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Old 02-04-2010, 11:26   #1
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Recommend Best Sailing / Retirement Combination ?

OK, after a few too many episodes of 'Househunters International' and perhaps a few too many glasses of wine as well, we have been bitten by the urge for an adventure. Retirement is hopefully only a couple or three years away, so where in the world do we go for the best combination of sailing and retirement living?

The things that are most important are:
1. Wide variety of places to sail to and explore.
2. Decent weather all year round.
3. Affordable real estate prices for an estimated annual retirement income of around $75K.
4. Lots of things to do and see on the mainland or island group, wherever that happens to be.
5. Beautiful scenery - mountain vistas preferred over flat Fla keys, for example.
6. Reasonable access to air transportation back to the states once or twice a year.
7. Government willing to allow immigrants as property owners.

If it was you, where would you go?
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Old 02-04-2010, 11:41   #2
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We have retired to Sint Maarten. There is excellent air transporttaion with a new international airport with non-stop flights to many US cities. SunSail, Moorings and Horizon all have rental bases here. There has not been a significant hurricane in about 15 years. The island is hilly, volcanic origin. It combines Dutch and French culture, although the Dutch side is more American than Dutch. There is no property tax or capital gains tax and the island is a freeport. Being a property owner here is not a poroblem but if you are not a resident, you my have to pay up to 40% down on a mortgage. Sailing is great with the trades and Thre are many places to go in a one day sail - St. Barths, St Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla, Tintimare, etc.
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Old 02-04-2010, 11:45   #3
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Google "International Living". Their focus is on overseas retirement opportunities.

Panama comes to mind almost immediately.
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:45   #4
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Its something I think about quite a bit myself. I don't know that there is any "best" option. So much depends on each person's own situation, abilities and desires. I'm a bit more interested in a boat location and different land location myself. Maybe living aboard 6 months and renting somewhere cheap the rest.

How does your real estate holdings come into play? That 75K per year will really change depending on whether or not rent and a boat needs to come out of that or not.

I also found the site/magazine Alan mentioned very informative. Last time I looked it was combined with a site called "escape artist" A lot of junk to weed through, but some really informative good ideas as well.

Costa Rica, Mexico and the DR are some places I hear of time and time again, that are lower cost.

Obviously many Americans live in the Virgin Islands, St. Martin and some Mediteranean countries.

Also, renting seasonally vs. owning year round will make a big difference.
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Old 02-04-2010, 13:19   #5
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North Island, New Zealand. Lots of world cruisers end up there for good reasons. Lots of second places - parts of Indonesia, parts of the Med and the Caribbean if you like touristy places.
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Old 02-04-2010, 17:51   #6
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Oh, I forgot to add:
8. Low crime rate and polically stable.

International Living - my brother used to work for them, and I'm not sure if they are really un-biased, or if they are just promoting areas that they have a financial interest in.

I'd rather have opinions from people who have actually made the move and can comment on what it's really like vs. the sales hype.
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Old 02-04-2010, 18:50   #7
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Oh, I forgot to add:
Perfection is hard to come by on the cheap. Better bet - take what you can afford and do the best you can. Waiting is a losers bet. If everyone but you already knew then how good can that be? You reach a point in your life and you say "I know what I like". It really is what matters - it's about you. A double wide in the desert is cheap and it yours. Relative is about you and your family. Best bet is Nebraska. Low crime! North Dakota is not as bad as you think and cheap. The people there are fun or they would die. Incentive matters! I never though much of the place until I went there in December! What you know and what you don't know can meet in the perfect place. Go there, try it!
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Old 02-04-2010, 19:23   #8
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Google "International Living". Their focus is on overseas retirement opportunities.
They only focus you where they get best commission. Forget it
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Old 02-04-2010, 20:47   #9
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Malaysia has a special deal for retirees. Think it is called the Golden Passport or similar.

Langkawi and penang are nice islands and full of westerners - I lived in Penang myself for several years.

