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Moving to Dominican Republic or another island in Caribbean would like to converse with others who live or have lived in Caribean. Would like to know cost of living, cost of owning home, etc. A good real estate person, etc. Opinions on which islands are best, etc., etc., Also, I have a cat so I need to know animal regulations. Thanks to all for any input.
Sincerely,
Roxanne

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    Dr. Smith:

    I moved to the Caribbean almost 10 years ago. However, I'm in the Netherlands Antilles, not the Dominican Republic, so I'm not sure of their laws regarding non-nationals. Each territory will have different regulations, so be sure to look into that. Some islands require you to have a work or residency permit before you can move there.

    The cost of living down here IS more than in the US. Property is expensive, rent is expensive and goods cost more due to having to import them. Of course, that varies island to island depending on what is available in each place. I currently live on a very small island, so EVERYTHING is imported, thus we pay more than we did in the US for groceries, as well as household items.

    Also, depending on the size of the island, you won't be able to readily buy the things you did back home. We have to make special shoppping trips to other islands or the US in order to have some of the neccessities of life. On the other hand, you DO learn to live without a lot.

    As far as which islands are best, it really depends on what interests you since they are all different and have different things to offer (fast paced, slow paced, great beaches, great diving, etc.). You also have to consider how you'll be able to earn a living (if you need to) since the job markets vary island to island, as well.

    In the Netherlands Antilles, the animal regulations are not strict. You can bring animals in with no quarantine, but you have to have a valid rabies vaccination card to show the airlines before you can board with them. Also, airlines will only allow you to travel with pets during the cooler months of the year.

    Another thing that I STRONGLY suggest is to spend some time (a couple of months) on the island you decide on before actually MOVING there. I've seen too many people move down here only to realize that living the "island lifestyle" full time isn't the same as being a tourist, and they end up regretting their decision. It's not for everyone.

    You might also want to take the crime rate of the island into consideration when making a decision. Some islands are virtually crime free while others are heavily crime ridden.

    Let me know what other questions you have and I'll try to be of help.

    Good luck!

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    Roxanne
    I am also looking into moving to the Caribbean, though not to the DR.
    I have come across this site in doing research, it covers the whole world but you can find info on the Caribbean. You might find it helpful:

    http://www.escapeartist.com/

    Good luck!

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    Well I certain will recommend here.
    Turks and caicos Islands that is.
    It is 80 minutes to Miami - 3 american airline flight per day and many other flights, direct flights to new york and Canada, delta from atlanta will soon restart flight here, british airway from europe. So it is conveniently located.

    It is a great investment place as well, as there is lots of opportunites here in this industry. Lots of available land and future development. So that says there is lots of future here.

    Exceptionally nice beaches and waterfront property. Take a look at the Turks and caicos maps.

    Pollution free. You have some people who loiter, but the government and social clubs like the rotary club are enforce strict rebukes and it definitely got better.

    warm year climate all year around.

    Safe haven....little or no crime. Everybody almost knows every body...its changing with migration!!

    Stable government who welcome foreigners and foreign investments.

    THe US$$$ stable currently is the local tender

    Straightforward purchases and sales procedures

    Freehold title, guaranteed by the crown, eliminating the need for title insurance

    NO income taxes
    No annual Property tax
    No sales tax....
    NO taxes on capital gains
    NO inheritance taxes or gift taxes

    NO crowds

    On west caicos there will be a soon to be cruise ship...this will boost the tourism industry even more


    And so much more


    I can keep you posted.


    ASK me the question I will answer them for you or I will refer you to people who can answer them


    Email me: hulbert@prestigiousproperties.com

    check out the inventory here
    http://www.prestigiousproperties.com
    http://www.tcirealestate.com


