Each year millions of people flock from cold northern climes to sunny southern shores to ride out the winter.
They go to “snowbird escapes” near Pacific and Caribbean beaches, where weather is warmer, there are laidback communities of friendly locals and expats, and living costs that won’t break the bank. Places where you can buy a cool beer from $2, and monthly living costs are just a fraction of what you’d pay at home.
Of course, this winter the migration has been more limited due to travel restrictions. But it also differs in another significant way. While snowbirds are usually retirees, mostly over the age of 60, recently there has been a surge of younger snowbirds, including couples in their 30s and 40s and young professionals traveling with children.
There’re migrating south to find better value on home prices, more space, better climate, and lower costs. And more of them are free to do it because more professionals than ever before are now working entirely remotely.
“Snowbirding” isn’t just a pastime of the rich either. Even with a low budget it’s possible to find a winter home in a warm climate and close to a beach.
I want to share some options for aspiring snowbirds in northern latitudes. Whether you’re looking for a one-month hiatus, a three-month escape, or a six-month sabbatical, these bolthole properties are all within easy access of the U.S., cost under $90,000, and can offer you an immediate vitamin D boost.
Listing price: $76,441
Mérida is a stunning Spanish colonial city with wide boulevards, plazas, and mansions. It’s a city I returned to early last year in search of real estate opportunities.
This is a cultured place full of museums, theaters, and with a thriving expat community. It’s also close to the coast and the beach town of Progresso, which makes it an excellent snowbird destination.
This new home in Mérida is listed for just $76,441. It has two bedrooms and two bathrooms with marble countertops and air conditioning in the master bedroom. The kitchen has a breakfast bar that separates it from the bright living room area, which has floor to ceiling windows that overlook the back garden. There’s also a small balcony on the upper floor.
Listing price: $67,500
The Bahamas is famed for its long sandy beaches, clear waters, and spectacular coral reefs. And it’s popular with snowbirds because of it’s convenience. Grand Bahama island is only about 70 miles from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. And here, in the town of Freeport, I uncovered this listing at just $67,500.
A modern one-bedroom condo, it has an open-plan kitchen/dining room and a generous sized bedroom with closet space. You could use it as your winter escape or get away from it all full-time. With all its modern fixtures it’s got everything you need for day-to-day living.
While the cost of living in the Bahamas is not cheap, the average cost of a home is lower than in the U.S. This is still a great destination if convenience is your main concern. They speak English, their currency is pegged to the U.S. dollar, and it’s about as close to the U.S. as you can get without having a land border.
Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Listing price: $89,000
This one-bedroom casita, listed for $89,000, is just five minutes from the beach on Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast.
It comes fully furnished and so is ready to move into. You could use it as a full-time home or as a vacation getaway pad. There’s a small kitchen and living area and outside a porch runs around two sides of the house and overlooks the garden. The home is in a development which has a tennis court and is just a few minutes from shops and restaurants.
Guanacaste is home to more than 65 of Costa Rica’s nearly 300 beaches, making it a huge draw for expats and international tourists. Known as Costa Rica’s Gold Coast, Guanacaste has a drier climate than southern Costa Rica, with sunshine nearly every single day of the year.
It’s a place where you can live comfortably, the pace of life is relaxed, and you’re never too far from a town or city.