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Sailing isn’t just another way to get around—it grants you access to places, communities, and experiences that other travelers often miss.

Sailors are the masters of their travel time: They can go (almost) anywhere in the world on a whim and always receive a warmer reception than that afforded to mere tourists. Like a fraternal club that doesn’t advertise, they rendezvous at those select locales known for great sailing weather and a welcoming attitude toward visiting boats. Once at anchor, sailors have access to everything else a new port has to offer, including cosmopolitan nightlife, tropical beaches, or national wildernesses. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a landlubber looking to charter a boat and dip your toes into the lifestyle, you’ll want to head to one of these seven islands. Not only are they beloved by the sailing community, but they also have plenty of non-nautical charms that’ll have you returning time and time again.

1. Azores, Portugal

For 500 years the Azores have been the first land sailors touch after long west-to-east routes across the Atlantic as they near the Iberian Peninsula. It’s traditional for captain and crew of each arriving boat to pass through sailing’s most legendary meeting spot, Peter’s Café Sport, which opened in 1918. Crew members looking to exchange their labor for one-way passage lurk in the café, while leisure visitors sit back and soak up the atmosphere. The islands are known for their dramatic landscapes and peaceful fishing villages, but come as a sailor rather than a fly-in tourist to experience a truly welcoming, fraternal atmosphere on this island run by sailors for sailors.

The interior of Réunion, protected by a ring of ridges, hides great hiking trails and stunning waterfalls.

2. Réunion, France

Five hundred miles off the east coast of Madagascar, Réunion rises out of the Indian Ocean like a steep-sided salad bowl. Twin volcanoes, Piton de la Fournaise and Piton des Neiges, poke holes 8,600 and 10,000 feet into the sky, respectively. Hiking trails lace the wilderness around them, and the slopes attract climbers, cavers, and canyoneers. Tickets from JFK or LAX often run $2,000 or more to this remote tropical island filled with rain forests and surrounded by coral reefs, and the trip takes more than 24 hours of plane-hopping. Instead, pilot your own boat into the arms of a large sailing community and enjoy the best harbor facilities in the Indian Ocean, according to Noonsite, an online sailors’ database of routes and destinations.

3. Bermuda

Every even-numbered year, more than 150 privately owned sailboats depart Newport, Rhode Island, for a 635-mile race to Bermuda as part of the most famous amateur yacht race in the world, the Bermuda Race. Competition is relaxed, and honor goes to any who compete regardless of a win, so ready your boat (or talk your way onto somebody else’s) for the 51st event, running on June 15. The camaraderie and instant community alone are enough to make anyone fall in love with sailing. Once you’re docked in Bermuda, be sure to weave past the harbors’ forests of steel boat masts to the 20-square-mile island’s interior, and check out a few of the more than 90 remaining British forts, the earliest of which was built in 1612.

The coves and inlets of Rhodes’s rocky coastline are best explored by boat.

4. Rhodes, Greece

The most famous waters in Western history also happen to be in the sunniest part of Greece. The people of Rhodes have hoisted sail into the winds since before Homer recounted their meddling in the Trojan War 3,000 years ago. Closer to the Turkish coast than to the Greek mainland, it’s home to the oldest inhabited medieval town in Europe, the Old Town in the city of Rhodes. The island’s rocky coastlines, suited to the medieval fortifications bricked into them, make for a break of scenery from typical, flat stretches of white sand in the Mediterranean, although the natural harbors make for beautiful beaches, too. With mild Mediterranean winds and currents, Rhodes is famous for its pleasant sailing conditions, making this the perfect place to brush up on your captaining.

5. Santa Catalina Island, California

Because of its jagged coastline, limited number of natural harbors, and hazardous wind conditions, sailors are less inclined to frequent the Pacific Coast of the United States than they are the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. But Santa Catalina, a desert island 20 miles off the coast of Los Angeles, is a haven for boat life in the region. It’s also a paragon of raw nature: The Catalina Island Conservancy protects 85 percent of the island’s 75 square miles. Bison roam wild on land and whales swim in the natural harbors. Avalon, the only town, keeps car traffic to a minimum by restricting each household to only one ultra-small vehicle—think classic VW Beetle or golf cart.

