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Old Jul 1st 2017, 8:59 am   #1
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Question Sunny winter destinations, other than Sothern Europe or USA?

Now that I'm retired, I'm interested in emigrating, or spending 6 months every year abroad, somewhere where the temps are warmer during British winter months.

I was first thinking about Southern Europe and then the USA, but the viability of the former is uncertain due to the impending Brexit, and the latter has issues with very expensive healthcare and uncompromising stay-limitations.

So I'd greatly appreciate suggestions for other possibilities. The ideal destination for me, would have the following qualities:

1) Not too distant; say, within a 10-hour flight of Southern UK
2) Comfortably warm and sunny during British winter months
3) Reasonable living costs (preferably cheaper than the UK)
4) Reasonably big to explore, rather than a tiny island
5) Affordable health insurance
6) Good standard of healthcare
7) Flexible stay-duration system without excessive red tape
8) English language widely spoken
9) Genial natives, who welcome Brits
10) Reasonably safe, with regards food poisoning, diseases, etc.
11) Reasonably safe with regards crime, political unrest, etc.
12) Permanent residency possible without paying large amounts for it.

Thank you for any suggestions; I'm fairly open-minded... Looking forward to the discussion.
-PatP
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Old Jul 1st 2017, 10:28 am   #2
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Default Re: Sunny winter destinations, other than Sothern Europe or USA?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatP View Post
Now that I'm retired, I'm interested in emigrating, or spending 6 months every year abroad, somewhere where the temps are warmer during British winter months.

I was first thinking about Southern Europe and then the USA, but the viability of the former is uncertain due to the impending Brexit, and the latter has issues with very expensive healthcare and uncompromising stay-limitations.

So I'd greatly appreciate suggestions for other possibilities. The ideal destination for me, would have the following qualities:

1) Not too distant; say, within a 10-hour flight of Southern UK
2) Comfortably warm and sunny during British winter months
3) Reasonable living costs (preferably cheaper than the UK)
4) Reasonably big to explore, rather than a tiny island
5) Affordable health insurance
6) Good standard of healthcare
7) Flexible stay-duration system without excessive red tape
8) English language widely spoken
9) Genial natives, who welcome Brits
10) Reasonably safe, with regards food poisoning, diseases, etc.
11) Reasonably safe with regards crime, political unrest, etc.
12) Permanent residency possible without paying large amounts for it.

Thank you for any suggestions; I'm fairly open-minded... Looking forward to the discussion.
-PatP
The easy answer is Croatia, and I doubt Brexit will change that much if one is already there.

Outside of Europe or USA, Panama or Colombia. Panama has many special programs for retirees and English widely spoken. However, my recommendation is Medellin, Colombia. While not everyone speaks English, the people you would most likely deal with or socialize with would, it meets all the rest of your criteria very well.
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Old Jul 1st 2017, 5:49 pm   #3
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Default Re: Sunny winter destinations, other than Sothern Europe or USA?

Would you regard colombia or panama as particularly safe places as regards crime against the person? I do wonder, have you ever been to either?
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Old Jul 1st 2017, 5:51 pm   #4
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Default Re: Sunny winter destinations, other than Sothern Europe or USA?

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Originally Posted by morpeth View Post
The easy answer is Croatia, and I doubt Brexit will change that much if one is already there.

Outside of Europe or USA, Panama or Colombia. Panama has many special programs for retirees and English widely spoken. However, my recommendation is Medellin, Colombia. While not everyone speaks English, the people you would most likely deal with or socialize with would, it meets all the rest of your criteria very well.
Morpeth, Wonderful, thank you! When I hear 'Colombia' I always think of armed narcotics trafficking gangs, but I will definitely do some research re you suggestions. I was wondering about South America, but wasn't sure which specific countries to consider. Although I had thought about Belize, since it's supposed to be a British (or maybe ex-British) outpost.
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Old Jul 1st 2017, 6:04 pm   #5
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Default Re: Sunny winter destinations, other than Sothern Europe or USA?

NB i understand the panamanian countryside to be reasonably safe, but panama city is not, i have experience of hotels provide armed guards for shopping trips, medellin is safe, same way as johannesburg is safe, so long as you work on the basis that you will be mugged eventually, and dont take any excess anything when you go out... Just google it and read locals accounts, problem psychologically is that british people are used to real safety, not many places are as good outside europe and a lot of the usa...
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Old Jul 2nd 2017, 8:15 am   #6
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Default Re: Sunny winter destinations, other than Sothern Europe or USA?

