10 Best Islands for Retirement

10 of the best islands to move to after retiring

No cell phones, no computers, no distractions... island living is closer than you think. Retire in style for less!

Vacationing on a tropical, sunny beautiful island oasis is in reach for many. Taking a cruise, visiting for a week are all doable. But living there? Sure, it’s possible some destinations are more affordable than others, and they aren’t all sitting pretty in the Caribbean Sea! So what are you waiting for?

  • Malta, the perks of this tiny island are many! At only 122 square miles, this English-speaking nation has over 155 miles of coastline. Your retirement funds can go surprising far here, with couples living comfortably on $2,600 per month.
  • Mallorca, Spain, steeped in history, you’ll find Roman ruins, Arab structures and Gothic cathedrals. Mallorca is one of the largest islands of the Balearic Islands off the coast of the Iberian Peninsula. The coastline boasts 1,405 square miles, ringed with marinas, harbors and natural rock-lined coves. With a mild year-round climate, this western Mediterranean island can be quite affordable for couples, living well on $2,500 per month.
  • Penang, Malaysia, hailing across the world in the middle of Southeast Asia, Penang, a former outpost of the British Empire, is an ideal location for Americans looking to move around the world. Expats, retirees and the population of Penang speak English.  This island hosts a First World convenience like you’d find at home. George Town, the largest city on Penang, is a foodie mecca and is home to eclectic architecture and a vibrant art scene. Ideally, couples could live quite well here on a monthly budget between $1,500 and $2,500.
  • Ambergris Caye, Belize, imagine it, no daily emails, no phone calls, no stress… Belize’s largest island can help make those dreams of turquoise waters, snow-white sandy beaches come true. It’s also one of the easiest islands to move to. English is the main language, US currency is accepted credit cards are widely used and you’ll be able to get the most well-known U.S. brands here too. Ambergris  is one of Belize’s most under developed islands, giving it a much laid back vibe. You could live here comfortably from $2,700 - $2,900 a month, renting a home. Some Expats have reported that if you own your own home on the island outright, it’s possible to live comfortably on less than $2,000 a month.  
  • Ireland, you won’t find tropical sandy beaches, or scorching beaches lined with palm trees. One common refrain from expatriate retirees is that the Irish pace of life, especially in villages and rural areas, is slower than what they are accustomed to at home. Perhaps unsurprisingly that can also translate into savings. Ireland is certainly not one of the cheapest places to live, ranking 34 out of 134 most expensive countries to live by The Economist.  A nice bonus for the retiree -- free transport is provided for all who are over 66 if they are living permanently in Ireland. Having $200,000 in savings could go far living a rural life in Ireland.
  • Roatan, Honduras, the island is only 31 miles long and 5 miles across, with a small close knit community of 28,000 people. Honduras’s native language is Spanish, but most speak English because of its ties to Colonial United Kingdom. Simple pastimes such as sunbathing on the beach, scuba diving, stretching on a hammock with a good book, or strolling through the mangrove forests are all popular daytime activities and ideal for that laidback retired life. While a retirement visa on Roatan requires you have at least $1500 each month, a couple could live off of $1,200 a month here, per the Global Retirement Index for cost of living.
  • Isla Mujeres, Mexico, popular amongst the snowbirds, Isla Mujeres is no longer a secluded hidden gem, access to and from the island is provided by a fleet of modern, high-speed ferries that maintains a frequent schedule between several terminals in the mainland city of Cancún. A couple can live in grand style on Isla for $2,500 to $3,500 a month; this includes rent, utilities, dining out regularly, and a couple of trips to the mainland each month for major shopping.
  • Bocas del Toro, Panama, is a group of islands. The main island is Isla Colon, where many expats live and have businesses. Here, the water is the main focus—fishing, water sports, and whale watching are just some of the popular pastimes for locals. A couple can live here on as little as $1,400 a month, renting a simple, cozy, island-style home.
  • Bali, everyone has heard of Bali. From exotic wedding and honeymoon adventures to a plethora a movies being filmed here, Bali has something for everyone. The Indonesian island has a reputation for its gorgeous setting, delicious food, and fascinating Hindu culture.  It’s also one of the most visited islands in the South Pacific. In Indonesia, if you are at least 55 years old, have a pension of at least $1,500 USD per month (or $18,000 in the bank) and medical insurance valid in Indonesia, you qualify for a retired visa (known as elderly visa).
  • Koh Samui, Thailand, is becoming one of the fastest growing locations for expat communities. Living on Samui as an expat is easy. The island now features some excellent locations for shopping, including large Western supermarket chains. Koh Samui in particular is a standout in Thailand for its crystal clear water, thousands upon thousands of colorful tropical fish, long sandy beaches as well as many smaller islands to explore.  Snorkeling and scuba are some of the favorite past times here.  You can live well here on a budget of $2,000-$2,500 a month.