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Best Caribbean Islands to Live On

Have the winter blues got you dreaming of white sand beaches in a tropical paradise? Is island life calling you?

Over the years, snowbirds, Canadian citizens, and investors alike have made the decision to live or purchase property in the Caribbean islands. Whether you’re looking for luxurious ocean-side condos or affordable international living, the Caribbean islands have a lot to offer. 

beautiful mountain ranges and ocean views on Caribbean islands

Here’s your guide to some of the amazing cities located in the Caribbean Islands and why you might consider a move out there!

Top Places to Live in the Caribbean

white sand sandy beaches and crystal clear water on island

The Caribbean is a region of more than 700 islands, islets, reefs, and cays in the Caribbean Sea. This region is southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America, and north of South America.

For many people who live in colder climates, the Caribbean is the go-to place for warm weather, white sand beaches, lush rainforests, friendly community, and affordable living. As well, it is a popular destination for many sports enthusiasts and adventure seekers. 

The Caribbean islands are home to beautiful beaches and luxury resorts, often conjuring images of paradise for many people. 

palm trees on sandy beach in the Caribbean

Hoping to live somewhere in this collection of tropical isalnds? Here are some of the best Caribbean islands to live on or purchase a vacation home on. 

Ambergris Caye, Belize

marina dock in Ambergris Cay, Belize

One of the most popular tourist destinations in Belize is Ambergris Caye. The island, commonly referred to as “Isla Bonita,” is known for its stunning beaches and picturesque seascapes. It is also home to exotic sea creatures along the Belize barrier reef. 

Ambergris Caye has been attracting snowbirds and ex-pats for years. If you’re looking for a very nice life in a wonderful place, this island is the one for you. As well, Ambergris Caye is known for it’s reliable internet and cell phone coverage. 

beachfront home in Ambergris Caye, Belize

The island is known for its slower-paced but sophisticated lifestyle. For most visitors, snowbirds, and residents, golf carts are the preferred method of transportation across Ambergris Caye, Belize. Available by foot or golf cart are trendy restaurants, nightclubs, grocery stores, and coffee shops. 

Couples or individuals looking to move to Ambergris Caye, Belize can do so for around $2000-3500/ month (which includes the cost of renting a house or apartment. 
If you want to purchase you’re on home on the island, your monthly cost of living can likely be under $2000 as comfortably sized homes cost an average of $200,000-700,00 USD. 

The Cayman Islands

beach full of boats in Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands is a self-governing region part of the British Overseas Territory and comprises of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman. 

These tropical islands are well known for their warm climate, the best beaches, pleasurable way of life, and friendly people. Grand Cayman is the most livable island in the Caribbean as it has reliable internet connection, various real estate options, and lots of culture to explore. 

luxurious property in Cayman Islands

While these islands are home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, it is also known for being a popular spot for offshore financial accounts because of the income tax benefits.

Additionally, there is no restriction on foreign property ownership in the Cayman Islands and there are no property, capital gains, or on the property. 

Because of this, many individuals may choose to host their international business accounts or build an investment program on the main islands. Some business owners may even move their business to the Cayman Islands with the Cayman Enterprise City Program. 

While this livable island haven is beautiful and has many business benefits, it is one of the more expensive places in the Caribbean. Want to live by the award-winning Seven Mile Beach? Be ready to spend over USD$2 million for a two-bathroom penthouse condo near the beach. 

British Virgin Islands

ex-pat relaxing on white sandy beach in British Virgin Islands

If you’re an avid sailor or boater, the British Virgin Islands might be the place for you. The Caribbean’s greatest sailing destination is a British Overseas Territory located east of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. 

Whether you want to buy a boat and live on it, spend your summers chartering away or just find a tucked-away hillside villa to spend your retirement in, the British Virgin Islands have a lot to offer. 
Compared to other Caribbean islands, the British Virgin Islands are some of the safest islands to live on and visit, making it extremely popular with tourists. 

As well, it is home to over 50 islands and cays, about 16 of which are inhabited. Because of the caves, tidal pools, and grottos, this is a secret divers’ getaway and is perfect for scuba diving adventures. 

jaw dropping scenery in British Virgin Islands

Another benefit of moving to this set of Caribbean Islands is that it has the dependency of a large country that creates a stable government. As well, this can help with the visa process for UK citizens. 
That being said, The British Virgin Islands community is probably one of the more expensive group of islands to live on. Depending on your budget, you can still make the most of your time there. 

