Living in the Caribbean is a dream come true for many people. The tropical climate, exquisite white beaches, and vibrant culture make the Caribbean the perfect destination for investors, homeowners, and anyone who is seeking a paradise-like place to call home.
The Caribbean islands are the ultimate getaway for a long-awaited vacation or maybe a place to call your second home. The islands of the Caribbean have something to offer everyone, with over 7000 islands, divided into the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos, the Greater Antilles, and the Lesser Antilles.
In this ultimate guide to living in the Caribbean, we’ll cover how you can move abroad and live and work in some of the many islands of the Caribbean. We’ll cover visas, cost of living, and specific destinations to consider.
No matter what you’re looking for in the Caribbean, you’ll find it. From languages like Spanish, French, English, and even Dutch to varied and diverse cultures with global influence, you’re bound to find an incredible spot for your home in the Caribbean.
Caribbean life has something to offer everyone considering this beautiful destination as a future home. The larger islands like Barbados and Bahamas are thriving with tourism and plenty of industries like retail, construction, and hospitality, which may be perfect if you’re looking at working abroad or starting your own business.
If you are considering retiring to the Caribbean, you may prefer choosing one of the calmer islands like St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, or Grenada.
You’ll also want to consider the ease of travel when considering where to relocate in the Caribbean. If you’re looking frequently to travel back home, choosing a larger island with an international airport is a great choice.
If this isn’t as important for you, you could easily choose a more remote island, or even and atoll of a major island.
Moving to the Caribbean
For those looking for how to move to the Caribbean, there are several ways to move to the Caribbean to consider. You’ll need to think about what you’re looking for and plan ahead before you begin your move.
Are you looking to retire and live off of savings? Are you looking to work remotely? Maybe planning to start a business abroad? These are some of the options to consider!
Digital Nomad Life in the Caribbean
Many remote workers have taken their ability to work remotely to paradise. While digital nomad life is easier in some countries than others, you can consider looking in the digital nomad visas in countries like Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, and the Bahamas.
Check out our guide to Caribbean destinations for more digital nomad life in the Caribbean:
- Digital Nomad Guide to Cuba
- Digital Nomad Guide to the Dominican Republic
- Digital Nomad Guide to Cartagena, Colombia
Apply For Dual Citizenship
One way of living and working in the Caribbean is via dual citizenship. You can obtain a second passport by applying for citizenship by investment programs and get it from one of the Caribbean countries.
Find a Local Job or Start a Business
If you’re still working but aren’t interested in working remotely, there are plenty of options for finding a job locally or starting a business.
Though this can be more challenging in certain countries than others, you’ll often find great opportunities.
Importantly, you’ll need to make sure you obtain a residency visa that allows you to work in the country, or dual citizenship.
Living in the Caribbean
It doesn’t take too much convincing for many to be inspired by the idea of moving to the Caribbean.
Warm weather year round, white sand beaches, and turquoise water perfect for snorkeling or scuba diving are around every corner. It’s enough to inspire anyone to pack up and relocate here.
However, there are so many more reasons to considering living in the Caribbean to inspire you. Here are some of the best reasons to inspire your move abroad.
One of the main reasons people decide to relocate to the Caribbean is for the favorable tax status that many countries offer residents and citizens.
The countries in the region offer tax arrangements to attract corporations and workers from across the globe.
Even Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, offers some favorable tax status to residents, including decreased capital gains taxes – or no capital gains tax! – in many cases. This is extremely appealing to retirees or business owners.
Living in the Caribbean isn’t just for retirees – many families have moved to the Caribbean in the last couple of years. They have many international and private school options to choose from to educate their children.
The education system of many Caribbean countries is influenced by the European and British, with English being the primary speaking language in many countries. For parents looking to help their children master additional languages, language immersion offers the best and quickest results.
There are also several excellent universities in the Caribbean, inspiring secondary education students to relocate here. The University of the West Indies is the most prestigious one in the Caribbean and has made it into the top 600 universities in The Times Higher Education rankings.
Campuses are located in Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica, and one additional open campus that serves the Caribbean nations.
More than 60 medical schools are located across the Caribbean islands with teaching standards close to the US system and requirements. People decide to relocate to the Caribbean for the great opportunity to study in a quality education system and obtain accredited certification.
It’s not all about work and studying in the Caribbean! There’s much to do in your free time as well. While each country and island offers its own unique activities and attractions, living in the Caribbean means a life full of adventures, diversity, excitement, fun, and outdoor activities.