    Hulbert Handfield
    Real Estate Agent

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    Hello,
    My name is Brent Bokus. I'm from Marseilles, Illinois, about an hour outside of Chicago and i'm 37 years young. I'm looking for employment in the Caribbean. Doesn't matter which one exactly, but have mainly had my eye on the Virgin Islands. I have a great love for the tropics and have visited 6 Caribbean Islands so far. My entire life i've dreamt of living somewhere tropical, but now that i'm 37 & a bit more mature & hopefully a bit wiser, I would truly like to attempt to make a life in the islands. I've done a lot of different types of jobs. I've done sales for 11 years, i've done swimming pool construction for 3 years, landscaping & patio construction, computer aided drafting & design for 3 years & I went to college for drafting & design, art & business. But when looking for a job in the Caribbean, i'm always open to learn new skills or trades. At all the islands i've been to, i've always fallen in love with the culture, the people, the atmosphere & the mindset. It's something that I know would be good for me & somewhere many of my friends & family have told me I belong. For growing up somewhere that has harsh winters as we do near Chicago, i've always been told by people that i'm a beach guy or island guy. Although I strive to work hard at work & be successful, outside of work i'm a laid back guy that loves his beach music & reggae & steel drums & love an adventure & all types of activities. But i'm getting a bit worn down by the long, stuck inside, boring winters & longing for a change of attitude & lattitude. I just need some help in getting there. So, please, if anyone can help me in any way, it would be much appreciated. If anyone has any job openings they're willing to share with me or knows anything else to help me, please let me know. I'm very serious about making this happen. And i'm sure people say that all the time, but i'm not just saying it. I will check back for comments or you can email me @ bokie1975@yahoo.com or find me on Facebook - Brent Bokus (Bokie)
    Thanks for taking the time to read this & any info you can give,
    ONE LOVE
    Brent Bokus

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    I liv in the Caribbean and can give you some insight.

    OK, finding a job in the Caribbean is often difficult unless you are actually "on island" - you see most employers learned long ago that most people who say they are going to one never actually show up. So that's going to be your first hurdle.

    Second, most islands are independent countries and unless you are a citizen of that country you can not just show up one day to work. You must apply for and be granted a Work Permit which are difficult to get. In order to get a Work Permit you have to possess a "unique skill" and your potential employer must first prove to the government that there are no "locals" qualified to fill that position. Even if there are no "qualified locals" there's never any guarantee the Work Permit will be granted. If you are granted the Work Permit it is good only for that particular job (you cannot job hop) and good only for one year. There's no guarantee the Permit will be renewed when it expires. Lastly, if approved you'll have to pay the appropriate non-refundable application fees and, if approved, the required Permit Fee (usually anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000 depending on the island.

    Now since you live in Illinois I assume you are a US Citizen. If so there is some good news - you can easily relocate and work on Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra and any of the US Virgin Islands as they are US territories as you already have residential and work status. Finding a job on those islands presents the same challenge I mentioned above, namely most employers hire from people who are already on island.

    If you are serious about living/working in the Caribbean go to the Virgin Islands Moving Center Website (www.vimovingcenter.com). It's a website dedicated to living and working in the US Virgin Islands. Read everything there and you'll find answers to all your questions and hundrds more you haven't even thought of yet. There's so much material there it will take weeks to read it all. There's also a very active forum were you'll find 1,000's of threads dealing with every aspect of living and working in the islands.

    Besides the above the best advice I can give you is to not rush into this. Living and working in the Caribbean is far different than being here on vacation. It is not all palm tree, sand and pina coladas. Living expenses are higher and wages are lower than you'll find "back home" - that's the Catch-22 of island life. You'd be wise to make a Pre-move visit - come down to the island where you think you might like to live - stay for several weeks 9even better a few months), don't come as a tourist but rather stay in a small efficiency unit where you have to do your own housekeeping, find out what it's like to actually live on the island, check out cost of regular housing and be prepared for sticker shock, check out utility costs (electricity is very high, so much so that many people can't afford to use their air conditioners, investigate food costs, learn how to deal with the vagaries of power outages and sporadic telephone and internet service, find out what it's like to waste your time doing banking, paying utility bills, going to the post office while the staff moves at a snails pace, discover what it is like to have to go to 3 or 4 different grocery stores every time you shop just to get your "basics" and even then you may not find everything on your list.

    Last hint - get a copy of The settler's Handbook - you can get it on Amazon or on the VIMoving Center website - it's a must read for anyone contemplating a move to the Caribbean.

    Good luck following your dream.

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