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Best islands to live on

Best islands to live on

The dream of Surround Me With Water becoming an everyday reality is one we all share. Living on a island.

If you are concerned with the cost of island living , we rounded up affordable options (plus one that’s worth the splurge, just for fun). A beach bum wants a different vibe from a city slicker – so we broke down locations by the personality type they suit best. Same goes for stages of life: Recent grads and retirees have varied needs, so we addressed each one.  We’re confident these islands will inspire your next move.

Best Caribbean:  Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman is home to one of the world’s largest banking jurisdictions, with plenty of opportunities for finance-minded expats.

But don’t go buying a one-way ticket just yet. Anyone who wants to move there must have a valid work permit before he or she arrives. So it’s important to solidify employment before taking the plunge. And while the length of their work permits governs most expats’ time minimum of two years in most cases – some Americans have the chance to stay permanently.

  • Population: 60,413
  • Language spoken: English
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $874
  • Starting home price: $150,000
  • Cost of a gallon of milk: $6.51  Best for a Small-Town Vibe: Ambergris Caye, Belize

     

    Best for a Small-Town Vibe: Ambergris Caye, Belize

    Life on Ambergris is quiet. Slow. Morning rush hour is a dozen bikes wheeling over the bridge to the main town of San Pedro.

    Around town, everyone is familiar with each other. People remember faces; names are less important. There are little pockets of communities, like the French community, the yoga community, the divers, the fly-fishermen, the sailors. Most of the smaller groups gather often for happy hour, dinner or whatever it is that brings them together.

    • Population: 13,381
    • Language spoken: English
    • Currency: Belize dollar
    • Average year-round temp: 79˚F
    • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $900
    • Starting home price: $200,000
    • Cost of milk: $2.76 for a quart-size box 

      Best Caribbean: Martinique

      Spend a few days in Martinique, and you’d think you were in a tropical version of Marseille. After all, the French island is home to one of the region’s largest Francophone populations. Including a burgeoning expat community from mainland France who’ve relocated for the locale’s black-sand beaches, lush rainforests and Caribbean joie de vivre.

      The “Paris of the Antilles” from all around the world. It’s important to live like the Martiniquais. The lifestyle teaches you me to leave  watch at home and let  day develop at its own pace. As the locals like to say, ‘Il n’y a pas d’heures précises,’ or ‘there are no fixed times.’

      • Population: 386,486
      • Language spoken: French, Creole and English
      • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $800
      • Starting home price: $170,000
      • Cost of milk: $1.12 per liter

        Best for Urbanites: Hong Kong

        Hong Kong is the densest place I to experienced. With Hong Kong’s huge population comes perks. For one: cheap cabs. Thirty minutes and the equivalent of $20 U.S. buys transit to the white-sand beaches and lush hiking trails of Tai Long Wan, which reminds her of Thailand.

        As for city life, thanks in large part to an expat community numbering 1 million. It is similar to moving to a city in the U.S. , everyone speaks English , but it’s much easier to meet new people. It’s easy to find. community. Nights out progressed from listening to a Journey cover band at the bar Insomnia to midnight foot massages, a uniquely Hong Kong tradition — all fueled by a craft-beer selection as international as the crowd enjoying it. 

        • Population: 7.19 million
        • Languages spoken: Cantonese, English
        • Currency: USD
        • Average year-round temp: 72˚F
        • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $3,200
        • Starting home price: $675,000
        • Cost of a gallon of milk: $11.34

          Best for Foodies: Sicily, Italy

          Sicily’s architecture is very baroque, and its desserts are too. In fact, there’s flair and exuberance to all the island’s food. If you don’t have friends to scrounge with, try the restaurant I Bianchi, which is managed by a two-star Michelin chef and is known for its pastries and gelatos. Caffe Sicilia in the village of Noto is another Huizenga must-try, namely for its almond granita and its take on a Sicilian summer breakfast: gelato tucked inside a brioche.

