ISLAND LIVING

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Sep 30th, 2006, 09:52 AM
  #1
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ISLAND LIVING

NEW TO THE BOARDS BUT HAVE ENJOYED READING IT. AS A SOON TO BE RETIRED 49 YR OLD SINGLE MALE WITH NO RESTRAINTS OR OBLIGATIONS TO REQUIRE LIVING IN THE STATES YEAR ROUND,MY "SIMPLE" QUESTION IS THIS......GIVEN A CHOICE FOR ISLAND LIVING MONTHS AT A TIME WHERE EMPLOYMENT IS NOT NECCESSARY, WHAT IS THE GENERAL CONSENSUS OF YOU WONDERFUL AND FORTUNATE SEASONED TRAVELERS OUT THERE IF THIS IS EVEN A PLAUSABLE QUESTION. I HAVE TRAVELED IN THE CARIBBEAN AND MEXICO FOR THE MOST PART BUT LOVE THE WATER (SCUBA DIVING) MOST EVERYWHERE..AUSTRALIA IS HIGH ON MY LIST BUT WAS WONDERING ABOUT THE ISLANDS SUCH AS ST.LUCIA,KITTS,ETC...ANY FEEDBACK WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED......THANKS IN ADVANCE.......
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Sep 30th, 2006, 11:50 AM
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I'm obviously biased but if I was in your set of circumstances I would choose St. Vincent in or near the Indian Bay area. It's close enough to the city Kingstown yet far enough away for peace and quiet. Some would probably tell you Bequia which is also a part of the Grenadines and this too would be a good choice.

This would be my choice simply because I prefer an island less commercialized and "touristy". My suggestion would be once you have narrowed your choices to a manageable list spend at least a month or two living as a resident.

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Sep 30th, 2006, 12:23 PM
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VINCEYGIRL....THANKS MUCH FOR YOUR RESPONSE. WILL HAVE TO PUT MY THINKING CAP ON AND TAKE A LOOKSEE....EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS!
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Sep 30th, 2006, 01:08 PM
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You really need to visit and find your own. It's a completely different feeling "living" vs vacation. And tastes are hugely different. Some islands make life easy, some are good investments, some are not either. Some people love, and would live at all costs (not just monetary, but will put up with slower things done, foreign language, bugs, etc.)
For example, I have a house in Turks and Caicos. Spend a couple of months a year there. Great beaches, incredible scuba/snorkeling. Not a lush island, flat, dry and scrubby. No taxes, and rent out house when not in use. So this worked for me.
Every island has it's own personality, and it's own attractiveness. I certainly wouldn't choose buy posing a question on a forum.
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Sep 30th, 2006, 02:10 PM
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BLAMONA, THANK YOU AS WELL FOR THE INFORMATION. I HAVE BEEN RESEARCHING THIS TOPIC FOR SOME TIME NOW AND AGREE ONE MUST CHOOSE BASED ON PERSONAL PREFERENCE. I HAVE TRAVELED TO THE BAHAMAS, BONAIRE, CAYMAN ISLANDS,MEXICO. HOPING TO SCALE DOWN SOME TRIP DISAPPOINTMENTS WHICH ARE OFTEN MISREPRESENTED FOR THE SAKE OF THE TOURIST DOLLAR.
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Sep 30th, 2006, 03:47 PM
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First, as a point of information, on an internet discussion forum it is considered impolite to write in all capital letter - it's is akid to shouting.

Second, to answer your question, as others have said all islands are different and living on any are far different that visiting on vacation. I recognize your desire to get recommendations in order to cut down on travel and avoid disappointment but making a pre-move visit to islands you are considering is the only way to determine if a particular island is right for you. We visited 20+ different islands before we found the one that suited us.

Another thing to consider is that you cannot just show up on an island and take up residence. You must apply for residency and each island has different requirements so it is important to check out the legal aspects ofmoving and taking up residence. Some islands, like the BVI's will not allow non-belongers to remain on the island for more than 6 months inany one calendar year. Others require a substantial investment in a business or property before granting residency.

Assuming you are a US citizen you can easily relocate to one Puerto Rico, the Spanish Virgins or the Us Virgin Islands. All others in the Caribbean will have varying requirements. It can be done but takes som patience and time. Check the official government web-sites for the islands of your choice and you'll find links to the requirements for most islands. Also, once you choose your island you would be wise to hire a local lawyer to help you with the "red tape". It will be money well spent.

