Balmy breezes, unbelievable beaches, fantastic financial incentives…the utter escape from the mad-dash of the “real world” and a permanent flip-flop lifestyle. These are just a few of the reasons more and more affluent travelers are choosing to live in paradise. Of all the spots to buy a vacation or retirement home in the paradises of the Caribbean, Central America and Latin America, beachfront property continues to top the list.
There is something restorative about the beach-the sand, sun and sea have the power to revive us even after long hours of working and months of cold weather back home. Whether you enjoy splashing in the surf, sunning on the shore or simply listening to the waves from the terrace of your villa while relaxing with a cool drink, beach living is about as blissful as it gets.
The Caribbean and Central and Latin America are blessed with some of the finest beaches in the world. Only hours away from most major U.S. and European cities, these beaches offer the added bonus of being easily accessible. For many, it’s an simple choice to own a vacation home or retire to a beach in paradise-not only are these stunning beaches easy to reach (yet worlds away from reality), but many of the countries have a lower cost of living and offer financial incentives to make retiring in paradise more desirable than ever.
Last year, Luxury Living International brought you our expert picks for the Top 10 Places to Live in Paradise. Now, we delve further into life in paradise, providing a detailed look at the Top 10 Beaches to Live on Paradise. From the Turks and Caicos to the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, these are the best beaches, beachside developments and beachfront properties that you would love to call home-and actually can. Our picks represent the best of beach living in paradise-each of these beaches offers luxury, accessibility, great properties and, above all, sublime beauty.
Perhaps the Caribbean’s best-kept secret, the once-sleepy fishing village of Las Terrenas is becoming one of the hottest spots for vacation homes in the Caribbean for those in-the-know. Some are even calling it the San Tropez of the Caribbean. The Dominican Republic boats some of the best beaches in the world and Las Terrenas and the Samana Peninsula have the best of the best, including Coson Beach, or Playa Coson, a long, luscious stretch of untouched sand dotted with gently leaning palms. Besides beautiful beaches, Las Terrenas entertains with an eclectic mix of international restaurants and shops and outdoor pursuits from fishing and diving to hiking and whale watching. Los Nomados, the Samana Peninsula’s premier gated community, is the place to find that paradise dream house and own a slice of virginal Playa Coson. Villas such as the sprawling, modern-meets-Caribbean-chic Villa del Mar enjoy a prime spot right on the sands of Playa Coson.
Langosta Beach, Guancaste, Costa Rica
Langosta beach, located down the sand from bustling town of Tamarindo in Guancaste, Costa Rica, is a paradise for surfers, nature-lovers and beach bums alike-and those seeking R&R in the exclusive properties on Millionaire’s Row overlooking the beach. Surfers enjoy the right and left point breaks that curve off the mouth of the river, and a short boat ride up this river takes you to into a forest home to wild howler monkeys. The wide, sandy beach is big enough for surfers and beach lovers to enjoy it and never feel crowded. Millionaire’s Row overlooks the best beachfront real estate in Costa Rica. Private and gated, Crystal Sands on Millionaire’s Row has 20 luxury and exclusive villas designed to enjoy every inch of the stunning beach.
Juanillo Beach, Punta Cana, D.R.
White sand, bright turquoise water, green palms-the colors synonymous with an amazing beach seem turned up just a little brighter at Juanillo Beach in Punta Cana, D.R. Protected by a coral reef, the calm waters of Juanillo Beach can soothe even the most frazzled of nerves. Punta Cana’s Cap Cana resort offers a variety of luxury properties. Found within the gates of the massive Cap Cana luxury community-which features beach villas, resorts, Trump estates, a full-service marina, and many fine dining options-Juanillo beach remains pleasantly undeveloped, a reminder to why we love coming to paradise in the first place. Owning a villa in Cap Cana gives you access to Juanillo Beach, which is revered by locals, travel experts and editors alike as one of the best beaches in not just the D.R. or the Caribbean, but the entire world.
