Best Caribbean Islands for Retirement

More typically reserved for vacays than retirement, several Caribbean territories roll out the red carpet for baby boomers ready to rev up their next huge journey in life. Beyond the perks of warm weather and a closet without winter coats, the islands welcome those exiting the fast track workplace with an easygoing lifestyle, tax incentives, reasonable health care and lobsters on the grill. Live the dream, pack your luggage and plan to write the next chapter of your life as you vacay underneath a palm. You’ve earned it.

U.S. Virgin Islands

The trio that creates up the U.S. Virgin Islands – St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix – offer a number of the best retirement situations within the Caribbean. Simple to get to from the U.S. mainland, passports aren’t required for U.S. Citizens, and for those trying to find a second career or a part-time job, a work visa isn’t necessary and there are lots of opportunities as the islands get back on their feet following the wrath of last year’s hurricanes. St. Thomas is the prime selection for tax-exempt shopping, nightlife within the cruise port of Charlotte Amalie and lazy days in Magens Bay with a 1-mile stretch of excellent beach and acres of coconut groves.

In St. Croix, the east end is generally residential – the better the view, the higher the value – with a couple of restaurants and golf courses. On St. John, Trunk Bay Beach is the recipient of many “best beach within the Caribbean” awards courtesy of the pearly sand and clear water. Nature lovers find lots to try and do within the national park, that covers 60 % of the island. Nonstop flights coming on-board this fall include Spirit Airlines between Orlando, Florida and St. Thomas and additionally with flights from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to St. Croix. American Airlines, that already serves St. Croix and St. Thomas with flights twice daily from Miami, will begin daily service between St. Thomas and Philadelphia, the Big Apple and Charlotte, North Carolina, later this year. Early next year, United Airlines will fly nonstop between Washington Dulles and St. Thomas, and JetBlue Airways will provide flights from Boston to St. Thomas.

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Puerto Rico

If you speak Spanish or wish to learn, you’ll be right at home in Puerto Rico. Like the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Ricans are American citizens (although without a vote in presidential elections). Enticing incentives, courtesy of the Individual Investors Act, exempt retirees from paying taxes on dividends, interest and capital gains. For U.S. citizens to qualify for the exemptions, Puerto Rico must be their primary home for a minimum of 183 days of the year. The currency is the U.S. dollar, Medicare is valid and electrical outlets are identical as they are at in mainland USA.

Shopping is a common American pastime, with designer boutiques on beachfront promenades, Walmart and Walgreens all over and other U.S. chains like Starbucks, as well as the latest outlet at the Ana G. Méndez University in San Juan that opened after hurricane Maria’s unwanted arrival last year. Then there are those long stretches of sandy beaches, golf courses, a trio of bio-luminescent bays, cobblestone streets within the old town, dance classes in outdoor markets, cafes that serve chocolate for breakfast and bars that claim to inventing the mixed drink. “Puerto Rico has an average of a hundred flights daily via twenty eight airlines as well as nonstop service from key USA mainland markets like Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Orlando and Atlanta,” said Brad Dean, business executive of Discover Puerto Rico, a nonprofit created this summer to promote the island. “Puerto Rico’s distinctive status makes it significantly enticing for U.S. citizens seeking a reasonable place to retire,” Dean adds. Airlines flying to the island include American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest and United.

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The Bahamas

The coral archipelago created of over 700 islands (only thirty are inhabited) isn’t solely a magnet for sun-seeking tourists but additionally for retirees. The Bahamas‘ close proximity to Florida means that grandparents aren’t too faraway from the grand kids within the U.S., there’s no foreign language to learn, and also the pace of life is charmingly slow. Nassau, Freeport, Governor’s Harbour and Paradise Island are where you’ll find one-bedroom residences priced below American seaside cities like Miami or Tampa, Florida. One of the most cosmopolitan cities within the Caribbean, Nassau is a 35-minute flight from Miami and offers a robust restaurant scene, streets lined with stores, an active expat community and a busy business sector.