Good luck in achieving your dream.
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Sep 30th, 2006, 03:53 PM
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A couple more hints. Get a copy of "The Settler's Handbook" - it's a must read for anyone contemplating a more to the Caribbean. Also, visit www.vimovingcenter.com - it's a website devoted to relocating to the USVI's and has tons of information about life in the Caribbean. Much of what is there applies to all islands. They have a very active forum that you can use for more research.
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Sep 30th, 2006, 04:14 PM
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Rent for a year before you buy. Island living isn't for everyone no matter how much you enjoy Caribbean vacations. Get a good feel for your location. You'd be surprised at the small things that seem quaint & charming but after a while become a pain in the backside.
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Sep 30th, 2006, 07:24 PM
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A_Traveller, Please forgive the unintended slight as this is still pretty much new to me. Your insight into the question I earlier posed is most helpful. Also not to be overlooked and thanked are "Carrybean" and others who posted a response to my query. Will undoubtedly call upon your experience(s) from time to time, if thats okay with you folks. By the way,A_Traveller, just curious on which place you finally settled on? Also, I was aware of some of the difficulties obtaining residency,etc....and am currently tackling this as a more or less "rolling stone" type of scenerio......nite all.
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Sep 30th, 2006, 10:33 PM
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Carrybean,
Very good idea to actually rent a place in the island for some length of time.

That way you get to experience grocery shopping, dealing with government bodies, dealing with the utility companies, dealing with the banks, dealing with local employees, plumbers, electricians etc.

I so often hear the phrase : Oh I just love the way of life in the islands. It's so laid back and stress free.

I also so often seen this phrase quickly become : Man everything is just so inefficiant there in the islands. How does anybody get anything done there! Everything operates so slowly.
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Oct 1st, 2006, 06:02 AM
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JAGIRL
Yes, you are so right. When the dream of living on an island becomes reality, it is a totally different thing.
Everyone would love to live in the Caribbean becasue they think it is paradise and they don't realize paradise has problems too.
It isn't for everyone.
I get so mnay requests asking about how can people mocve to St. Maarten?
I have seen people come here and love the island and I have seen people come here and absolutely hate the island.

So SEALIFE, continue investigating your dream, but as the others have indicated proceed cautiously. rent for awhile, don't buy.
Perhaps try living somewhere for 6 months and see how it feels.
If you want to or have to work, line up employment before you move if at all possible.
As an American, it would be easier to work in the USVI . Any other island would involve a long lengthy admissions process.
I know it is very difficult to get employment legally on St. Maarten if you are a foreigner.
If you have enough money and just want to live somewhere, the admissions process is much easier...

Your question is defintiely a plausible question and a possibility. I have been living in the islands for many years and I love it.
It is definitely a more relaxed pace of life and the weather is great unless we get hurricanes.

Good luck!
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Oct 1st, 2006, 06:47 AM
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SEALIFE, Just an example of what many are talking about would be my visits to SVG. I absolutely love this group of islands......to visit. Living there for any length of time would be different. I know this because I do not stay at a resort when I visit. My choice of residence is a small apartment complex overlooking Indian Bay. My friends are native Vincentians and live on one of the hills overlooking Kingstown.As a result I am lucky to have experienced to a great extent what it would be like to live in the islands as opposed to vacationing. Transportation can be difficult to say the least. Buses run all the time, on the main roads. You must walk to reach the stop. If you can afford a vehicle gasoline is more expensive than in the States. Grocery shopping, over the years I have noticed more variety of products available. The problem is getting them home if you don't have a car or if your home is on a hill and car has no way to reach and must be left at the bottom. That leaves you climbing a hill x amount of times to carry groceries. Health care is another issue for thought. Just in general conveniences. My friends have all the same gadgets I do, TV, DVD etc. The problem is delivery and repair. If something had to go to the shop God help you getting it there. Timeliness is also food for thought. The pace is much slower. It does take some getting used too. I personally am used to going out to dinner several times a month with numerous choices, not so on many of the islands. Good restaurants just not that many from which to choose dependent on the island. On the other hand if there were it would be an island I would avoid because I would consider it too commercialized. Hope this gives you a few more things to ponder when making your decision.
Good luck.
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Oct 1st, 2006, 07:16 AM
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SEASLIFE - Sorry but I don't want to reveal on which island we decided to take up residence but will tell you were are on one of the Leeward islands. We are US citizens but decided not to locate in the USVI's PR or the Spanish Virgins. In other words we had to endure the entire residency application process.

