SINGAPORE, 26 March 2021: You don’t have to be a millionaire
to enjoy the romance of island living in retirement, says International Living
in its latest ranking of the top island destinations for retirees.
Penang is the highest rated island for retirees in Asia and
the third-ranking worldwide according to the latest report from the editors at
InternationalLiving.com. It follows top-ranked Malta and second place
International Living identifies 15 great-value islands
worldwide in its latest research to discover the top places for retirees
seeking value for money.
“Perhaps this year, more than most, the idea of an
island escape has real dream appeal. After all, who doesn’t want to flee the
pressures of day-to-day living in a pandemic?” says International Living
executive editor Jennifer Stevens.
“But what most folks who fantasize about blue water and palm
trees don’t realize is that—on the right islands—you could actually live well
for less than it costs to stay home.”
The 15 Best Islands in the World to Retire On—profiling
islands scattered around the world where anybody looking for a warm-weather
getaway in picture-perfect surrounds can find it in 2021—and at a much lower
cost than most folks probably imagine.
“While travel may still be restricted at the moment, it is a
smart time to begin putting a travel plan in place. These 15 island picks all
represent good-value locales that can make sense for a short-term getaway, a
place to winter—or summer — over or even a full-time escape,” says Stevens.
At only 122 square miles, the tiny island nation of Malta has something for everyone – from ancient walled cities and breath-taking coastal trails to countryside farmhouses and charming restaurants.
Home to a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the islands—with over 155 miles of coastline—benefit from warm weather year-round. Dollars can go surprisingly far here, with couples living comfortably on USD2,600 per month.
#2 Mallorca, Spain
Mallorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands, the
autonomous Spanish region just off the coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Here, a couple can live well from $2,500 a month, depending
#3 Penang, Malaysia
The island of Penang, off the coast of Malaysia, has been a firm favourite among savvy ex-pats for decades. A couple can live well on a monthly budget of between $1,500 and USD2,500 per month. It’s a luxury life on an affordable budget with all the comforts and conveniences of home.
Penang’s international airport, which lots of low-cost Asian
airlines operate from, makes exploring farther afield in Southeast Asia easy.
Known as a foodie haven, Penang’s largest city, George Town,
is home to eclectic architecture, a vibrant art scene, and what many call the
best street food in the world. Plus, as a former outpost of the British empire,
Penang has a large English-speaking populace.
#4 Ambergris Caye, Belize
Belize’s largest island, Ambergris Caye, is surrounded by
stunning turquoise seascapes. This Caribbean island is a centre for ocean
sports during the day and for socializing at night. Ambergris and the small
nearby islands are not overly developed, which means they’ve maintained a
laidback vibe. San Pedro is the major population hub on Ambergris.
Moving to Belize is easy. It’s the only country in Central
America with English as its main language. TheUS dollar is accepted, credit
cards are widely used, and well-known U.S. brands are available too.
A couple can enjoy a comfortable retirement in Ambergris
Caye, including rent, for between USD2,950 to USD3,150 per month. If you own
your own home on the island, then it’s possible for a couple to live quite
comfortably on less than USD2,000 a month.
A land full of poetry and song on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, the island of Ireland is exceptionally alluring. It could rain at any time, but the Irish weather is not something to endure; it’s to be embraced. On a budget of around USD2,800 a month, a retired couple could live quite comfortably.
#6 Roatan, Honduras
The most populated of the Bay Islands, Roatán, is 35 miles from the northern coast of Honduras. Although Honduras is Spanish-speaking, Roatán is largely English-speaking thanks to a long colonial relationship with the United Kingdom. It’s an affordable Caribbean. A couple could live well here on USD2,000 to USD2,500 a month.
#7 Isla Mujeres, Mexico
This relaxed island is a world away from its more tourist-developed neighbour — golf carts are preferred to cars as the main mode of transport. The island enjoys a warm tropical climate (low to mid-80s F for most of the year), which means there is plenty to do on Isla Mujeres.
