Mention the phrase “Caribbean” and most folks consider locations like Aruba, the Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas, and different tourist-rich dollops of sand. The area conjures well-deserved photographs of crystal-clear waters and white-sand seashores.
And there’s no query: If you want solar and sand, these islands are nice for a trip. But transfer there? Most of us assume it’s simply too costly and don’t give it one other thought.
But that’s too dangerous. Because the Caribbean is greater than many individuals notice. And whenever you look past the mass-market shores the vacationer brochures describe, you’ll discover quite a lot of sun-splashed islands effectively value your consideration. They’re not solely stunning… however much more affordable than most folks notice.
Belize, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Mexico all provide islands off their Caribbean coasts—islands that share the identical turquoise-blue waters and powder-white seashores you anticipate whenever you hear “Caribbean”—solely you gained’t pay a fortune to stay on any of them.
Read on to discover out extra about five Caribbean islands that gained’t break the financial institution…and two that simply may…
1. Ambergris Caye, Belize
English-speaking Ambergris Caye is the biggest island in Belize at 25 miles lengthy and a bit of over a mile extensive, and San Pedro is its solely city. About 30 years in the past, Ambergris turned a sizzling spot for divers and fishermen thanks to the Belize Barrier Reef, only a half-mile offshore. This pure wonderland of residing coral helps a dizzying array of marine life, and it’s the primary purpose Ambergris has seen its current (and important) progress.
Until just some years in the past, San Pedro was a bit of fishing village that catered to journey vacationers coming for the scuba-diving and deep-sea fishing. The major motorized transportation on Ambergris Caye at the moment was golf carts (which stay well-liked, although there are various extra automobiles on the island immediately). San Pedro is now the second-largest city in Belize District with greater than 15,000 folks, surpassed in dimension solely by the previous capital, Belize City.
Expats hand over little residing on Ambergris Caye. Power, water, cellphone protection, and web are dependable…and you should buy most requirements for each day residing on the island. Regular water taxis and flights make it simple to take a fast procuring journey in Belize City, or Chetumal, Mexico. The number of high quality eating places and bars is continually increasing.
For between $2,950 to $3,150 a month, a pair can get pleasure from a cushty retirement in Ambergris Caye—a price range that features the price of a home or condominium rental. If you personal your personal dwelling on the island outright, then expats report it’s doable for a pair to stay fairly comfortably on lower than $2,000 a month.
“Belize has taught me to relax, go with the flow, enjoy the small moments,” says Donna Ehart at her Caribbean dwelling. “Before moving here, I was a workaholic and constantly stressed.”
Donna and her husband, Timm, run Coconut Café Restaurant in San Pedro, on Ambergris Caye. They welcome guests with contemporary squeezed orange juice and meals comprised of scratch. Think tropical french toast, freshly-made tortillas, and burritos that make your mouth water.
It wasn’t all the time like this. Back within the U.S., Donna and Timm’s busy careers within the software program trade concerned three-hour commutes and 16-hour days. “We’d say, ‘This can’t be what life is all about. We should move to the tropics and have a little place on the beach,’” says Donna. “That was our guiding light.”
Down time in Belize gives a number of actions that create a way of group for expats. Donna says, “I was part of Rotary for a while and assisted with several community service projects. They included helping the police department implement a 911 program, bringing the circus to San Pedro, and implementing a summer sports program.”
Lots of people say Donna and Timm had been courageous to transfer to one other nation. Donna disagrees. “No, it’s not hard. The people of Belize are amazing and welcomed us with open arms. It’s a major change in lifestyle but a good major change.”
Ambergris Caye is not a sleepy little Caribbean island cover away. But for expats preferring to stay in an lively group that provides each comfort and the pure great thing about the encompassing Caribbean Sea, it has a lot to provide.
2. Roatán, Honduras
An emerald escape within the western Caribbean, Roatán has quietly graduated from secret divers’ getaway to livable island haven. Just 50 sq. miles, this inexperienced, hilly island off Honduras’ northern coast is lengthy and skinny, fringed by a reef wealthy with sea life and garnished by white-sand seashores.
The seashores listed here are quiet and pristine. Life is laid again, lived in rhythm with the solar and the surf. No big-name resorts. No “spring break” strips. No high-rise developments. This is old-school Caribbean…although fitted out with fashionable conveniences…
For lower than $175,000, you can have a two-bedroom Caribbean dwelling proper on the water in a quiet neighborhood with no vacationers—your personal non-public getaway. If you stayed simply a part of the yr, you can lease your home out to assist cowl your holding prices.
This is an island the place “normal” folks can purchase a trip dwelling or everlasting digs to stay out their sunny, low-cost, and snug retirement. The infrastructure is nice and getting higher on a regular basis, with a brand new energy plant online and the current opening of a hospital with specialist care and a 24-hour emergency room.
