Florida or the Costa del Sol

Florida or the Costa del Sol? Both are retirement locations. Article code FCS



Everyone knows Florida is referred to as “the sunshine state” and of course many Americans retire there to live on dedicated retirement mobile home parks easily. However, there is a new kid on the block establishing itself over the last ten years, the Costa del Sol in Spain.

Why is Spain doing so well with mobile home parks you may ask? First the weather, Florida is known as the sunshine state, but Spain itself is known as a sunny country. Similar temperatures can be found on the Costa del Sol but without the hurricanes and huge thunderstorms.

Next up is the ease of getting into the country. Retiring to Florida is easy for the Americans of course but not so easy for anyone else. Getting a visa to stay 6 months is probably the best you can get. Americans however can come to Spain visa free for 3 months and during that time apply for residency in Spain under the same rules for any non-European country. However, to be on the safe side it is best to apply for the Visado de Residencia before leaving the USA.

As a non-EU citizen, your residence card that you will be issued is valid for one year. It can then be renewed annually for up to five years. After that it will be for longer periods.

The retirement lifestyle

Health care in Spain is a lot cheaper than in Florida as well and part of any residencia application is that you have health care cover. There are lots of insurance companies to choose from and as a resident if you choose the right policy you will also be covered when you return to your home country for visits.

The language of course is very different and everyone speaking English is what makes Florida so appealing. That said on the mobile home retirement parks in Spain the common language is English. On the parks themselves it is like living in the UK. Outside the gates however you are in Spain and everything is Spanish. Imagine being on holiday in Spain as soon as you leave the park. That is what if feels like and no flights required.

Money. For the British either destination involves currency exchange and the same applies to Americans wanting to live in Spain. Spain however has the edge because the cost of living is so much cheaper. You are getting better value for your Pound or Dollar. Yes, there are things in Florida that are much cheaper such as fuel but overall for the retired lifestyle Spain offers better value.

Americans coming to Spain will always get a warm welcome and if they move onto a dedicated mobile home park they will experience a very “British” lifestyle as the parks are modelled on UK retirement parks. Canadians also enjoy coming to Spain and for them it is sometimes easier as many speak French which is a Latin-based language. Picking up the Spanish phrases seems to come sooner rather than later if already speaking two languages.



Tax, the dreaded word. If resident in Spain you will declare your tax in Spain no matter where you come from. Your pensions will be converted into Euros for tax purposes. In a nutshell however you will be paying tax no matter where you live so it is not a big issue. You do not pay more in Spain you just pay in Spain. Local taxes such as town hall taxes are cheaper in Spain than in the UK for example. An accountant will charge around 100€ to do your annual tax return and you can pay in two separate amounts months apart if needed.

Finally, if it was easy to get a visa in the USA to retire many people would opt for that simply down to the language. However, it is not and that is to Spain’s benefit. Spain is then considered second choice but doable by many until they are living here. Once living in Spain enjoying the weather, culture and prices the words “second choice” no longer exist.

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Article code: FCS


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