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islands to live on
Your Island Life Starts Here >
Do not miss this moment. Travel and housing costs are down. The desire — the need — to escape to an island is up. Follow those signs and finally make that move to the Caribbean. Or Hawaii. Or the South Pacific. Or an island you’ve never thought of. Here’s your chance with this year’s “Best Islands to Live On,” selected by the editors after evaluating thousands of islands around the world. To seal the deal, just look for one more sign: “for sale.” ›››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››
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r. iAn lloyd
Life in the slow lane on Waiheke, New Zealand.
Ju l y/Au g u s t 2 0 0 9 isl a n d s . c om
Ju l y/Au g u s t 2 0 0 9 isl a n d s . c om
islands to live on
> Big Pine Key, Florida
F o r a s m a l l-t o w n v i b e o n a h i d d e n i s l a n d
> Why Big Pine? The Florida Keys are popular for good reason — proximity, climate, endless
water sports and more. But that popularity has its downsides, as crowds and development have encroached upon delicate ecosystems and begun to compromise the islands’ natural charm. not on Big Pine. Much of the island is federally protected wildlife habitat, off-limits to development. a close-knit, small-town community works conscientiously to protect the local environment, and real estate remains surprisingly affordable, considering its surroundings. Big Pine is a little reminder of how the Keys used to be. and there’s still room for you. used to guest here,” says Jen deMaria of the deer Run Bed & Breakfast, which she and her fiancé, Harry appel, discovered 10 years ago on the first of what became annual visits to Big Pine Key. “Every time we came, Harry said to the owner, kind of half-joking, ‘if you ever want to sell this place, give me a call.’” Eventually, that call came, and in 2006, Harry and Jen bought deer Run, then moved south from their native new Jersey. They remade their lives, as both innkeepers and stewards of the local environment. “it’s all about the nature here,” says Jen, 44. “People are drawn to this area for its unspoiled beauty.” Unlike some of its more developed neighbors — Key West or Marathon, for instance — Big Pine’s largely protected habitat is home to several endangered species, including the Key deer, which resembles the more familiar whitetail but is considerably smaller. The local waters are also a sanctuary, their calm shallows readily explored by sea kayaks. “You get out on the water, you paddle around, you see turtles, you see rays, you see sharks, you see parrotfish, you see all sorts of little things,” says Jen. “Every time you pick up a shell, there’s something living in it.” The couple’s surroundings aren’t the only things that have changed since their move to the Keys. deer Run operates as an eco-friendly inn, certified “green” by the state of Florida. Jen and Harry serve organic vegetarian cuisine and guide their guests toward low-impact activities. Running a B&B is work, to be sure, but it’s nothing like life in the corporate law offices where Jen toiled for 20 years as a paralegal. “The stress is completely different, if you even want to call it that,” she says. “now i wake up and cook in the morning. after my chores are done, i have time in the middle of the day to do anything i want to. i can go for a bike ride; i can go work out; or i can walk on the beach. i feel very peaceful now.”
> Fa c t s o F l i F e > Climate: tropical > PoPulation: 5,000 > PerCentage “exPats”: 60% > PoPulation of main town: no main town. > House starting PriCe: Mid-$150s > travel from u.s. mainland: fly to Miami, then drive less than three hours to big pine; smaller airports are on Marathon and Key West. > Closest HosPital: stock island, Marathon > PriCe of loCal beer: $2.75 for no name pub Amber > language sPoken: english > ease of immigration: easy > ease of buying a Home: easy > websites: fla-keys.com; marrproperties.com
> Life of an “Expat”: “We
> Your New Home [$] Two-bedroom, one-bath bungalow with a screened porch is on a double lot surrounded by lots of trees. $169,000 [$$] A beautiful two-bedroom home on a boating canal includes Key deer and tropical birds as neighbors. $435,000 [$$$] Two-bedroom, custom-built home with chef's kitchen has panoramic views of the water and its own dock. $1.3 million
s h e l ly s t r A z i s ( 3 )
Ju l y/Au g u s t 2 0 0 9 isl a n d s . c om
>Your New Home [$] two-bedroom modern house with an adjacent stone house in need of renovation. $170,000 [$$] restored olive press has been converted into a three-bedroom home. terrace has mountain views. $265,000 [$$$] hillside threebedroom home with views of the sea of crete has a swimming pool, rooftop terrace and separate guesthouse. $580,000
islands to live on
> Crete, Greece
For an epic immersion in history
lar expat destination for millennia, occupied variously by the Minoans, Byzantines, Romans, Venetians and Ottoman Turks. Crete’s cultural history will still greet you when you land, from Roman ruins to Turkish mosques to the lovely frescoes in the ancient churches at the end of every taverna-lined cobblestone street. Crete has a largely agricultural economy, but don’t worry — your neighbor will be happy to supply you with eggs, olives or homemade wine should you shun the fields for the beaches.