Pink Sand Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas
Visitors to Harbour Island know you don’t need to stray far from home to experience one of the most remarkable beaches in the world. The Bahamas are only 50 miles from Miami, and just a 30-minute flight from Nassau and 1.5 hours from the U.S. is Pink Sand Beach, whose pink-hued grains make it truly one-of-a-kind. Pink is all the rage on Harbour Island-the pink-shelled conch is the local delicacy, try it served up as “cracked conch.” While quaint and laid back, Harbour Island is also a high-end Bahamian Out Island, home to million-dollar villas, luxe resorts and big-money fishing tournaments. Prime real estate opportunities can be found along Pink Sand Beach. One- to three-bedroom villas in Romora Bay allow owners to enjoy resort amenities in their beachside residence.
Rodney Bay Beach, St. Lucia, West Indies
People travel to St. Lucia to fall in love-it’s a top destination for weddings and honeymoons-but they end up falling in love with the near-perfect island, perhaps the most beautiful in the Caribbean. Beaches range from black volcanic sand to those with low-slung palms reminiscent of the South Pacific. Then there’s Rodney Bay, with its big crescent-shaped beach on the north end of the island that’s brimming with new marinas, restaurants and resorts and flanked by a white sand beach. The Landings St. Lucia, a Rock Resort property, brings luxury to Rodney Bay and offers up 122 one-, two- and three-bedroom villa suite condo residences, some with plunge pools and all with balconies overlooking the beach below.
Cabo San Lucas Beach, Los Cabos, Mexico
It’s hard to go wrong with Los Cabos, Mexico, when it comes finding excellent beach living. With its sweeping natural rock formations, Cabo is the backdrop for many a great photograph and those who take up residence on the beach can enjoy this constant “screen saver” of natural beauty. Cabo San Lucas enjoys the vibe of a chill, Mexican beach town that’s turned into a cosmopolitan escape. The luxurious Cabo del Sol development boasts beachfront home sites, villas and condominiums. The community puts a premium on golf as well with a Nicklaus-designed ocean course, a Weiskopf-designed desert course and a 40,000 square foot clubhouse.
Those who relate the Bahamas with the massive resorts Nassau and Freeport don’t know the real Bahamas-the unhurried pace and natural beauty of the Out Islands are what living in paradise is all about. In the Abaco Islands, New England architecture brought over by Loyalists during the American Revolution lends a charming appeal to this part of paradise. Treasure Cay Beach, located on the eponymous Treasure Cay, earned a superb beach ranking from National Geographic. Treasure Cay Real Estate offers beach lots for sale along this more than three-mile-long white sand heaven. Beyond the sand, the Treasure Cay Resort has an 18-hole golf course, full-service marina, retail center and more.
St. Jean Beach, St. Barths
St. Barths is an island rich in French culture, fortune and beaches-14 beautiful beaches in total on the small, exclusive island. The massive (and massively popular) St. Jean beach is split in two by The EdenRock hotel in the middle. The beach is stacked with cafes, resorts and luxury villas. Long and set on a wide bay, it’s the ideal spot for those who enjoy their beach equal parts luxurious and lively. The island has a reputation for being postcard-perfect and safe. If fine dining, high-end shopping, celebrity flair and utmost privacy are what you’re after, St. Barths fits the bill.
Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
The immaculate Grace Bay Beach on the Turks and Caicos island of Providenciales seems so perfect and clean (and the water so clear and refreshing), that you think surely this must be a protected state park. What a surprise when you turn around and your villa is right there, kissing the sands of the lovely Grace Bay Beach. The all-suite Grace Bay Club, on Grace Bay Beach, of course, offers luxe properties for sale along the beach. The Estate of Grace Bay, a collection of 22 custom-designed, high-end residences opened last year. Just south of the Bahamas, this beauty of an island is easy to get to, and scuba divers will have a blast exploring the waters of the Turks and Caicos.
Anse Marcel Beach, St. Martin
Tucked between rolling hills on the northernmost tip of French St. Martin is the secluded village and beach of Anse Marcel. A winding, steep road is the only entrance to Anse Marcel, keeping crowds at bay unless they are coming to visit a dive shop, boutique resort or the protected marina found here. Villas and town homes are available steps away from the beautiful, quiet beach-a favorite secret spot among locals and in-the-know vacationers. This off-the-beaten-track location affords complete relaxation while the high-end shopping found in Marigot Bay the excellent cuisine of Grand Case are only minutes away by car.