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Originally Posted by uk_grenada View Post
Would you regard colombia or panama as particularly safe places as regards crime against the person? I do wonder, have you ever been to either?
I have been to both. Medellin is quite safe in the areas that an Expat would frequent, or in tourists areas an Expat may visit. Overall I feel safer in Medellin that I would in many parts of New York or Chicago. In the south a different story though with the recent settlement with the guerillas maybe that will change in the south.

I don't know Panama as well, but I never heard any Expats complaining. I prefer Medellin and Colombia for various reasons, but there are special programs for retirees choosing Panama, and English quite widely spoken.
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Old Jul 2nd 2017, 8:22 am   #7
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Default Re: Sunny winter destinations, other than Sothern Europe or USA?

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Originally Posted by uk_grenada View Post
NB i understand the panamanian countryside to be reasonably safe, but panama city is not, i have experience of hotels provide armed guards for shopping trips, medellin is safe, same way as johannesburg is safe, so long as you work on the basis that you will be mugged eventually, and dont take any excess anything when you go out... Just google it and read locals accounts, problem psychologically is that british people are used to real safety, not many places are as good outside europe and a lot of the usa...
I don't know Panama as well, just going by my brief visits and what others who live there I have told me. I never had hotels suggest armed guards when I visited.

I have no idea where you are getting the impression Medellin is like Johannesburg, absurd. I know Medellin very well over 10 years. I also know and am in frequent contact with many Expats there. Excellent and affordable healthcare, reasonable cost of living, wonderful weather year round, friendly people, growing expatriate population, growing economy. For outside of Europe, the quality of life for an Expat there hard to beat.
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Old Jul 2nd 2017, 8:41 am   #8
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Default Re: Sunny winter destinations, other than Sothern Europe or USA?

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Originally Posted by PatP View Post
Morpeth, Wonderful, thank you! When I hear 'Colombia' I always think of armed narcotics trafficking gangs, but I will definitely do some research re you suggestions. I was wondering about South America, but wasn't sure which specific countries to consider. Although I had thought about Belize, since it's supposed to be a British (or maybe ex-British) outpost.
-PatP
I don't know Belize, although I get impression prices for renting or buying real estate have made in more expensive.

Yes the impression of Colombia from the past always about the narcos etc., but it has changed drastically. The weather in Medellin , called the City of Eternal Spring, is great, it is a center for health acre tourism, very affordable with first world amenities, and extremely friendly and helpful people. Sure it isn't Croatia or France, but the quality of life overall is great. Much better than the USA that is for sure. The tourist centers of Cartagena or Santa Marta some prefer, but on an overall basis I think Medellin better than most parts of Latin America. Ecuador has a great cost of living, but less to offer and more knowledge of Spanish would be necessary.

Croatia I think offers a lot but the post was directed to outside of Europe or USA.

I guess though a lot depends on one's personal preferences. I cant say that Colombian food compares remotely to Italy, France or even Croatia, but restaurants are very affordable and fruit is plentiful and inexpensive. Lots of bureaucracy but no more than southern Europe.

A lot depends on your budget and lifestyle. Foreigners like the upscale neighborhood of Poblado, or just the nearby suburb of Rio Negro though Rio Negro real estate there expensive ( compared to USA but not Britain). I liked the nearby adjacent towns as more livable and affordable.
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Old Jul 3rd 2017, 9:41 pm   #9
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Default Re: Sunny winter destinations, other than Sothern Europe or USA?

I have friends who retired to Panama. After a year in Panama City which they found a challenging time they moved to El Valle. Their comment about 'widely spoken English' was that this applies if you mix with non Panamanians only. They learned Spanish. Healthcare is good, cost of living is no longer low cost esp. if you buy imported items. My friend recently remarked on new and tighter rules for pensionados scheme.
I spent 2 years in Belize. It is expensive, limited expensive health care. Plus my flight from Miami to Belize City used to cost as much as Vienna to Miami. English was widely spoken but depended on the location. Some areas was more Spanish.
What about Costa Rica?