> Life of an Expat: “When we talk about islands, we think about
> Why Crete? The largest of the Greek isles has been a popu-
f r o M t o p : s t e V e o u t r A M / Au r o r A p h o t o s ; A n d e r s c A r l s s o n / p h o t o g r A p h e r ’ s d i r e c t; o p p o s i t e : M As t e r f i l e
small places. But you don’t have that feeling with Crete,” says Eva smith. “it would take you at least a year to explore the island from one end to the other.” Eva, 50, a former retail executive and consultant, and husband Rob, a telecommunications entrepreneur, retired to Crete from California in 2004. “We wanted to stop the rat race,” she says. “it was almost unbearable to work 18-hour days, meet in airports and communicate on the telephone all the time. We realized we had accumulated enough material things to last our lifetimes, so we just stopped.” The couple considered retiring in Mexico but decided it would be too easy to return to their old lives. What’s more, “with Crete, we had a personal connection because my family was originally from here,” Eva says. The couple renovated a 100-year-old house owned by Eva’s family outside the small city of Réthimno and 500 yards from the beach. “My husband is a diver and surfer, and we swim year-round,” Eva says. “Even during winter, it’s not really winter. Everything is done outdoors.” “Everything” includes cooking in the couple’s outdoor kitchen and tending to the grapes and olives on their 12-acre lot. “life here starts whenever you get up,” Eva says. “You have breakfast and do what the locals do, maybe some farming chores. We just finished making 1,300 kilos of olive oil. it’s purely organic — nothing in it except water from the sky. it’s fantastic. You feel tired at the end of the day when you do these things, but it’s a good tired. it’s very rewarding.” Rob and Eva also love to explore. “Here, you walk through history,” she says. “downtown you have the mosque, which is now a music hall, and next to it is a fort from the Venetians. at the beach, there’s a sunken city from the Minoan era.” Overall, it’s a simpler life: “We have more time to spend with each other, and that’s when we’re best.”
> Fa c t s o F l i F e > Climate: Mediterranean > PoPul ation of isl and: 600,000 > PerCentage exPats: 10% > PoPulation of main town: heraklion, 138,000 > House starting PriCe: $100s > travel from u.s.: several major airlines fly directly to Athens, then daily connecting flights to heraklion on Aegean and olympic Airlines; daily overnight ferries to crete. > Closest HosPitals: heraklion, Varvara, Viannos, Arkalochori and Moires > PriCe of loCal beer: $4 for Mythos > languages sPoken: greek, english > ease of immigration: easy > ease of buying a Home: Medium > websites: greektourism.gr; ktimatoemporiki.gr
Ju l y/Au g u s t 2 0 0 9 isl a n d s . c om
Croix. “But for me.” nowadays. take a look at nevis. Montserrat and st. if lying on the beach somehow gets old. $300.com.5 hillside acres has stunning views of the caribbean and Montserrat. “i had something like 1.” > Why Nevis? some folks come to the Caribbean for the excitement — the pounding kettle > F a c t s o F l i F e > Climate: tropical > PoPul ation of isl and: 12. the ebullient carnivals and the rum-soaked beach parties. golf and a low-key social life. citrus and coffee. “We used to take vacations every year with our two children. “We brought in electric service. The couple nearly bought property in Montserrat but reconsidered at the last minute. everything worked out fine. 2. “we came to nevis. For fun. poke around the rainforest or explore the ruins of British-era plantations — all peacefully. Ted promptly launched a second career as a farmer. But we brought the utilities in and tapped into the waterline. i have no regrets at all. c om 41 . > Closest HosPital: charlestown > PriCe of loCal beer: $2 for carib > languages sPoken: english > ease of immigration: easy with the economic citizenship program > ease of buying a Home: easy with that program > websites: nevisisland. the pool area has a dining pavilion.400 plants.” says Ted Cox. nevis is short on drama and long on simple pleasures.” he recalls. l a i d . “leaving the United states — that’s a major change whether you’re retiring or not. you begin to think they have a point. > Life of an Expat: “The beginning of this goes back to when Barbara and i spent our honeymoon in nassau and we liked the temperature. J o n W h i t t l e ( 2 ) drums. new york. if peace and quiet is your thing.” he says. Kitts. s.000 [$$$] three-bedroom home decorated with nevis artwork on 2. But that was just the beginning of the couple’s resettlement. you might climb the island’s (safely