The Caribbean is one of the leading holiday destinations for well-heeled travelers. Reports reveal that the tourism sector is on the rise in most parts of the region. Antigua and Barbuda, for instance, attracts over a million cruise passengers a year, which is astonishing considering that the island nation’s population is barely a hundred thousand.
The West Indies is not just a favorite getaway destination, though. Over the years, it has grown to be an ideal permanent or second home for people from around the world. According to studies, there has been a noticeable increase in migrations to the different Caribbean islands.
So, if you are considering moving here, you clearly are not alone. But what, exactly, do you have waiting for you? Here are eight things to know about living in the Caribbean.
1. Many people move here for their physical and mental wellbeing.
Many members of the flourishing expat community of the region share that one of the leading reasons why they have decided to migrate to the islands is the delightful, tropical climate. The weather is highly beneficial for boosting physical and mental health.
But, not only that. The Caribbean people are known for their infectiously playful and easygoing approach to life. Expats from highly competitive professional backgrounds find the shift created by this desirable Caribbean trait is exactly what they need for a better quality of life.
For a bit of island trivia, Ernest Hemingway was believed to be at his happiest living in the Caribbean during the 1930s. He led a laid-back lifestyle filled with mornings at a local bar and restaurant where he lazed around and treated himself to daiquiris.
2. The Caribbean offers a bounty of natural resources quite unique to the region.
The Caribbean is a profusion of green and blue. The islands are covered with thick vegetation wherever you go. Meanwhile, the pristine waters surrounding the islands yield an impressive variety of seafood, as well as offer luxurious recreation.
This natural bounty is responsible for many of the new business activities across the West Indies — from world-class hotels and resorts to real estate developments, popular coffee shops (which, of course, use the highest quality organic beans the Caribbean is known for), restaurants, shopping establishments, and all kinds of tour services.
3. There is an abundance of fresh, natural food sources.
You will not find a lot of fast-food chains across the West Indies. You will not see the golden arches even in the capital cities of the islands. Locals prefer their food fresh and homegrown. This is primarily because most crops grow easily on the islands, and the best ingredients are available every day.
When you move here, you will find that everything from the humble cafeterias in town to fine dining establishments are dedicated to utilizing locally sourced fresh ingredients to create the distinctive flavors the Caribbean is known for the world over.
4. Cruise ships are a common sight in the Caribbean waters.
Massive cruise ships from North and South America, as well as Europe, come in and out of the different island nations every day. They are vital contributors to the Caribbean economy.
These cruise ships unload tourists every day who bring a lot of excitement to island dwellers and boost local businesses such as novelty shops, water sport rentals, art galleries, and restaurants.
5. The Caribbean region is composed of an underwater mountain range and volcanic and coral islands.
There are many volcanoes around the area. The smaller islands are believed to have surfaced due to volcanic eruptions. Meanwhile, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Hispaniola are supposed to be the tips of an underwater mountain range that connected North and South America.
As for the Bahamas and all the small island nations nearby, they came into existence from millions of years’ worth of buildup of tiny sea animals, popularly known as coral.
6. Obtaining citizenship in some Caribbean nations is incredibly easy.
The Caribbean citizenship by investment program is one of the easiest ways to obtain new or second citizenship in the world. In Antigua, for example, the processing time for citizenship by investment does not even take a year.
According to Charmaine Quinland-Donavan, the head of the country’s Citizenship by Investment Unit, the processing time and citizenship grant used to only take about 90 days. However, with the improvement in technology and staff training, getting granted Antiguan citizenship now takes anywhere between 45 to 60 days.
It’s no wonder the citizenship by investment provision is considered a top contributor to the region’s growing GGP.
7. The region is quite ethnically diverse.
There’s an interesting mix of people with different ethnic backgrounds in the Caribbean. This is due to its long history of colonization. Therefore, you will find a lot of current locals who are of Spanish, French, and English descent, and speak the languages of their forefathers.
And of course, there is still the African community, and indigenous peoples, as well as multiracial residents who are the products of intermarriages. The ethnic diversity of island dwellers is one of the major factors behind the dynamic Caribbean lifestyle.
8. Luxurious beachfront properties are abundant all over the region.
A large percentage of the best beaches are home to the most luxurious residential properties, and many of theSE are available to those who wish to take advantage of the citizenship by investment program.
These properties offer the best lifestyle the Caribbean has to offer — big, gorgeous homes, stunning views of the seascape, a resort lifestyle, and countless great weather days.
There are so many typical notions about the Caribbean and the rich culture it has. Hopefully, the bits of information cited above provide you with a much broader insight into this famous tropical island group, particularly as a potential site for your new home.
Kal Kennard is a Partner at Citizens International, a white-glove specialist firm offering private client services necessary for citizenship investment into the Caribbean, North America and Europe. Based in the Caribbean for the past 15 years, she is an experienced consultant who works directly with many professional partners and advises clients worldwide.