Life on an island is commonly dearer than mainland residing—nearly all the things has to be imported, in spite of everything. But relative to the remainder of the Caribbean, Roatán gives wonderful worth. aily life, lived effectively, is affordable on Roatán—a price range of $2,000 to $2,500 a month, all in, for a median retired couple. Cost of residing all the time is dependent upon life-style, and merchandise imported from the U.S. are comparable to U.S. costs. But with pineapples for $2, good wine from Chile for $6 to $8 a bottle, grass-fed floor beef for $4 a pound, and $5 for a plate of grilled rooster, salad, plantains, rice, and beans at an area seaside restaurant, you’ll be able to’t assist however get monetary savings.
“Living on Roatán, I love outdoor activity…swimming, diving, boating—it’s great that way,” says expat Martina Leitch, who runs a B&B with panoramic sea views. “And out here, it’s blissfully quiet.”
“The cost of living is amazing,” says Martina, a Canadian who has referred to as this island dwelling for 12 years. The first six years, she spent her winters within the busy West End. The final six she’s lived full-time off the grid far on the east aspect, close to Port Royal, in a hilltop dwelling—her B&B/restaurant—with panoramic ocean views.
The vibrant expat group on Roatán means you’ll by no means be wanting buddies or issues to do. Boating journeys to close by cays…events, cookouts, potlucks, and different celebrations…seaside barbecues (celebrating nothing aside from residing in paradise)…dinners out… The social life is nice. And there are many seaside bars and eating places.
Bottom line: Roatán is nice for good-value, laid again residing within the solar. Culture vultures will get bored, however in the event you like to dive, snorkel, swing in a hammock or sit along with your ft within the sand, you’ll need to linger.Get Your Free Caribbean Report Here:
3. Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Isla Mujeres is about 8 miles from Cancún in Mexico, however this laid again island is a world away from the hustle and bustle of its extra tourist-developed older sister. Before Cancún existed, Mexicans and a couple of adventurous foreigners went to Isla Mujeres for a number of the finest seashores and water sports activities on the planet—diving for coral, swimming with dolphins, and crusing on a crystal blue sea.
Clear, azure waters and white-sand seashores are by no means distant, and the price of residing is way decrease than the same life-style would value again within the States. You can personal a one-bedroom, two-bathroom penthouse apartment with a view from $230,000 or lease a one-bedroom place for $700 to $1000 a month, in accordance to native expats.
At the age of 55, Rob and Julie Goff had had sufficient of the chilly, the snow, and their ongoing enterprise pressures. When they realized they might have a full-time life on a Caribbean island, they shortly took motion.
They packed up, bought out, and traded the chilly climate and irritating lives for an island lifetime of heat, turquoise water, tropical climate, zero stress, and the freshest seafood possible. “We took advantage of the opportunity. It wasn’t a tough decision,” Rob says.
The Goffs used the funds from the sale of their dwelling and enterprise to construct their new island dwelling. It covers about 2,000 sq. ft, and they spent about $700,000, all whole.
“We have a lovely pool and a great deck where we often sit with a bottle of wine. In fact, it’s not unusual for a neighbor to show up with their dog, and a bottle of wine in hand,” says Julie.
They each love the seaside and Julie enjoys spending time in her artist’s studio. Rob can usually be discovered within the water along with his scuba buddies.
The island enjoys a heat tropical local weather (low to mid-80s F for most of the yr) and a laid again vibe; golf carts are most popular to automobiles as the primary technique of transport.
A pair can stay a really good life on Isla Mujeres for round $36,000 a yr, or $2,500-$3,000 a month, together with lease.
4. Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic
Columbus knew he was on to one thing good when he noticed a lovely, coral-rimmed island in 1492. “This is the fairest land under heaven,” the explorer is reported to have stated.
Though Columbus made many errors on his first voyage to the New World, he was proper concerning the island, now generally known as Hispaniola, the jap a part of which is the Dominican Republic. (The western aspect is Haiti.) The Dominican Republic has nice climate and world-class seashores, not to point out a low value of residing and a steady authorities—plus it’s simply 3½ hours from New York, which implies you’ll be able to depart the town within the morning and be on the seaside for lunch.
The north coast of the island has a number of the most interesting seashores within the Caribbean, the east coast is a sportsman’s paradise with a number of the latest designer golf programs within the area.
If you’re in search of a low-key getaway however with all of the conveniences of dwelling, you’ll discover the city of Las Terrenas gives wonderful values with its mixture of lovely seashores, a small-town really feel, stylish fashion, and comparatively affordable property. Thirty years in the past, it was a country fishing village. Twenty-four years in the past, the city didn’t have an electrical energy provide. But an inflow of 6,000 French and Italians, who liked this place a lot they determined to settle right here, modified the face of the city.
Today, the city middle is a whirl of motoconchos (bike taxis), shops and cafés painted rainbow-bright. The unique previous picket houses sitting on the seaside at the moment are fashionable cafés and eating places. They’re family-run, serving wood-fired pizza and easy snacks, proper up to connoisseur Italian and French meals.
This isn’t all-inclusive resort territory, and thanks to strict planning legal guidelines it ought to keep that means. The seaside lodges listed here are small and family-run relatively than sprawling, faceless chains.