extinct) volcano.” Ted says. primarily to stock the couple’s kitchen. the couple moved to the island full time. he raises bananas. and they just can’t understand why we knock ourselves out trying to do things on time.com > Your New Home [$] three-bedroom home has views of Mount nevis. was finally finished in the late ’70s. antigua. and his wife are in their fourth decade as residents of nevis.5 million Ju l y/Au g u s t 2 0 0 9 isl a n d s .” On the advice of a fellow expat. there’s the beach. His journey from fair-weather honeymooner to expat elder statesman wound through much of the Caribbean. “and in those days telephone was almost unheard of. a quaint outpost about 200 miles southeast of Puerto Rico. The nevitians live to be 120.b a c K c a r i b b e a n l i F e s t y l e t r AV e l s h o t s / Au r o r A p h o t o s .: nonstop flights from Miami.” Ted says. “i went seriously into pineapples. Unlike some of its Caribbean brethren. $550.” The couple’s two-bedroom home. oualierealty. starting in Puerto Rico. that would be 1970.000 > PerCentage exPats: 5% > PoPul ation of m ain t own: charlestown. in 1988. designed by Ted and later supplemented by an adjacent guesthouse. Ted. “The following year. charlotte and Atlanta to st. then take a 45-minute ferry ride over to nevis. a retired architect from Connecticut. the Coxes snapped up four acres — an unusually large plot for an outsider — with sea views stretching to the western horizon. you had to go to town to make a telephone call. and then we started building a house — slowly.000 [$$] three-bedroom home has a kitchen that opens up to a veranda and swimming pool. $3.” Ted says. The words ‘schedule’ and ‘completion date’ don’t exist here.000 > H o use s ta r tin g PriCe: $200s > travel from u. But after a while.best islands to live on > Nevis F o r t h e q ua i n t.
i’m coming to Palau. and my mother married 43 . “i was thinking.” Martul. i built what i have today. with its globally renowned reef and wreck diving. but also because if you visit — or move — you’re likely to spend much of your time underwater. > Your New Home [$] three-bedroom home has an ocean view from the master bedroom. and they find their niche. “a lot of people who come to visit come back to live. “He said to me. however. fly to guam. and is the father of five kids — ranging from 1 to 18. “This was not what i was expecting. Washington. 46. the island sam calls “the jewel of Micronesia” retains its natural beauty and remains fertile ground for entrepreneurship.” now. i was just blown away. sam’s stepfather introduced him to Palau’s broader possibilities. and nothing else in my pocket. That’s not only because this Micronesian island nation 550 miles east of the Philippines is the most remote location on our list.s. “The next thing we know. after finishing high school. his stepfather handed him the keys to a boat.50 for red rooster > languages sPoken: english. i want you to take this boat and become the biggest.” sam learned to drive a boat and took up scuba diving. if you’re a Robinson Crusoe type. and i saw this beautiful underwater world.000 > House starting PriCe: high $100s > travel from u. blah. > Closest HosPital: Koror > PriCe of loCal beer: $2. o p p o s i t e : b o b K r i s t / c o r b i s a Palauan gentleman who was serving in the U. Palau. This was something i had to see more of. One day.” a king of sorts.” But sam has built more than a business. unique reefs.5 million f r o M t o p : t i M r o c K / l o n e ly p l A n e t i M Ag e s . He’s married to “a beautiful local girl. is among the world’s top dive destinations.com (find summit realty under community/real estate) > Life of an Expat: “i grew up in Olympia. sam joined his stepfather in Palau. Even so. which. teeming undersea life and World War ii shipwrecks. you might find the life of your dreams. $3. “He put me to work in his restaurant for a dollar an hour.000 [$$$] 15-acre private island of coconut and mangrove trees includes a sandy beach.” sam says with a laugh. army. american-funded infrastructure improvements mean the roads are paved and there’s now a modern airport. my stepfather is being discharged and brought back to Palau to take over the position of high chief. but beyond that. 13. two-level home has a private beach in the back for fishing and snorkeling. palauan > ease of immigration: easy with elite resident Visa > ease of buying a Home: Medium > website: visit-palau.” sam says.s. is now state of the art. n i K W h e e l e r z / Au r o r A p h o t o s .best islands to live on > Palau F o r g e t t i n g away F r o m a b s o l u t e ly e v e r y t h i n g > Why Palau? if you’re looking to disappear from the face of the earth. out of the blue. $195. it turned out. The family lives on the premises of sam’s Tours. once little more than a tin shack. stationed at Fort lewis up there. “i open the blinds and look across the water to the Rock islands.” Over time. then a two-hour flight to palau. ‘sam. was a “Very important Palauan.’ and with that boat. The company runs tours and dive trips around Palau. sam’s Tours operates a fleet of a dozen boats and employs a staff of 50.” says sam scott.: from hawaii. Palau’s your place.000 [$$] four-bedroom.” he says.” > Fa c t s o F l i F e > Climate: tropical > PoPulation of island: 20. has been named an “Underwater Wonder of the World. too. “The moment he took me out to the Rock islands.” sam’s stepfather. i’m going to be living in royalty. almost 30 years later. “There’s still opportunity here. which included a life spent primarily on — and under — the water. with its crystalclear lagoons. most successful tour operator on Palau. Palau. has developed since sam arrived — “all the roads are nicely paved” — and the airport. to the lagoon area. blah.” The reality was a little different. blah. he has also built a life on Palau.000 > PerCentage exPats: 10% > PoPulation of main town: Koror. ‘Wow. $330.
has lived on the quieter — and breezier — East side for almost a year.” Mike says. three-car garage and breathtaking double grand staircase.000 > PerCentage e xPat s: 40% > PoPulation of main town: george town. fumbling around on the phone at home on Grand Cayman as the wind whistles.” Mike. “it’s pretty easy to find nice little spots to live if you don’t mind sharing with other people. “The West side seems like a city compared to the East side.” > Fa c t s o F l i F e > Climate: tropical > PoPulatio n o f isl and: 55. lured from his previous home in Miami in search of the perfect place to ply his trade: kiteboarding instructor. Grand Cayman could be the place for you.” he says.” says Mike Minichiello. dude. but the safety and infrastructure are not there. Over on the East side. 38. you’ll find a safe. “But that’s one of the beauties of living on an island — you can still go to the supermarket without them.com Best for business and pleasure: GRand CaYMan t y s AW y e r ( 3 ) Ju l y/Au g u s t 2 0 0 9 isl a n d s . as well as a fair number of the expats who populate the West side and work in its financial-services sector.s.best islands to live on > Grand Cayman For an isl and with a choice oF t wo sides: business or breez y > Why Grand Cayman? Whether you’re looking to spend your island life in board shorts or a business suit. home to a booming financial-services sector. 33. ‘You don’t need to steal if you already have.000 [$$] five-bedroom home with a pool is blocks from central george town. like they say.” he says.: nonstop flights on cayman Airways. things slow down.” Mike’s students include the usual tourists.2 million > Life of an Expat: “i can’t find my shoes.’” Mike lives in a house on the beach with a handful of fellow water-sports instructors. The island’s West side is modern and developed. not passing more than one or two cars. they flew me down to Grand Cayman.25 for caybrew > language sPoken: english > ea se of immigration: easy > ea se of buying a Home: easy > websites: caymanislands.000 > House starting PriCe: $300s > travel from u. Whichever way you turn. > Closest HosPital: george town > PriCe of loCal beer: $4. Chill on the beach.ky. We have a nice big deck that looks out on that. Mike says. $4. “instead. but they didn’t want to come to Miami. When i got here. and you can eat your breakfast out there. strap on the scuba gear or hop on your kiteboard — it’s all good.000 [$$$] 6. That’s a lot different than the Miami lifestyle. which has attracted more than a few expat lawyers and bankers. gazebo and fish pond. $960. “There are a lot of beautiful places in the Caribbean. i can stop and grab a coconut and drink coconut water for breakfast. “The East side has the natural beauty. caymanluxuryproperty. > Your New Home [$] three-bedroom home has a pool with a slide. i’ve ridden my bike to work.” But the economy in the Caymans is a boon to everyone. stable island that may remind you a bit of home but that’s different in all the right ways. Here. $350. whereas the West side has the infrastructure. i realized how perfect this island is for what i do. banks and law firms. c om 45 .500-squarefoot home on rum point has an infinity pool. you have probably the highest standard of living in the Caribbean. i look out my window and see pretty much the most beautiful water you can imagine. diving and water sports. “Where i live now. “There were a few students in the Cayman islands who wanted to learn.
