Escape to a Tropical Island (and Live on $1,500 a Month)
If you'd like to make the first footprints of the day on your own un-crowded piece of beach... enjoy night gazing on stars that shine brighter than anywhere else on the planet... live free from the stress of commutes and bureaucratic interference...
Then Island living could be the perfect escape for you.
In this article, we outline the best five tropical island paradises for retirees. These places meet all the criteria needed to make them perfect retirement havens. As well as looking the part, all five of these islands—spread throughout the world—are becoming easier to get to as more and more flights open up to and from North America.
Many tropical getaways have been consumed by commercialism, leaving them beyond every reasonable budget. But the islands on our list remain affordable, as attested by our expat experts on the ground. On some, it’s possible to live for as little as $1,500 a month including rent.
1. An affordable Caribbean Island with a well-established expat community.
With its own international airport, a well-established expat community, and modern amenities mixed with rustic charm, this Island offers retirees an incredible opportunity for a new life in paradise.
Filled with small communities where expats and locals mix and create endearingly intimate neighborhoods.
Stretching about 35 miles long and only five miles wide at its widest point, this island offers breathtaking hillside views and affordable beachfront property.
The monthly budget for a retired couple renting on-island is just $1,800.
2. Laidback, English-speaking Caribbean Island with easy access to the States.
If you’re after a laidback, English-speaking Caribbean retirement at an affordable cost and with easy access to the States, you can’t do much better than this group of islands. The largest island has racked up a series of impressive “best island” awards over the last few years; the island received Trip Advisor’s Traveler’s Choice Award for Best Island for 2013 and 2014. But it’s much more than a tourist destination. It’s a perfect retirement haven.
It’s easy to fly to from North America; fly direct from cities such as Houston, Miami, Dallas, Charlotte, and Atlanta.
It’s possible to live here for under $2,000 a month, although this is easier if you own your own home.
How much you pay in rent is usually determined by how close you want to live to the beach, with beachfront properties usually commanding a higher price. Away from the beach, lots are available for less than $750 a month.
3. A Lush, Mountainous Island Oozing History and Heritage
One of the oldest outposts of the former British Empire, this Island delivers 110 square miles of tropical treasures. A lush, mountainous island oozing history and heritage, Victorians christened it “the Pearl of the Orient.” It lies anchored on the Spice Route, a mere two-hour drive from the borders of southern Thailand.
First-rate hospitals that offer unbelievable heath care at super reasonable prices are the norm. Just one of the reasons the island has two planeloads of medical tourists arriving every day, and when it only costs $20 to see a specialist you can understand why.
4. Hidden Jewel of the Orient
Think of a tropical island that offers just about everything the discerning retiree could want.
It’s warm and balmy 12 months a year. English is widely understood everywhere. There’s a thriving expat community. The hospitals and health care options are of high-quality. And it’s still a big-time bargain when compared to other well-developed tropical islands worldwide.
The island offers much exotic tropical beauty and exciting outdoor activities like deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, horseback riding, archery, golf, tennis, jungle trekking and so much more.
If you’d like to buy a home in here, you can find deals like a brand-new fully-furnished one-bedroom apartment with one ceramic-tiled bathroom, a living room, a kitchen, a terrace, beach access, a gym, high-speed internet, concierge service and dozens more highly-valuable owner amenities for just $92,000.
If you’re really budget conscious and don’t mind living frugally, you could rent a property like a furnished apartment with Wi-Fi, satellite TV, hot water, and a king size bed for $169 a month. Or If you’ve got a slightly higher budget, you could rent a two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment with a living area, kitchen and just five minutes from an expat hotspot $614 a month.
5. A Relaxing, Quintessential Caribbean Island Retreat
The Caribbean here is warm and clear. Depending on where you sit, it looks a pale jade, electric blue, or a translucent turquoise. Views are quintessential Caribbean…pale white sand and lush green palms. It’s the kind of scenery that takes your blood pressure down.
There are places where you can buy a local beer for about 50 cents or have a gourmet meal for $30.
For a little variety, surrounding islands offer a watery world to explore. Some are tiny and uninhabited… you can have stretches of white sand all to yourself. Others may boast a few little B&Bs or restaurants, or indigenous settlements.
Property for rent, is readily available and very inexpensive compared to more popular Caribbean destinations. Smaller apartments can start as low as $500 a month, and three-bedroom, two-bath homes range from $600 to $900 a month. Expect to pay more closer to the main center or for ocean views.
Expats here are of all ages and tend to be mellow, easygoing types. The dress code is “beach casual” and outings consist of a couple beers and maybe some live music, courtesy of musically-minded residents or transient talent.
There are plenty of ways to get involved in island life.