          • Population: 5 million
          • Language spoken: Italian
          • Currency: Euro
          • Average year-round temp: 60˚F
          • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $400
          • Starting home price: $170,000
          • Cost of milk: $1.37 per liter

          Best for Beach Bums: Maui, Hawaii

          Find your Maui tribe, and you’ll find your Maui beach. Mothers with little ones gather at, appropriately enough, Baby Beach near Lahaina on the island’s northwest tip. Retirees: Wailea. Windsurfers meet for sessions at Kanaha Beach Park, near the airport. Those preferring drum circles find each other on the North Shore’s Baldwin Beach Park.

          Surfing is just one way to spend time on island. Surrendering to the island’s way of life is your best chance to find happiness. It’s really common to see people move here, thinking their lives will be better. But if they don’t change themselves, they’ll be in the same rut as they were before, working too much and whatnot. Here, you’re admired for surfing big waves or for owning a truck that can carry all your sports equipment. The island lifestyle isn’t about buying or owning possessions. It’s about something else entirely, a sense of community.

          • Population: 160,000
          • Language spoken: English
          • Currency: USD
          • Average year-round temp: 75˚F
          • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,400
          • Starting home price: $450,000
          • Cost of a gallon of milk: $9.59

          Most Affordable: Phuket, Thailand

          With jungle-topped mountains, high-end dining, championship golf courses and internationally famous beaches, Phuket is an ideal setting for many foreigners from around the globe. As the largest island in Thailand, it has just about everything you need.

          Top-tier medical care is easy to find and reasonably priced. You’ll be close to an international airport, which means you won’t have to fly out of Bangkok (a major plus). There are plenty of international schools, and grocery stores are stocked with imported goods. Whether you rent or buy, it’s still extremely affordable. Keep in mind, however, that foreigners cannot own land in their name, but they may purchase a condo or home and lease the land. 

          • Population: 620,000
          • Languages spoken: Thai, English
          • Currency: Baht
          • Average year-round temp: 84˚F
          • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $510
          • Starting home price: $168,000
          • Cost of a gallon of milk: $6

          Best for Recent Grads: St. Croix, USVI

          Spend the day with the 20-something set on St. Croix, the largest of the three U.S. Virgin Islands, and you might ask if you’ve stepped into  Michelob Ultra commercial. Scenes cut quickly between sailing to Buck Island to swim with  turtles, hiking the northwest coast to snorkel in tide pools, and dancing on a roped-off street for St. Patrick’s Day.

          St. Thomas feels less like an island and more like a city with lots of vehicles, and it’s very built-up. St. Croix is quieter, with old-island charm. Its smaller population makes it easier to join the party, community. Hang out in town, grab a beer and just start talking to people. Regarding employment, the best way to land a job is to walk into the restaurants, bars and tour companies in town and talk to who’s hiring .

          • Population: 53,000
          • Language spoken: English
          • Currency: USD
          • Average year-round temp: 85˚F
          • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $875
          • Starting home price: $130,000
          • Cost of a gallon of milk: $4.99

          Most Affordable: Roatan, Honduras

          Roatan, off the east coast of Honduras, is a hodgepodge of small communities with a large expat population. Pristine plots of land, untouched and exactly the way nature intended them to be, are still available for purchase. You can buy land or an already built home for less than in other countries.

          Roatan is large enough to have conveniences and luxuries, such as dentists, yoga studios and high-end restaurants. But it’s still small enough that you get to know your entire community and enjoy a slower pace of life. And due to the low minimum wage, which is about $15 per day, you can find quality housekeeping, childcare, cooks or home security for an affordable price.

          • Population: 80,000
          • Languages spoken: Spanish, Bay Islands Creole, English
          • Currency: Honduran Lempira, but USD is widely accepted
          • Average year-round temp: 80˚F
          • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $500
          • Starting home price: $100,000
          • Cost of a gallon of milk: $2

          Best for Starting a Family: Key Largo, Florida

          If you were raised on the water, surfing, diving, skiing and fishing  it’s what you wanted for your kids. Key Largo offers exact that including many possibilities for work and education.

           

          • Population: 11,000
          • Language spoken: English
          • Currency: USD
          • Average year-round temp: 80˚F
          • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,000
          • Starting home price: $250,000
          • Cost of a gallon of milk: $3.35
           
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