Best Places to Retire Early in Paradise for Pennies in 2024

In this report, I share the Best Places to Retire Early in Paradise for Pennies in 2024.

So why should you listen to me? My name is Dan, and I have lived in and visited 68 countries in my life. I left the United States 17 years ago at the age of 46 and began my search to find the best place in the world to retire early in paradise for pennies.

To make my list of the best paradise for pennies places, a single thrifty person may be able to live on as little as $1200 per month, some for much less, if they are good at budgeting.

I have spent a few hundred thousand dollars of my own money to put my feet on the ground in every single one of these paradise locations I will share with you in this video.

Of the hundreds of places I have visited worldwide personally, I am picking only the best 15 places to share with you in this video. Why does it matter whether or not I have seen all these places with my own eyes?

The truth is, many of the other people sharing paradise for pennies overseas, have not personally even visited all of the places they are sharing with you. That is what makes me different.

Research gathered over the Internet from 10k miles away is not as valuable. The other guys often just purchase the video they share online, or worse, they share images and information created by AI.

My girlfriend Qiang and I created the videos I share while our feet were on the ground in each place. This is my 1000th YouTube video teaching you how to live overseas.

Here are my Best Places to Retire Early in Paradise for Pennies in 2024. But you don’t have to take notes. I will provide you with a link to all of this in writing at the end.

But remember, these are just summaries. My full written report for each is at VagabondBuddha.com. Now, I will share my top 15 best places in reverse order so the suspense will build while you wait to hear the top 15 places in the world.

Best Places to Retire Early in Paradise for Pennies in 2024

Antigua Guatemala Retire Cheap Report (15th): Antigua Guatemala is the most well-preserved colonial-era city in all of Central America. With 500 years of history, art, and architecture, along with an amazing array of foods from around the world to delight your senses, Antigua is one of the best places in the world for the integration of colonial culture, indigenous culture, and international visitors. Antigua is a place that many experienced world travelers call home after they have seen much of the world. Because of Antigua’s elevation, it remains relatively cool throughout the year. There are also many hiking trails around the city including an active volcano that erupts almost every night. You can take a tour there and watch the volcano light up the skies at night. If you are more of a mountain lake lover, check out our Lake Atitlan Guatemala Retire Cheap Report. This beautiful lake a mile high in the sky is surrounded by seven villages of varying character that would provide a home for people of many different kinds of interest including a hippie spiritual natural healing artist village, an ex-pat party animal village, several indigenous culture villages, and a large ex-pat community village.

Bangkok Thailand Retire Cheap Report: (14th): Bangkok is one of the best cities in the world even before you adjust for its low cost of living. The food choices are unmatched with the integration of East and West cuisines. It has one of the most modern and clean transportation systems in the world, so you will not have to waste your money on a car. The Grab taxis are so cheap you can get your groceries home for just a little more than public transportation. Riding the water taxis from Khao San to the King Taksin Bridge while stopping at all of the temples, the flower market, and the King’s Palace is probably the most interesting cultural experience you will find anywhere in the world. Thus, even before we talk about the crazy nightlife and shopping in Bangkok, it is one of the most interesting places in the world. Plus you are just a $50 flight to the best island beaches in SE Asia. But if you prefer a smaller mountain town that hosts the digital nomad capital of the world, check out our Chiang Mai Thailand Retire Cheap Report. Bangkok has dropped a few notches in 2024 because Thailand has started taxing money brought into the country by foreign retirees.

Boracay Philippines Retire Cheap Report (13th): Boracay Island is one of the most gorgeous white sand beach islands in the world. Boracay stands above the other white sand beach locations in the Philippines because it has a huge selection of excellent international restaurants within walking distance of anywhere on the island. Other white sand beaches in the Philippines, like El Nido, Siquijor, or Puerto Galera, are more typically in remote locations, which means your international restaurant choices will be much more limited. Boracay also has a large selection of nightlife entertainment choices all within walking distance. So, we would walk everywhere mostly and jump on tricycle taxis if we were in a hurry or to bring groceries home. We might even purchase bicycles but we would not need a car or scooter. There are only three downsidea to Boracay or it would easily make it into our top 5 destinations int he world. First, we might get island fever eventually since it is a fairly small island focused primarily on tourism. Second, we would need to travel to a larger city like Cebu or Iloilo for healthcare, and third, the cost of living in Boracay is about 30 to 50% higher than many other parts of the Philippines, which we cover in detail in the full report.

