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What does it really feel like to retire on a Caribbean island — $ 3,000 per month

Nestled in a house on a hillside in the 1960s on a glittering sea, Julie Lee wakes up every morning with the rustling of her palms, the chirping of birds, and the gentle barking of goats wandering nearby farms.

The gardens around the house are full of bright flowers, and when you wake up early enough to see the sunrise, you can watch the West Indies sky change from black to gray and pink and orange spout from the terrace. And yellow.

“Life here is magical,” says a 76-year-old artist and painter who moved full-time to Bequia in the Caribbean in 2005 with her 50-year-old husband. There are beaches below us, endless skies and clouds and activities, we hear birds in the trees and we are surrounded by nature and flowers. There is a calm that we love. ”

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She has dreamed of this life since she first saw Bekia on the deck of a steel hull sailing ship in 1978. She and her now retired husband, Doug, lived in Virginia with their two sons at the time. Fascinated by the rich turquoise waters and the lively parade of people, she says, “I started painting from the moment I anchored in the bay.” “I was immediately fascinated by this island.”

Doug originally wanted to retire in France and had several road trips to the country’s scout spots, but “he soon realized it was cold in winter,” Bequia said in their spot. Lee jokes that he never doubted that. He added that he was happy on the island of Bequia and was crazy about French movies on the island. So, after a series of vacations and short stays in Bekia, the couple bought their home there in 2005.Now Lee Owns her own art gallery In town, she sells her paintings and makes money. And Doug has retired from his previous publishing career and loves it. “His idea of ​​dressing up now is belted,” Lee jokes.


However, Bekia, which is part of the Grenadines of the Caribbean, is not suitable for everyone. It is only 7 square miles and is home to only about 5,000 people. Mosquitoes are intense, summers are hot, and the pace is slow (people jump out of the car in the middle of the road and chat with each other). However, it also has many advantages. Daytime temperatures are mostly in the 1980s and are not flooded with large resorts and tourists (sometimes called the “former Caribbean”). The beauty is straight. Of postcards. “These are my dream beaches,” Lee tells MarketWatch.

How much does it cost to live in Bekia?

Lee doesn’t follow a tight budget — jokingly near the age of 77 (her birthday is July) and gained the right to get a little help like a housekeeper or gardener — Lee if you’re spartan , States as follows. Monthly fees range from $ 2,000 to $ 3,000. ” Lonely Planet Offer This breakdown of island costs, and Retired in the Caribbean Retirement in the Grenadines is “lower than in many Caribbean countries,” he said. Many expatriates find it similar to their home country or cheaper. ”

Real estate can be expensive (some better homes cost over $ 1 million), Still listed Rental locations for about $ 300,000 and less than $ 1,500 per month. Food can also be expensive. Locally grown fruits and vegetables are more affordable, but be prepared to pay much more for many that have to be shipped or flown to the island. (This also applies to other consumer goods.) Lee says eating out on the island can also be expensive, and she and Doug rarely do so.

Reese saves utility bills by installing solar panels and eating lots of food from the garden. Lee drives Suzuki in 1995 (accidentally broke down shortly before a scheduled interview. She’s a friend of a town repairman, so everything went well and costly. She was just About $ 75). They also don’t use the washing machine (she wash most clothes by hand and hang them on the clothesline, if that’s not possible, she takes them to the laundromat and does everything for about $ 13. Dry, fold their laundry). They built a water filtration system to get drinking water from rainwater.

What do you like about Bekia?

Lee says he loves Bequia’s calmness, laid-back lifestyle and natural beauty, but the islanders themselves have a special place in her mind. “I love their friendliness and self-sufficiency,” she says. They welcome ex-Pat — many of them come from the US, Canada and the UK (although most of them spend only part of the year in Bekia) — often stop you from chatting (English is my mother tongue).


WIs the hat a health care like Bekia?

There are small hospitals, pharmacies and clinics on the island, but if you need large-scale procedures, you will need to take a speedboat or plane. To leave the island, there is an air ambulance service. Kingston on St. Vincent Island. And Lee says some of her friends have returned to the United States for health care because of a major procedure (Click here for details on Medicare — Does not normally cover medical care received abroad — may work in this situation). She doesn’t have to do that yet and gets a health checkup every year when she needs it at her local clinic. There she had a “nice” experience and the staff were kind, she says. For minor treatments, you can get free care, but ex-Pat usually leaves a donation, she adds. She also has a dental facility in the hospital, “during the winter, a nice retired dentist and his wife / longtime assistant will provide their services,” the optometrist said for the ophthalmology clinic. I visit Bekia once a week.

Do you have citizenship?

Lee was a permanent resident of Bekia and it wasn’t too difficult for her to make a joke, but it required “a lot of waiting” and paperwork.You can find details at How to do this here. You don’t have to be a citizen to buy real estate in Bekia, Some hoops to jump.


Lee dreamed of making Bekia a permanent home for 30 years, but now it’s her happy reality (although not available to everyone, most foreigners have a year. I spend only part of it there). Close to nature, we know where the moon is every night, chasing the stars and watching the sun rise, “she says. “I am very grateful to live here.”

What does it really feel like to retire on a Caribbean island — $ 3,000 per month What does it really feel like to retire on a Caribbean island — $ 3,000 per month

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