Located just east of the Caribbean Sea, and forming part of the Lesser Antilles archipelago, Barbados is a tiny island nation that enjoys a high standard of living and a marvelous mix of British, Creole, African, and Latin American culture. Consistently ranking among the top 30 or so nations in the UN’s Human Development Index (an aggregate of literacy, health, life expectancy, and economic factors), the quality of life to be had in Barbados—especially for retirees from North America and Europe—is exceptional, and keeps reeling in expats year after year to its sublime shores.
Due to its geographic position, Barbados has the good fortune of escaping the effects of most of the brutal hurricanes and tropical storms that pulverize many of the islands in the region. In fact, the last time the country was seriously damaged by a hurricane was in the 1950s! Hence, the weather on the island is, simply put, spectacular. The western and souther beaches are calmer than those on the eastern shores, where the mighty Atlantic Ocean presents better surf conditions, though beware of the undertow.
Currently having what most consider to be a business-friendly government, investing in and moving to Barbados has become a rather easy affair in recent times. For those looking to stay indefinitely in the nation, the responsibility to prove some form of means of living and that you won’t become a “charge on the nation” is sufficient, in addition to the requirement that you own property. Check out the Government’s site for a little more info on the subject. Retired persons get preferential treatment in immigration procedures, which has turned Barbados into a popular spot for those entering the Golden Years. You’ll also want to do some research on immigration, as well as property issues.
The cost of living in Barbados can be a bit pricey, given that just about everything on the island has to be brought in by boat; also, the taxes are higher than in a lot of other island nations in the area, many of which have found success through being tax havens. Not Barbados, though. However, the upside is that there is a ton of duty-free shopping to be had. A little contradictory, but so it is.
Given the business-friendly nature of the government, real estate investments are relatively easy to realize for those with the sufficient chunk of cash to put down. Beach front plots clearly will cost you more than plots in from the coast. Registering with the government is required before any purchases can be made effective.
Places worth seeing on the island include the capital city of Bridgetown and the main towns of Holetown and Speightstown, between which there are always “route taxis” which, though slow and always traveling along scenic routes, will get you where you need to go. Other worthy destinations include Mount Hillaby (the highest spot on the island) and Bathsheba, a splendid Atlantic coastal town. Don’t forget to try the pride of Barbados, its rum, and check out the Mount Gay Rum Distilleries.