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6 of the Cheapest Places to Live in the Caribbean

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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Live and Invest Overseas.

Tourists and expats flock to the Caribbean Sea region every year, but others stay away because they believe it’s too expensive.

Some places can be … but is that generalization fair? There are several that are the cheapest places to live in the Caribbean.

If you’re thinking of living or buying property in the Caribbean, you’ll need to explore your options. Here are six Caribbean destinations where you’ll get the best bang for your buck.

#1. Belize

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Belize, on the eastern coast of Central America, is the only English-speaking country in Central America. It was the heart of ancient Mayan civilization, and you’ll find numerous ruins for exploring and hiking.

Belize is one of the cheapest Caribbean havens, and a couple could live comfortably with $2,000 a month.

It’s the only country in the world with a jaguar reserve and is also a paradise for birds and insects. Conservationists estimate that over 500 species of birds and 500 species of fish live here.

The expat community in Belize is well established and welcoming. Residential developments are under construction across the country, making Belize an excellent option if you’re after a Caribbean lifestyle with a strong expat presence.

Flights, Accommodations, and Cost of Drinks and Food

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You can easily get to Belize for about $150 from the States, but you’ll need to shop around to ensure the best deal. Ticket prices rise during February and major U.S. holidays, but the rest of the year is a treat.

Airbnbs are available for about $30 a night, and budget hotels cost about $40.

Buying property in Belize is simple and affordable, and investment in vacation properties to rent to tourists is a lucrative option.

Most bars offer happy hours where you can buy a beer for about $2.

Avoid the high price of imported goods by going local. Belize produces many fruit wines … Cashew and Soursop wines are common and are believed to have medicinal properties.

The best places to eat are local restaurants — you’ll find lobster for about $12 and most other dishes for under $10. Belize’s national dish is rice and beans, which is served throughout the country.

#2. Dominican Republic

An aerial view of an obelisk during sunset in the Malecon of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
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The Dominican Republic is consistently featured in our Top Destinations In The World list. It’s one of the most attractive and cheapest Caribbean islands to live on.

The country that shares the island of Hispaniola with the nation of Haiti has seen rapid development, increasing tourism, and an influx of expats in the last few years. Property prices are low and residency is quick and easy.

Flights, Accommodations, and Cost of Drinks and Food

Airplane flying above the clouds
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You can fly to the Dominican Republic for about $300 most of the year. Some budget airlines have deals for as low as $100 each way.

Many of the cheapest hotels aren’t listed online, and you’ll find the best deals once you arrive. Search online for hotels away from tourist areas, and you’ll find a clean and comfortable room for less than $30 a night.

A pint of domestic beer costs about $2 and a bottle of imported beer about $2.50.

The national drink is mama juana. It’s a brew made with tree bark, herbs, rum, red wine, and honey. It tastes similar to port wine, and Dominicans are proud of it. It’s said to be an aphrodisiac and a cure-all medicinal drink.

A three-course meal for two at an international restaurant costs about $40. To save money, eat at a local restaurant for $10 per person. La Bandera Dominicana (The Dominican Flag) is the national dish and is made of rice, beans, and braised chicken or beef. It’s eaten at least once a week in most Dominican homes.

A couple could live comfortably in the Dominican Republic with about $1,800 a month.

#3. Curaçao

View of colorful buildings of downtown Willemstad, Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles
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Curaçao is an island off the coast of Venezuela. Dutch and Spanish influence and architecture give Curaçao its unique feel. English, Dutch, and Creole are spoken here.

Curaçao is an undiscovered gem. The Tourism Board here is working to attract new visitors. The beaches are empty, which is a selling point, and the future looks promising.

Thanks to reliable sea breezes, Curaçao is becoming a top destination for kitesurfing, windsurfing, and sailing. This could be an ideal spot for competitions, but the deep waters make it difficult to lay buoys for races.

Curaçao isn’t on the hurricane belt and is safe year-round.

Flights, Accommodations, and Cost of Drinks and Food

Aruba Beach
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Flights from the States start at about $214.

If you’re looking for cheaper flights, avoid visiting Curaçao from December to April.

Hotels aren’t expensive, but Airbnb is more budget friendly. Hostels are also worth looking into and are similar to bed and breakfasts.

Alcohol is more expensive here than in other Caribbean nations. A pint of domestic beer costs about $3.50 and imported beer costs about $4. Happy hours are famous here … you can enjoy a cold drink while watching the sunset.

