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In an article published ivy CNN on January 1, 2014 Costa Rica was mentioned as a prime destination for tourists. What a great way to begin the new year!

The article talks about the country’s beaches. However, Costa Rica has much more to offer than its beaches. The country’s natural wonders and unparalleled beauty are the main draw: Spectacular volcanos, towering mountains like Chirripó, roaring rivers, tropical rain forests, an abundance of exotic wildlife and almost every imaginable outdoor activity make the country a virtual “nature lover’s Disneyland” as one of the clients on my relocation/retirement tours remarked.

All of the above are available for both tourists and especially for those who retire or live here. Costa Rica is still the obvious choice for quality retirement living. More expensive than some of the other countries south of the border but the quality of life and climate cannot be topped. No wonder Costa Rica has more American residents proportionately then any other country outside of the U.S. The country also boasts one of the highest longevity rates in the world and is a mecca for medical tourism which reflect the quality of medical care.

Here are some of the other countries that were recommended to visit in 2014 and the reasons why.

Brazil, since 2014 World Cup of Soccer will be played there. For two weeks this summer all eyes o will be focused on the country when it becomes the world’s biggest stage. The charming city of San Sebastián, Spain is also on the the short list to visit. Panama is included because in August of this year the country will celebrate the 100 year birthday of its famous canal. Panama is currently building a new set of locks to accommodate supertankers that didn’t exist when the original locks were constructed 100 years ago.

The Andean country of Ecuador is referred to as an up and coming tourism destination with such wonders as the Galápagos Islands. The country is trying hard to become the “new kid on the block” in terms of attracting retirees. International Living is really hyping the country to promote their own interests. Ecuador has even adopted a national motto which is a take off on Costa Rica’s “Pura vida’.

A lot of countries are striving to become the “next” Costa Rica which is often imitated but never equaled.

People so often equate the cost of living with quality of life. One thing those promoting Ecuador do not mention is that the country has a very pro Chavez-style anti-American government, corruption is some of the worst in the world and that there are serious issues regarding the mistreatment of the indigenous population. In short, a nice place to visit but questionable for living. If you are cost couscous I would look at Panama and Nicaragua first.

Article by Live in Costa Rica