World’s Top 10 Happiest Countries

Explore the world’s 10 most happy and healthy places, according to the leading global happiness measurement the Happy Planet Index.

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10: Ecuador

Ecuador is making its debut on the top 10 happiest countries list, and that could have a lot to do with the government's recently adopted mantra of "buen vivir," or "good living." The nation offers a wide range of landscapes including mountains and volcanoes, which are home to wild alpacas, alongside lush green rainforests and sandy beaches. The Ecuadorians love their natural environment so much, they even amended their constitution to protect it. This country is a prime example of the benefits of self-care.

9: Thailand

The "Land of Smiles" is living up to its name. The Thai people are known for being the most friendly in the world. From the breathtaking coast in the south to the jungles of the north it's no wonder anyone who lives in or travels to this part of the world just can't resist cracking a smile.

8: Bangladesh

Despite being one of the most densely populated nations in the world, Bangladesh has the second smallest ecological footprint in the world. The country's incredible architecture and gorgeous landscapes make Bangladesh a gem of Southeast Asia.

7: Nicaragua

This Central American country values its natural beauty, with a very low ecological footprint score. Adventurous travelers are starting to take note too since the country offers amazing experiences like sandboarding down an active volcano. Locals are excited to see tourism grow rapidly here, with increasing interest in Nicaragua's eco-tourism, surfing and off-the-beaten-path vibe. And it might surprise you, but this country is one of the safest in Central America -- that’s something for locals to feel good about, too.

6: Panama

Positivity runs rampant in Panama. Yes, that’s right: Even though Panama is one of the poorest countries in the world, it has a very high well-being score. Perhaps a rising standard of living and growing economy have something to do with it. Panama has a lot to offer visitors, too, including untrampled beaches that remain almost entirely undeveloped.

5: Vietnam

Vietnam offers an unlimited supply of tranquility and breathtaking scenery. Maybe the slow living vibes offered here are a contributor to Vietnam's impressively high life-expectancy of 75.5. The nation has also been lauded for their exceptional school enrollment, which sits at 98%.

4: Vanuatu

This little-known archipelago off the coast of Australia is home to some amazing hidden treasures like stunning coral reefs. The nation has no military and a history of peace. Plus, the well-being of its residents far surpasses the ranking of other nations in the area. It must be easy to be happy when surrounded by all that peace and beauty.

3: Colombia

Some of the best coffee in the world comes from Colombia. Could a continuous coffee buzz be keeping this country happy? Or perhaps, it’s the fact that Colombians have the second highest number of national holidays in the world. Plenty of days off coupled with lots of good coffee would put a smile on our face, too.

2: Mexico

Healthy lives are happy lives and Mexico is working hard on changes to improve the health of its citizens. Universal healthcare helped provide coverage for everyone, and a tax on sugary drinks is combating obesity. With life expectancy now peaking at 76.3 and a well-being score of 7.3, happiness is on the rise for Mexicans with a lot less to worry about.

1: Costa Rica

An army-free country has to be doing something right. The happiest country on Earth can’t have many enemies (maybe that’s why they have a high life expectancy of 79.1, too). With an abundance of natural beauty --- from beaches to volcanoes to rainforests that are home to adorable happy sloths -- Costa Ricans appreciate their bounty. The local saying, "Pura vida," loosely translates as "Life is good." And here in Costa Rica, life is pure happiness, too.

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