Aside from marrying a local, buying land can get you permanent residency status and tax exemptions on income and capital gains with speedy consideration given to those that purchase expensive property. Additionally eligible for residency status are doctors who are in practice for a minimum of twenty years and nurses, law enforcement officials and teachers with a minimum of ten years under their professional belt. Sandy beaches and ocean views are the large draws, with funky fish fries and a top-notch health care system close behind. For Anglophiles, cricket clubs and spirited pubs are where chatty bartenders pour icy cold mugs of Newcastle Brown beer. Among the retiree-friendly Out Islands, Abacos is laid back with stretches of excellent beaches and a brand new airport terminal at Marsh Harbour for easier access in and out. And Harbour Island is where golf carts are the transport of choice, pink sand beaches stretch the eastern shore and also the architecture is pleasantly resembling New England.

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On the list for money-smart retirees, the British Overseas Territory across the ocean from St. Martin offers no taxation on capital gains and no income tax. Slightly larger than Manhattan and with a whole heap less bustle (OK, none), Anguilla is a desert island with year-round temps about eighty degrees Fahrenheit and less rain than on the opposite more misty mountainous islands. The government grants residency status if you’ll be able to show you have enough money within the bank to live for a year. For those searching for more than a palm-dotted tax haven, the island impresses with thirty three Instagram worthy beaches, over one hundred restaurants, stylish resorts, gilded villas, funky dive bars on the beach and a melting pot of expats from everywhere round the world.

Jackie Cestero is one in all those expats who, together with her husband, sold their place upstate Big Apple house, packed a 20-foot container, boarded a plane with their shepherd dog Sheyne and never looked back. “Retiring to Anguilla allowed me to follow my passion for nature photography and my love of animals,” she says on her porch overlooking the ocean. “I formed Nature Explorers Anguilla, the island’s first ecotourism company that gives bird observation tours to our wetlands and offshore cays.” Next year, the government will launch the “Anguilla Residency by Investment” program based on a real estate purchase or a contribution to the government’s capital fund. A Retroactive fast track Application process will be offered by the end of this year for retirees who already own property. This rule permits those that have lived on the island for 6 months out of the year, for ten years in a row, to qualify for permanent residence status and people who already own property considered favorably for a permanent residence permit. For active golden-agers, there’s windsurfing, sailing, snorkeling and going for the green at the Cuisinart Golf Club, and for those with their wanderlust intact, day trips to nearby St. Maarten, St. Barths, St. Kitts and French Caribbean countries like St. Martin and Guadeloupe are common.

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With year-round sunny weather and a reliable infrastructure, the Dutch island of Curacao that sits thirty five miles north of Venezuela is a prime pick with retirees who covet a small town atmosphere, spirited art scene within the picturesque capital town of Willemstad, gorgeous beaches dotting the coastline, diverse community of expats and an increasing range of nonstop flights from the U.S. Without a great deal of paperwork, American retirees, as of June 2015, no longer need to apply for a residence permit or renew a permit if they have already got one. Instead, a “Declaration of Admission by Law” can be requested at the Civil registry office in Willemstad or at the U.S. Consulate General in conjunction with necessary documents that include a U.S. passport, what the island calls a “certificate of good behavior” and enough cash for housing and health insurance. While awaiting the declaration to be issued, retirees can live on the island for up to 6 months, keeping busy with lots to try and do from golfing and mountain biking to diving, exploring the caves, poring over the historic capital town, enjoying a plethora of nice restaurants and taking five on the sand. There aren’t any taxes on capital gains, income is taxed at about 10 %, property must be purchased inside a year and a half and reasonable health care is offered, with the St. Elizabeth Hospital ranked one of the foremost advanced within the Caribbean.

Hot spots for house-hunters include the stylish side close to the Jan Thiel Beach, non-touristy west side and for those searching for a place within the heart of the town, the artsy neighborhood referred to as Pietermaai near St. Anna Bay is a smart bet. Willemstad is the capital city of Curacao, with bridges that span St. Anna Bay.

