Which is Better for Budget Retirees Mexico, Philippines, or Dominican Republic?

In this report, I answer the question, “Which is Better for Budget Retirees Mexico, Philippines, or Dominican Republic?”

I left the USA in 2007 and I have been to 65 countries so far. During that time, I have spent considerable time in Mexico, the Philippines, and the Dominican Republic. In fact, I have full reports on several cities in all three countries so make sure to get my free eBook to learn more about that.

I will show you videos I took of all three countries, as I compare the three countries for the cost of living, dating, visa requirements, food, cultural exploration, safety, and healthcare. But don’t take notes as you listen. I will give you a link to everything I discuss at the end of this video.

Make sure to stay until the end. In the end, I will rank the three countries one, two, and three, and I will tell you my favorite places to retire in all three countries.

Okay, I am going to talk about which is better for dating first, but I want to answer a question some of you are thinking about right now. Why am I only comparing Mexico, the Philippines, and the Dominican Republic this time?

I am very responsive to my viewers and I have received multiple requests for this comparison. But I will include a link below to my report on, The Top 15 Places in the Entire World to Retire Early for Cheap in 2021, in case you want a broader comparison from my research.


First I will discuss age difference relationships and then same age relationships.

If you are a single man approaching retirement, and you are looking for a woman 10 to 30 years younger than you, the Philippines is your first choice. The Dominican Republic comes in second for the older man, younger woman relationships. Mexico would be your last choice.

If you are a single woman approaching retirement, and you are looking for a younger man, the Dominican Republic will be your first choice. The Philippines would be your second choice and Mexico would come in third for older women with younger men.

For men and women looking to date someone the same age, Mexico wins over the Philippines or the Dominican Republic. There is just a larger more diverse set of people to choose from with varied socio-economic backgrounds at all education and income levels. Because of this diversity with large numbers, you are more likely to find someone your age that ticks a bunch of boxes for you. But you will just not see as many age difference relationships around Mexico.

So your best place of the three for dating just depends on what you are looking for. For more information on this topic, read my report, Best Countries to Find Love in Retirement.


In terms of healthcare, I would rank Mexico first, the Philippines second, and the Dominican Republic third. But I decided to look for some evidence to support my position. There are various rankings around the world for healthcare. But after viewing a few, the source I will use to support my running is here. This source is more accurate because it includes the top countries in Asia which some sources do not properly consider. It ranks Mexico 29th in the world, the Philippines is 38th, and the Dominican Republic is 72.

Many retiree ex-pats have free (or almost free) healthcare in their home country and return home for any treatment except emergencies. But do think about what you would do in an emergency if you couldn’t fly home because you needed to be treated immediately. If you want more of my thoughts on that, read my report, The Two Biggest Risks of Retiring Cheap Overseas.


In terms of international selection and diversity, Mexico wins the food contest. Honestly, it is not fair to compare a country the size of Mexico with a GDP of 1.2 trillion with the Philippines or the Dominican Republic. Mexico city in fact has some of the best restaurants in North America, easily outpacing the Philippines and the Dominican Republic for food choices.

Plus, Mexico has a large and mature tourism industry that is able to attract some of the better chefs from Europe that come and open restaurants in places like Cancun and Playa Del Carmen in the Riviera Maya.

Neither the Philippines nor the Dominican Republic is known for its international food choices.

But this report is about the better of the three for budget retirees. Mexico also wins in that category. Mexico not only has expensive high-end restaurants, but even in larger cities, it has very cheap and delicious food that caters to lower-income locals. One of the best things to do in Mexico is to explore all the cheap family-owned taco stands. They are cheap and delicious.

The Philippines has cheap food carts and family-owned restaurants, but the food is not as delicious or diverse as you will find in Mexico. The Dominican Republic doesn’t have as many cheap food choices as you will see in the Philippines or Mexico.

So, with respect to food for budget retirees, Mexico is first, the Philippines is second, and the Dominican Republic is third. If you want to watch us eat the types of food that a few dollars will buy all over the world, then you should subscribe to this YouTube Channel.

Cost of Living

With respect to the cost of living for budget retirees, all three countries have lower costs of living in smaller towns and in more remote areas. All three also have a higher cost of living in larger cities and more touristy areas.

