Discover the Best Caribbean Islands to Live On
For years, many people in North America and Europe have looked to the Caribbean as a dream place to live to enjoy the good life. The global outbreak of Covid-19 seems to have only increased the number of people considering quitting crowded cities. With life as we have known it upended and economic activity almost brought to a halt, the number of city dwellers thinking about how best (or, more accurately, where best) to ride out this particular storm is surging. Have you been considering swapping the cold and the restricted lifestyle of the city for a warmer, sunnier climate and the freedom to enjoy an idyllic island lifestyle? For those who have been thinking about taking up residency in the Caribbean for the duration of the pandemic (and beyond), here we take a look at some of the top tropical safe haven destinations you could consider making home. So, where are the best Caribbean islands to live on and which islands might suit you and your family?
Best Places for Young Professionals
To reduce the spread of Coronavirus, governments in many countries have been encouraging people to work from home where possible. This has led many young professionals who no longer need to commute to an office to consider moving abroad. Why stay in a cramped city when you can get just as much work done on a tropical island while enjoying life by the sea? In response, several destinations in the Caribbean have been rolling out the proverbial red carpet for young professionals who can work remotely from anywhere in the world via the launch of new residency programs allowing applicants to enjoy island life for a temporary period of time.
Barbados was one of the first islands to launch a new visa program for individuals looking to base themselves on the island while working remotely for a foreign company. The island’s new Welcome Stamp allows applicants and their families to move to Barbados for up to 12 months. To qualify you must be able to demonstrate an expected annual income of at least $50,000 from outside Barbados or be able to demonstrate sufficient funds to support yourself and any dependents. A visa costs $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a family.
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The Cayman Islands
Last year the Cayman Islands launched a visa program targeted at remote workers. The new Global Citizen Concierge Program allows professionals and digital nomads to move to the Cayman Islands for up to 2 years. To qualify applicants must be able to demonstrate a minimum annual income of US $100,000 for an individual, US $150,000 for a couple or US $180,000 for a family and cover the cost of the Global Citizen Concierge Certificate Fee which comes to US $1,469 per year for 2 people (plus US $500 for each additional dependent).
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Antigua & Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda recently launched a new residency program which allows remote workers to live and work in the country for up to 2 years. To qualify for the the Nomad Digital Residence program, applicants must be able to demonstrate a minimum annual income of $50,000 and that they are able to support themselves plus any family members joining them in the application. To move to Antigua under this program, there is a fee of $1,500 for an individual/couple or $3,000 for a family of 3 or more.
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Best Places for Reducing Your Tax Liability
Many people who choose to move to the Caribbean do so because becoming resident can offer significant tax benefits. Here are several of the best destinations which may offer the opportunity to reduce your tax liability.
For buyers looking to relocate to the Caribbean to minimize their tax liability, one of the most popular choices is to move to Bahamas. While there are taxes such as VAT, stamp duty on property and a real estate tax, residents pay no taxes on personal income, inheritance, gifts or capital gains which can be extremely advantageous. The Bahamas also offers many other benefits including proximity (and easy access) to the USA, world-class beaches, fishing, sailing and golf and high quality real estate. To qualify for permanent residency in The Bahamas, foreign nationals must invest a minimum of $750,000 in real estate in the archipelago. An investment of at least $1,500,000 in real estate qualifies an applicant for Accelerated Consideration for Permanent Residency in The Bahamas which fast tracks the application process.
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Turks & Caicos
The Turks & Caicos Islands is another popular choice for those motivated by the possibility of paying less in tax. Residents of this British overseas territory pay no income tax, no capital gains tax and no property tax. The archipelago also boasts some of the most breathtaking beaches in the world, a fantastic quality of life and luxurious homes built to very high standards. The TCI offers permanent residency to qualifying investors purchasing property in the territory. To qualify for permanent residency in Turks & Caicos, an individual must invest a minimum of $1,000,000 in the case of Providenciales or $300,000 in the case of other islands.
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The Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands also imposes no direct taxation whatsoever: no income tax, no capital gains tax, no property tax and no withholding tax. To enjoy the advantages of living in this tax neutral destination, affluent “Persons of Independent Means” who invest in real estate in the territory can apply for residency in the Cayman Islands. The minimum level of investment is $1 million in the case of Grand Cayman or $500,000 in the case of Cayman Brac or Little Cayman. Besides the tax benefits there are plenty of reasons for moving to the Cayman Islands including its outstanding beaches, high quality healthcare, cosmopolitan lifestyle and high standard of living.
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The British Virgin Islands is known as a zero or no tax territory as there is no direct taxation except for payroll tax, stamp duty on real estate transactions and import duties. Residents pay 0% income tax, no capital gains tax, no inheritance or gift tax and no VAT or sales tax. To enjoy these tax advantages, an individual needs to apply to the the BVI Immigration Department for the right to reside in the territory. To qualify for BVI residency you must be financially independent and be able to demonstrate the ability to support yourself and any dependents without having to work. Successful applicants can enjoy a barefoot chic lifestyle in a spectacular destination renowned for blissful beaches, exceptional sailing waters and countless dive sites.
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St Kitts & Nevis
The twin-island nation of St Kitts & Nevis also levies no personal income tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax or gift tax. To move to St Kitts & Nevis qualifying individuals can apply for full citizenship via the St Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program. To be eligible an applicant must make an investment of at least US $400,000 in approved real estate or make a non-refundable financial contribution of US $150,000 to the St Kitts & Nevis Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF).
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Best Places for a Change of Lifestyle
While tax benefits are the prime motivating factor for some who choose to relocate to the Caribbean, others are seeking a change in lifestyle: A laidback lifestyle by the beach where you can indulge one’s passions. Which island is best depends on how you would like to spend your time.
Looking to spend a considerable amount of time on the golf course? Take a look at Sandy Lane and Royal Westmoreland in Barbados, Albany, Abaco and Paradise Island in The Bahamas, the Tryall Club in Jamaica, Tierra del Sol in Aruba and Punta Cana and Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic. All these destinations offer world-famous golf courses.
Love sailing? Several destinations in the Caribbean could be ideal for yachting and sailing lovers such as the Antigua, The Bahamas, the BVI, Grenada, Marigot Bay in St Lucia and St Barts.
Diving & Snorkeling
Planning on spending a lot more time diving or snorkeling. Check out the tiny island of Bonaire in the southern Caribbean, the laidback island of Roatan which lies off the coast of Honduras and the exquisite Caribbean coast of Belize.
Crazy about surfing? If so, you are bound to love the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Puerto Rico and Nicaragua.
Find Out More About the Best Places to Live in the Caribbean
So, which are the best Caribbean islands to live on? Well, that depends on your personal preferences, what is motivating your desire to relocate and how you intend to spend your time.
However, whether you’re looking for a destination to indulge your favorite hobby or a place to reduce your tax liability, there are plenty of options to consider from across the region.
To find out more about which islands might be best for you, contact 7th Heaven Properties, the Luxury Caribbean Property Specialist.
To discover more, explore Caribbean real estate on our website and find your perfect property with 7th Heaven Properties.