Travel to The Caribbean to backpack, study, intern, volunteer, work or live as a digital nomad, expat or emigrant?

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Intro: life and experiences in The Caribbean

Backpacking through the Caribbean

  • Only on the somewhat larger islands such as Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica or Puerto Rico you can backpack or make a tour around. Other than that, you can go island hopping through the Caribbean mainly by air.
  • Characteristics: special atmosphere, super-relaxed, not really budget-friendly (except for the bigger and Dutch islands) but nice living.

Traveling through the Caribbean

  • You can really only travel through the Caribbean by (cruise) ship or sailboat. If you choose a particular island, you will soon taste the local island atmosphere and your daily worries will seem very far away.
  • Nature and island spotting: beaches of Anguilla, Antigua or the Turks & Caicos Islands, nature on St Lucia or Dominica, the underwater world of Bonaire or the Cayman Islands, the volcanic environment on St Eustatius or St Kitts and Nevis.
  • Animal spotting: dolphins, iguanas, hammerhead sharks, rays, manatees, sea turtles, whales.

Internship on a Caribbean island

  • Internship sectors: health care, education and tourism, among others.
  • Internship cities and islands: Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Dominican Republic.
  • Learning skills: communication, empathy, flexibility.

Studying on a Caribbean island

  • Studies: in principle, forms of higher education can be found on all islands, the number of subject areas may be limited.
  • Study cities and islands: Kingston (Jamaica), San Juan (Puerto Rico), Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), St. Croix (Virgin Islands), Willemstad.Learning Spanish: Cuba, Dominican Republic.

Volunteering on a Caribbean Island

  • Volunteer projects: particularly in the areas of conservation, medical care and social development.Animal projects: especially protection of coral, fish species and pets.
  • Characteristics: volunteering possible from 1 or 2 weeks to several months.

Working on a Caribbean island

  • Jobs: paid temporary work can be found mainly in tourism and hospitality.
  • Work culture: varies by island and sector but in some sectors it is hard work, the time difference with Europe can affect working hours as well as the temperature.
  • Work skills: commitment, empathy, patience, flexibility.

Working as a digital nomad on a Caribbean island

  • Favorite cities and islands: Antigua & Barbuda (visas), Barbados (visas), Bermuda (connection, vibe), Dominica (visas, nature), Jamaica (livelihood), Netherlands Antilles (language, visas).

Living on a Caribbean island

  • Language: Six official languages are spoken on the Caribbean islands: Creole (Haitian), English, French, Dutch, Papiamento and Spanish.
  • Favorite islands: Aruba, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Curaçao, Grenada, Dominican Republic, Cayman Islands, St Lucia , Turks & Caicos, St. Croix, St.Kitts and Nevis.
  • Living climate: healthy life, warm weather all year, good air quality, relatively high political freedom.
  • Characteristics: limited crime (except on some islands or locations), tax favorable, however, many islands are not very suitable for limited budgets, transportation between islands is often by air, good internet. 
  • Health care: varies by island but in general, serious accidents and illness will require flying to the US or your home country. Insurance: seek advice on insurance policies that provide sufficient coverage for proper care and also repatriate in case of emergency.
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