Things To Consider Before Moving to the Caribbean

Although you probably already know that the Caribbean is one of the top tropical destinations, you may not know much else about the region. It’s no secret that most of the islands are full of fun, sun, and gorgeous scenery, but there’s more than meets the eye. In fact, life may look completely different in Aruba, Barbados, or Grenada than it does in your home country. Follow along to discover a few important things to consider before moving to the Caribbean.

Cost of Living

As with any country or region, the cost of living in the Caribbean depends on the island. While you can expect to spend significantly more on imported items, local produce, transportation, and attractions are much cheaper than in the United States. With that said, purchasing a home in a gated community or a high-end part of an island may cost you more than it would elsewhere. However, countries like Aruba, the Virgin Islands, Barbados, etc., are tax havens that have little to no taxes.

The dollar exchange rate depends on the exact area in the Caribbean, so you should double-verify before making any big decisions. You probably know that the dollar exchange rate can change anytime, but right now, 1 US dollar equals about 2.7 East Caribbean dollars, 2 Barbadian dollars, and 1 Bahamian dollar.


Renting is much cheaper than purchasing a home in the Caribbean. Consider doing this initially to determine whether or not you’re there to stay.

Language Barriers

Fortunately, many Caribbean natives speak English across various islands, but it varies from country to country. Although you’ll most likely be able to get away with always using English, you should consider learning a few words or phrases in the other widely spoken languages to ensure you can communicate with others. Some of the other languages you’ll encounter in the Caribbean are:

  • Spanish
  • Dutch
  • French
  • Haitian Creole
  • Papiamento

The Island Lifestyle

The island lifestyle can be an adjustment for many people, as island time is real. Almost nobody is on time, and you should expect delays in all aspects of life. From restaurant service to transportation to meeting friends, everyone believes in a laidback, move-at-your-own-pace timeline.


Aside from island time, you can also expect various changes in society and government. Caribbean natives practice laissez-faire principles, meaning that the government stays out of their financial, business, and economic affairs with little to no interference or regulation.


Finding housing works the same way as it does anywhere else, and you can benefit from the help of a real estate agent. Although an agent will help in any way they can, it can’t hurt to know a few things about the Barbados real estate market in advance.

Visiting Beforehand

While you may find the perfect listing online, you should always visit a few times before making your final decision. If you’re unsure of where you’d like to settle down, you can visit a few different islands to decide whether or not it’s a good fit for you.

Moving is a big decision, but you can make the right choice with these things to consider before moving to the Caribbean. It’s a beautiful region, and you can find the perfect place to spend your life after retirement.


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