The seashores round Las Terrenas are a number of the most pristine within the Dominican Republic. The most unimaginable factor about it, although, is the actual property costs. A one-bedroom, one-bathroom loft condominium will be had for as little as $99,500. A pair can stay on this tropical haven for round $2,000 a month, though most select to spend nearer to $3,000 a month.
When Dan Williams determined to retire there, he had been working for eight years as an environmental engineer for the Missouri state authorities. At the time, he was 57 years previous, single, and longed to retire to the seaside.
“The country is a mini-continent, with a wide variety of terrain, from oceans to the highest mountains in the Caribbean, and everything in between,” he says. “The climate is wonderful. It is close to the U.S. and is economical. Weighed in the balance, it is the ideal country for me.”
After a couple of months in Sosúa on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, Dan determined to tag together with a good friend who was taking a highway journey to Las Terrenas.
Dan was enchanted and determined to relocate there. “I loved the beach, the vibe, the natural beauty, and the European flavor of the place,” he says. “It seemed like a hidden Shangri-La.”
5. Isla Colón, Panama
Not many individuals know that Panama has its personal tropical archipelagoes. Set on the Caribbean coast, shut to the border with Costa Rica, Bocas del Toro is a bunch of 9 major islands and a couple of hundred smaller cayos and islets, dotting calm turquoise waters.
The major hub is bustling Bocas Town, on the big island of Isla Colon. It’s a ramshackle seaside city of brightly painted buildings—many on stilts over the water. It’s the house base for most guests and the place nearly all of expats stay.
Bocas, as it’s identified, is all about water. Water sports activities, fishing, and whale watching are simply a number of the well-liked pastimes for locals. The small metropolis is vacationer pushed however with a laid again really feel.
And you don’t want to be a millionaire to stay right here. You can lease a one- or two-bedroom dwelling for as little as $600 to $1,200 a month. Including lease, your value of residing in Bocas might be as little as $2,000 a month. Bocas is dwelling to an excessive amount of untitled or proper of possession (ROP) property. It’s finest to lease and familiarize your self with the distinctive panorama earlier than considering a property buy right here.Get Your Free Caribbean Report Here:
Two to avoid…as a result of prices are excessive
The magnificence and tropical enchantment of St. Thomas and Grand Bahama are inconceivable to deny. An expat touring with limitless funds may effectively select both for his island getaway. But for anyone who’s a budget-conscious, these Caribbean retreats will show arduous on the pockets…
1. St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Located within the Caribbean, the U.S. Virgin Islands is made up of over 60 islands…most of them uninhabited. The three most populated, and most visited, are St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix. The U.S. Virgin Islands are an organized, unincorporated United States territory and their persons are U.S. residents.
The enchantment of those tropical islands is the combination of the unique and the recognizable—an island paradise with fashionable comforts and a steadiness of Caribbean tradition and American practicality.
St. Thomas is the island on which most of the inhabitants of the U.S. Virgin Island lives. It can also be the most commercialized of the islands and a daily stopping off level for Caribbean cruise ships. This 30-square-mile island has jungle cliffs that soar excessive into the sky and the turquoise sea is dotted with yachts of all shapes and sizes. St. Thomas, and particularly the capital of Charlotte Amalie, can get overrun by vacationers.
While St. Thomas could also be a pleasant place to stay, we are saying “avoid” due to the excessive value of residing. Apartments lease for about $2,000 a month and to purchase a two-bedroom home in a great neighborhood will value about $285,000-plus.
2. Grand Bahama Island, the Bahamas
What do Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp, Oprah Winfrey, Sean Connery, Bill Gates, and Tiger Woods have in widespread? Apart from being celebrities, they’re amongst 1000’s of North Americans and Europeans who personal second houses in the Bahamas.
Like different expats who stay there for all or a part of the yr, these stars usually consider the Bahamas as a paradise—an upscale group of islands with a number of the most stunning seashores on the planet. The Bahamas are pleasant to newcomers, there’s no overseas language to address, crime is comparatively low, and the islands are positioned simply off the Florida coast.
That’s the excellent news. The dangerous information is that property on the islands often isn’t low cost. Medium-size residences in unique gated communities with ocean views usually value greater than $2 million.
Even although Grand Bahama is the closest main Bahamian island to the U.S. (about 55 miles off the Florida coast), it was one of many least developed till only some a long time in the past. In the center of the final century, the inhabitants was about 500.
Today Grand Bahama is the second most populous island, with greater than 50,000 residents. Its main metropolis, Freeport, has a inhabitants of about 27,000, making it the second-largest metropolitan space within the nation, far eclipsing West End, the previous capital of Grand Bahama.
Grand Bahama Island has develop into a haven for beach-lovers in addition to divers, fishermen, golfers, and sports activities fans of all types. It’s additionally a main vacation spot for individuals who get pleasure from world-class procuring. But residing right here prices a premium because it’s between 30% and 50% dearer than within the U.S.