The Caribbean provides a much needed escape from the bustle of everyday life. This is what makes it such a popular retirement destination. Many retirees choose to make their home in the Caribbean because of its pleasant weather, rich natural wealth and the warmth of the people. The cost of living usually depends on which island you go to, but there are many affordable options and incentives that are perfect for people living on a fixed budget. Here are some of the top retirement havens within the Caribbean.
Belize lies on the Caribbean cost of Central America and is a place of immense natural beauty with its blue waters, beautiful beaches and inland retreats.There are also lots of enjoyable activities to do here such as fishing and wildlife watching. A big advantage for expats and retirees is that the population speaks English. Belize has a sizable retiree population and this community keeps growing. The cost of living here is affordable for those living on a fixed budget. The costs of healthcare are also much lower as compared to countries like the United States. The country has a special retiree program where qualified retirees get tax exemptions on income earned abroad. To be eligible for these and other retirement benefits in the Qualified Retired Persons (QRP) Program of Belize, you must be at least 45 years old, and must receive a monthly income of at least $2000, along with some other minor requirements.
Commonwealth of Dominica
Another English speaking destination, the island of Dominica is relatively unspoiled by tourism as compared to the other Caribbean islands. It also has the highest percentage of centenarians in the world, which is often attributed to the healthy diet and lifestyle of the locals. Retirees who live here are not required to pay capital gains tax, inheritance tax or income tax on income earned abroad. Since the economy is mainly governed by agriculture, food costs are affordable here.
Bequia is a small island, just seven square miles and with a population of 5,000. There are no huge tourist resorts here and the expat community and locals live in close proximity. The little island has a history of shipbuilding. Next to the capital of Port Elizabeth, lies the 500-yard stretch of Princess Margaret Beach, considered to be the best beach in Bequia. It also has a market with lots of fresh local produce on offer. Friendship Bay is another stretch of beach land and also provides opportunities for sailing and snorkeling. Further to the north is Spring Bay, much more secluded than the others.
Panama has always figured among the top retirement destinations in the world. Apart from its scenic beaches and warm weather, Panama also offers many benefits to retirees. The destination is especially popular among Americans since the currency is the US dollar. People spending their retirement in Panama stand to benefit from the Pensionado visa program for expats, which provides a number of discounts on medical care, public transportation, airfare, hotels and entertainment. The program also makes the immigration process simpler for expats. Retirees can also obtain a cedula, a national identification card issues to Panama residents. This enables one to have greater ease while moving about and doing transactions in Panama. However, retirees in the program can live quite easily with just their pensionado card and passport issued by their home country.
A culturally diverse population, tropical climate, rainforests and mountains make Costa Rica an attractive destination for retirees. More than 20,000 US expats, which includes many retirees, live in this beautiful country according to statistics of the U.S Department of State. The standard of living is high and since the country is such a popular tourist destination, it has everything from fine dining restaurants to modern telecommunications. The Central Valle in Costa Rica is home to many retirees on account of its year-round pleasant weather and close proximity to the international airport in San Jose.
Other Caribbean destinations that are worth mentioning here are include the islands of Turks and Caicos, where expats form the majority of the population; Honduras, which has a particularly prominent American expat population; and Nicaragua, which has a great retirement program that offers several tax incentives.