States but personally I like to find a quiet spot on the coast with good surf, cold cerveza and as little English being spoken as possible. Great breakdown Jasmine

  • Anonymous

    I definitely prefer the little-known, quiet spots too. Gracias Bryan :)

  • Anonymous

    San Marcos is definitely beautiful…

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing these 3 popular destinations in the North America….Guatemala,Panama and the Costa Rica all the three are very popular among the travelers….Out of these Panama city is the best i discovered…