that tends to take greater priority than the economic or business side of things. it’s really beautiful. There’s not a single stoplight on the island. like his parents. two small medical centers are on Waiheke. slowing down was precisely what Mike. Multimillion-dollar homes share the island comfortably with summer cottages. gorgeous backcountry “bush walks” and ample opportunity for mountain biking abound. “You can get off the ferry and walk to the central business district. but when we got to the auckland area. Mike knows that the idea of moving to a place on the other side of the world can take a while to get used to.com.’ Of course. sought to do 10 years ago after harried professional life in California’s silicon Valley. i’d never heard of anybody being eaten by lions in new Zealand.” $856. but sandy beaches.2 acres of vineyard land features chardonnay grapes and olive groves.” says Mike. “We probably have several thousand people who commute to work every day in auckland.” ann worked in technical marketing. > PriCe of loCal beer: $5 for baroona original > language sPoken: english > ease of immigration: easy through the country’s skilled migrant program > ease of buying a Home: Medium > websites: waihekenz. owner of destiny Bay Vineyards on Waiheke.best > Your New Home [$] two-bedroom cottage includes a unique timber octagonal ceiling.” says Mike.000 [$$$] two-bedroom house and winemaker's loft on 2. ‘You should move to Waiheke and grow grapes. and we’d never contemplated growing grapes. “We were in dunedin. Much of the island is given over to olive groves and vineyards. led to a return visit in 1999. sean. Eventually. we’d never heard of Waiheke. 2. a private beach and separate one-bedroom “flatette.” Waiheke’s proximity to auckland has long made the island a popular summer destination for Kiwis and an appealing outpost for expats who prefer a quiet setting with the advantages of a nearby city.’” says Mike spratt. 57.000 [$$] five-bedroom cedar home has multiple decks. has become a dual citizen. and it’s kind of a paradise island.” Mike’s commute home now is climbing stairs from his office to an apartment above the winery. is English-speaking and notably emigration-friendly. “i was a management consultant.s. and his wife.9 million islands to live on > Waiheke. a friend said. though it’s far more socioeconomically diverse.’” he says. in 1998. i should take a holiday. “Whether it’s the surfing or fishing or doing whatever they like to do. then take a 35-minute ferry ride. and magnates mix easily with artists and writers.” > Why Waiheke? Though only a quick ferry ride from auckland — new Zealand’s > F a c t s o F l i F e > Climate: subtropical > P oPul ation of isl and: 8. “i wish i’d done it years ago. ‘Jeez. But most of the real work these days is the province of the couple’s son.000 > PerCentage exPats: 25% > PoPulation of main town: oneroa. a strong yachting culture makes Waiheke reminiscent of such american islands as nantucket.nz 46 r. c om 47 . $1.000 > House starting PriCe: $200s > travel from u. ‘You’re Here — slow down.co. ann. > Closest HosPital: Auckland. New Zealand F o r a b e au t i F u l ly s l o w l i F e d o w n u n d e r largest city — Waiheke is decidedly low-key. waihekebayleys. but for his part. and one morning at breakfast. we found the property we’re on now and moved in 2000. “You sort of live out of a travel bag. “ann said she wanted to go to either africa or new Zealand. moreover. $265. > Life of an Expat: “The first thing you see when you get off the car ferry on Waiheke is a sign that says. who runs day-to-day operations and. and we noticed there were a lot of vineyards. “We’d never take a holiday. “a lot of people come here as a lifestyle choice.” Even so. so 30 years go by and you think. 37.” he says. your whole life is in a Palm Pilot. iAn lloyd (3) Ju l y/Au g u s t 2 0 0 9 isl a n d s .” That first trip. new Zealand. we went over and drove around.: fly on several airlines through sydney to Auckland. 58.