Restaurant prices vary, but you can enjoy a delicious meal for $20 per person. During the day, you can buy a variety of street food from vendors and at night, food trucks offer tasty, budget-friendly options. Fresh fish is always available.

#4. Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico
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One of the biggest rum producers in the world, Puerto Rico is also known as the “Island of Enchantment.” The island, which has been a U.S. territory since 1898, is less touristy than other major islands in the Caribbean. Puerto Rico is authentic and economical.

Bioluminescent Bay — where tiny microorganisms illuminate the water at night — is one of Puerto Rico’s main tourist attractions.

Flights, Accommodations, and Cost of Drinks and Food

Couple sitting on beach under umbrella
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You can find flights to Puerto Rico for less than $125. Travel between April and June, and you’ll escape high prices and the rainy season.

Beachfront hotels cost about $50 a night, and prices are lower farther from the beach. Airbnb is also an affordable option.

A pint of local beer costs about $2.75 and imported beer costs about $3.50. Wine is also reasonably priced. You’ll find lots of inexpensive bars. Puerto Rico is the home of the piña colada.

A basic meal for two costs about $40. Look for deals at seafood restaurants outside expat areas.

Roadside stands roast and serve whole pigs. The national dish — arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas) — is cheap and a must-try.

#5. Grenada

View of the colorful downtown of St George's, the capital of the Caribbean island country of Grenada.
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Grenada is a Caribbean country comprising a main island, also called Grenada, and smaller surrounding islands. The main island is home to a nutmeg plantation, and many visitors associate the scent with the island.

Aside from beaches, Grenada has a rain forest and several hot springs. A submerged volcano heats the pools to temperatures of 35 degrees Centigrade (95 degrees Fahrenheit).

The island nation has some of the most beautiful flowers in the world. Grenadians love these flowers and make stunning floral arrangements. Grenada has won 13 gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Flights, Accommodations, and Cost of Drinks and Food

Tropical cocktails
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Flights to Grenada are about $250 during the peak season between January and May. Travel outside those dates, and you’ll find flights for under $200.

Airbnb is your friend in Grenada. The island has numerous luxury and high-end hotels, but Airbnb rooms and apartments are available for as little as $30 a night.

Imported beer costs $3 to $4. A glass of quality wine costs more than in the States — consider drinking a couple of rum cocktails instead.

Rum punch is a signature drink in Grenada, made with fresh local fruits. Rum — the cheapest drink in Grenada — is stronger than elsewhere. Drink slowly.

You can eat well for $10 a person, but $20 will get you a three-course meal.

#6. Jamaica

Early morning view from Hellshire in St Catherine, Jamaica
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Jamaicans are warm and welcoming.

The island offers endless diversions. Golf is becoming a selling point, and Jamaica’s golf courses attract tourists from around the world.

Reggae music artist Bob Marley was born here, and Jamaicans celebrate and preserve his legacy. You can visit his house in Nine Mile as well as the Bob Marley Museum.

The house where Ian Fleming wrote the James Bond novels is also in Jamaica. It’s now owned by the Island Records owner who signed Bob Marley.

Flights, Accommodations, and Cost of Drinks and Food

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This is a popular destination for snowbirds. The best flight prices are found between November and January. Flights from the States cost about $200.

You’ll find comfortable rooms with Wi-Fi in the $25 to $35 range, but you won’t have air conditioning. The sea breeze cools the island in the afternoon.

Jamaica’s local beer is called RedStripe. It’s excellent and reasonably priced at $2 a bottle. Prices vary across the island and are lower in non-tourist areas.

Ginger beer and coffee are Jamaica’s two most famous drinks. Stop at a coffee shop for a cup of Blue Mountain coffee.

Jamaica has some of the best food in the Caribbean — jerk lobster costs less than $10 and is one of the more expensive items on the menu. Your food budget will go a long way here. Ackee and saltfish are other traditional local dishes.

In Conclusion …

Grace Bay Beach
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These six destinations have a few things in common…

  • The temperature. It’ll be warm or hot all year. Some of these countries have a rainy season, but there are still a few sunny days per week.
  • World-class beaches and turquoise waters are perfect for scuba diving or snorkeling. Marine life includes tropical fish, turtles, whales, and sharks. Sharks are few, and the beaches are safe.
  • A laid-back attitude and belief in taking each day as it comes. Each place has a unique culture, but Caribbean destinations all share a relaxed, sans-stress outlook on life.

If you want to escape the stress and unpleasant weather of your home country, take a chance on the Caribbean. You’re sure to find a haven with your name on it.

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