Puerto Rico-Retirement heaven?

Been looking at the daily temperatures in PR during this most miserable of winters in s.e. US. The daily high/low temps have been about 85/73 F for several weeks. I wonder what they are in the summer. I hope they wouldn’t be any worse than the daily 100+ we had last July in NC.

Any Dopers live there or have any experience at long term residency there that could comment on the benefits of possible retirement there for a non-Spanish-speaker? How’s the medical facilities for a (by-then) Medicare-eligible sr. citizen?

I visited sunny San Juan for a few days on a US Navy voyage out of snowy Boston in January 1964 and it was great then, for a young sailor. Now I’m just an old tar(heel) considering where to retire to where it never snows.

I believe there are several Dopers that live there, but based on a week spent there in 2005, I would love to live there.

In that part of the Caribbean, the temperature is fairly constant all year round and mostly ideal for people that like a tropical climate so that shouldn’t be an issue for you.

If you are serious about this, you could also consider the nearby U.S. Virgin Islands. They are English speaking and gorgeous. They aren’t cheap but not outrageous either compared to what you get for scenery and they aren’t overly populated. You can just move there as a U.S. citizen with no additional legal hassles.

If you just want to move somewhere that is fairly exotic and warm, Costa Rica is a perennial favorite and still has some good deals. The cost of living is much lower there and in other parts of Central America. They are also Spanish speaking but there is a large American ex-expatriate community in Costa Rica. Belize is fairly popular and technically English speaking.

Just be careful when house hunting, some areas have a fairly high crime rate. When I was working at Oakleaf, I would chat with different hauler’s dispatchers and one lady was having a heck of a time finding a house she could afford in a neighborhood that had a low crime rate.

Never lived there and I’ve only looked at the issue sporadically but the impression I got was the health care was really good and about $100-200/month for insurance for a retiree. I do not know if the government subsidizes health care for expats and tourists though.

Well, a search for “Puerto Rico” plus my Dopername and that of KarlGrenze should provide you plentiful details, some promising and some cautionary, both as to a visitor’s situation and for a more longterm relocation as to the economy.

You probably already know it has changed quite a bit since '64. Still, there is a decent if smallish community of Anglo expats and retirees who have figured they get the best of both worlds, staying under the US flag while going to a place of a different culture. It’s no longer quite the low-cost-of-living locale it once was – I suppose it’s manageable if you’ve been wise about your nest egg, or if you’re into the frugal life, but housing prices indeed went into lunatic mode here also in the 00’s, and only the housing bust and a nasty economic contraction has put the brakes on it.

Weatherwise we haven’t broken past the mid-90s air temperature since records exist. However if you happen to be inside the San Juan urban center, well, all that concrete and asphalt and rush-hour traffic makes a nifty heat sink (and, is where the crime mentioned upthread tends to be; then again it IS an economically depressed urban-industrial center). But why would you remain in there if you don’t have to? Of course variations in humidity can affect the experience as well but we seldom have air just stagnate and hang like a wet towel on us (like I experienced in DC); you do know we are in the tropic and what that means for half the year, but the Carolinas are no strangers to hurricanes.

Medical facilities, if you have Medicare and a good Health Care policy, are fine quality- and cost-wise in urban centers – there, you may have a bit of a conundrum, as we earlier badmouthed our urban centers as hot, congested and rough :wink: . You may have a bit longer wait times at the doctor’s office or at admissions though, since the supply is struggling to keep up with the exploding demand of our own aging boomers (and the generous local HCR promises of our politicians), plus the attractive salary offers from stateside employers (we’re a net exporter of MDs and RNs to the rest of the US). If you are indeed strictly Anglophone you may want to make sure you do remain close to the major metropolitan hospitals in case of need for an ER trip in the middle of the night.

Locally-procured health insurance rates are significantly lower than stateside (as long as there’s no PEC issues or such); Medicare and Medicare-supplement benefits and plans exist or have a local equivalent and coverages are almost (but, not quite) identical to stateside. Being US territory, a citizen from any other State can just assume permanent residency; if you’re fortunate enough to have health insurance as part of your pension benefit, or VA/Tricare benefits, you just go ahead and use it here after a little bit (…OK, a considerable bit) more paperwork.

Though we do have a significant proportion of bilinguals, the entire society from government to commerce to academia is set up to function in Spanish. So someone thinking of relocation should take that into account, you may need to weave yourself into a “virtual enclave” of the network of fellow Anglos and Angloaccommodative businesses and institutions, which seem to be doing OK.

More as I think of more things…

This last point interests me. I think all of the remaining British territories in the Caribbean restrict immigration for non-local British citizens. How does the USVI avoid being flooded by people looking for a home in the sun with (presumably) lower taxes?

As in PR, housing/land prices that surprise many retirees’ expectations of the location, for one. For another, contrary to popular belief the big tax breaks in PR and the VI are not usually for Mr. Individual. And the USVI drive on the opposite side of the road, which I suppose culls out a few old Statesiders early in their stay.:smiley:

The key here is Americans from States seem to have a temperamental resistance to leave the comfort zone, specially for those from the contiguous 48 the possibility of overland access, and that’s usually restraint enough.

(There’s something to the stereotypes of American retirees looking for places where they can still get on their big car to drive across 5 states to see the kids, or into HugeMart to buy hunting guns and still be within a stone’s throw of Major League Sports and they can still get 911 to send a SWAT team to chase the neighbor’s kids off their lawn ( = Florida, Arizona), or, if it has to be a laid-back hakuna matata kind of place, then one where their pension and Social Security will allow them to buy a nice country home for a steal and have domestic help ( = Central America). Of course, if the American retiree is wiling to adapt and go with the island flow, Mon ;), both PR and the USVI can be a great home in the sun. )

The cost of living keeps people away. The average cost of a home in south Florida is about double that of homes in the north, for the USVI you can double that again. There are plenty of other regions where the cost of living is far less.

I lived on St. Thomas for about five months and loved it. Of course, I was drunk or high most of the time, but it was a nice climate. The only thing I remember about PR is what the military guys called “mimis”, which are tiny insects that are mostly teeth.

Economics and the free market, basically. If too many people want to live in an area, housing prices go up, and that reduces the area’s appeal until an equilibrium is reached.

For non-retirees, jobs is a big big factor.

Thanks for all the info, especially ** JRD**. I Googled PR July temps and it gave the same as for January. Do they have DirecTv?

Still, it does *feel *hotter in “summer” – we get direct-overhead sun, and there’s increased humidity from the warmer ocean currents during H-cane season.

And yes, we do get DirecTV, very popular here; almost all the channels from the US system available, though the basic service is shuffled so as to have more of the Spanish-language (both US “Latino market” and proper South American) channels, with anglophone programming bumped to other tiers/packages.

I know of people in the US Virgin Island and the nice parts are expensive. You’d be better off in Florida or Alabama or Mississip, maybe south Texas.

There are cheap parts to the VI but they are not terribly nice and have a higher crime rate. Best is to take a trip there and see if you can tolerate the lower economic areas. If so you’d like the VI.