A slower and less stressful way of life — this is one of the leading reasons why so many people from different parts of the globe are taking advantage of Caribbean citizenship programs. The West Indies is known for being a luxurious destination for holidaymakers, but in the last decade or so, it has risen to become an ideal second home location for the well-to-do.
But, aside from the abundance of gorgeous beaches, what are the other reasons why wealthy entrepreneurs and retirees opt to move here completely or at least spend a significant chunk of the year in the Caribbean?
Qualities of the Caribbean Lifestyle
Listed below are the qualities of the Caribbean lifestyle that set it apart from life in other regions of the world.
1. The “island pace”
Island folks are not sluggish people, but they like to take their time in getting to places and doing most things. This is pretty common — even in Okinawa (the southernmost island of Japan), the people are more laid-back and not sticklers for time. Hence, they are less anxious and stressed — overall a happy people.
The island pace is the way of life in the Caribbean — you have to accept it even if you personally do not find it an efficient way of going about your days. The thing is, you may continue to stick to your strict schedule, but most of the people you’ll be dealing with on the islands are going to keep the pace that they’re used to.
The bottom line is, you can’t beat them, so better join them instead of fighting a battle that you can never win — at least, not in the usual sense (we think you win as long as this battle results in less stress in the end).
2. Most days look and feel like a vacation
When you’re surrounded by natural beauty, and it’s sunny (about 95% of the year), you can’t help but think that every day is a vacation. For a lot of retirees living in the Caribbean, it actually is. They get to indulge in beloved hobbies or simply sit back, relax and drink by the beach (it’s never too early to have cocktails in the West Indies).
It’s not going to be an issue to get lured by the beach in the middle of the workday, chat with friends over cocktails as if it’s not the middle of the workweek.
3. No fashion trends to keep up with
The only people who have a robust wardrobe in the West Indies are tourists. Once you move to the Caribbean, your clothing staples are defined by the words — simple, lightweight, and airy. And you don’t need a lot of clothes. Most people don’t care if you wear the same boho chic dress on various occasions, just styled differently.
If you think about it, it truly is not that much fun to spend so much time on a large wardrobe of stylish clothing because fashion is not as big and influential an industry in the Caribbean compared to other places. And, the typical expat life is mostly about hanging out at the beach where the eternal dress code is casual or swimwear.
4. Fast food is good-quality local fare
The biggest fast food chains in the world are an extremely rare sight in the region. It’s local family-owned canteens that rule the meal-to-go scene.
The prices are about the same and there is a lot of fried food. But the advantage of the Caribbean’s brand of fast food is its better quality, more flavorful, appetizingly spicy, and that they use fresh ingredients instead of highly processed meats.
5. Personal effort is usually more reliable
Although the Caribbean is on the rise, a lot of the conveniences in highly industrialized nations are not yet present or easily accessible here. Services are never just a phone call away.
So, you have to learn DIY approaches such as fixing a car, as well as home repairs and replacements. DIY approaches are actually the better option because even if there are locally trained fix-it guys that you can turn to, there’s always a high likelihood that they will not turn up when it’s most convenient for you.
6. Groceries are not the convenient solutions you expect them to be
In most countries, grocery shopping is the most convenient thing. But in the Caribbean, it’s a less ideal option in keeping pantries well-stocked. The prices of imported goods are a bit steep due to the cost of logistics. Plus, the selection is not as varied as in the local public market.
Therefore, for more convenient island living, shop like a true local — head to the public market — it’s best to learn how to shop and haggle with vendors.
7. Pest control is a priority
You’ll have to deal with the number one pest in tropical locations — mosquitoes. They are around through the wet and dry seasons. You will find that most home improvement efforts you will make later on include increasing defenses against these pathogen-carrying insects.
Likewise, every venture outdoors requires a generous slathering of sunscreen and bug repellent. Forget your high-end fruity smelling lotions when you live in the Caribbean. The most popular scents are citronella and soothing chamomile oil.
When you start living in the Caribbean, you’ll find yourself picking up foreign languages that are widely spoken in the region. There’s French, French Creole, Spanish, and even Dutch. Locals use a lot of terms from those languages, and it will be to your advantage to know them, especially when you launch service businesses.
You may not exert much effort into learning different languages, but you will find, at certain points, that you’re speaking them more and more as you go about your days.
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9. Traveling abroad becomes a past-time
The dual citizenship programs in the Caribbean can provide you with better, more powerful passports. For instance, when you become a dual citizen of Antigua and Barbuda, you can automatically travel visa-free to 147 countries.
It’s no wonder the Caribbean lifestyle for a lot of expats includes frequent travel overseas, especially during the summer when it gets unbearably hot in the region.
The Caribbean lifestyle can cause some level of a culture shock to the consummate cosmopolite, but it’s easy enough to get used to — and a lot better, too. With its unique qualities shared above, perhaps if you’re thinking of moving here, they can prepare you better for the different way of life that awaits you.