Croatia is cold during winter months.
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Old Jul 4th 2017, 5:12 pm   #10
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Default Re: Sunny winter destinations, other than Sothern Europe or USA?

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I have friends who retired to Panama. After a year in Panama City which they found a challenging time they moved to El Valle. Their comment about 'widely spoken English' was that this applies if you mix with non Panamanians only. They learned Spanish. Healthcare is good, cost of living is no longer low cost esp. if you buy imported items. My friend recently remarked on new and tighter rules for pensionados scheme.
I spent 2 years in Belize. It is expensive, limited expensive health care. Plus my flight from Miami to Belize City used to cost as much as Vienna to Miami. English was widely spoken but depended on the location. Some areas was more Spanish.
What about Costa Rica?

Croatia is cold during winter months.
I don't know Panama well but I found most Panamanians I dealt with spoke English. Belize I have heard is expensive. I don't know Costa Rica , I hear beautiful but expensive.

I cant imagine Croatia along the coast is too cold in the winter !
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Old Jul 5th 2017, 12:12 am   #11
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Default Re: Sunny winter destinations, other than Sothern Europe or USA?

Pat, I think you would do yourself a favour by regarding the whole of the Caribbean as a "country". Most of the islands here are small, but they're all connected by air transport; and since you're retired, surely you don't need to drive everywhere. I haven't been to every island in the region, but every one I have been to has been different from its neighbours.

My home island - Grand Cayman - is a fly-speck on a map: it's forty minutes from one end to the other, for goodness sake. But... we're with an hour or two's flying time to Jamaica, Central America, Cuba, Nassau (Bahamas), and the southern USA - and those are only the direct flights. I'm not pushing Cayman onto you: it's a very expensive place to live, and it's relatively isolated, here at the western end of the Caribbean. But I mention it just to highlight the fact that travelling is easy - especially when you're retired. Living on an 80-square-mile island is little different from living in any other 80-square-mile community.
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Old Jul 5th 2017, 8:22 am   #12
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Default Re: Sunny winter destinations, other than Sothern Europe or USA?

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Pat, I think you would do yourself a favour by regarding the whole of the Caribbean as a "country". Most of the islands here are small, but they're all connected by air transport; and since you're retired, surely you don't need to drive everywhere. I haven't been to every island in the region, but every one I have been to has been different from its neighbours.

My home island - Grand Cayman - is a fly-speck on a map: it's forty minutes from one end to the other, for goodness sake. But... we're with an hour or two's flying time to Jamaica, Central America, Cuba, Nassau (Bahamas), and the southern USA - and those are only the direct flights. I'm not pushing Cayman onto you: it's a very expensive place to live, and it's relatively isolated, here at the western end of the Caribbean. But I mention it just to highlight the fact that travelling is easy - especially when you're retired. Living on an 80-square-mile island is little different from living in any other 80-square-mile community.
I have heard many nice reports about Grand Cayman, only drawback is everyone says very expensive.
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Old Jul 5th 2017, 8:29 am   #13
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Default Re: Sunny winter destinations, other than Sothern Europe or USA?

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Pat, I think you would do yourself a favour by regarding the whole of the Caribbean as a "country". Most of the islands here are small, but they're all connected by air transport; and since you're retired, surely you don't need to drive everywhere. I haven't been to every island in the region, but every one I have been to has been different from its neighbours.

My home island - Grand Cayman - is a fly-speck on a map: it's forty minutes from one end to the other, for goodness sake. But... we're with an hour or two's flying time to Jamaica, Central America, Cuba, Nassau (Bahamas), and the southern USA - and those are only the direct flights. I'm not pushing Cayman onto you: it's a very expensive place to live, and it's relatively isolated, here at the western end of the Caribbean. But I mention it just to highlight the fact that travelling is easy - especially when you're retired. Living on an 80-square-mile island is little different from living in any other 80-square-mile community.
I agree that all of the islands have their own distinct attractions and overall the particularly attractive Caribbean vibe but for instance, we moved to the Caribbean in 2006 just pre-Cricket World Cup and traveled to/from Barbados fairly cheaply for the games but never bothered much after that until we left in 2014 as the costs were just so high.

Today inter-island travel is both unreliable and inordinately expensive as ticket prices have been loaded up with high departure taxes and other fees.

