Peru: The South American country is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and by the Andes mountains to the east, and offers everything from ancient ruins to coastal living. Single expats can live on $500 to $600 a month, including rent, utilities, dining out regularly, Wi-Fi service at home and a local prepay cell phone, according to International Living correspondent David Hammond, while expat couples can enjoy living in Peru for $1,000 to $1,200 a month.
"The cities I visited in Peru offer the highest standard of living for the lowest price that I've seen, especially for singles," he said in the report. "Granted, there are places you may be able (to) live for less, but not on the same levels of convenience and comfort."
An expat living in Peru also notes that healthcare costs, including dental care, run about $50 to $100.
Cambodia: If Southeast Asia is more your speed, Cambodia can be another affordable option, with reported monthly costs running as low as $1,200. Rentals range from about $200 to $350 a month in cities like Phnom Penh, which offer modern conveniences. Other perks include restaurant meals for as little as $2.50, 50-cent beers on the beach and $6 manicures.
"Most expats can live comfortably on a budget of around $1,250 to $1,500 a month," Ellie Dyer, who lives in Phnom Penh, said. "It's easy to tailor life to your means, whether that involves eating street food on a shoestring budget or living the high life at luxury hotels like Raffles Le Royale."
Guatemala: While not yet as developed as other popular Central American retiree destinations like Costa Rica or Panama, Guatemala can provide a couple a comfortable lifestyle for $1,500 a month. That includes rent, utilities, food and luxuries such as a house cleaner, a gardener, massages and three-course meals. Rents can range from $300 a month for a one-bedroom furnished apartment to $700 for a furnished, three-bedroom house in a quiet, gated community in the colonial town of Antigua.
What about health care? No worries there, according to InternationalLiving.com: "I recently went in for a routine physical, and the doctor spent over an hour with me, discussing my medical history and putting me at ease," said Antigua resident Tara Tiedemann. "What a delight -- when I can barely secure 10 minutes with my overworked U.S. physician. And the price for this personalized, high level of care? Only $25, including lab work."
Nicaragua: Another alternative to neighbors Panama and Costa Rica, Nicaragua can offer enjoyable retirement living for about $1,200 to $1,500 a month. A furnished apartment walking distance from the beach can be rented for $400 a month or less, including water, electricity and Wi-Fi. Fresh produce is abundant, due to the crop-friendly climate.
Bonnie Hayman, an International Living correspondent who lives in the coastal town of San Juan del Sur, found a two-bedroom, two-bathroom home with an ocean view for $132,000. "I would never have been able to live in an ocean-view home in the States," she said in International Living's report. "I pay real estate taxes of just $151 a year."
Debbie Goehring and her husband, who spend $1,089 a month to live on Ometepe Island, joined the Vivian Pellas Metropolitan Hospital health discount program in Managua, Nicaragua's capital. "Built to U.S. standards, this hospital provides excellent services to expats at about a quarter of what it would cost in the U.S.," she said.
Colombia: Once notorious for its high crime rates, Colombia is quickly becoming a popular retirement spot. In Bogota, for instance, residents can enjoy a three-course meal for $10 to $25 and movies for $5, as well as art galleries, museums and coffee culture. A couple can comfortably live there and in cities such as Medellin, Milan and Pereira for $1,200 a month, according to the report.
"The affordable cost of living is one of the things that drew me here," expat Jim Engels, who lives in Bogota, told International Living. "I'm paying just $640 a month for a two-bedroom apartment. The health care is both inexpensive and high quality. You'll find many physicians who have been trained in the U.S. or Western Europe."
For those who prefer to stay in the States, there are plenty of options, though the overall cost of living will likely be higher. AARP , a membership organization for those age 50 and up, offers plenty of resources for retirees.
To help figure out which U.S. cities best fit your lifestyle and income, check out AARP's Livability Index . The Web-based tool gives users community livability scores for seven categories: housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement and opportunity, as well as an overall score. Users can customize the index to put more or less emphasis on the categories that are most important to them.
Sun City, a popular Arizona retirement community since the 1960s, scored a 44. Here are five less-obvious cities that get higher scores in AARP's index.
Madison, Wisc. (overall score 68): Top scores included a 79 for engagement, 73 for health and 72 for transportation.
Arlington, Va. (64): A 91 for health, 74 for neighborhood, 72 for engagement.
Minneapolis (64): 82 for transportation, 70 for neighborhood, 68 for engagement.
Cambridge, MA (63): 85 for transportation, 82 for neighborhood, 67 for health.
Seattle (63): 75 for health, 70 for neighborhood, 70 for transportation.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.