Tropical island life is what many retirees envisage upon reaching retirement age, and Caribbean islands offer an array of enticing options. From the pristine beaches of Antigua and Barbuda to the lush greenery of St Lucia, each island’s unique blend of culture, climate, and lifestyle presents a case for the best Caribbean island to retire.

Read on as we explore the considerations for expat retirees seeking the best place to retire in the Caribbean, including the cost of living, economic stability, healthcare quality, residency options, and overall lifestyle amenities.

The Best Caribbean Islands to Retire in 2024 

From picturesque beaches, friendly locals, and colorful carnivals to lively reefs and luscious rainforests, the Caribbean is a veritable tropical paradise for many to enjoy their golden years. To help you choose where to settle, we’ve compiled a list all the islands in the Caribbean that you should consider moving to for retirement in 2024, with help from insight of Caribbean experts.

St Kitts and Nevis

st kitts and nevis passport

Located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, this dual-island nation of St Kitts and Nevis offers a peaceful lifestyle and is known for its beautiful beaches, lush green rainforests, exciting hiking trails, and awe-inspiring mountains.

In addition to the serene surroundings, this retirement haven offers one of the most lenient Caribbean tax environments, with zero income taxes on local and worldwide income and no capital gains, inheritance, and wealth tax.

The St Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment program presents an advantageous proposition for Americans retiring abroad, with the opportunity to make lucrative investments such as real estate purchases while gaining citizenship Caribbean citizenship in the process.

Most retirees choose the property ownership route and successful applicants acquire dual citizenship, which comes with a powerful passport offering visa free travel to more than 150 countries worldwide, including the the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Russia.

The Bahamas

The Bahamas’ close proximity to the United States makes the island ideal for American retirees who frequently travel back home. Additionally, it’s the only Caribbean country with a US immigration pre-clearance facility, allowing travelers to clear US customs and immigration before departing, streamlining the return process.

Beyond the island nation’s convenience for traveling, it boasts a stable political environment, well-developed infrastructure, and a laid-back lifestyle in the sun, all of which are highly appealing to future retired expats. A unique aspect of the former British colony, comprising over 700 islands, is the prospect of owning your own private island for as little as $1 million and living an ultra-exclusive and private life.

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda

From striking beaches running alongside turquoise blue waters to fabulous Antigua and Barbuda real estate options, Antigua and Barbuda is surely among the best places to retire in the Caribbean – and it is safe, too! Being one of the safest Caribbean islands in June 2024. So, if you plan to move to this stunning country after retirement, you have made the right decision.

One of the major Leeward Islands, the country is well connected to popular destinations like the United States, Canada, and Europe. Its growing popularity is evidenced by the recent announcement of new direct flights by Norse Atlantic Airways from Manchester and London to Antigua, as well as by Delta Airlines from Atlanta and New York City to Antigua.

The country has a very low crime rate, and although the cost of living in Antigua and Barbuda is slightly higher compared to many other Caribbean islands, the quality of life offered by the country is unparalleled for expats seeking a relaxing retirement.

On the other hand, renting in the country is relatively affordable. For example, a one-bedroom apartment near the city center will cost you around EC$2,700 (about $1,000) or around EC$2,000 (about $740) if situated outside the city center. If you prefer to purchase property, you can permanently retire in Antigua and Barbuda through a $200,000 real estate investment to qualify for the country’s citizenship by investment program.

Take a look at our Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Comparison Guide by Experts

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The Cayman Islands

The Western Caribbean nation of the real-estate-caribbeanCayman Islands offers one of the highest standards of living in the Caribbean. The British Overseas Territory is exceptionally well governed and politically stable. It possesses one of the Caribbean’s most robust economies, fueled by its reputation as a renowned tax haven. It attracts numerous affluent individuals aiming to minimize their tax burdens while relishing life in a Caribbean paradise.

However, life in the Cayman Islands comes at a higher cost than most islands, with relatively high living costs compared to other popular Caribbean destinations such as the Dominican Republic and St Lucia. Grand Cayman, while the most developed, is one of the country’s more expensive islands, and obtaining an investment visa to live on the island comes with a $1.2 million price tag as well as an annual foreign-earned income requirement of $150,000.