The capital of Aruba is colorful in more ways than one.

6. Aruba

The cactus-strewn desert island of Aruba is the last Caribbean stop for many private boats heading through the Panama Canal and out to the Pacific Ocean. It sits outside the hurricane belt that sweeps up so much of the region, which makes it a perfect refuge for off-season sailors. (Hurricane season runs from June to November.) Dutch-flavored capital Oranjestad is a cosmopolitan city of rainbow-hued colonial buildings and is known to punch above its weight with trendy after-hours nightlife. You’re as likely to hear English, Spanish, and French spoken by locals as you are the official Dutch and Papiamento creole; from Aruba’s more tropical southern shore, you can easily see Venezuela, just 15 miles away.

7. Key West, Florida

Too often overlooked by sailors eager to enter the Caribbean’s foreign waters, laid-back Key West is exactly the scenic backdrop of tropical beaches and turquoise sailing waters U.S. residents seek in other countries. If Key West weren’t within our borders, it would rank a lot higher on sailing itineraries. Sailors who crave foreign shores can easily skip over to The Bahamas at daybreak and arrive by lunch, but the mellow Keys have all the sugar sand and palm trees you could want.

Article by Matt Jancer in  https://www.afar.com/magazine/7-islands-that-will-make-you-want-to-buy-a-sailboat?inspiration=outdoor-adventure&sub_inspiration=water-sports

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Here’s an excellent infographic explaining how homeownership affects so much of one’s life and the ones around you-now and in the future. I purchased my first home at 24 years old. It was a home on the edge of a wonderful neighborhood in great need of help-new roof, remodeling of bathrooms & kitchen not to update but to make them useable, replacing windows, refinishing the hardwood floors, tiling and the general removal of 18 years of neglect in the house & yard, doing most of the work myself over years. I needed a home for my daughter & me where landlords couldn’t raise the rent or sell the home out from under us after I had improved the value with my time & hard work by painting inside & out, replacing broken sheetrock & windows, refinishing the floors and landscaping. That happened several times to me. By the way, that daughter went on to get a Master’s Degree, become a homeowner at a young age and we both vote in every election! Hmmmm, seems like this infographic holds true for me.

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You know football 🏈 season is about to begin when you walk into the grocery store and are greeted by the Tampa Bay Bucs ship. Go Bucs!

Don’t miss ’s Back to School Bash presented by this Saturday, July 28! The first 800 kids in the building get a FREE Rowdies backpack.

Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. New York Red Bulls II
Saturday, July 28th, 2018 @ 07:30 PM EST
Al Lang Stadium
https://www.rowdiessoccer.com/
Gates Open at 06:30 PM
Guests with Student and/or Military Tickets: ID will be required at Stadium entry
For Military Priced Tickets, please call (727) 222-2000
For Group Tickets, please call (727) 521-7267

TIX: 727-222-2000 /

 

Simple Mobile Article #2 - HeroMachu Picchu is only one of the many stunning sites you should visit while traveling in Latin America. (photo-Getty)

There’s something heartwarming about summertime travel. Perhaps it’s the nostalgic feeling of being off from school or simply the welcome vitamin D boost after a cold, long winter. Whatever it is, planning a summer vacation is perfect for taking a break from your daily routine.

But even when you’re trying to get away from it all, staying connected to family and friends is a priority for most travelers. That’s why having a wireless service plan from SIMPLE MOBILE is a travel essential. All SIMPLE MOBILE service plans allow you to use your plan’s talk, text, & data while roaming across 16 Latin American countries — so yes, you can even post about your trip online with international roaming coverage in these countries.

And this part of the world is a fantastic option when planning your next trip because plane tickets are relatively inexpensive and flight times aren’t too long. Here are the countries you should definitely consider visiting.

Simple Mobile Article #2 - Mexico

This hidden beach in Mexico is only accessible via tunnel.Getty

1. Mexico

Mexico is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world, and it’s home to a number of incredible sights. A visit to the hidden beach on Islas Marietas is great for a secluded day trip getaway. And getting there is half the fun: You have to swim through a short tunnel carved by the sea and into a crater to reach the beach. If you’re a history buff, you can visit the third-largest pyramid in the world. Known as the Pyramid of the Sun, it’s a relic of the Teotihuacan civilization with picturesque views from its summit. You can also enjoy a trip to The Arch, an impressive rock formation located at the southern tip of Cabo San Lucas. Grab a bottle of vino, hit the beach, and watch the sunset shine off the rocks on this natural wonder.

