Planning possible retirement in USVI

Sep 27th, 2013, 06:07 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 797
IMHO, you are all over the place. I recommend several extended vacations in some of the areas you are thinking about. What fun!
eastenderusvi is offline  
Sep 30th, 2013, 07:01 AM
Join Date: Jul 2013
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Hello urbandoggs,have enjoyed your post and the many replies. I'm also retiring in two years and thought about a one month stay in the Caribbean. I have been on three cruises to a few of the islands and iwas considering St Thomas. However not quite sure with many of the negative things I have seen in the replies.
beachguy48 is offline  
Sep 30th, 2013, 07:27 AM
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beachguy, a 1 month stay is far different than moving there.

go have fun!
blamona is offline  
Sep 30th, 2013, 01:02 PM
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...And remember that people with a bad experience tend to write about it, while those who have had a good time, don't.
eastenderusvi is offline  
Sep 30th, 2013, 04:05 PM
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Eastern, most of the time that's correct! But I have a terrific time and love to brag!

blamona is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2013, 04:46 AM
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I saw this article this a.m. and I immediately thought of this on Fodors. Original poster might find it interesting. I would not pack my bags and run off to any of these destinations---(not me at least.)
diann24 is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2013, 08:28 AM
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Actually I like lots of those ideas. But saying an entire country (for example "Mexico") is a good place to retire, and that you can do it for 2000/mo, is painting with a pretty broad brush. Not really very helpful imo.
suze is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2013, 09:07 AM
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Well don't shoot the messenger. I am just showing what is said to perhaps to help broaden the OP's train of thoughts. I doubt in a short 2 paragraph article one could find all the answers.
diann24 is offline  
Dec 28th, 2013, 08:27 AM
Join Date: Dec 2013
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There is NO SUBSTITUTE for living on St. Croix for an extended period of time to understand the pros and cons, and which win for you!! There is even an island phrase/acronym for it: PMV or "pre-move visit". It is not so difficult to find an affordable (by US urban standards) apartment or house to do a pre-move visit, or to put US belongings in storage and try living in St. Croix for a year without making a "final" commitment.

I was a bit horrified by the emphasis in this thread on the "cons." Of course, there are negatives to island living, but there are also some strong "pros" ... depending on the person. Also, I felt some misleading "facts" were posted, which I imagine were well-intended to burst the dream bubble of someone who still needs to do more research to understand better the realities of island living.

Just a few balancing points from OUR actual experiences:

1. utility costs in St. Croix US Virgin Islands in our duplex - (1) spacious 3 bedroom, 2 bath downstairs, and (2) spacious 2 bedroom, 2plus bath upstairs ... both with large covered outside living spaces (called "galleries" instead of balconies or patios):

for cistern water in one apartment ... free and never had so little rain as to require buying water

for municipal water in the other apartment .... mostly between $35 and $75 per month, but mostly averaging $55/month over the year

for electricity .... varies but last year, averaged around $155-165 per month for one apartment, and much less per month for the apartment of occupants who spent less time at home. (in both cases, no heating, and using ceiling fans instead of A/C)

for propane gas range .... average less than $90 per YEAR

I am dismayed that the extremely high utility prices quoted by one poster (I assume they are true for the poster) were not balanced by others. However, the previously posted costs are NOT AT ALL representative among the St. Croix locals I know, who have a non-touristy, non-wealthy, obviously simpler lifestyle).

2. bars on windows - correct, that allows for first floor open windows all the time, often decorative, AND also serves as barrier to possible flying objects during a possible rare severe hurricane (of which NONE for the several years we've had our duplex). yes, bars protect against breakins and theft but compared to US urban/suburban, mostly petty theft of unsecured visible items. (One of our local friends is a lawyer involved with criminal law enforcement.) Just as in the US, you can talk to police about crime in neighborhoods which varies from place to place .... just as in the US.

3. locals taking time to warm up to newcomers - true, but there are community groups/activities and other ways to get to know local people. Half of our local friends are Cruzans, half transplants from mainland, Puerto Rico or elsewhere. There are discussion forums to meet people on-line at, etc.

4. price of real estate outside of the more touristy and/or wealthy neighborhoods are actually quite affordable. Our duplex was only $200,000, AND short walking distance to MILES of beautiful beaches for snorkeling, diving, swimming, beachclub-ing, etc. It is in a local residential neighborhood, within walking distance of town, with mostly retirees, small business owners, teachers, government workers, professionals as neighbors.

Spacious FURNISHED rentals can be a little as $1000-$1500/month AND you get more than stateside for it. Some homework recommended to find such affordable housing, which makes a long PMV and/or temporary initial rental year a good idea. The nicest long term homes are often found best by being on island! ... a little catch-22.

5. HUGE advantages for American citizens to live under the US flag .... getting Social security and Medicare for example, but also not quite the same as being on the mainland USA.
blatant government corruption is a surprise, but could be a much worst surprise moving to many non-US venues without US law in the wings.

