05/19/2013 08:24 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Retire To An Island: How To Live Large In The Caribbean


Our own personal bias here, but should we ever choose to live on an island, we'll make it a big one... with enough land to grow plenty of produce and livestock. Like Greenland or Borneo or Ireland...

It's best, of course, if the island has a variety of elevations so that a variety of crops can be grown year-round. And should we choose to add a tropical year-round climate and warm, crystal-clear water to the mix (which we would, of course) we'd head directly to Hispaniola... and specifically to the Dominican Republic.

At 28,544 square miles, Hispaniola (made up of the countries of the Dominican Republic and Haiti) is one of the largest islands in the world, and second-largest in the Caribbean, after Cuba. Sugarcane, plantains, mangos, coconuts, rice, yucca, cacao and bananas are grown in abundance, as are -- at higher elevations -- sweet potatoes, cabbage, eggplant, berries, apples, and more.


And, of course besides offering a self-sustaining lifestyle as far as food is concerned, the Dominican Republic harbors some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world...

On the southern coast, where we spent some time recently, the beaches are sugary white and the waters are crystal clear and warm. Snorkeling and diving are excellent, as is the delicious seafood pulled from these waters.

We literally gorged ourselves -- fish cakes for breakfast, shrimp tacos for lunch, and all kinds of pescado (white fish) fixed in a variety of ways for dinner -- everything fresh from the sea that day and absolutely delicious and inexpensive.

And did we mention the rum? And the cigars? If you appreciate either of these fine vices, you'll love the Dominican Republic. This country is one of the top producers of both -- and, in fact, the cigar and rum factories are among the top tourist attractions here. We certainly contributed to the burgeoning economy with a few purchases made at a local cigar shop. (Ron Brugal is the country's most popular brand of rum but Ron Barcelo is its best-kept secret.)

Yep, if you've got a yen for island living, we can't think of any island that delivers more than this one. Plentiful and inexpensive food, inexpensive real estate, overflowing rum, copious cigars, and friendly, outgoing people. (Oh how they love to smile and talk... they're so deservedly proud of their country.) And the only white stuff you'll see in the winter is on the beaches...

And by the way, you can be at home in this little paradise with just a three-hour flight from New York or in two hours from Miami. You can leave after breakfast and be there in time for that delicious seafood lunch.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

Best Places To Retire Based On 2013 Well-Being Index