Expats head to sunny South America for healthy lifestyles

Published:  8 Mar at 6 PM
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A new arrival in the endless supply of surveys promoting the best expat havens is championing Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua as hot destinations for a healthy lifestyle.

The traditional image of beer-swilling, beach-lazing expat life doesn’t feature in the latest survey of popular expat destinations. Conducted on behalf of International Living as part of their annual Global Retirement Index, it recognises that would-be expats nowadays are as concerned about healthy living as they are about getting the best bang for their bucks. The four South American destinations top the new Healthy Lifestyle category in the 2016 index, focusing on weight loss, fresh air, unpolluted food and an active lifestyle.

Costa Rica’s claim to fame starts with weight loss, claiming that up to 40 pounds of unwanted fat can be lost simply by taking up residence in a local expat community and joining in residents’ active lifestyles. Outdoor exercise year-round, activities such as walking, hiking, swimming, kayaking and suchlike help shed the pounds and firm up muscles, and affordably gyms with personal trainers complete the picture. Fresh, locally-grown organic vegetables and fruit varieties are available from local markets, and unhealthy processed foods are expensive enough to make them easy to give up.

Freshly caught seafood and a huge selection of cheap fruit are just two of the perks of choosing Panama as the perfect retirement haven. Two coastlines, virgin rainforests, stunning national parks and a host of friendly people are part of the country’s charm, and outdoor life is the norm with plenty of activities thrown in. The survey mentions that respondents often experienced significant drops in their high blood pressure levels once they’d settled in.

Free range meat, non-chemically fertilised fruit, vegetables and fish fresh from the ocean are all part of the Nicaragua expat experience. The low cost of living and measurable reduction in stress levels has allowed many respondents to come off statins, allergy meds and blood thinners after decades of relying on them. Alternatively, equatorial Ecuador’s unique climate gives healthy foods year-round in amazing volume and choice, with avocados an all-time favourite. From the Pacific shores to the stunning high Andes and the Amazonian forests, the scenery here is unbeatable and the lifestyle is an affordable dream. .
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