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If a small-town ambiance is what you’re searching for, Nevis may be your island. Across the channel from St. Kitts, the gorgeous island is packed with lures, like no tax on inheritances, foreign income or capital gains, and a second passport with a real estate purchase of a minimum of $150,000 (U.S.), referred to as the citizen by Investment program. “Our Citizenship by Investment program is the oldest within the world and ideal for high-net worth retirees. However, for several it is the island lifestyle that retirees crave,” Nevis Premier Mark Brantley said.

Not yet retired, but with an eye fixed to the future, Florida business owner Cheryl Andrews bought a house that she rents when she’s not on the island. “Nevis has everything I was searching for like good folks, sense of community, relaxed atmosphere, smart beaches, nice restaurants, and the quiet I appreciate from my fast-paced Miami life and nothing I don’t want like casinos and traffic.”

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Not as expensive as some other Caribbean islands, many find Antigua’s British atmosphere their retirement cup of tea. There are over three hundred elegant beaches, restaurant stock is growing, nightlife is worth staying up for and also the sailing scene attracts fans from round the world. Homes are affordable if you know where to look (or hire somebody who does) and also the diverse crowd of those who left the workplace behind is a world mosaic.

Though there aren’t any targeted incentives for retirees aside from no wealth, inheritance or income tax, those that wish long-term residency status submit a bank letter or pension statement for approval. For retirees in a rush, the process is usually completed inside 3 months. “The Citizenship by Investment Programme makes retirement planning straightforward,” explains Charmaine Donovan, CEO, Citizenship by Investment Unit. “Through an investment of $100,000 (U.S.), an applicant may acquire citizenship while getting ready for relocation and property acquisition or alternately, applicants could choose an immediate investment of a minimum $400,000 in any of our approved property developments.” The second passport is valid for 5 years and then easily renewable, and personal possessions can be brought into Antigua while not paying import taxes.


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Cayman Islands

Sun, surf and 7 Mile Beach aside, another huge ticket for retirees is health care. A pioneer in Caribbean medical tourism, the trio of islands – Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman – additionally provide what the locals call a friendly tax system (you may call it offshore banking), high standard of living, top-notch restaurants, lots of shopping, excellent diving and a tightly knit expat community principally in Grand Cayman’s capital town of George town.

A favorite of those who squirreled away a generous retirement portfolio, the busier west side is packed with property choices, and for those that opt to strap on scuba gear or jump on a kite-board, the east side is the place to hang your hat.

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Dominican Republic

With astonishingly very little work, wallet-watchers with a monthly income of $1,500 from pensions like Social Security, personal pension plans or independent income are given residency status courtesy of the Dominican Republic’s Law 171-07, introduced last year as an incentive to retirees. Personal items and a car are imported tax-free. Residency status is renewed annually, turning into permanent after four years, at which period retirees are issued a Dominican identity card referred to as a “cedula.” With a growing economy, seven international airports (more than any other Caribbean country) and 5 modern highways that crisscross the country in less than 3 hours, the tropical locale is more convenient than most islands. Prescription medications are sold over the counter and dentists, clinics and hospitals are reasonable. On a monthly budget of $2,000, a couple will live the good life with nights out on the town, lots of play on a myriad of golf courses and household help. For those that opt to own instead of rent, you’ll snag a one-bedroom condominium for $100,000 within the cosmopolitan capital city of Santo Domingo and in cities on the north coast. Property within the tourist-ed areas like Punta Cana and Puerto Plata come with a higher price tag.

Away from the congested resort cities, Samaná is off the beaten track with 3 main towns, uncrowded palm-fringed beaches like Playa Rincón ideal for sailing, snorkeling and windsurfing, El Limon waterfalls, bird watching, horseback riding, whale watching, boat-hopping to offshore Cayo Levantado, 2 national parks and also the modern arroyo Barril airport. The largest city, Las Terrenas, is charming with béisbol games within the park, deep-fried fish on the beach and, courtesy of the international community of expats, grocery stores that stock flaky French croissants, piquant German salamis and pastas from Italy. At the various seacoast cafes, the language of choice is Italian and the sunrise greeter of choice is a frothy cappuccino. Samaná Bay (also said as Bahía de Samaná), is a less-visited region on the Dominican Republic’s northeastern shore.

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