Jamaica draws the tourists back again and again. Who doesn’t love white sand beaches and a balmy tropical climate? After vacationing on the island many folks often dream of retiring in Jamaica. The big question is, can you afford to retire to this tropical paradise. The answer is yes if you do your homework beforehand. Here are the best tips on how to retire in Jamaica.

Housing and Utilities

Housing is more affordable in Jamaica than most US cities. However, if you are looking to buy a home you need to know the mortgage rate is quite high, around 9%. The cost of rent differs between locations on the island. For example, renting or buying an apartment downtown is going to cost more than living on the outskirts. Which part of the island you choose will also affect the cost of housing. Montego Bay is the most expensive and may not be the best choice for retiring in Jamaica.

Also, be prepared for the high cost of utilities. You will likely not have some American luxuries, like a dishwasher or washer and dryer, that you are used to. Importing these items is quite costly but it is more expensive to run them.

Location is Everything

After Britain conquered the island in 1655 the Brits divided it up according to counties and parishes, like England. St. Ann’s Bay would make a lovely spot to relocate to. Although the town is close to the popular resort town of Ocho Rios, St. Ann’s is not overly crowded with tourists. Here you will find a lot of historic architecture and scenic ocean views.

If a life of leisure in the country is more your style, then you might prefer Trelawny Parish. Falmouth is the capital and you may enjoy this historical 19th-century town. Many retirees prefer the slower pace here to the bustling resort towns.

Mandeville is perfect for folks who want to live like the locals. Located in the hills of Manchester Parish you will enjoy cooler temperatures than found on the rest of the island. Mandeville also has some good private schools for expats with children still with them.

Other Costs to Consider

Other factors to take into consideration include the cost of food. If you make sure to buy food grown or made locally it will not break your budget. Naturally, anything that is imported comes at a higher price. You will want to stock up on your favorite items when visiting the states.

Affordable, or quality, healthcare is another item to consider. Healthcare is free for legal residents. You would do well to use a private facility and doctor as the wait times in the free clinics are insanely long.

With some planning and a little research, you will know how to retire in Jamaica. Choose one of the less visited towns to enjoy a quiet retirement. But if you prefer more activity, save money by living outside the resort towns.

Staff Writer

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