THE GLOBE AND MAIL | Five more hot-spots for well-to-do snowbirds

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sun-seeking retirees who are not pinching pennies have plenty of options for escaping winter. Luxury amenities, private beaches and championship golf courses are waiting in out-of-the way destinations throughout the Caribbean and Mexico.

Jet-set communities established decades ago – or recently designed with well-heeled travellers in mind – offer challenging diversions, top cuisines and stunning scenery.

“Life in Latin countries is less hectic than in North America, and you have room to stretch free here in every way,” says Sergio Llach, director of Sotheby’s International Realty in the Dominican Republic.

The official language in these places is Spanish, though English is widely spoken, he says, and “the culture is extremely friendly and vibrant.” Visitors should note, however, that “things don’t move on Canadian time, and sometimes ‘in a few hours’ can mean ‘in a few days,’ ” Mr. Llach warns.

“That’s the biggest challenge of adapting from a ‘Type A’ North American life to a tropical Latin American life,” he says.

High-net-worth snowbirds are inclined to try out more than one destination, says Stephen Fine, president of snowbirdadvisor.ca, which provides online resources and services.

“Snowbirds used to pick a place and settle there for the next 20 years,” says Mr. Fine, while today they are a little more “antsy” and choose to move around, especially if cost and distance are no obstacle.

“People are more adventurous and they want to try different places,” he says, noting that after checking out a few spots, snowbirds opt for comfort as they age and eventually stay put in a location where they’ve made friends.

Here are a few Latin destinations for the non-frugal snowbird.

Winding Bay, Bahamas

In Winding Bay, the exclusive Abaco Club is a tropical paradise where members, homeowners and visitors can relax, recreate and rejuvenate, says Kristi Hull, the club’s director of sales.

The club is on Great Abaco Island, about 290 kilometres east of Palm Beach, Fla. Abaco Club is known for its remoteness but is easily accessible via two nearby international airports, with direct flights from multiple U.S. cities on major airlines.

Abaco offers a top-rated golf course, spa, fitness facility, water sports, tennis courts, gourmet dining and a “picture-perfect” four-kilometre powder-soft beach, says Ms. Hull, which serves as the gateway to Winding Bay, which offers world-famous fishing, serene boating and sailing.

Real estate offerings range from one-bedroom cabanas and two- to four-bedroom cottage villas to grand, six-bedroom oceanfront estate homes, she says. Prices range from $400,000 to $10-million (U.S.), with average prices between $1.75-million and $4-million.

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