If you do decide to relocate to the Caribbean do spend at least 6 months to a year renting and living on that island before making it permaneant. Don't stay at a resort but rather live in a housekeeping unit, do everyday chores, read as much as you can (the internet is a good start but there are literally scores of books depicting relocation stories - check them all out.

Remember living on an island is not better or worse than ewhere you are now - it's just different (and in some cases very different). One other point, things can be very costly in the Caribbean so budget accordingly - price estimates you find on line and in books are often outdated. Unless you live a VERY VERY simple lifestyle plan on spending more rather than less.

Good Luck.
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Oct 1st, 2006, 07:52 AM
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Your tax situation in the States and whether you'll be working outside the US should be another determinant. Higher
tax levies have just been passed on many non-corporate subsidized workers/business owners abroad by the US. If maintaining close ties to the US isn't your focus, you might expand your search outside islands (since on most,
everything is more expensive) to lesser-known coastal Caribbean areas like Panama where the infrastructure and access to airport/roads/urban amenities is good, but one can still totally get away from it all, in places such as Bocas del Toro. Though not a buy-out but a 99 year leasehold, the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, rather than the
Pacific coast, already developed in large, might be another destination.
Living there for a minimum of a year
(if in segments only over a period of time) will quickly teach you the realities/esp.what you can and can't live without from your 'previous' life.
It's not Paradise -- it's another
Reality.
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Oct 1st, 2006, 02:50 PM
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To everybody ....taking the time to reply is very thoughtful and refreshing. I am somewhat aware of the pratfalls that come with being a part-time ex-pat so on goes the learning experience,however I would really feel like I am"missing the boat" if I dont try to live"the dream" and commend all of you who had the fortitude to do so. Basically, I hope to "stay under the radar" and avoid the requirements of residency,etc...until and if, I so choose. I hope to also live in Europe for part of the year and perhaps in the New England States back here in the fall. I realize that this lifestyle may not be for everyone but in my circumstances,seem very plausable. I can live quite comfortably with"some" of the finer trappings in life as I am not wealthy, but reasonably comfortable in" living within my means"...you cant "take the money with ya" as everyone sez...Keep posting your responses as you see fit..I LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR RESPONSES ( Sorry A_Traveller!).
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Oct 1st, 2006, 05:44 PM
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To SEASLIFE - As an ex-pat living on a Caribbean island I was startled by your comment that you hope to "stay under the radar" and avoid the requirements of residency. If by that you mean staying on an island illegally I should warn you that's the fastest way to get deported. Most island governments have very strick rules regarding foreigners living on their island and the rules are strongly enforced. It's not easy to hide on an island as the officials are always keeping an eye out for illegals and foreigners "stand out like sore thumbs". It is not like the "illegals" in the US who are rarely caught. Remember islands are small and everyone knows who are the "belongers" and who are the visitors. While most islands will allow a non-resident to stay for up to 6 months each calendar year they will only grant a visitor's visa for 1 month at a time. It then must be renewed each month until the 6 months is up, then you will be asked to leave. The officials watch this very carefully and will make you leave the island if you overstay your visa. I know quite a few people who were escorted off our island because they overstayed their visa or their work permits expired they are barred from ever coming back. Don't let that happen to you. If you are serious about living in the Caribbean, for your own sake and peace of mind do it legally - i.e. apply for residency or stay only for the time your visitor's visa allows.

 
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Oct 2nd, 2006, 10:05 AM
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Hi highly recommend St. Kitts or Nevis. Both are beautiful English speaking islands.

For more information visit www.discover-stkitts-nevis-beaches.com

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Oct 2nd, 2006, 10:26 AM
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I am partial to Montserrat & part of our retirement will be spent there...however, many of teh posters are correct in that to get anywhere else can be a chore. We'll always be 'travelers' as long as we are able so our permanent residence must be reasonably near a major airport. Many of the places we love to stay, would also be quite expensive to live in. So, we'll continue to let others take the risk & probably end up renting properties for extended stays once retirement arrives. (15-20 years from now). A_Trav - Why the big secret on where you reside ? I don't thinking posting your island of residence, is going to cause a big influx of American speaking individuals seeking housing for their retirement...
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Oct 2nd, 2006, 10:33 AM
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SAnparis,

Maybe they bought their own personal island and are afraid that we might vote to have the Fodor's Convention 2007 held there!
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Oct 2nd, 2006, 12:01 PM
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JAGIRL - I mean, pulllleeeezzzzeeee...I doubt that a Fodors post has ever caused the ruination of someones 'paradise'. Although a Rick Steves TV show, may do that...
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