Puerto Morelos Mexico Retire Cheap Report (12th): I have always been a fan of Quintana Roo Mexico where Puerto Morelos is located. Normally I like larger cities with more things to do and with more cultural choices so I am not completely sure why I have such a great gut feeling about Puerto Morelos. I think it has to do with two major concepts that touched me deeply. There is a colonia area just a few kilometers from the white sand beaches that is at the edge of thousands of acres of untouched jungle. So a few times per week, monkeys would be playing in the trees outside our windows. On other days gorgeous birds would land in the trees outside our apartment and sing to us. Plus, Riviera Maya is normally a very loud and crazy place. But the Colonia area of Puerto Morelos was one of the quietest places I have ever stayed in Mexico. Plus, there are a bunch of delicious and cheap family-owned restaurants on the Colonia side instead of the overpriced restaurants in the white sand tourist beach areas. But whenever the white beaches called us, we were just a 30 pesos ($1.50 USD) taxi ride to the most beautiful beach in the world. This combination of nature, beautiful animals in their serene environment, and crazy gorgeous white sand beach heaven really made me love this place. Puerto Morales has dropped a couple of spots in 2024 because the sargassum seaweed on the beaches seems to be increasing and the Mexican Peso exchange is up about 15% over the last year or so.

Penang Malaysia Retire Cheap Report (11th) Hours will feel like minutes as you stroll around Georgetown colonial-era and spot colorful street art around every corner. The number one attraction here is finding the best Mama’s restaurant in town for a $2-$3 USD meal. Once you taste the amazing local foods, you will have a hard time convincing yourself to pay $8 to $10 USD in tourist restaurants. As a former British colony, people are still required to speak English in many schools here. There are art galleries listed, things to do, music and nightlife, and arts and entertainment. The Canteen in China House Restaurant is still listed as the premier live music forum. Make sure to take our beach and Buddha tour, the street art tour, our old town walking tour, our nightlife tour, and try out our favorite restaurants. Most of our retire cheap in paradise reports include these types of tours.

Oaxaca Mexico Retire Cheap Report (10th): Oaxaca State has a large indigenous population with 50% of the population, with different indigenous cultures speaking different local languages. Oaxaca City hosts the largest most famous indigenous festival in the world, held annually to celebrate their native culture of music, costumes, dances, and food. Some of the most well-preserved ancient ruins in Mexico are nearby in Monte Alban and Mitla. Oaxaca is at a perfect elevation so it is not too warm in the summer or too cold in the winter. The indigenous people suffered great hardship under the Aztecs and then again when the Spanish showed up in 1521. The colonial-era center of the city is one of the most beautiful and well preserved of anywhere in the world. The central park (Zocolo) is a joy to experience night and day with music, dance, and beautiful food in restaurants and food carts.

Baguio City Philippines Retire Cheap Report (9th): One of the first things you will notice about Baguio is that it is never too hot or too cold there. It is a mile high in the sky so it has moderate highland temperatures. The next thing you will notice is the green and beautiful central area of Baguio. The sidewalks are well maintained, and there are plants growing everywhere which are maintained by Baguio City year-round. There is a very large central park full of manicured grass and picnic tables with a lake full of paddle boats you can enjoy with your family and friends. It also is one of the most creative cities in the Philippines, with college students dressing up in Japanese Anima costumes walking around, and drawing chalk characters on Session Road when it is closed to automobiles on Sundays. Because this is a college town, there seems to be a never-ending set of things to do and events to attend that often include cheap street food and fun arts and music. Plus, Baguio is one of the most walkable cities so if you decided to live close in, you would not need a car.