000 [$$$] the famous “Kula Waterfall house” has three bedrooms. she’s become increasingly intent on staying. “But on the mainland. world-class water sports. You’re not left without. it’s the ease of living in the U. but there’s not a starbucks on every corner.’” it’s been six years since Christine.75 for longboard island lager > language sPoken: english > ease of immigration: easy > ease of buying a Home: easy > websites: visitmaui.000 [$$] four-bedroom home in lahaina is one block from a sandy beach and calm snorkeling spot.best islands to live on > Maui Why Maui? This F o r co m F o r t s o F t h e a m e r i c a n m a i n l a n d — w i t h a l o h a is the american paradise. i get off the plane. ‘no better time in my life than now to move to Maui. Find what every island traveler loves: pristine beaches.com. one-bath ohana on Maui.” says Christine Ellis. Life of an “Expat”: “i’m an active person. it just feels so good. i am quite content here.s.000 > PerCentage “exPats”: 50% > PoPul ation of main town: Kahului.” she says. feel that balmy air and know i’m back in Maui. i’d always have to take trips to do the things i loved. with several clinics across the island > PriCe of loCal beer: $5. $260. But then i like to spend my weekends really enjoying what Maui has to offer. white-sand beach with calm water in the morning and a warm breeze in the afternoon.” she says. since Maui is american. 28. the cleanest i’ve ever seen anywhere in the world” — and Maui’s two volcanoes. realestatemauihawaii. $895.” Christine says she conceived her move to Maui primarily as a “multiple-year vacation. “now in the morning i can walk out my front door and literally within two minutes be down on one of the most beautiful beaches on the north shore. security and familiar comforts of home while enjoying life in a place where the sun-drenched days unfold far from the mega-malls and mainland crowds. i have all the amenities of a world-class resort within a 30-minute drive and no rush-hour traffic. awe-inspiring volcanoes and a rich.s.” Christine supervises a team of agents for Whaler’s Realty. Haleakala and Mauna Kahalawai. left her home in Oregon for a simple two-bedroom. surf or snorkel— then enjoy the ocean sports all afternoon in the trade winds.4 million > F a c t s o F l i F e > Climate: tropical > PoPul ation of isl and: 130. it’s a wide. There’s nothing like it. You can revel in the convenience.” Christine says. What’s more. c om 49 . so i said. “My typical day is much like anyone else’s. the island’s largest independent real-estate agency.com linny Morris (3) Ju l y/Au g u s t 2 0 0 9 isl a n d s . traditional culture.: several nonstop flights on various airlines to Kahului. do yoga. so many activities are seasonal. “all the things you look for in your daily lifestyle are here.” but as time has passed. Maybe that’s taking a day trip to Hana or going to a waterfall for the day — something to remind me that i live here in paradise. swim. 20. $3. “They’re surreal — they are so. “Maui has everything you need and nothing you don’t.” > Your New Home [$] two-bedroom plantation-style home has 660 square feet and is in the heart of paia town.” Paradise of course includes the beaches —“phenomenal. Every time i leave and come back. meditate. so beautiful. it’s the perfect place to take a jog. “Between the surf and the sunsets.000 > House starting PriCe: $200s > travel from mainland u. a waterfall in a tropicalplant atrium and a 50-foot infinity pool perched over a ravine. > Closest HosPital: Kahului. “i get up and go to work. after work i try to do something — either go in the water or go for a hike. mainland while still enjoying a true island experience.
$3. Texas. the house runs on solar energy.000 [$$$] newly built stone house is split into nine apartment units with housekeeper’s quarters. and was raised in the restaurant and seafood businesses. shopping and culture are a 45-minute ferry ride away in split. n i K l As g o r A n s s o n / A l A M y. we take the coffee and we go. english. Brac is one of the largest and perhaps the best polished. lamb. But here people will sit on the riva. including its restaurants. o p p o s i t e : s t uA r t b l Ac K / t h e t r AV e l l i b r A r y who five years ago left his job as a restaurant manager in Houston to take a position at the Waterman Resort on Brac.” Tony says.hr.” with direct views of Croatia’s second-largest city. His father’s family is Croatian. then a 45-minute ferry ride from split to supetar on brac.” says Tony duzich. i was ready for some fresh air. we hit the drive-through. 10 miles across the water.: flights to split are through zagreb and other major european cities. limestone formations loom above jagged coves. grew up in Corpus Christi.” > Fa c t s o F l i F e > Climate: Mediterranean > PoPulation of island: 14.com > Life of an Expat: “The people live differently here.” he says.” he says. Brac has year-round attractions of its own. “We also eat a lot of fish. which has its own special kind of beauty.000 of them — dot the warm. the rocky dalmatian islands — more than 1. “We have some of the best lamb in Croatia.” Tony. 51 . But to them. if you order fish in a restaurant at night. “Maybe it’s the way it’s always been and they just carry that on. i think sometimes in the states we get so caught up with work that we don’t take time to enjoy our family or have time for ourselves. life moves at the right speed.” Tony. then give way to gorgeous sand and gravel beaches. italian > ease of immigration: Medium > ease of buying a Home: Medium > websites: www. still. “it’s really beautiful at night with the lights and the stars.4 million F o r o l d -w o r l d co l o r a n d a t w o . paddle boating and windsurfing.000 > PerCentage exPats: 1% > PoPul ation of main town: supetar. now a dual citizen. look at the water and drink coffee for an hour or two. > Closest HosPital: supetar > PriCe of loCal beer: $1. summer activities center on the sea — swimming. lives with his Croatian wife and 1-yearold son on the grounds of the resort in an apartment “footsteps from the beach. 