Seven of the world’s best islands for good-value living
These seven islands were hand-picked as the best on the planet for comfortable, good-value living.
These seven islands were hand-picked as the best on the planet for comfortable, good-value living. All are locales where, expats report, you can find privacy, peace, a simpler way of life, and strong communities.
The Caribbean island of Roatan is great for good-value, laid-back living in the sun. If you like to dive, snorkel, swing in a hammock or sit with your feet in the sand, you’ll want to linger.
Thirty-five miles off the coast of Northern Honduras, English is widely spoken. That, along with an established expat community, makes it a relatively easy place to settle in.
Rhode Islander Asa Davis owns a vacation rental on Roatan, which he enjoys about eight weeks a year and rents out the rest of the time. He says he chose the island because, “Roatan had the perfect combination of great diving, hospitable environment for new business and investment, reasonable real estate and construction costs, and friendly locals who like and appreciate visitors.”
On the island of Koh Lanta in Thailand, you won’t encounter masses of drunken backpackers or see any McDonalds or Pizza Huts.
Here, it’s all about a casual lifestyle: chilling on the beach, trekking in the jungle, dining on world-class cuisine (or cooking your own), and relaxing with friends.
Koh Lanta is pricier than other popular expat havens in Thailand. But you can still live well here for much less than you’d pay in North America.
Koh Lanta is actually several islands. Koh Lanta Yai or “Big Lanta Island” is where most of the expats, locals, and visitors stay.
For rentals, you can find deals like a one-bedroom, ocean-view apartment with air conditioning, cable TV, a water boiler, a refrigerator, hot and cold water, kitchenware, and a terrace for $767 a month during high season (December to April). Rent a studio ocean-view apartment with all the same amenities during low season (May to November) and that price drops in half. If you’d rather rent a house or a villa, a two-bedroom oceanfront villa can cost you as little as $575 a month.
“If you want to ‘get away from it all,’ tropical-island style, there may be no place better in Belize to do it than Caye Caulker, says InternationalLiving.com editor Glynna Prentice. This five-mile-long island—only half of which is really inhabited—sits in dream-worthy, turquoise Caribbean waters.
You can see the Caribbean from almost every place on the island, the sun glinting off the waves. And you can walk barefoot at the ocean’s edge on white beaches, the sand between your toes.
With its laid-back style, Caye Caulker gets its share of young, active tourists. But it appeals to older expats, too. They come for its simple lifestyle, stunning views, and for still-affordable seaside real estate. (A small one-bedroom, one-bath condo with a rooftop terrace and sunset views is for sale now for $150,000.)
“On a good day the Aran Islands are among the most beautiful and dramatic places in the world,” reports InternationalLiving.com Ireland editor Eoin Bassett. “Sunlight kindles vivid greens in the patchwork of fields and casts a spell on the swelling Atlantic.” The three islands of Inismor, Inismaan and Inisheer get more good days than you might think.
Despite being nestled in Galway Bay off the west coast of Ireland, the islands are actually the most temperate spot in Britain and Ireland and have the longest growing season.
Though thousands of tourists visit in the summer, the islands retain their character—each different from the other.
Adventurous folks, artists, painters, writers, and those trying to do something different, have long been attracted—and accepted—here. Good broadband Internet on the islands makes them an ideal base for an expat with a portable career. And the locals are keen for new blood to help bolster the population as young people leave in search of work.