Imagine that a typical day could include activities like snorkeling, sunbathing, sailing, hiking, bouldering, or just enjoying the sunny, warm weather.
Islands like Dominica offer waterfalls and natural preserves, while the Bahamas offer world-class deep-sea fishing, and the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao offer unmatched snorkeling and diving.
Delicious Local Cuisine
With its history shaped by colonization, conquest, and slavery, the mix of cultural influences in the Caribbean extends to the cuisine with delicious results. Staple dishes tend to be healthy, and include bananas and plantains, tropical fruits, rice and beans, and plenty of seafood.
Art and Culture
The Caribbean is home to countless social and culture events year-round that attract both local and international guests. Whether you are boat racing at BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival or you are admiring the Abaco Love Rush Junkanoo Festival costumes, each island has something unique to offer.
Another favorite Caribbean event, known around the world, is the yearly Carnival celebration in late February or early March. Trinidad and Tobago is known as the “Mother of Carnival” and home to some of the most famous celebrations.
However, you’ll find celebrations across the region, ranging from local festivals and events to major productions worth traveling for.
Expat and Digital Nomad Communities
Each island and Caribbean nation seems to have its own tight-knit expat, digital nomad, and long-term traveler community, making it easier to meet new friends.
Making connections with experienced expats can also be a great way to learn about your new home, and get advice and support in your new way of life.
How to Move to the Caribbean
It isn’t just as simple as hoping on a plan to start living in the Caribbean, but it isn’t impossible, either. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be there faster than you might think.
1. Identify What You’re Looking For
Most people start thinking about how to move to the Caribbean with just a vague idea of what they’re looking for – usually just warm weather and proximity to the beach!
However, before you get going, you’ll need to narrow down your search and identify the aspects of a future home that are most important to you.
Where are you looking to live? Are you looking for a local experience and excited by the idea of meeting locals, or would you prefer to be surrounded by other expats? Does a beachfront property sound nice, or maybe a tropical rainforest?
Think about the day-to-day things you’ll need to relocate and feel comfortable. Will you rely on public transport to the grocery store, or will you need your own car?
These questions can help you narrow down and identify precisely the type of lifestyle and environment you desire, and are some of the most important decisions to make before you move abroad.
2. Do Your Research
Once you’ve got an idea of what you’re looking for, you can dive in and research where you can find it! Start with more general searches on the internet, then dive into more local specifics.
An excellent place for information can be Facebook groups with expats or digital nomads in specific destinations you’re considering.
Make sure to research exactly how you’ll move abroad and be able to stay in the country. If you’re a United States citizen, you won’t have any issue living in Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, but if you’re headed to a new country, you’ll need to make sure you can apply for a residency visa of some kind, or dual citizenship.
3. Ask for Help
The easiest way to make such a big change is by engaging with those who have done it before!
Facebook groups of expats and retirees can be a great place to start, but you’ll often need to reach out to experts about matters like real estate or rental, visas, or setting up a business locally.
It’s extremely important to work with a local relocation expert regarding any matters like visa eligibility or requirements. These details may be complex and require the assistance of a lawyer.
A popular option for those looking to relocate are citizenship by investment programs, which often have local experts that help those interested complete the terms of these programs.
4. Prepare Back Home
Once your plans are more set in stone, you’ll need to take some time to prepare for departure.
Sell or rent out your home, get your finances in order – you may need to speak with a specialist regarding taxation while living abroad! – and sell or give away and items you can’t take with you.
5. Settle In
Book you ticket and head to your new home. It’s important to realize that it will take some time to adjust and adapt to your new home – don’t throw in the towel before giving things a chance.
Moving abroad is not just as a permanent vacation, like you might have expected. You’ll have to deal with real-life tasks, chores, and problems here too, as you did at home.
It gets easier with time, and you’ll quickly be able to see the benefits your new environment provide you.
Moving to the Caribbean
Once you’ve done your research and made your plans, you’re ready for the best part of the process: settling into your new Caribbean home. It can be a big leap of faith to make such a big life change, but well worth it.
Not only will you become a part of a community of expats from around the world, but you’ll also be able to take advantage of a slower pace of life, beautiful weather, and countless business and financial advantages to help you enjoy your new lifestyle even more.
Making this lifestyle change can be a lot to manage and involve a lot of moving pieces, but with good guidance and advice from those who have done it themselves, you’re headed in the right direction.