Simple Mobile Article #2 - Peru
The Rainbow Mountains in Peru get their signature coloring from erosion.Getty

2. Peru

Machu Picchu is probably one of Peru’s most famous destinations, but the country is filled with a long list of extraordinary places to visit. Located in the Andes, the Rainbow Mountains are an Instagram-worthy colorful mountainside— and with SIMPLE MOBILE roaming coverage, you won’t have to wait until you’re back in the U.S. to post it to your account. The peaks’ signature look has been formed by sedimentary mineral layers exposed by erosion. To take your adventuring to the next level, visit Huacachina and do a dune buggy or sandboarding tour. The expansive desert landscape will make you feel like you’re on another planet. There’s also an aerial tour of the Nazca Lines, ancient geoglyphs that were believed to have been created by the Nazca culture between 500 BC and 500 AD. Due to their isolation on a dry, windless, stable plateau, they’ve been naturally preserved for thousands of years and are predicted to stay intact for years to come.

Simple Mobile Article #2 - DR

Get a behind-the-scenes look at your favorite films by visiting Los Tres Ojos in the Dominican Republic.Getty

3. Dominican Republic

If traveling to a Caribbean island is more your style, the Dominican Republic is a great option to check out this summer. For a tranquil yet thrilling adventure, you should definitely visit the 27 Charcos, a series of natural waterfalls that you can climb, jump, and swim in, with the support of a travel guide. If you love to hike, make sure a trip to Cordillera Central is on your itinerary. It’s the highest mountain range in the Dominican Republic and in all of the West Indies, so pack layers to stay warm once you get to the top. Then there’s Los Tres Ojos, the perfect place to discover an expansive world below the DR surface. This 50-yard open air limestone cave also doubles as a famous film production location, having been featured in movies like “Tarzan” and “Jurassic Park.”

Simple Mobile Article #2 - Costa Rica

The Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica remains steadily active to this day. Getty

4. Costa Rica

With a total width of 200 miles from coast to coast, the tropical climate and proximity to the ocean makes Costa Rica another fantastic travel option in Latin America. Though the summer months make up the country’s wet season, July through early August usually marks a short mid-year, mini-dry season, making this the perfect window of time for your visit. Tortuguero, or the Land of Turtles, is the only village in Costa Rica without cars. It’s a great way to experience the country’s diverse rainforest wildlife while floating through an intricate canal system. The Arenal Volcano is great for when you want to squeeze in a little learning with your adventuring. While it’s been relatively dormant since 2010, it’s still an incredible sight to explore, especially by going on one of Mistico Park’s hanging bridge tours. Be sure to bring a camera with you to get stunning shots of the tropical birds and foliage along the way.

http://www.businessinsider.com/south-american-central-american-countries-to-visit

Had an awesome time at The Dali Museum last Saturday with my daughter and grandkids. The Dali Museum gives kids’ tours on Saturday mornings and has a kids craft room where they can create Dali-inspired art pieces. Granddaughter’s collage is below but my Grandson made an interactive movable fly & dragonfly collage. When I played, the dragonfly won the race. A good time was had by all! Thank you MY FAMILY!! So nice to have you visit-much too short of a visit, as usual.

So if you’re in St Pete, with or without kids, The Dali Museum is a wonderful place to spend the day. There are permanent displays of Dali’s work and special exhibits of other artists that have collaborated with or been influenced by Salvador Dali. SO you need to check their website calendar.

 

As a festival that brings nearly 200,000 people to St. Pete every year, St. Pete Pride‘s commitment to No Straws St. Pete means a great deal. It’s just the latest in a number of impressive commitments to the movement which is growing, not only in St. Pete, but across Tampa Bay.

https://ilovetheburg.com/st-pete-pride-commits-to-no-straws-movement/

“How can we call ourselves St. Pete Pride without having pride in St. Pete,?” said St. Pete Pride board member, J. Aller. “For us as a board, it just made sense to align ourselves and the event with ‘No Straws St. Pete.’ We love our beautiful waterfront city and have a responsibility to help keep it pristine for years to come. Each beverage and food vendor was asked and strongly persuaded to refrain from freely giving straws to parade and festival goers. If a vendor agrees, they will be given a plaque to display their participation.”