Antigua and Barbuda

ocean front home in Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda is a sovereign island country in the West Indies and lies at the juncture if the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. 
Blessed with over 300 world-class beaches, a beautiful climate, and a blossoming hotel sector, Antigua and Barbuda is the perfect spot for a romantic getaway or permanent residency. 
Antigua, which is the larger of the two islands that make up the country of Antigua and Barbuda, is known for its white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. 

beautiful homes by the marina in Antigua and Barbuda

Permanent residency isn’t too far off for those who wish to make one of the islands their home as it offers a citizenship by investment program.  As well, the country is considered to be a part of the Commonwealth and its official language is English. 

Long-term living or owning your own home would be the most budget-friendly move if you want to live in Antigua and Barbuda. A two+ bedroom home has a rental fee of around $2500 in expensive areas or $2000 for less luxurious areas. 

Saint Lucia

beautiful peninsula in Saint Lucia

Looking for beautiful rainforests untouched beaches, and vibrant Creole culture? Look no further than the stunning island country of St. Lucia. 

This island country is full of cosmopolitan energy and is located north of St. Vincent and northwest of Barbados. It also has a population of over 180,000 people. 

St. Lucia is arguably the most beautiful of all the islands in the Caribbean with its mountainous regions, stunning beaches, and ancient volcanos. St. Lucia also has a vibrant and colourful community that makes it a great home for ex-pats or a great tourist destination for short-term visitors. 

housing community in Saint Lucia perfect for ex-pats

Housing in Saint Lucia will vary depending on the location, but it is generally cheaper than in many other cities, especially outside the city centre. 
If you’re wanting to live comfortably in St. Lucia, you can definitely find modern condominiums or freestanding houses available within your budget. 

Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic

small beach front restaurant in Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic

Another Caribbean island that may be calling your name is the small town in Dominican republic called Las Terrenas. 

The north coast of the island has some of the finest beaches in the Caribbean, the east coast is a golfer’s paradise with some of the newest designer golf courses in the region.

You’ll be happy to know that Las Terrenas offers excellent values with its combination of beautiful beaches, a small-town feel, great shopping options, and affordable property opportunities. 

relaxing beach with palm trees in Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic

While this Dominican Republic town isn’t home to many all-inclusive resorts, the beach hotels are small and family-run, making you feel more at home. 

As for the real estate opportunities in this Caribbean island, you’ll be happy to hear that home prices are much more affordable than they are on other islands or in many North American cities. 

Here, a one-bedroom, one-bathroom loft apartment can go for as little as $99,500 and a couple living in this tropical haven can do so for around $2,000 a month, although most choose to spend closer to $3,000 a month. 

Martinique

gorgeous mountain and rainforest in Martinique

Martinique is a Caribbean island that is a single territorial collectivity of the French Republic. 

This French Caribbean island is home to cafes, public parks, gardens, spectacular architecture, and breathtaking natural beauty. It’s also one of the most developed islands to live in, with well-maintained roads, sprawling supermarkets, and an underrated culinary scene. 

For an individual living in Martinique, the cost of living with rent is about $1300, making it one of the most affordable islands to live on as an expat. 
This also means the rent in Martinique is extremely low cost. You can likely find a 3 bedroom apartment in the city centre for under $1000. 

ocean front homes in Martinique

Turks and Caicos

stunning beach and beautiful water in Turks & Caicos

Another group of islands part of the British Overseas Territories is Turks and Caicos. Within these groups of islands is Providenciales, which is the main island and the most populated, with a well-established community of ex-pats. 

While North and Middle Caicos offer a level of seclusion you can’t find anywhere else South Caicosis now one of the best Caribbean islands to live on, as it is home to reasonably-priced gorgeous and luxurious beachfront properties. 

beachfront home in turks and Caicos

It’s important to note that while some prices are not always extremely affordable, the lack of income or capital gains tax usually makes up for it. 

Additionally, as a British Overseas Territory, Turks and Caicos has a stable government structure and is a relatively safe place to live. Affordable, fun, secluded, family-friendly, and stunningly beautiful, Turks and Caicos has it all. 

Nassau, Bahamas

ex pat community area in Nassau, Bahamas

As the capital of and largest city in the Bahamas, Nassau is the centre for all the education, law, administration, and media in the country. 

Residents of and visitors to Nassau can enjoy the favourable climate, stunning views, and low tax rates as well as a slower pace that can help you relax and unwind. 