6. Medical care ties to the mainland for potential serious healthcare issues are often addressed by locals with health insurance riders that give coverage for medi-vac, etc. Some medical specialties are well covered on-island, some not. A large portion of our friends on St. Croix are retired physicians!!

Sorry not enough time to say much more to balance the overly negative comments I saw. In any case, it is true that research is very good preparation. Just realize, that even researched "facts" can be misleading outside the context of the reality of living in such a different place. There may be reasons and/or compensating answers/approaches that are wholely different than what you can imagine until you live there.
julie152 is offline  
Dec 28th, 2013, 10:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,608
Bars on windows is not a negative (many people who have not lived in hot climates seem not to understand why they are a positive thing, my experience in Mexican, but I love the black wrought iron on ground floor windows because you can leave your apartment open to the breezes without concern).
suze is offline  
Feb 26th, 2014, 07:26 AM
Join Date: Feb 2014
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I heard from a friend of mine who works in the hospital at ST Thomas that the hospital no longer accepts MEDICARE unless you are a resident of St. Thomas. I am trying to confirm this but this was from a reliable source.
sharicci is offline  
Feb 26th, 2014, 09:07 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
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I'm pretty sure that info is correct but since I don't live in the VI's I can't be 100% certain. I do know, however, that Health insurance is a very difficult matter in the USVI's.

Post your question on the USVI Moving Center forum at: It's a very active forum with lots of "local" USVI experts who can give you a definite answer to your question.
RoamsAround is offline  
Feb 26th, 2014, 01:20 PM
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sharicci: That is not true. Medicare is a main payor source at SRMC.
eastenderusvi is offline  
Feb 27th, 2014, 08:09 AM
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marking to read later
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jun 12th, 2014, 09:12 PM
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 9
We have been visiting St. Croix every year for decades and plan to retire there. We heard various concerns about healthcare over the years, and then finally on the last visit needed emergency care.

We were astonished to find that the emergency healthcare services we received on St. Croix were more timely and coordinated than what we have come to expect in the states! We got an immediate appointment for next day examination by a very kind and thorough physician, who on the spot sent us "down the hall" for an immediate hour-long ultra sound scan. The radiologist send the results immediately to the waiting physician, as requested. By the time we walked back for the second visit with the physician, she already had the scan in her hands, waiting with her advice. Three medical appointments, with home treatment prescribed based on scan diagnostic .... all completed within one afternoon. You can't expect that in the states!!

Regardless of such a reassuring experience, it is wise to take precautions to assure timely care of certain serious conditions if needed off island, and possibly insurance supplements or riders accordingly. Yet it was great to see how well the St. Croix healthcare system can work.
julie152 is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2014, 09:47 AM
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 2
My husband and I are talking about retiring to St Croix also. I would love to hear about some more experiences you have had on the island.
NWATraveler0221 is offline  
Jul 27th, 2014, 11:25 AM
Join Date: Jul 2011
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NWA: The advice earlier in the thread about still stands. It is basically information for people like you.
eastenderusvi is offline  
Oct 16th, 2014, 03:31 PM
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 9
NWA - Are you still thinking about retirement in St. Croix?

Now is a very interesting time to move to St. Croix or an extended visit. That is, if it provides the kind of lifestyle you are seeking... such as peaceful, low key, interesting multi-ethnic demographic with lots of other retirees from the mainland and elsewhere, surrounded by (slmost) ceaseless natural beauty and weather. And it still has the security, economy, a certain comfort of being under the USA flag. For most who relocate, there are everyday "adventures" of a distinct cultural shift from mainland expectations, with lots of pleasant surprises.

For example, anyone who has their doubts about the contemporary cultural shift into virtual reality, virtual friendships, virtual social life on internet/cellphones etc. would be pleasantly surprised that life here in St Croix is still centered around face-to-face personal relations. People have/make time for each other!

One of the major employers closed their oil refinery facility recently, so the economy is a bit "soft". That means that retirees who are not dependent on local employment have an incredible advantage at the moment. Some folks dependent on that employer have relocated back to the mainland and elsewhere. So there are some terrific opportunities to buy (or invest in) some awesome homes unexpectedly on the market.

Rents have also leveled off, with some occasional lucky finds at a lowered rent. There are now some very nice two bedroom, two bath apartments for example, around $1000- @1200 that are completely furnished which in the states would easily rent for up to $3000 in many urbanized areas (even more in Boston, NYC, San Fran, DC, etc.). This is a coup for anyone who wants to have a "trial period" of several months to a couple years, to test the waters before a full relocations.

Such a turn-about in what had been a rising real estate market, partly driven by wealthy tourists, reverses the notion that it's necessarily more expensive living there ... especially for anyone from places subject to harsh winters and high heating/ transportation costs. The northeast city we are closely tied to, in contrast, has experienced skyrocketing rents since the bust around 2008.

Of course, it all depends on what you are looking for. Come check it out!
julie152 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2015, 07:20 AM
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 1

Your post seems more realistic. Coming for a short exploratory trip soon. For the near retired future. How are the condo fees> Purchase prices look reasonable but fees aren't mentioned.
jimtroch1 is offline  

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