Life’s a Beach: How to choose a Caribbean Island that’s right for you – words Alan Woods
The death of Fidel Castro drew a symbolic end to an era of isolationist Cuba. The Caribbean island, less than 100 miles from American soil but a world away politically, is opening up to foreign businesses, foreign investment and foreign citizens.
There’s concern that Cuba could struggle to retain its unique charm during this influx of investment. However, other Caribbean countries have proved that it is possible to be both open and forward-thinking, while retaining natural beauty and remaining unspoilt.
The Caribbean has benefitted greatly from foreign investment and tourism. Travel & Tourism is directly responsible for 4.2% of all jobs and is expected to be worth $76.2bn to the Caribbean economy by 2026.
Foreign visitors have benefitted too, both from the warmth of the weather and the local people, and the potential to thrive in an emerging economy. Whether you’re trying to choose a Caribbean Island for a luxurious destination to relax and unwind, or are searching for a potentially lucrative market to expand your business venture, here are a few islands that could be right for you:
Consider the economic potential of Grenada
Known as the “spice island” of the Caribbean, Grenada is one of the most uniquely beautiful places on the planet. Here, the untouched beauty of luscious rainforests and colourful marine life meets the warmth of a vibrant community and the intrigue of heritage.
The country’s rapidly growing economy has seen its focus shift from agriculture to tourism, with the island attracting more holidaymakers each year. Unlike many other Caribbean islands that have fallen prey to uncurbed development, the Grenadian government is embracing ecotourism as a way of growing economically while preserving the country’s natural wonders.
However, it’s investors that should be seriously considering the potential of Grenada. Much of the country’s economic expansion is due to foreign direct investment, with many investors keen to benefit from the country’s surging popularity with holidaymakers.
Investors can gain citizenship in Grenada through its National Transformation Fund, which is designed to support the growth of the nation’s economy, or by contributing to approved real estate projects. Gaining citizenship in an emerging economy like Grenada opens new opportunities for investment with potentially lucrative rewards.
Live the American dream in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is actually part of the United States having been a US overseas territory since 1898, yet it remains so quintessentially Caribbean. It’s an eclectic mix of Hispanic and American culture. Big beach resorts and huge casinos mix with roadside ‘lechoneras’ and local bars. The mix somehow works.
San Juan, the city itself immortalised by the American writer Hunter S Thompson’s novel ‘The Rum Diary’, still embodies the American dream. Old San Juan, the oldest part of the city and a sprawling colonial throw-back, is one of the great highlights of the region.
The collection of islands that make up Puerto Rico are easily accessible and tourists that come will enjoy the luxurious hotels, glorious weather and infamous San Juan nights.
Spend your twilight years ‘liming’ in Trinidad
According to the UK Office for National Statistics, the average life expectancy for men aged 65 is 18.5 years, while women can expect to live for 20.9 more years once they reach the same age. This leaves plenty of time during retirement to realise dreams unattainable in the past.
Take, for instance, leaving everything behind and heading off one final adventure in the Caribbean. Trinidad, one part of a twin-island nation, is one of the most diverse islands in the Caribbean and is the ideal place to move to in retirement. It’s rich colonial history and carnival atmosphere provide plenty of interest, while it’s verdant rainforests and mangrove swamps are an oasis for wildlife lovers.
But it’s Trinidad’s national tradition, liming, that should really attract recent retirees. What is liming you ask? As described by Thomas Hylland Eriksen, it is simply the art of doing nothing. The phenomenon encompasses any leisure activity entailing the sharing of good food, drink, conversation and laughter. All around the country, you’ll find locals ‘liming’ in rum shacks, on the beach and in parks. After finishing a long and arduous career, the laid-back vibe and carefree attitude of Trinidad might be just what the doctor ordered.