But, overall, the Philippines comes in first place for living cheap for budget-minded retirees. Qiang was able to live in Dumaguete in the Philippines on $673 per month when I was in the USA, links provided.

For two people, Qiang and I more typically spent about $1100 to $1400 USD per month during our time in the Philippines. We were able to stay in that cost of living range in multiple cities in the Philippines. We have also met many ex-pats that were easily able to stay under $1000 USD per month living in the Philippines.

Mexico would be in second place with respect to the cost of living. We were also able to comfortably stay in several places in Mexico in the range of $1000 to $1400 per month. But the accommodations in that range were generally not as nice as you can find living in the Philippines.

It is also possible to live in the Dominican Republic for $1000 USD per month. But the neighborhoods that we could stay in for that amount just didn’t feel as safe to us.

So in order, for budget retirees, for the low cost of living in a very nice environment, the Philippines is first, Mexico is second, and the Dominican Republic is third.

Cultural Exploration

Mexico easily wins for cultural exploration. The center part of Mexico, in the highlands, is full of colonial-era cities with European architecture that dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries. There are museums, parks, live music, symphony, theatre, and everything else you can find in the most culturally rich countries of the world.

Plus, there are archaeological sites from the 62 Indian Tribes throughout Mexico that you can investigate. Mexico is one of the most culturally rich countries in the world.

The Dominican Republic comes in second for cultural exploration. Santo Domingo was where the first European city was built in the Americas. You can see the first homes built by Cortez and Columbus.

The Philippines comes in third. It is true that there are indigenous populations but they are not as accessible to visitors because they are in remote locations and have not been exploited by tourism.

So Mexico is first, the Dominican Republic is second, and the Philippines is third for cultural exploration.


The Philippines was the safest of the three according to this source. Mexico was second and the Dominican Republic was third in terms of safety, of the three. That actually corresponds with my feelings also.

But I have always considered safety at the neighborhood level as being more accurate. For example, if you stay away from the border towns in Mexico and the areas where the cartels are fighting turf wars, then Mexico is probably as safe as the Philippines.

Similarly, the Dominican Republic felt safer in some areas than others. We were uncomfortable in Santo Domingo but felt very comfortable in La Terrenas in the Dominican Republic.

For more on this topic, check out my report, How to Travel the World Safely.


The Philippines wins the Visa contest. Citizens of many countries can fly into the Philippines and just keep renewing their tourist visit for up to 36 months without doing any visa runs.

Mexico comes in second. As Americans, we can fly into Mexico without a visa and we are awarded a 6 months tourist stamp. So we just need to do a visa run every 6 months back to America or any other country to get a new 6 months tourist stamp.

The Dominican Republic comes in third for visas. They give many countries 30 days on entry and then offer a complicated extension plan that almost nobody bothers with. Instead, people just stay as long as they want and pay a penalty of about 100 per year for their overstay.

Many people love the visa system in the Dominican Republic because they don’t have to worry about going to immigration until they leave the country. But I wasn’t comfortable with that. I never want to overstay my tourist stamp.

I fear that someday my overstay could end up in some kind of international database and then other countries may decide not to let me enter.

So, for budget retirees, the visa program in the Philippines is first, Mexico is second, and the Dominican Republic is third.

Watch my video about why I think you should wait before applying for a retiree visa.


I promised if you stayed until the end I would rank these three countries overall. Well, here it goes. Mexico is number 1 for me, the Philippines is number 2, and the Dominican Republic is number 3.

I also promised to rank my top cities to retire cheap in each of these three countries. So here we go.

For Mexico, Puerto Morelos is first, Queretaro is second, and Oaxaca is third.

For the Philippines, Dumaguete is first, Siquijor is second, and Camiguin Island is third.

For the Dominican Republic, Las Terrenas is first, Cabarete is second, and Puerto Plata is third.

Remember, this is just a ranking for these three countries. For a full understanding of the best places in the entire world, read this report, Best Places in the Entire World to Retire Early Cheap in 2021, link provided.

For the notes for this video, with clickable links to various resources I discussed, just click the “More Information” link in the notes below this YouTube video.

Thanks for reading our report, Which is Better for Budget Retirees Mexico, Philippines, or Dominican Republic?

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?