Langkawi has a lot of yachties and is handy to Thailand and the really lovely islands.

Cost of living is very low too.

Here you are

You are even allowed to have an Indonesian live in maid. We had Azizah live with us. She cooked, cleaned, shopped and did everything. Became part of the family. We paid her $200 pm which was well above what she made back home in Bali. I miss her :-)
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Old 02-04-2010, 21:48   #10
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'Best bet is Nebraska. Low crime! North Dakota is not as bad as you think and cheap.'

Yeah, but I hear the sailing sucks!

Any comments on Belize, Honduras, Roatan, etc?
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Old 03-04-2010, 13:22   #11
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San Carlos Sonora Mexico. Moved here 5 yrs. ago and love it. House on the water, boat out front. 6 hours from Tucson by car. Arizona desert climate, Sea of Cortez wonder.....:-)
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Old 03-04-2010, 13:43   #12
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Wow, that place in Mexico looks like a desert!

Having sailed around the Caribbean, these are my thoughts: Grenada seemed perfect until the racial violence came up in the aftermath of Ivan. Carriacou still okay if you like the scene and club on a small island. Too expensive or not safe enough further north. DR good prices and nice people but still a very poor nation. Trini & Venezuela not safe enough. ABC islands not so cheap but okay; yes I could choose Curacao but then again I am Dutch. Also, the sailing is often challenging around the ABC's.
Colombia is beautiful and cheap and the people are nice. Still, something would keep me from buying property there. Perfect sailing and anchorages though. Next is Panama and that would be my current choice. You have a huge area to sail that includes Bocas del Torro, Colon-to-Isla Grande, the San Blas islands and mainland coast and Colombia, all without the need for offshore passages.

So, 1st choice Curacao (changed my mind again ;-), 2nd choice Panama for us. Many US expats settle on both destinations but looking at the non-sailing group it's much more in Panama.

cheers,
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Old 03-04-2010, 13:57   #13
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San Carlos Sonora Mexico. Moved here 5 yrs. ago and love it. House on the water, boat out front. 6 hours from Tucson by car. Arizona desert climate, Sea of Cortez wonder.....:-)
What's the cost of living like, especially housing and marina?

Great photo - looks like a wonderful place.
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Old 27-05-2011, 12:27   #14
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Cool Re: Recommend Best Sailing / Retirement Combination ?

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Originally Posted by oldjags View Post
OK, after a few too many episodes of 'Househunters International' and perhaps a few too many glasses of wine as well, we have been bitten by the urge for an adventure. Retirement is hopefully only a couple or three years away, so where in the world do we go for the best combination of sailing and retirement living?

The things that are most important are:
1. Wide variety of places to sail to and explore.
2. Decent weather all year round.
3. Affordable real estate prices for an estimated annual retirement income of around $75K.
4. Lots of things to do and see on the mainland or island group, wherever that happens to be.
5. Beautiful scenery - mountain vistas preferred over flat Fla keys, for example.
6. Reasonable access to air transportation back to the states once or twice a year.
7. Government willing to allow immigrants as property owners.

If it was you, where would you go?
Bellingham WA! We are at the gateway to the San Juan and Gulf Islands and Desolation Sound where the water is warm enough to swim in. We have the mountains the lakes and the trails for year around recreation. Yes we have a couple of cold months but I raced sailboats for 15 years all year around. Take a visit to www.beautifulbellingham.com.
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Old 28-05-2011, 05:46   #15
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Re: Recommend Best Sailing / Retirement Combination ?

So many good plans above,- and no "best" answer. As for us, we keep "community" in about 30 ports from Maine to the Bahamas. We select a place to stay for a couple months here and there or often just stop for a few days like now in Charleston, SC. We keep our children in Florida on our route when northbound and southbound. Many, like us, own nothing that's not on the boat and are not selecting a place, but cruise across a seasonal latitude range.
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