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Best Caribbean Islands for Young 20's

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Hi!

I will be graduating this December from college and am looking to move to the Caribbean within 1 to 2 months after. I wanted to know the best islands to move to for people in their 20's. I would be there anywhere from 4 months to a year.

I spent the past three years living on an island off the coast of North Carolina. I don't leave the island much at all and my main transportation has been a bike. I work on the island and volunteer with the sea turtle program. I really like the laid back minimalist lifestyle I've had here. I also have really enjoyed the community that living an island creates.

WIth that being said! I am very open to anywhere. I have visited the Virgin Islands before which has inspired me to move to the Caribbean. I am very adventurous and want to live in a place where I can be active and participate in plenty of outdoor activities. Being right out of college, a place where I can live off a reasonable budget is ideal. I would like a place where alot of young people move to so I don't feel too far from home. As far as work goes I am open to doing anything from working at a school (my major is a combined one of social science and special education), on a boat, at a bar ect.

Thanks for the help!

H

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    Great dream, but wrong area if on a budget

    If working, (I assume you're American) then you have no choice but American territory--

    US Virgin Islands
    Puerto Rico

    Other islands require hard to get work permits, that can take months to a year plus, must be a job that islanders don't want, and are costly! (think renewable annual $3000 -$9000 depending on job, including restaurants, dive shops, etc)

    Illegal to work even a single day without permit

    Cost of living is much higher than States. Utilities, water can be $200 monthly, electric without a/c can cost $300-$600 monthly. Most islands that have towns are further from beach, beach isn't near towns. Transportation would have to be bike as car rentals need to be 25. Most living rentals require a year (and proof of affording it, having a job or 6 months of savings)

    Wages are a lot less than in States, food and living is 2-3 times than States

    For a small budget it might be better to consider Costa Rica, panama, Belize, but keep in mind that jobs are hard to come by

    Sounds impossible, it's not. But even if you get a job, start by having $10,000. - $$30,000 in savings before you go, even if you get a job, depending how long you end up going.

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    I live in the Caribbean and can tell you blamona's advice is "spot on" - the biggest Catch-22 to living/working in the Caribbean is that living expenses are higher - figure anywhere from 20% to 35% more then they are where you now live - and wages for comparable jobs are considerably lower than you'll find "back home". Also, it's very difficult to find employment until you are actually living on the island - most employers won't even consider hiring anyone who is not already "on island". Why you might ask, well employers learned long ago that 95% of the people who say they want to move to an island never show up so most employers (especially those who have entry level jobs) don't even bother looking at resumes or accepting resumes from non-islanders.

    For these reasons most islands will tell you to save up enough money to support yourself for at least 6 months BEFORE making the move so you have money to tide you over until you find a job and adequate housing.

    For example, you'll need a minimum of 3 months rent (1st month, last month and one month security deposit) just to walk in the door of an apartment. You'll also need transportation as bikes are not a viable means of getting around an island (most Caribbean islands are way to hilly), besides what will you do when it rains?

    To give you and idea of living costs consider that rents for a small studio or 1 BR apartment will set you back a minimum of $800 to $1,000/month, an older "island beater car" will probably run you around $3,000 to $5,000, you'll need deposits for your utilities and then their on going monthly costs (electricity is very expensive - something like $150 to $200/month for that small apartment and that assumes you don't have air conditioning.

    As a US citizen (I assume you are because you currently live in North Carolina) you can easily relocate to Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, and the US Virgin Islands and you already have citizenship/work status. Relocating to any other island is much more difficult in that, as blamona said you cannot work with first getting a WORK PERMIT. They are extremely difficult to get and are usually reserved for someone with a unique skill (think doctor, or other very experienced senior level executive) and in order for you to even be considered your potential employer most first prove that there are no "locals" qualified to fill the position. It is extremely unlikely that a young person in their 20's who has just graduated college would qualify as having a "unique skill".

    The biggest "red flag" is that you are looking for a place in the Caribbean where you "can live off a reasonable budget". Take it from someone who lives in the Caribbean - that is the biggest hurdle you'll face. The Caribbean is NOT a place for the budget minded. As for working in a bar or on a boat - reality is those jobs don't pay very well and you could end up having to work 2 or 3 jobs just to "get by" - you won't have any time to enjoy island life.

    Do yourself a favor, get some work experience "back home" so you learn a skill that will make you more marketable in the Caribbean (as a college graduate you'll probably want to be more than just waitress or bartender (and no, I'm not trying to say those are not honorable professions but rather you might have a better long term future pursuing careers in social science or special ed). Use that time to save up you money so when you think the time is right you can make the move with a nice nest egg to cover your expenses while you get settled in the Caribbean.

    Good luck following your dream.

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    I have no expertise like the good posters above, but I do know you can't just show up and stay a year in a foreign country. So Puerto Rico or the USVI will be easiest for you to have legal residence more than a tourist stay allows.

    Also none of the Caribbean is inexpensive. It's a great dream but I'm not sure how realistic.

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