The news comes on the heels of recent commitments by the newly opened Lucky’s Market as well as all three Hooters locations in St. Pete and follows the support of other major events including Run Fest St. Pete. While we’ve aimed to keep tabs on all of our partners, we’re learning new ones daily that have simply committed to the idea of making straws available only on request.

At a recent committee hearing at City Hall, councilwoman Wheeler-Bowman cited the movement’s impact on businesses saying she didn’t get a straw with her drink at a recent trip to Joey Brooklyn’s Pizza.

Pete Boland, owner of The Galley, commended the movement’s impact on the consumer saying guests are specifically requesting “no straw please” with their drinks.

As we have said all long, our partners are capable of educating the public simply by making the commitment. With thousands of people descending upon St. Pete for Pride, the impact of their commitment will be felt immediately.

That’s great news for our planet and the Burg, indeed.

https://ilovetheburg.com/st-pete-pride-commits-to-no-straws-movement/

Cloudy view between Blind Pass & Devils Elbow, St Pete Beach, Florida. Love the view & the names!

Nice to come home & be greeted in the driveway by these lovely beauties. Two weeks of daily rain & sunshine has doubled the size of my hibiscus 🌺. After a super busy-long day, the sight of all of these flowers made me smile. I needed to stop & appreciate the bright colors on a such gray day. 😎

5 Best Caribbean Islands to Live in 2018 Revealed

Great article-some of my favorite Caribbean Islands made the list including St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic and Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Long ago when it was affordable, I lived on St John & St Thomas & I love it. Going on a trade mission the Dominican Republic in October 2018.

According to a new report from International Living, based on affordability, value, safety and lifestyle, these five islands made their list of the Top 5 Caribbean islands to live in 2018.

Vacation News » Miami Edition | By Monsef Rachid |2018  http://www.worldpropertyjournal.com/

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Ambergris Caye, Belize

Over the last few decades, expats have flocked to English-speaking Ambergris Caye, Belize, and there are good reasons for its popularity. (Among them the fact that in 2013 and 2014, TripAdvisor readers ranked Ambergris as the best island in the world.)

Ambergris and the small nearby islands are not overly developed, which means they’ve maintained a laidback vibe. Ambergris is Belize’s center for ocean sports during the day and for partying at night. In view of all this, it’s easy to understand why real estate prices have risen, especially for beachfront property.

Getting to Ambergris is easy because both of Belize’s domestic airlines–Tropic Air and Maya Island Air–have frequent flights to the island from Belize City. You can also reach Ambergris by water taxi.

San Pedro is the major population center on Ambergris, a town of roughly 18,000 part- and full-time residents. The once-sandy main streets are now paved. But golf carts are still expats’ favorite means of transportation from home to the beach, or to the dozens of restaurants, nightclubs, and friendly mom-and-pop stores.

Surprising to many, moving to Belize is easy–U.S. currency is accepted, credit cards are widely used and well-known U.S. brands are available too; they’re expensive, but substitutes are easy to find.

After years of 16-hour days as owners and operators of a Victorian B&B and cupcake shop in Richmond, Virginia, the easy-going lifestyle of San Pedro is just what Dawn Schick and her husband, Albert, were looking for.  And in 2010, they made the move.

“We’d been vacationing here several times a year for more than six years and decided this would be our eventual retirement home. But after years of hard work we thought, why wait until ‘someday,’? Why not take the plunge right now?” Dawn explains.

“We love being outdoors and the year-round warm weather lets us go snorkeling or paddle-boarding anytime we want. The marine life here is amazing. Swimming alongside rays, tropical fish, and turtles is like being in another world. We also love that it’s not touristy here.

“Life on the island moves at a slower pace, and that’s just fine with us.”

