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The geographical definition of an island is a piece of land surrounded by water. Globally, there are small island states such as the Caribbean islands of Grenada, Barbados and St Lucia.
Along the same lines there are large islands such as Sri Lanka, Iceland, Ireland and Greenland.
In this article we will explore the pros and cons of living on an island. Contributions to this article were made by individuals who were born, raised and living on an island.
The pros of living on an island are amazing natural scenery, beautiful beaches, strong community spirit and fresh foods. Alternatively, the cons of living on an island are the lack of variety, high cost of living, the threat of natural disasters and underdeveloped infrastructure.
Pros of Living On An Island
Islands are truly paradise usually with breathtaking views. The panhandle in the Caribbean island of St Kitts and Nevis is one of my favorite views. Just standing and watching the Caribbean and Atlantic oceans at the same time is spectacular.
Washington Park in the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire is another scenic place that is just magical. The topography of the mountains combined with the lake and the terrain is just unforgettable.
Many islands are filled with majestic waterfalls such as the island of Puerto Rico. There are several waterfalls in Puerto Rico that are absolutely stunning such as La Coca Falls, Juan Diego Falls, Chorro de Dona Juana and Las Delicias.
Islands usually tend to grow their own fruits and vegetables. In the Caribbean, many islands grow a variety of fruits such as mangoes, plums, cashews and sapodillas. Coconut water which has immense nutritional value is available in abundance.
Root crops such as dasheen, yams, sweet potatoes and eddoes are cultivated. Islanders tend to engage in agriculture and consume what they grow. The foods consumed are usually fresh, organic and therefore healthy.
Opportunity To Save Money
Due to the limited number of activities and things to do on islands, there is an opportunity to save money. In some smaller islands, there are no big shopping malls and there is a lack of variety.
If individuals want to save they can engage in a number of free or low cost activities. Examples of these include hiking or going to the beach.
Strong Community Spirit
Islanders tend to be friendly with both locals and visitors to their shores. Due to the strong community spirit that exists on islands, people look out for each other.
Individuals tend to share their produce and resources with each other and hence there is a strong bond and community spirit on islands when compared to larger countries.
Islands are surrounded by water which could mean the presence of beautiful beaches. There are instances where islands do not have beaches.
As an example in the Caribbean, due to the sharp terrain of the edges of the Dutch Caribbean Island Saba, there are no beaches. Bays are cornered off in Saba to provide an area for swimming. Nevertheless during high tide, these areas cannot be utilized.
Some of the best beaches in the Caribbean are Magens Beach, St Thomas, Playa Flamenco, Puerto Rico, Grace Bay, Turks & Caicos, Eagle Beach, Aruba and Grand Anse Beach, Grenada.
Cons of Living On An Island
Limited Job Opportunities
Due to the small nature of islands, job opportunities tend to be limited. There are a small number of industries and jobs tend to be concentrated in agricultural and tourism sectors.
The Government of the respectively islands tend to be one of the major employers since they own many of the national parks and administrate the country on a whole.
Many young people often opt to leave islands for better opportunities in larger countries.
Threat of Natural Disasters
Islands are vulnerable to the impacts of natural disasters. For example, if a hurricane is approaching a large country such as the United States of America, individuals can choose to evacuate and move inland.
On the other hand, on an island, individuals have no choice but to batten down and ride out the storm right where they are. This has led to loss of lives.
The economic impact of natural disasters is enormous on small island states and many islands take several years to recover.
As an example, hurricane Ivan devastated the island of Grenada in 2004.
In an article published on September 23rd, 2009, World Bank confirmed that the Category 3 storm caused devastation to the tune of over USD$900 million, which is more than twice the country’s GDP.
World Bank also concluded that the hurricane damaged over 80% of the country’s building structures, and only two of the 75 public schools remained intact.
High Cost of Living
While islands are able produce some of the food consumed, many of the items used on islands especially those heavily dependent on tourism is imported.
As a result, the cost of goods and services on islands tends to be expensive.
Things Take Time To Get Done
Life on an island tends to be at a slower pace than life in larger more developed countries. Islanders tend to like to take time to get things done.
Individuals coming from larger countries usually struggle with the culture of islanders and how they operate on island time.
Islands usually have limited resources and hence limited infrastructure. Many islands have poor road networks with many filled with potholes. Roads are unpaved and access to certain areas could be limited.
Additionally, there is a lack of skilled expertise on islands. If an individual requires special medical attention, travel off island is usually required.
Lack of Variety
Finding what you require on an island may not be easy. This is due to the fact that businesses are small and do not carry a large variety of goods.
If you are seeking anything that is outside of the norm, it is hard to locate on an island. As an example, persons who are taller than average or shorter than average usually find it tough to find clothes on an island.
Nevertheless, with the growth of the internet and the emergence of services that allows for seamless shipping from abroad, many islanders rely on online shopping when required.
Lack of Privacy
One drawback of having strong community bonds is the lack of privacy that comes with it.
Everyone knows each other and as a result at times people may overstep which can lead to uncomfortable situations.
The pros of living on an island are access to amazing beaches, beautiful natural scenery and the opportunity to save money. On the other hand, the cons of living on an island are the high threat of natural disasters, lack of privacy, high cost of living and limited job opportunities.
If you are contemplating traveling to the islands of the Caribbean, cruising is an affordable option to consider. I have recently completed an informative course by cruise specialist, Emma Cruises which you should check out titled How To Cruise For Less.
This course provides detail tips and techniques on how to save money while cruising onboard, onshore as well as the importance of insurance. So if you if you are considering a cruise for your next Caribbean vacation, check out How To Cruise For Less.
Need More Information?
Feel free to browse our website for content about the islands of the Caribbean by using the search bar located at the top of this page. The following are some of our articles which we believe may be suitable for you.
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