Dominica

dominica citizenship by investment application process

Conversely, in contrast to one of the more expensive Caribbean nations, Dominica stands out as one of the most budget-friendly destinations in the region. Also called the ‘Nature Island’ because of its vast natural beauty, you’ll find plenty of sandy beaches, tropical forests, stunning marine life, and world-class snorkeling sites across the country.

Dominica’s cost of living is affordable compared to other Caribbean countries. Americans can retire in Dominica with an average social security pension. The monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the capital city of Roseau is under $500. If you are looking for a three-bedroom apartment in the city, it will set you back around $1,300 per month on average.

The country is tax-friendly and doesn’t levy wealth tax, gift tax, inheritance tax, personal income tax, foreign income, or capital gains tax on its residents. In addition to these favorable factors, the country also provides economical public and private medical facilities. However, for added peace of mind, we recommend that retirees seeking residency in Dominica opt for private insurance while residing there.

St Maarten

st-maarten-health-care

Part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and what many consider the safest Caribbean island to live, St Maarten in the Eastern Caribbean is famous for its diverse community, fast-evolving economy, mesmerizing delicacies such as conch and dumplings and locri, and natural beauty. Living expenses for retirees in St Maarten are generally higher than those in the United States or Canada. Still, retirees benefit from an exceptionally stable country with quality medical care options.

St Maarten has more than one official language, Dutch and English, which are widely spoken throughout the country. While it’s considered to be the the safest place to live in the Caribbean, the bar to obtain a retirement visa in St Maarten is relatively high; foreign nationals must be at least 60 years old and have minimum savings of $255,000 to qualify for the temporary one-year visa. The visa is eligible for renewal, provided visa holders purchase property for a minimum of $255,000.

Grenada

rain forest grenada

Owing to several nutmeg plantations across the island, Grenada is also known as the “Spice Isle” of the Caribbean. There are numerous qualities and things to do in Grenada, with its world-class beaches, stunning natural features, year-round fantastic weather, and attractions, such as Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park.

Most expats highlight the country’s relaxed lifestyle. So, if you are looking for a calm and quiet tropical island to spend your retirement in, Grenada is undoubtedly the place to be. The Grenada citizenship by investment program is one of the five CBI programs in the Caribbean. It offers the option of making a non-refundable contribution of investing in a future home to qualify for Caribbean citizenship.

Along with acquiring a second passport, senior citizens can enjoy peace of mind from a Grenada property purchase when they choose to retire in the Caribbean, as the country sits outside of the hurricane belt, offering a relatively safer environment compared to other islands prone to natural disasters.

Anguilla

Anguilla-Caribbean-Beach

Renowned for its charming beaches, mesmerizing coral reefs, beautiful resorts, and tranquil lifestyle, the tropical paradise of Anguilla is a small island in the Caribbean with much to offer. Although the island is small in area, it provides people with a host of adventurous activities, like sailing, snorkeling, diving, fishing, bicycling, horseback riding, and more. The island also has exquisite tennis facilities and golf courses for avid sports enthusiasts.

Foreign retirees who purchase property for at least $750,000 can quickly obtain permanent residency here. Anguilla also offers various tax incentives to its residents, including no income, capital gains, or inheritance taxes. However, foreign retirees considering Anguilla as a retirement destination must keep in mind that the country has only one hospital, and patients with severe health concerns may need to be transferred to hospitals in other countries, like the United States.

St Lucia

st lucia aereal tram view

Home to beautiful beaches, stunning peaks like Gros Piton, and epic diving sites, St Lucia is one of the top retirement destinations in the Caribbean. This charming Caribbean island has a stable government, a low cost of living, attractive tax incentives, and is well-connected.

Be it shopping, entertainment options, adventurous activities, or cultural events, you have access to everything when you Retire in St Lucia. Compared to the United States or the United Kingdom, rent in St Lucia is affordable, with one-bedroom apartments in the country’s capital available for under $600 per month.

St Lucia solidifies its reputation as a top place to retire in the Caribbean through its citizenship by investment program. Foreign retirees can live the beach life permanently in St Lucia with an investment worth $100,000.

Explore the top reasons to Invest in the Caribbean

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The British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands is another highly sought-after Caribbean retirement spot with stunning beaches, a tropical climate, and significant tax advantages for an American citizen.

