12 Best Islands for Retirement

When defining anything as “the best,” retirement destinations included, it’s necessary to understand the criteria along with considerations of personal needs and tastes. To some, the best is the most luxurious and indulgent regardless of price. To others, the best means value — getting the most for bang for your buck. The best climate, scenery, location, health care, and things to do also come into the picture.

Many international islands offer incentives to retirees and welcome them as long as they can prove a minimum amount of income or savings. Both local and U.S. taxes are a consideration, and American citizens should be sure to understand the IRS requirements. The U.S. Department of State offers a checklist on retiring abroad as well as access to visa requirements and specific information for other countries. The U.S. State Department travel advisories page is another useful resource, as is STEP (the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program). Since Medicare does not apply overseas, retirees living abroad must think about arrangements for health coverage, prescriptions, and availability of medical care.

It’s a good idea to take a lengthy vacation on any of the islands to get a feel for housing and daily living costs, social life, quality of medical care, language, infrastructure, transportation, and safety. Issues such as unreliable Wi-Fi, electrical blackouts, traffic, and unavailability of familiar products are minor inconveniences to some and game changers to others.

For the adventurous or retirees seeking a change of scenery, lifestyle, or a more economical place to settle, we have rounded up some ideas. More research is recommended, of course, before you start packing up and planning your farewell parties, but these islands may get you thinking about your future home.

See the slideshow here.