Caribbean Expat Guide — A Guide to Living in the Caribbean
Situated on the east coast of Central America, the Caribbean is home to around 40 million people, with expats making up for a major segment of its population. With a favorable climate, a diverse cultural heritage, fascinating history, and beautiful landscapes, the Caribbean islands have become a natural choice for people looking for a comfortable lifestyle – for both retirement, work, and extended travel.
Most of the Caribbean islands have acceptable rates of taxation both for businesses as well as individuals. Due to financial privacy coupled with little to no tax policy, the Caribbean islands have managed to attract expats & companies from across the globe. Apart from this, the reasonable and affordable cost of living is a major reason why expats find the Caribbean islands a perfect destination to relocate to.
Learn About the Various Caribbean Destinations
Here are several articles that we have written on different Caribbean destinations for the Caribbean:
Travel Guide to Caribbean Islands
Traveling to the Caribbean islands can be a little expensive for expats and visitors. If you’re thinking of traveling between islands, you’ll have to use airplanes or boats to get around due to the limited road connectivity on most of the islands. Since island hopping via plane can be a pricey affair; the best alternative would be to take a cruise. You can also rent a car or hire a taxi driver if you are interested in visiting the smaller islands of the Caribbean. However, traveling on a budget is not entirely impossible. You can opt to stay and eat at inexpensive hotels and restaurants instead of going to high-end resorts. The islands often have excellent housing and condo accommodations that are ideally suited for expats.
Safety Guidance for Expats Moving to the Caribbean
When it comes to safety, Caribbean islands offer many options to expats looking for a peaceful retreat. However, some islands have higher crime rates than others. For instance, islands that fall within the British overseas territory, such as the Cayman Islands, St. Barts, Bonaire, Montserrat, etc., are comparatively safer than the others. Though violent crime rates are low, petty crimes like thefts and robberies at the beaches or hotels are usually reported. Expats should use common sense precautions when visiting the islands, especially in the larger urban centers.
Working in the Caribbean Islands
When it comes to finding good job opportunities in the Caribbean islands, they aren’t always easy to find. However, there are other options available for expats looking to work here – especially in business services, law, and accounting. For instance, you can start your own business, such as a shop, restaurant, or store. You will have to go through all red tape formalities before getting the approval.
Apart from this, English-speaking expats can find jobs in various educational institutes, travel companies, and yoga resorts. Larger cities and towns do offer better and promising opportunities. If you stay in the Caribbean islands for more than 90 days, you will require a residence permit. However, if you are a Dutch or U.S. national, you will require a residence permit only if your stay extends beyond 180 days. However, you must have a work permit if you want to work during your stay.
Healthcare Guidance in the Caribbean Islands
One of the most important aspects that expats need to consider before relocating to the Caribbean is the availability of healthcare facilities in the islands. Some of the top-notch private and public hospitals have turned Caribbean islands into a hot medical tourism destination. Islands like the Bahamas and Cuba offer excellent medical facilities to expats. However, standards of healthcare may differ from island to island, given the variance in cultures, population, governments, and political histories. For anyone looking to relocate to the Caribbean islands, it is important to do detailed research on the local healthcare system that exists in a particular island nation.
Potential expats looking to relocate must ensure that they have access to an all-inclusive health insurance plan, as well as sufficient funds to pay for repatriation. Note that major treatment and surgeries for expats will often need to be done in the United States, so access to medical care there is a necessity.
Health Insurance Is Vital for Expats in the Caribbean Islands
Your domestic insurance plan may not cover you living or traveling abroad, so it is important to purchase an international insurance plan that provides adequate medical coverage. Most domestic plans in the islands will provide little or no medical care outside of the country. A global health plan is critical in protecting you and your family member’s finances and will also allow you to access medical care. Generally, their off-island care or coverage is also limited. While the healthcare system and facilities may differ from one island to the other, expats should obtain a comprehensive global healthcare plan from a reputed international health insurance provider.