The country imposes zero taxes on income, capital gains, wealth, and inheritance.

However, its cost of living makes the country one of the most expensive in the Caribbean. Nevertheless, it remains one of the safest Caribbean islands to live and is home to a large expatriate community of American and British retirees.

Retirees must establish a substantial business presence in the country or be a director with a minimum net worth of $100 million to qualify for an investor visa.

Belize

cay caulker

Caye Caulker, a small island off the coast of mainland Belize, embodies the laid-back Caribbean lifestyle with its motto, “go slow.” A water taxi ride from Ambergris Caye, one of the country’s main islands, to Caye Caulker takes just 30 minutes.

Though its population is smaller compared to other Belizean islands, residents and foreign retirees alike praise its slower pace of life, unparalleled natural beauty, and peaceful atmosphere as a carless island. According to International Living, it’s one of the best Caribbean islands to retire for expats who love outdoor activities, especially those in the water.

Belize offers the appealing option of the Belize Qualified Retirement Program (QRP). This dedicated retirement visa grants permanent residency to retirees with a monthly fixed income of just $2,000 deposited in a local bank account.

Barbados

barbados

What may be the most popular retirement destination in the Caribbean, Barbados packs a big punch as a Caribbean destination for retirement. Retirees in Barbados enjoy exceptional governance that prioritizes the well-being and interests of its citizens. There are no private beaches on the island, meaning residents can freely access the country’s entire coastline of white sand beaches.

Furthermore, Barbados is a top destination for global nomads, offering its own digital nomad visa in addition to a residence permit available through a Caribbean real estate investment. The country is well-connected, with direct flights from the US and European countries, including the UK, France, and Germany.

Costa Rica

Bridging Central America and Caribbean Islands, Costa Rica is a top destination for retiring in the Caribbean for several reasons. According to the Global Peace Index (GPI), it is the safest country in Central America and offers the most biodiversity of any country on the list. It benefits from the Caribbean Sea and white sand beaches on the east coast and the Pacific Ocean and a surfers paradise on the west coast. 

The country’s political neutrality and peaceful reputation make it an attractive choice for retirees seeking security and tranquility. The modern amenities, luxurious properties nestled amidst luscious greenery, and top-notch healthcare facilities tailored for retirees contribute to its allure. Retirement in Costa Rica is accessible, with reasonable affordable living costs and a cheap residency visa. The Pensianado Visa requires a pension or social security income of just $1,000. 

Frequently Asked Questions about the Best Caribbean Island to Retire to

Which Caribbean island is the safest to live in?

As of June 2024, some of the safest Caribbean islands to live in include:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Anguilla
  • The British Virgin Islands
  • The Cayman Islands
  • Martinique
  • Montserrat
  • St Barts

These countries are some of the safest places to retire in the Caribbean, with extremely low crime rates and stable political environments.

Which is the most affordable Caribbean island to live in?

There are numerous affordable Caribbean islands to live on, some of which include:

  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Dominican Republic
  • Jamaica
  • St Lucia

Which Caribbean island is best for retirement?

Potential retirement locations include Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, and St Lucia, the most retirement-friendly places in the Caribbean. Owing to their tropical climates, tax exemptions, quality healthcare, and relaxed lifestyle, many seniors choose these countries to retire. Their appeal is bolstered by their citizenship by investment programs, allowing retirees to invest in property and earn citizenship in return.

What is the least violent island in the Caribbean?

Montserrat, Anguilla, Martinique, and St Barts are some of the safest Caribbean islands to live in, boasting the lowest violent crime rates. 

What are the tax benefits of retiring on a Caribbean island?

The tax benefits of retiring in Caribbean countries like Puerto Rico, the Cayman Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and St Kitts and Nevis include favorable tax rates, no income taxes, and no capital gains taxes, providing significant financial advantages for retirees.

Which Caribbean island offers the best healthcare for retirees?

The Bahamas is widely ranked as having the Caribbean’s best healthcare system for retirees due to its well-developed infrastructure, high standard of care, and accessibility to modern facilities. The country offers several private hospitals and clinics with advanced technology and highly qualified professionals who often have international experience. Private health care services are also easy to obtain in the Bahamas.

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