Dumaguete Philippines Retire Cheap Report (8th): Dumaguete is a quaint little city that you may not expect to find near the top of the retire early for pennies ranking. But the city has everything you need in terms of a public market, restaurants, and grocery stores with many international foods. Plus there is a central city area where you could live and walk everywhere. But I would prefer to live up the hill about 8 kilometers in a smaller city called Valencia. There are hot springs, waterfalls, and public markets, but you will need a scooter to get around (or a small car). The real fun starts when you hop on a ferry to one of the beautiful islands nearby like Apo or Siquijor. If you are a diver or love snorkeling, consider living in the suburb of Dumaguete called Dauin. Dauin has an enviable Marine Sanctuary that you can swim to every day from the public beach. The Dumaguete city center has just enough people and businesses to make everyday life a little easier and more diverse without feeling overwhelmed. Plus it is a university town which has influenced the dynamic nature of the city and has one of the best hospitals and medical schools in the islands, especially for a smaller town.

Queretaro Mexico Retire Cheap Reports (7th) Queretaro is now one of my favorite places in Mexico for retirement. It has moved up this year because it has a more modern economy that has withstood the economic hardship over the last few years better than my other favorite places in Mexico. For a one or two-week vacation, I would still pick a beach in Mexico. But for everyday life in cooler colonial-era Mexico, I would pick Queretaro. Queretaro has one of the highest per capita incomes in Mexico because it is the Silicon Valley of Mexico. There are many great restaurants in town because of the higher incomes but also many foreigners that live in Queretaro because of the large international business community help support the diversity of different kinds of restaurants. But I would live in the colonial-era center of Queretaro where there is a large selection of foods both expensive foreign and inexpensive local family restaurants. There is also a large selection of nightlife venues with live music, many coffee shops, museums, and arts and crafts. My favorite spots in Mexico have moved down a couple of notches in 2024 because the value of the Mexican Peso has risen about 15% in the last year or so.

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Retire Cheap Report (6th) Kuala Lumpur is a large modern city with all the conveniences that implies. It has several of the most beautiful and modern malls, hotels, resorts, and public transportation in SE Asia. All the famous movies from all over the world play in multiple languages and all of the most famous expensive brands in the world have stores in the malls. If Singapore and Bangkok had a baby, they would name it Kuala Lumpur. It is not as gritty as Bangkok nor as boring, expensive, or antiseptic as Singapore. It is not for everyone, but if you like a large, organized, clean, and safe city, you will love it here in Kuala Lumpur. I have moved Kuala Lumpur and Penang down a couple of spots in 2024 because they can’t seem to articulate what they are doing with their retirement visas recently.

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Top 5 Best Places to Retire Early in Paradise for Pennies in 2024

Porto Portugal Retire Cheap Report (5th): Porto Portugal has a beautiful landscape and a romantic yet safe feeling to it. It is like living in a storybook. The central area of Porto is highly walkable. Porto has gorgeous ancient architecture. It is like walking through a living museum with single-lane cobblestone pre-vehicle streets. There are beaches, wine tours, a symphony, many food choices, hiking, biking, great day trips, weekend getaways, sports stadiums, sailing, water sports, cruising, parks, nature, etc. Porto has an old-world charm that you usually only find in more expensive cities. Plus, it has the LIDL grocery store chain which sells amazing gourmet foods for really cheap. Porto is the best cheap base to explore Western Europe. It is a little cooler than I normally like but it reminds me of San Francisco (California) weather near where I grew up and I love that place too. You may need to take the Porto Metro underground a little outside the city center to find cheaper rents to meet the $1500 USD total living costs, but isn’t it nice that you won’t need to buy a car? Consider reviewing our Coimbra Portugal Retire Cheap Report if you would prefer to live in a smaller less congested college town in Portugal or Sintra Portugal Retire Cheap Report if you would like to live in a small Portuguese mountain town enchanted with famous castles.