4.” Tony boasts. german. guided by an appealing old-world ethos.s. split. most likely you’re going to eat a fish that was caught that day. enjoying life is important. local cheeses and Plavac red wine. Croatia > Your New Home [$] four-bedroom furnished stone house above a baroque church and marina has a private terrace and sea view. fed on grass salted by the sea. family is really important. in the states. “My first impression was that it was one of the most beautiful places i’d ever seen. blue adriatic sea like diamonds scattered on velvet. $230. is a particular delicacy. after Houston.dalmatia. Green olive trees soften the surroundings and contribute to the region’s storied cuisine. milenkarealestate.h o u r co F F e e b r e a K > Why Brac? Off the coast of Croatia. Tony was intrigued. health is important. “Every little village here has a beautiful old church.000 > House starting PriCe: $200s > travel from u. and the air is clean — we don’t have any smog. including fresh fish. when the wind kicks up.000 [$$] three-bedroom stone house located on a secluded bay is only accessible by boat.best islands to live on >Brac. so when he was offered the opportunity to live and work on Brac.60 for Karlovacko > languages sPoken: croatian.” since moving to Brac. “i’ve really learned how to enjoy life. while in winter. $700. Most of the buildings and houses are made of blocks of stone. 36. “a big thing here is to go sit out and drink coffee.
and they’ve made this island a true home. $950. Chris. dutch. who left Miami to relocate with her husband. “Every week there’s a different race. Witness the architecture in the capital city of Willemstad: it’s dutch traditional but painted in brilliant pastel hues that would never pass muster in the motherland. “The running and biking communities here are incredible.000 [$$] Three-bedroom home is only minutes from the Porto Marie and Cas Abao beaches.” at home. and i love that. it has now been 14 years. “We have a great backyard. realestate-curacao. a University of Miami grad. “We can find our house on Google Earth because we have a big tree. “My kids have been exposed to so much.com Jon Whittle (3) Ju l y/Au g u s t 2 0 0 9 isl a n d s . spanish > ea se of immigration: easy > ea se of buying a Home: easy > websites: curacao. $165. We spend as much time outside as we do inside. the island’s many extracurricular activities are close at hand. while Chris.” she says. “We were not planning on staying here forever. to his native Curaçao. but in Curaçao. but it lies just 40 miles off the coast of Venezuela. Beyond that. and then we made the decision.” as to the future. it’s a dutch island.000 [$$$] Three-bedroom.” Jennifer. “We have two kids.” Jennifer says.: nonstop flights include American Airlines from Miami and delta from Atlanta. and it’s gargantuan. had a simple business plan — introducing aluminum rain gutters to the island — and that business ended up being very good. Jennifer hopes to watch her kids graduate from the international school. “There are so many neat things to do.000 > F a c t s o F l i F e > C l im at e : tropical > P o P u l at i o n of isl and: 140. “One year turned into two.000 > H o use s ta r tin g PriCe: $100s > travel from u. c om 53 . friends who are Muslim. living on Curaçao. an avid runner and cyclist.s.com.” Jennifer says. she knows plans can change. and two turned into three.best islands to live on > Curaçao F o r c u lt u r e s co m i n g t o g e t h e r a s n e i g h b o r s i n t h e c a r i b b e a n Why Curaçao? The Caribbean may be a big. > Closest HosPital: Willemstad > PriCe of loCal beer: $2 for Amstel > languages sPoken: papiamentu. blue melting pot. a schoolteacher. “The beaches are beautiful.000 > PerCentage exPats: 5% > PoPul ation o f m ain t own: Willemstad. where her daughter attends kindergarten and her son is finishing up second grade. three-level villa has 360-degree views and a swimming pool surrounded by tropical gardens.” Jennifer says.” Jennifer says. part of the netherlands antilles. a bit of geographical serendipity that adds a dash of latin spice. Life of an Expat: “We decided to try it for a year — it was purely a temporary thing. the ingredients blend especially well. Chris. competes in triathlons. Curaçao’s a big dive spot. everybody knows everybody. english. We built a deck around it.” The kids especially enjoy hiking the island’s mountainous interior. “We have students from more than 39 countries. 125. so there are lots of water activities. landed a job soon after her arrival and now teaches math at the international school of Curaçao.” says Jennifer. the family spends much of their time outdoors. it’s a knip tree. and i love it here. it’s got a real small feel to it.” says Jennifer van Grieken. and the school has a dive club.” > Your New Home [$] Renovated twobedroom home set amid fruit and palm trees has a decked garden. “But now i don’t picture moving back to the states. and they’re not just learning about it in class. $261. They have friends who are indian.” When school’s out.