For between $2,700 and $2,900 per month, a couple can enjoy a comfortable retirement in Ambergris Caye–a budget that includes the cost of a house or apartment rental. If you own your own home on the island outright, then expats report it’s possible for a couple to live quite comfortably on less than $2,000 a month.

Roatán, Honduras

On the English-speaking Bay Island of Roatán, 30 miles off the coast of Honduras, you will find what is arguably the best-value island real estate in the region.

For less than $175,000, you could have a two-bedroom Caribbean home right on the water in a quiet neighborhood with no tourists–your own private getaway. If you stayed just part of the year, you could rent your place out to help cover your holding costs.

If you lived on Roatán, you’d have the sound of gentle waves and the rustle of palm fronds to wake you in the mornings. Looking out your window, you’d see clear, blue skies and the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. You could occupy yourself with a swim…enjoy a cup of coffee on your deck…or just sit back in your Adirondack chair, warm up in the sun, and take in the view of your own private stretch of beach…

On this tropical island, beachfront lots can be had for under $100,000. We’re talking established developments, with amenities like a community pool and/or shared or private docks. Utilities are in place. Construction costs are reasonable, and you can build a home to your specs.

There are also plenty of turnkey condos for well under $200,000–in resort communities on the beach. And if you’re okay with walking a few minutes to the water, or setting up on a hillside with views, you’ll pay even less for a lot, home, or condo.

This is an island where “normal” people can buy a vacation home or permanent digs to live out their sunny, low-cost, and comfortable retirement. The infrastructure is good and getting better all the time, with a new power plant online and the recent opening of a hospital with specialist care and a 24-hour emergency room.

It’s still out of the mainstream, at least compared to other Caribbean island getaways, and that has kept prices affordable for real estate and day-to-day costs. A couple could live well on $2,000 to $2,500–that includes all expenses.

And it’s simply a beautiful place to look at, thanks to the tall, jungle-covered mountains, white-sand beaches, and blue Caribbean (turquoise within the reef and a deep azure beyond it). Living here, you’ll have no shortage of things to do, with plenty of parties, sunset happy hours, water sports, and other fun.

Roatán boasts an international airport–with regular flights in and out it’s accessible and it’s quick and easy to see family back home.

“The one word that always comes to mind when asked how I like living here is ‘contentment,'” says Ann Winters of her retirement on Roatán. “I have never felt so content anywhere.”

Ann and her husband Ron have much to be content about. The couple are settled into a three-bedroom house set amid lush vegetation, overlooking the crystal-clear Caribbean Sea.

“I immediately loved the sounds and smells of Roatán,” says Ann of what drew her to the island. “The sound of the ocean soothes me. I love the smell of the salt on the breeze and the way the air smells so fresh after a rain. I love the cooking smells in the downtown mercado (market) and along the streets of West End, the scents coming from the open-air fruit and vegetable stands and the fish and meat markets. The flowers in my gardens that attract hummingbirds and butterflies.”

Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Legend has it that an ancient Maya Goddess of childbirth, identified Isla de Mujeres as a sacred place. The name Isla de Mujeres means Island of Women.

It was the Spaniards in the 16th century who decided that Island of Women would, therefore, be a fitting name for this tropical paradise where they noted hundreds of idols and carvings of women.

Today Isla Mujeres, eight miles off Cancún on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, is a retreat for tourists and retirees alike and offers easy living in the sun year-round.

You can own a one-bedroom, two-bathroom penthouse condo with a view from $230,000 or rent a one-bedroom place for $700 to $1000 a month, according to local expats.

When it was time to retire back in 2008, Lawrie Lock and his wife Lynda drove from their long-time home in Canada’s Okanagan Valley to Isla Mujeres.

“We live on the windward side of the island, facing the open ocean,” says Lynda. “That’s where all the action is. We often see pods of dolphins feeding just offshore and sea turtles basking right on the surface.

“We’d vacationed on the western side of Mexico for many years. But when we discovered the Caribbean side back in 2002…Wow! The turquoise and green water, fresh sea food, and the friendly islanders here on Isla Mujeres, along with the warm weather, were too much to resist.

“We have a large circle of friends. Some live here full-time and others come for the winter months. Winter is our busiest social time and summer is our wind-down, re-group time.”