Indeed one can travel up the Lesser Antilles by ferry between St Lucia / Martinique / Dominica / The Saints and Guadeloupe but otherwise 20 minutes flight can cost you USD 150 or more after all fees and there is no easy way to get from the Windwards/Barbados to Jamaica other than by transiting Trinidad.

On top of all of this, Caribbean island immigration is not currently set up for longer stays of up to six months and one would be traipsing back and forth to the Immigration department to pink up extension fees (I had to do that and I'm married to a Caricom citizen).

In spite of the issue surrounding Brexit, I would look to EU domiciles, particularly those which now actively aim to attract retirees such as Malta (ferry to Italy and well-served by cheap air carriers) and Portugal (well served by Easyjet and Ryanair to UK and other European cities from Funchal, Porto and Faro as well as the Azores, incl Funchal/Lisbon service on Easyjet and Porto/Faro service on Ryanair).

Though the Algarve is not necessarily WARM in winter (even southern Spain got snow on the beaches this last winter) it is typically much warmER than the UK and clearly Madeira is a winter sun destination as are the Canaries in Spain. The Azores are also mild in winter and Porto and Lisbon would be for visits.

I simply cannot imagine that post-Brexit Portugal will be hard to settle in for periods of up to six months (the threshold for tax and normal formal residency).

At the age of 65 the main issue to deal with is health insurance and we don't yet know where the EHIC card will 'be' post Brexit. On the face of it one is NOT eligible for NHS hospital treatment if away beyond 90 odd days and at that age longer stay health insurance can be hard to come by at reasonable cost.

Also attractive in Europe is the much greater potential for letting holiday let properties for longer stays of several months over the winter period at reasonable cost - we are doing that in the Algarve this coming winter. Winter is high season in the Caribbean and such lets are hard to come by then if ever.

Last edited by Pistolpete2; Jul 5th 2017 at 9:29 am. Reason: Though the Algarve is not necessarily WARM in winter
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Old Jul 5th 2017, 11:06 am   #14
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Default Re: Sunny winter destinations, other than Sothern Europe or USA?

Hear hear Gordon Barlow, pistol pete, are you not able to also get a spouses caricom passport? Easy here. - While we are all in or round the chain of islands, and there are some great similarities, tropical growing things, rum, ants that sort of thing, but there is great diversity in attitudes, laws/customs [immigration included] and even the climates.

Ive always held to the simple belief, that the bigger and definitely the taller an island, the more diverse its climates and agriculture are, so barbados - a flat dryish island has a purely marine climate while tall islands have micro climates, rainforest interiors, more good water etc.

Here at the southern edge of the chain, while I am sure that there are climate differences with a more northerly places like the caymen Islands I think that the differences are more about local geography than latitude.

How easy is it is to migrate to an island depends upon its laws and to an extent the attitude of the local people. Imho of course, Barbados has lots of Brits and there is a lot of prejudice between several communities there they also don't really want any more migration as they think they are full and they may well be, and this is the attitude on a number of typically more wealthy islands. I think there's also a link between ease of migration and the cost of housing for example if many people from richer countries are able to migrate they will do so and bump land prices.

If you want to live in grenada or it's tiny siblings it's actually quite easy. You can arrive on a tourist Visa which can be renewed locally very cheaply, then after you have been here continuously for three years and havent annoyed the police etc, you can apply for a residence permit after which you can live here but not work forever.

While you will pay a 10% alien land holding tax the actual cost of a nice house in a nice area with a pool three bedrooms et cetera is around £350,000. While we have some of the most expensive electricity [and cars, 160% duty...] on the planet and therefore everything is terribly efficient the cost of amazing local food and drink is insignificant, and the local supermarkets are full of Waitrose and Tesco products at between same price and double uk prices. Overall we think food prices are approximately consistent overall with UK which means somewhat more than America, but you can get just about anything.
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Last edited by uk_grenada; Jul 5th 2017 at 11:09 am.
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Old Jul 5th 2017, 11:56 am   #15
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Default Re: Sunny winter destinations, other than Sothern Europe or USA?

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Hear hear Gordon Barlow, pistol pete, are you not able to also get a spouses caricom passport? Easy here.
It's not about ME though is it? The OP has not got any connections to the Caribbean, so far as we are aware, so if it was complicated for me, it will be equally or more complicated for the OP.

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