then the Bahamas. which makes langkawi an easy island for americans.: nonstop flights from Kuala lumpur on Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia.” he says. Batik painting is probably the number-one craft. i love the people.” says Greg. then Maui. along with the abundance of smaller islands just a short boat ride away. Greg knows he’ll probably move along to a new work assignment eventually. Throughout the 19 years that he has worked for the hotel company.000 > H o use s ta r t in g Pri Ce: $50s > travel from u.best > Your New Home [$] three-bedroom town house next to padi fields is close to a school. so we can go out in kayaks and sailboats all the time. and the island’s proximity to population centers such as singapore. “Then i moved to Java. arrived two years ago to serve as general manager of the main island’s Four seasons Resort.” he says.” nor is it hard to find something to do. f r o M t o p : f e l i x h u g / l o n e ly p l A n e t i M Ag e s . p r e s t o n s c h l e b u s c h / g e t t y i M Ag e s .” langkawi is actually a cluster of 99 Malaysian islands. along with the labyrinthine caves and ancient rock formations that prompted UnEsCO to name langkawi a World Geopark in 2007.com more ISLandS > Life of an Expat: “My › plAn your MoVe At islAnds. sherry recently helped found a club for expat women. But the island’s most exotic attractions lie inland. o p p o s i t e : VA n e s s A b e r b e r i A n / g e t t y i M Ag e s first island was Manhattan. “We try to go to the little mom-and-pop shops and buy things from them. Greg. and asia is a wonderful part of the world. “We have mountains and some limestone features that are millions of years old.” he says. However. 46. are part of a small but growing expatriate community. > Closest HosPital: Kuah. most of which are uninhabited. “The people here have a genuine warmth in their heart. Matsirat > P r i C e o f l o C a l b e e r : $1. $110. “They do activities. they really care about other people.” > F a c t s o F l i F e > Climate: tropical > P oPul ation of isl and: 60. english > ease of immigration: easy with My second home programme > ease of buying a Home: easy > websites: virtualmalaysia. “i’m in no rush to leave here.350 [$$$] brand-new luxury hillside villa on the coast has private balconies from each of four bedrooms.” he says. 34. two-story town house has a garden and access to a huge swimming pool. e-MAil us At feedbAcK@islAnds. where he and his wife.000 [$$] three-bedroom. “it’s not hard to communicate. also 46. like going out to an island for a picnic or putting together benefits for good causes.” he says. then back to Hawaii and then here. langkawi-property.” says Greg Pirkle. “We love to ride our bikes around the island.000 > PerCentage e x Pat s: 5% > P o Pu l at i o n o f m ain t own : Kuah. $55. Greg has been posted on islands big and small. c om 55 .com. “You can have your own private island for a couple of hours. sherry. The Malaysia My second Home Programme makes it easy for expats to retire here. powdery and gently washed by a lakelike sea.50 for tiger > languages sPoken: bahasa Malaysia. and the water’s very calm.000 islands to live on > Langkawi > Why Langkawi? langkawi F o r a n e a r ly r e t i r e m e n t t o n at u r e ’ s w o n d e r s has outstanding beaches — pearlescent.” and of course there are the main island’s sandy beaches.s. Greg and sherry make a point of returning that warmth by supporting langkawi’s native merchants and craftspeople. We’ve got some beautiful mangrove forests. and there’s a local glass blower who makes beautiful glass objects. “i love the place.” The locals are friendly too. Here you’ll find lush rainforest concealing stunning waterfalls.” English is a requirement in local schools. but he’s not counting the days. “We don’t go to the big stores.coM 54 Ju l y/Au g u s t 2 0 0 9 isl a n d s .coM/liVe › to subMit An islAnd for next yeAr's list. $677. “They have a lot of fun. Bangkok and Kuala lumpur means that the “rock fever” that can strike elsewhere need never be an issue here. Greg says none has been nicer than langkawi.
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