The island enjoys a warm tropical climate (low to mid-80s F for most of the year) and a laidback vibe; golf carts are preferred to cars as the main means of transport.

Every winter, the permanent population of around 13,000 is joined by thousands of snowbirds fleeing colder weather up north. At four miles long and less than a half-mile wide, this tiny Caribbean island is connected to the mainland by high-speed ferry service that leaves every 30 minutes during daylight hours.

There is plenty to do on Isla Mujeres. Naturally, water activities top the list as the nearby reef offers amazing opportunities for scuba, fishing, swimming, boating, and snorkeling. There’s even an underwater museum set up by an English sculptor to explore, if the local sea life isn’t enough. And of course, there is the seasonal migration of whale sharks which draws many to view and swim with them.

Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic

Most Americans have never heard of the little beach town of Las Terrenas in the Dominican Republic’s northeast, on the Samana Penninsula. That’s understandable–it’s a spot better known among Europeans. But it offers one of the Caribbean’s best-value escapes today.

Here you’ll find 19 miles of public beaches, and palm trees swaying in the breeze. And compared to other Caribbean islands, property in this little corner of the D.R. is a roaring bargain.

French and Italian vacationers have been coming here for decades–vacationing and then coming back to stay. Along with the tang of saltwater in the air and the scent of fresh-cut coconuts, you’ll smell French bread and croissants baking. The Italian influence is strong, too, with rich Italian gelato on offer and strong, Italian-style coffee. There’s steak, sushi, and grilled seafood, too.

Las Terrenas has everything going for it that a Caribbean island escape should. It’s not overdeveloped–there are no mega-resorts here, just boutique hotels. It has great dining, stunning scenery at every point, and a vibrant expat community.

The most incredible thing about it, though, is the real estate prices. A one-bedroom, one-bathroom loft apartment can be had for as little as $99,500.

A couple can live in this tropical haven for around $2,000 a month, although most choose to spend closer to $3,000 a month.

When Dan Williams decided to retire there, he had been working for eight years as an environmental engineer for the Missouri state government. At the time, he was 57 years old, single, and longed to retire to the beach.

“The country is a mini-continent, with a wide variety of terrain, from oceans to the highest mountains in the Caribbean, and everything in between,” he says. “The climate is wonderful. It is close to the U.S. and is economical. Weighed in the balance, it is the ideal country for me.”

After a few months in Sosúa on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, Dan decided to tag along with a friend who was taking a road trip to Las Terrenas.

Dan was enchanted and decided to relocate there. “I loved the beach, the vibe, the natural beauty, and the European flavor of the place,” he says. “It seemed like a hidden Shangri-La.”

Corn Islands, Nicaragua

The Corn Islands are two little dots of paradise just 50 miles off Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast–a retirement nirvana with white sands, gently swaying palms and blue waters where English is the official language.

Big Corn–about four square miles in size and with maybe 6,000 inhabitants–is just 10 miles (or a 30-minute boat ride) from Little Corn, one-fourth the size of Big Corn in both land mass and population.

On Little Corn, there are no roads, just a three-foot-wide sandy walkway…so no vehicles allowed.

It’s a truly undiscovered, little-developed escape. Many say it’s like the Bahamas or Grand Cayman 30 or 40 years ago.

If you’re looking for a “throw-back” getaway, you won’t find a better one in the Caribbean. Here a custom-built home with an ocean view a 15-minute walk to town and beaches can be had for $150,000. And that’s fully furnished.

“With no vehicle traffic on Little Corn and lots of hotels, hostels and restaurants, it’s fun to walk around and see what there is to see,” says Bonnie Hayman, IL Nicaragua Correspondent. “This is the place where the tourists go.

“Big Corn is more adventurous with fewer tourists. Many hire a taxi to travel from one gorgeous beach to another sampling the wonderful “Islander” food like coconut bread and rondon (fish/seafood coconut stew). Either way, a fabulous time is to be had on the Caribbean side of Nicaragua.”

The Corn Islands aren’t for everyone. Supplies that aren’t locally grown or pulled from the waters must be shipped in. With small exception, restaurants tend to serve variations of the same dishes.