Nha Trang Vietnam Retire Cheap Report: (4th): Nha Trang is the most cosmopolitan city in Vietnam if you consider international food choices, clean parks and beaches, neighborhoods that still feel like Vietnam (despite international tourism), and less visible pollution in the air (it is a city on the ocean). It doesn’t have the breadth of historical culture you will see in Hanoi or Hue, but it makes up for that with modern cultural amenities that cultural explorers expect. You will read that some people do not like Nha Trang because it has a large tourist industry near the beach. But I wouldn’t live in tourist areas if I moved there. I would live in a beautiful neighborhood that I showcase in my retire cheap report. What surprised me the most about Nha Trang, was how cheap it was to live there once you get to know where the locals shop and eat. If you love life in Vietnam but would like to be surrounded by more English-speaking Western Expats, try our Da Nang Vietnam Retire Cheap Report, or check out our Dalat Vietnam Retire Cheap Report if you would prefer a hill station with cooler year-round weather. We just completed 90 days in Vietnam on the new eVisa. Vietnam currently has no retirement visa, but the expats we met in Vietnam were excited because it seems like the Vietnam government, so far, is allowing them to do back-to-back 90-day eVisa runs, which means they may only need to do 4 eVisa runs per year. There are other visas available but that seemed to be the most common one used here.

Koh Samui Thailand Retire Cheap Report (3rd): You may have had the impression that the Island of Koh Samui was only a playground for the rich and famous looking for expensive white sand island beach vacations. But on our most recent visit to Koh Samui just a few months ago, we found perfectly respectable places to stay in safe neighborhoods where locals live for relatively cheap rates. We also found local markets and local family-owned restaurants with absolutely delicious foods that would not break the bank. So we now understand that we could live an amazing everyday life in Koh Samui. We would live, eat, and shop more like the locals. So, now we could just pack a lunch and jump on our scooter to visit the most beautiful white sand beaches in the world whenever the mood strikes without paying tourist prices. So after 17 years of coming to Thailand, I now know that I could stay on budget in one of the most beautiful and exclusive places in the world. That makes Koh Samui our first choice to retire cheap in Thailand now. If you are looking for more of a hippie island vibe in Thailand just a 30-minute ferry ride away, check out our Koh Phangan Thailand Retire Cheap Report. Koh Samui has dropped a notch in 2024 because Thailand has started taxing money brought into the country by foreign retirees.

Da Nang Vietnam Retire Cheap Report (2nd): Vietnam is now clearly near the top of my places to retire cheap in paradise for pennies. Da Nang in particular, and specifically, the An Thuong neighborhood ranks very high in Vietnam. Qiang Hui and I both fell in love with a little community called An Thuong about 15 minutes south of central Da Nang on the beach. I would love to live here. Everything you need like restaurants, expensive and cheap, foreign and domestic foods, wet markets, and a gorgeous beach, would be extremely walkable. If you eat all three meals per day in restaurants (like we have), you can easily stay under $5 per day, per person if you eat the local food. The apartment we found we found in our favorite neighborhood was $260 USD per month plus utilities. Utilities (water and electricity) were $33 USD per month and the Internet, included in the rent, was 30 MBPS up and down. The beautiful My An beach was just 3 blocks away and all of our favorite restaurants were walkable from our house. We didn’t even rent a scooter. There was even a great gym just a few blocks from our house for $20 per month, no contract. All of this is in the report. If you love life in Vietnam but would like a higher energy place for singles, try our Nha Trang Vietnam Retire Cheap Report, or check out our Dalat Vietnam Retire Cheap Report if you would prefer a hill station with cooler year-round weather.

Ubud Bali Indonesia Retiree Cheap Report (1st): Ubud is a beautiful traditional village in the mountains of Bali where many people love to stay and eat in many of the healthy international food restaurants. This is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world. It was, of course, beautiful; the landscape, the beaches, the people. The joys of this relatively small island are spread out everywhere. So you will need to have a vehicle or rent a scooter like most people. Make sure to ride your scooter to Utuwala on the southern tip of Bali to see the fisherman boats, the local fish market, and children dressed in their school uniforms. Also, take the ferry over to Lembongan for the weekend and visit the famous cliff beaches and umbrella graveyards. Finally, bring your camera with you when you visit the terraced rice fields when they are in full green before harvest.

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Okay, thanks for considering my Best Places to Retire Early in Paradise for Pennies in 2024. Make sure to grab a copy of my free eBook, “How I Fired My Boss and Traveled the World for 17 Years.

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This is Dan of Vagabond Awake, the Youtube Channel for VagabondBuddha.com. The world is your home, what time will you be home for dinner?