Who hasn’t dreamed of giving it all up and moving to a tropical island? Pretty much everyone who has ever sat at a desk for hours on a sunny day or stood serving demanding customers all day has relied on the fantasy of lounging under a palm tree on a pristine beach watching the waves roll in to keep themselves going. But what if you had the chance to make it real? What if you could retire to a tropical island or find a job on one? Where would you choose to sling your hammock and lift a pina colada?
The Bahamas are one of the first destinations to come to mind when most of us think of tropical islands. It has all the classic trappings of a tropical paradise – dazzling beaches, a laid-back pace of life, and a good mix of nightlife and urban amenities balanced with isolated spots to enjoy nature. This is a small country with a population of not quite 330,000 people. Is moving to the Bahamas realistic? What is life like there? What should you bring, and how does shipping from Ireland to the Bahamas work? What about a visa?
It’s not easy to move to the Bahamas. You can’t just pack up and hope to find a job there. To get a visa, you generally need to have a job lined up. However, for those with a substantial sum to invest in property, residency is not so difficult to obtain (and it does take a substantial sum to live in the Bahamas). The cost of living is one of the major drawbacks to moving to the Bahamas. This is one of the wealthiest Caribbean islands, and well-known as a tax haven – tourism and banking are the largest industries.
Pros and Cons of Moving to the Bahamas
The climate is both a pro and a con. Most of the time, the Bahamas are warm, sunny and absolutely delightful. It is prime territory for lounging on the beach, soaking up the sun. People who love being active outdoors, hiking, swimming, snorkelling and diving will love the Bahamas. But – and this is a major but – when the weather is bad, it is extremely bad. This is hurricane territory. When you are searching for property in the Bahamas, one of the main criteria should be hurricane resistance. This cluster of 700 islands (fewer than 30 of which are inhabited) is close to the US state of Florida. So all those horrendous, devastating storms that strike Florida pass through the Bahamas on the way there.
One big advantage for Irish people is that English is the official language of this former British colony. (A Commonwealth country since 1973, the Bahamas have their own parliament and prime minister.) The health care system is good, and qualified healthcare professionals have opportunities for employment visas. Devout Catholics might have some culture shock upon becoming a small minority. While most of the island’s population is Christian, only 12% are Catholic. Driving takes some getting used to; while traffic drives on the left side of the road, most cars are American models with the driver on the left.
Moving to the Bahamas does have some big cons. Hurricanes, a high cost of living are serious concerns. The cities do have problems with violent crime, as most cities around the world do, and the Bahamas are also a hub in international drug running. But packing up and shipping from Ireland to the Bahamas does mean living in a dreamy tropical island. Those pristine beaches can make up for a lot.