Top 10 Caribbean Islands For Expats to Retire In

Caribbean Islands

The Caribbean has everything a retiring expat can expect. Sun, sea and seemingly endless beaches stretching as far as the eye can see.

Rocky coasts and coral reefs are a magnet for divers, while the warmth of the sea and sunshine make every day a day in paradise.

On many islands, the cost of living is low. But some, such as the Bahamas and Trinidad, are among the wealthiest nations per capita in the Americas.

More than 100,000 British expats live in the Caribbean.

If you are non-British and looking for information about getting permanent residency in the UK, then make sure to check out our guide to the Tier 1 Investor Visa.

These are the 10 top destinations in reverse order

10. St Vincent and the Grenadines

St Vincent and The Grenadines is a central island with a chain of 32 smaller islands – The Grenadines.

Some of the private islands are known as playgrounds for the rich and famous. For example, Britain’s Princess Margeret, sister to the Queen, holidayed there, and billionaire Richard Branson owned the island of Mustique.

The islands have a population of 110,000 are home to around 1,300 British expats.

Most of the people live in the capital Kingstown.

St Vincent and The Grenadines is a prime destination for sailing, with lots of yacht-filled marinas and the well-known reefs off Bequia Island in Admiralty Bay.

Find out about visas and residency from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

9. St Lucia

St Lucia is often high on the list for expats looking to retire to enjoy the beaches, weather and lifestyle of the Caribbean.

With a low cost of living and no capital gains tax, inheritance tax or wealth taxes, the tax breaks are enticing.

St Lucia offers a golden visa offering citizenship by investment. Expats gain a St Lucia passport in exchange for investing US$100,000 in the country.

For residents, St Lucia offers sun, fun and adventure to the 1,500 British expats already calling the country home.

British passport holders do not need a visa. The government grants a specified stay on entry, but you must apply for an extension if you wish to stay longer.

8. Dutch Antilles

The Dutch or Netherlands Antilles are a group of Caribbean islands owned by the Dutch government. The Dutch Antilles includes Curacao, Aruba, Bonaire and St Maarten, the island where BBC films the TV series Death In Paradise.

Tour operators regard Aruba as one of the best destinations in The Caribbean, thanks to miles of pristine white sand beaches fringed by palm trees and crystal clear turquoise waters. In addition, Aruba is reckoned one of the region’s sunniest and driest islands.

The Dutch Antilles are home to around 1,800 British expats.

7. Dominica

Splash out and move to Dominica if you are keen on diving. A beautiful world of cliffs, walls and coral reefs formed by volcanic activity ring the island.

Inland, the lush jungles are riddled with hot, natural springs, including Boiling Lake, one of the world’s best known and second-largest hot springs.

Like other Caribbean islands, British expats don’t need a visa to visit.

Around 1,800 British expats live in Dominica, which has a population of 72,000.

Dominica has a golden visa program – offering a passport in exchange for investing $100,000.

6. Grenada

The Spice Isle of Grenada is famous for the miles of nutmeg trees planted on the hilly slopes of the main island.

The weather is tropical, hot and humid, with moderate rainfall. Grenada is located on the southern edge of the hurricane belt but has only suffered three storms in half a century.

British expats number around 2,500 out of a population of 112,000.

Grenada runs golden visa programs with terms and conditions that vary from time to time. For the details, check the Ministry of Labour website or contact the Grenada High Commission in London.

British expats need a permit to work or study in Grenada.

5. Antigua and Barbuda

The country comprises two main islands – Antigua and Barbuda – and a string of smaller islands.

Nearly everyone from the 97,000 population lives in Antigua, including 2,800 British expats.

The port city of St John’s on Antigua is the capital.

The government grants citizenship with a passport for a golden visa investment of $100,000 in property or the country’s national development fund.

4. The Bahamas

The Bahamas is one of the better-known Caribbean expat destinations with close ties to Britain and the US.

British visitors can enter the country without a visa for up to 21 days. More extended visits need visas, which are available online from the Department of Immigration.

The Bahamas has a reputation as a playground for the wealthy. The cost of living is around 20 per cent higher than in the USA and  Britain.

The islands have a population of 385,000, including around 5,000 British expats.

The economy is tourist-based, mainly a destination for US cruise ships. Tourism generates half the country’s income and provides jobs for 50 per cent of the population.

3. Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad is the fifth largest Caribbean island with nearly 2,000 square miles and a population of 11,000 British expats.

The country is the third wealthiest nation in the Americas, behind the USA and Canada. However, unlike the rest of the Caribbean, the thriving economy relies not on tourism but oil and petrochemicals.

Regardless of the economy, Trinidad and Tobago still offer a warm and sunny climate, miles of beautiful beaches and a green, forested interior brimming with wildlife.

British passport holders in Trinidad and Tobago do not need a visa to visit or work.

2. Jamaica

With more than 4,000 square miles and a population of nearly 3 million, Jamaica is the third-largest Caribbean island behind Hispaniola – split into Haiti and the Dominican Republic – and Cuba.

More than 25,000 British expats already live in Jamaica.

Jamaica has all the lifestyle attractions of other Caribbean nations, with blistering hot summers, cooler winters and miles of beaches to enjoy. In addition, the cost of living is almost a third cheaper than in the UK.

Jamaica has no golden visa program but does accept applications from expats who want to settle there.  For more information, go to the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency website.

Like many Caribbean islands, sport is a major attraction in Jamaica – the home of multiple Olympic gold medal-winning sprinter Usain Bolt.

1. Barbados

Barbados is the top expat destination in the Caribbean.

The island is small – only 170 square miles and with a population of 290,000, mainly living in or near the capital Bridgetown. The British expat population numbers around one in ten of the people.

It’s difficult to say what makes Barbados more attractive than any other Caribbean island.

The weather, lifestyle and economy are similar to everywhere else, as are the clear waters and 70 miles of glorious beaches.

Because Barbados is an island, the price of imports drives up the cost of living. As a result, British expats can expect to pay almost a third more for comparable goods and services they can buy in London.

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