And the cost of living is far lower than a similar lifestyle would cost back in the States. A couple can live a nice life on Isla Mujeres for USD2,500 to USD3,000 a month, including rent.
#8 Isla Colon, Panama
One of the best-kept secrets in the Caribbean may well be Panama’s tropical archipelago. Close to the border with Costa Rica, Bocas del Toro is a group of nine main islands and a few hundred smaller cays and islets, dotting calm turquoise waters.
Bocas Del Toro is also a perfect place to test drive the dream Caribbean lifestyle. A couple can live here on as little as USD1,400 a month, renting a simple, cosy, island-style home.
Bali is the rock star of the 18,307 islands that make up Indonesia. The mere mention of Bali evokes thoughts of paradise, but it’s more than just a place. Bali is only eight degrees south of the equator, so you can count on most days being between 78 to 90 F with 75% humidity. The mountainous regions get some slightly cooler temperatures and the monsoon season is from October to April. But even the rainy season has plenty of sunny days. A couple can live well in most towns in Bali for USD1,900.
#10 Samui, Thailand
Samui is Thailand’s second-largest island after Phuket and lies off the eastern coast in the Gulf of Thailand, around 400 miles south of Bangkok. Samui, one of an archipelago of 80 smaller islands, has a warm and mostly clear sea, with lots of opportunities for kayaking, sailing, and boating. It is also fast becoming a golfer’s paradise.
The island makes a great destination for anyone looking for
a dream retirement by the sea. Ex-pats live well here on a budget of USD2,000
to USD2,500 a month.
#11 Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic
Known for top-class beaches, excellent weather, and great golf, the Dominican Republic— just three-and-a-half hours from New York—is a front runner for affordable Caribbean living. A couple can live in this tropical paradise for around USD2,000 a month, although most choose to spend closer to USD3,000 a month.
#12 Crete, Greece
Crete, the biggest island in Greece and the 88th largest in the world, is an ideal choice for anyone who wants to experience Greek island living. Geographically, it is about the size of Delaware in the U.S., and with a population of over 630,000, the island is active and lively all year round, largely because of local industry and agriculture. The cost of living in Crete largely follows the cost of living in mainland Greece, and because Crete is so big, you’ll have lots of housing options.
A couple can live here on as little as USD1,800 a month.
#13 Cozumel, Mexico
The island of Cozumel in Mexico could be perfect for you. Just 12 miles off the coast of Playa del Carmen, along Mexico’s famed Riviera Maya, Cozumel is a well-established, world-class vacation destination. Especially known for its warm, tropical water, snorkelers and scuba divers from across the globe enjoy exploring the island’s reef, teeming with aquatic life. A couple can enjoy a comfortable retirement here, including rent, for less than USD1,900 a month.
#14 Caye Caulker, Belize
Caye Caulker, a five-mile-long island off the coast of mainland Belize, is a charming Caribbean island where “go slow” is the motto. This island is known for its stunning seascapes, diverse water sports, eco-tours, and friendly community. It takes only 30 minutes by water taxi to reach Caye Caulker from its big sister Ambergris Caye. While it is much smaller, with less than 2,000 residents compared to Ambergris’ 20,000, it’s just as beautiful on this island, and the pace is much slower.
Most ex-pats can live comfortably on this island for USD1,500 to USD2,000 a month.
#15 Phu Quoc, Vietnam
Though it’s only about the size of Chicago, with barely 100,000 full-time residents, Phu Quoc is Vietnam’s largest island. Over 20 beaches dot the coastline, with many more on the 27 nearby islands that make up the Phu Quoc Archipelago.
About 200 ex-pats live on the island; the majority of them stay in Duong Dong, the commercial centre of Phu Quoc, with a population of roughly 20,000.
Phu Quoc offers everything needed in a retirement haven. The island is full of natural beauty, with mountains, trails through lush jungle forests, coral reefs, and intriguing beaches. A leisurely drive around the circumference of the island takes about a day, but discovering its many hidden gems could take years. A couple can live here on as little as USD1,210 a month,