As well, the best medical care, shopping opportunities, and international schools are also located in Nassau. 

While the general cost of living is actually quite high as nearly all goods need to be important, residents do not have to pay income, capital gains, or estate taxes. This can help offset the higher cost of living for many residents, especially wealthy ex-pats. 

Nevis

mountain range and beach in Nevis

Located right next door to St. Kitts is Nevis, a volcanic island that is considered a twin island to St. Kitts. Known for its golden sand beaches, old plantations, and old-fashioned rustic charm, Nevis is quickly becoming many people’s favorite of the Caribbean islands.

Both St. Kitts and Nevis have built an excellent reputation for their rich cuisine and the country is home to all kinds of delicious foods. At an inexpensive restaurant, you can eat for under $15, while a more luxurious meal can cost up to or more than $100. 

Even though St Kitts may have a bit more energy and action, Nevis is considered an untouched jewel, far from the fast paced and busy lifestyle of a big city. For retirees looking for a slow, comfortab;e and beautiful retirment destination, Nevis is perfect! 

For rentals in the city centre, you can find one bedrooms for roughly $850 while rentals further from the centre can sit at around $600. If you’re looking to buy, you can find a variety of different properties in Nevis at different price points depending on what you are looking for. However, to buy, you will have to apply for the Alien Landholding Licence or buy pre-approved property through the Citizen by Investment Program.

Harbour Island and Treasure Cay

Harbour Island boating community

Finally, two islands part of the Bahamas that may be perfect for your ex-pat life are Harbour Island and Treasure Cay.

HARBOUR ISLAND

Whil it might be quite small, this historic outpost part of Bahama’s Out Islands will immediately make you fall in love. 

Harbour Island is home to a lovable, friendly community that celebrates its history but also is extremely open-minded. While the real estate may be a bit on the expensive side of things, you’ll find some of the region’s most extraordinary and stunning historic architecture.

small cave with sunset by beach in Treasure Cay

TREASURE CAY

Another popular island in the Bahamas is Treasure cove, home to the largest residential development in the entire Caribbean — from luxurious vacation homes to beachfront villas. As well, it is a self-contained destination with a vibe that makes you feel at home in the small town. While the cost of living is on the higher side, the tax implications make it a go to destination for many wealthy retirees. 

There are also many different activities to do around the island, primarily boating or sailing as there are various maritime destinations just a few minutes away. This all makes it the perfect destination for your retirement. 

Why You Might Purchase Property in The Caribbean

Now that you have gotten to know several amazing destinations in the Caribbean, you might be considering a move out there. If that’s the case, here are some reasons why you might purchase some property or a vacation home in the Caribbean. 

Tax Laws and Affordability

affordable housing opportunities in the Caribbean Islands

One of the biggest reasons why you might consider purchasing some property in the Caribbean is because of the tax laws and its overall affordability. As we’ve seen for many of the destinations above, there are not as many taxes that residents have to pay off and worry about. Additionally, there are tons of affordable property opportunities that can fit into your budget. 

Natural Beauty

breathtaking scenes in the Caribbean

Want to look outside and see some glorious ocean views? Do you want to climb mountains and volcanoes or hike through rainforests? Caribbean Islands are full of beautiful scenery that will have you in awe no matter where you look. You will be blown away by the sandy beaches and the crystal blue waters. 

Lifestyle and Community

fresh and busy market centers in the Caribbean

Finally, if you’re looking for a slower pace of life with time to unwind, you’ll fit right in. The Caribbean islands are known for their luxurious and serene lifestyles. Even if you’re an adventure junkie, there are tons of different activities for you to accomplish while still enjoying the relaxing lifestyle. 

Conclusion

Whether you’re headed out on your spring break or looking for the safest islands to call your home, the Caribbean Islands are perfect for anyone looking for a beautiful, relaxing, and luxurious place to visit or stay long term. 
With its affordability, natural beauty, slow-paced lifestyle, and welcoming community, you’ll be happy to settle in the Caribbean. 

About the Author

Helana Mulder is one of REP/CREW magazine’s content writers and has been writing with them for a few months now. Helana’s interest in real estate writing began when her father started his real estate business over 15 years ago. After graduating from university with a degree in English Writing and Communications, Helana began writing content professionally. Outside of work, Helana enjoys listening to music, playing card games with friends, and reading the latest true crime novel.

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