equadorBe honest, now, apart from knowing it’s somewhere in South America (not to mention probably having no idea that it contains the Galapagos Islands or that its capital is Quito), how many of you have entertained any thoughts whatsoever about Ecuador as a retirement destination? Didn’t think so, and that’s why we were particularly struck by an interesting reuters.com story reported by Patricia Reaney—headlined Ecuador Tops List of Best Countries for Retirement—noting that “with its warm climate, affordable housing and generous benefits, Ecuador was named the best country to retire in by InternationalLiving.com.” Other excerpts from the article:

“The South American nation bordered by Colombia and Peru topped the website’s annual global retirement index of 25 best countries, scoring high points for affordable cost-of-living, entertainment and amenities.

“Next are Panama, Mexico, Malaysia and Costa Rica, rounding out the top five nations in the index that looks at eight criteria to determine the best countries for retirement.

“Ecuador scored 92.7 out of 100 points, with top marks for climate, cost of renting or buying property and discounts on flights, public transportation and utilities offered by the government for retirees.

“Panama is considered the best destination in Central America and offers a Pensionado visa, which is available to anyone with a lifetime pension of more than $1,000. The visa offers discounts on medical services, entertainment, meals, air fares, as well as electricity and phone bills.

“Malaysia, the top retirement country in Asia, earned high scores for ease of fitting in, entertainment and amenities, as well as low cost of living. A meal with a bottle of wine can cost as little as $5 and a visit to the doctor just $15.

“In Europe, sixth-place Spain was the top retirement nation thanks to its warm climate and low cost of living compared with other European countries. Spain scored top marks for infrastructure, a health-care system recognized by the World Health Organization as one of the best in the world, and entertainment.

“Neighboring Portugal came in at No. 9, followed by Thailand, which won points for low healthcare costs, culture and affordable housing. Seventh-place Malta and Colombia at No. 8 completed the top 10.”