“The cost of food on the island is slightly higher than on the ‘main,’ as islanders call mainland Nicaragua,” says Mike Hopkins who lived on Big Corn while housesitting on the island. “However, in general, costs are still less than U.S. prices. Weekly, my food costs averaged about $30. I also ate at some local restaurants, where meals and a couple of drinks ranged between $15 and $20. My total food and drink cost for the three-month period was approximately $610.”

The islands have a rustic charm, perfect for those looking for an off-the-beaten-track retirement.  The healthy reef is ideal for scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, and lobstering. With friendly locals and very few tourists an authentic island experience is ensured.

Two Islands not making the 2018 list

The beauty and tropical appeal of St. Thomas and Grand Bahama are impossible to deny. However, they can be costly.

“While we at International Living have nothing against St. Thomas or Grand Bahama–they’re thoroughly ‘discovered’ and that translates to more expensive,” says Jennifer Stevens, Executive Editor of International Living. “If money is no object, you might well like the polished escape either island can provide. But our list of 5 better-value picks in the Caribbean points you to lesser-known retreats where you’ll find a more laid-back vibe and lower costs.”

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Located in the Caribbean, the U.S. Virgin Islands is made up of over 60 islands–most of them uninhabited. The three most populated, and most visited, are St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix.

The appeal of these tropical islands is the mixture of the exotic and the recognizable–an island paradise with modern comforts and a balance of Caribbean culture and American practicality.

While St. Thomas may be a nice place to live, the International Living report says “avoid” due to the high cost of living. Apartments rent for about $2,000 a month and to buy a two-bedroom house in a good neighborhood will cost about $285,000-plus.

Grand Bahama Island, the Bahamas

The Bahamas is often thought of as a paradise–an upscale group of islands with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

And the Bahamas has many advantages–friendly to newcomers, there’s no foreign language to cope with, crime is relatively low, and the islands are positioned just off the Florida coast.

But the bad news is that properties aren’t cheap. Medium-sized residences in exclusive gated communities with ocean views often cost more than $2 million.

Grand Bahama is the closest major Bahamian island to the U.S.–about 55 miles off the Florida coast. It has become a haven for beach-lovers as well as divers, fishermen, golfers, and sports enthusiasts of all kinds. It’s also a prime destination for people who enjoy world-class shopping.

But living here costs a premium as it’s between 30% and 50% more expensive than in the U.S.

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

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  • Pinellas REALTOR® Organization awards members for volunteerism, longevity, creativity September 17, 2018
    The Annual Business Meeting & Installation was held on September 14, 2018.  The following PRO members received the Good Neighbor Award for making an extraordinary impact on our community by giving their time and resources: • Kim Adams, RE/MAX Elite Realty – Wheelchairs 4 Kids • Susan Littlejohn, Littlejohn Real Estate – Dunedin Museum, Inc. • Jaime McKni […]
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  • 2019 Pinellas REALTOR Organization Board of Directors September 17, 2018
    The following members will be serving on the Board of Directors in 2019: Chair: Kevin Batdorf, Batdorf and Associates Chair Elect: Cyndee Haydon, Future Home Realty Past Chair: Paul Hendriks, Gulf to Bay Homes & Estates Secretary: Tom Steck, Century 21 Real Estate Champions Treasurer: Glen Richardson, Smith & Associates Real Estate Director: Ken Brel […]
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  • ‘Welcome’ to all our new members who joined us in August September 4, 2018
    The Pinellas REALTOR® Organization would like to welcome all of our new REALTORS® who joined us in August! We are happy to have you as a part of our organization and wish you much success in your careers. A Better Life Realty Christian A. Ellis All County Advanced Prop Mgmt Sarah D. Holsopple A-Team Home […]
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  • July 2018 Pinellas County Real Estate Statistics August 21, 2018
    Click here to view the report to see what the numbers tell us about the market.
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  • PRO recommends candidates, Clearwater Mayor ordinance, Flood insurance update August 3, 2018
    PRO Recommends Candidates for State and Local Elections The Board of Directors of the PRO announced its recommendations for Florida State House District 66, State House District 69, Pinellas County Commission District 6, Pinellas County School Board District 2, District 3, District 6, and District 7. Based on the public service, respect for property rights, […]
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