Fantasy Island

David Schnittlich spends most of his nights mingling with customers at Mango's Seaside Grill, the open-air beachside restaurant he owns in Anguilla. The 65-year-old New Jersey native is one of those rare people who lives out a lifelong dream. Schnittlich says since moving to the island 13 years ago, he has also shed 50 pounds and overcome diabetes, gout and stress. "I'm sure I'll live longer," he says.

While tens of thousands of Americans with warm-weather fantasies migrate to Florida and Arizona every year, a number opt for exotic destinations. Like Schnittlich, many buy businesses for fun and profit once they arrive and are glad they did. Except that it's not all fun.