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St Vincent and the Grenadines is a beautiful group of islands in the Eastern Caribbean Sea. It comprises of the largest island bearing the name St Vincent and 32 smaller islands which together are called the Grenadines.
As a general rule, the pros of living in St Vincent are that the island is affordable with a stable currency and easy access to international cities. Alternatively, the cons are the crime rate is relatively high when compared to other Caribbean islands. Furthermore, income tax and the threat of natural disasters are also high.
Read on for further details on all the benefits and drawbacks from an expat of living in the Caribbean island of St Vincent and The Grenadines. First let us begin with the advantages.
Pros of Living In St Vincent & The Grenadines
Prices Are Affordable
The prices of food, transportation and clothing to name a few are much cheaper when compared to other Caribbean islands. This is definitely an advantage to choosing St Vincent as a place a live.
As an example clothing that you will buy in St Vincent of the same quality will double or even triple the price in Grenada. Along the same lines, food that you will buy in St Vincent for approximately $15 dollars will be about $25 in Grenada.
Transportation as well is cheaper in St Vincent when compared to Grenada. A short ride via a private bus is $1 in St Vincent. On the other hand,
St Vincent’s Currency is Stable
The official currency of St Vincent and the Grenadines is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar which has been pegged to the US (United States) dollar since July 7th, 1976 at a rate of USD $1 to XCD $2.70.
This currency is also shared by seven other Eastern Caribbean islands and is managed through a regional central bank which is based in St Kitts. The US dollar is readily accepted by businesses on the island.
However, expect to get change in the XCD dollar. As with every other country, at times a business may be skeptical to accept larger currencies but the smaller denominations are easy to spend around the island.
It Is Cheaper To Buy And Own Property
One of the advantages of living in St Vincent and the Grenadines is that property prices are still lower. Comparing the prices of property prices on a Caribbean real estate company, your dollar will go further if you are buying property in St Vincent than Grenada.
As at August 2021, the cost of a 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom home on 8280 square feet with seaviews in the premier neighbourhood of Cane Gardens was USD $466, 417 (XCD $1259, 325).
Alternatively, in Grenada in a prestigious community in Grenada of Lance Aux Epines, a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom house on a lot size of 9,640 square feet costs USD $625,000 ( XCD$1,687,500).
While I did not see both houses, the costs of houses in a prestigious neighbourhood in St Vincent will as a general rule be lower than other Caribbean islands such as Grenada.
Easy Access To International Cities
St Vincent and the Grenadines has recently commenced operations of the Argyle International airport in 2017 which is the first international airport of St Vincent and the Grenadines. This has opened up access to the island from international cities.
Currently, St Vincent is served by the following international carriers.
- American Airlines
- Air Canada
- Virgin Atlantic
- British Airways
St Vincentians Are Friendly
Vincentians are very friendly and are quite hospitable to visitors and others in the community.
People are willing to share fruits and vegetables with neighbors and visitors and there is a sense of community and looking out for one another. It is almost impossible to get lost on the island.
If you are lost and you need help, individuals will be willing to guide you. The road network is easy to navigate if you want to drive around the island.
Now that we have explored the positives of living in St Vincent and the Grenadines, let us now explore the drawbacks.
Cons of Living Is St Vincent & The Grenadines
Income Tax Is High
While prices of goods and services are cheaper, the rate of income tax is higher on the island for individuals. At the time of writing, the standard income deductible is $20,000.
Thereafter, where the chargeable income does not exceed $5000 the rate of taxation is 10%. In comparison, the standard income tax deductible rate in Grenada is $36,000.
Nevertheless, prices of goods and services on the island are higher.
The Threat of Natural Disasters Is High
St Vincent and the Grenadines is located at the edge of the hurricane belt and is susceptible to a direct hit from a hurricane which tends to occur during the rainy season from June each year until November.
In addition, there is a volcano on the island called La Soufriere which had its last effusive eruption in April 2021. Prior to this eruption, the volcano has been dormant for over 40 years.
Fortunately, there was no loss of life from the volcano but the devastation has caused damage to property, livestock and homes.
Infrastructure And Amenities Are Underdeveloped
Infrastructure in St Vincent is not as advanced as those in a developed country. As an example, people often need to seek specialized medical services in other neighboring Caribbean islands such as Barbados and Trinidad.
The road network is underdeveloped as well. Due to the terrain of the island there isn’t a road that connects both windward and leeward sides of the island.
While transportation is easy and affordable to get on the island via private buses, the roads are very steep and the bus drivers tend to drive aggressively.
Commercial malls are not huge on the island which is still relatively unspoiled. On Sundays many businesses are closed and public transportation is limited.
St Vincent Crime Rate Is High
According to the US Department State, Overseas Advisory Council based on a 2018 crime report per 100,000 citizens, St Vincent and the Grenadines had 31 murders and 5 kidnappings respectively.
This was the second highest number of murders as per the report with St Kitts and Nevis having the highest number of murders per 100,000 citizens being 42.
It is safe to walk and take public transportation safely during the day. Nevertheless, due care must be taken as in any other country.
Visitors should avoid walking in secluded areas at nights and take only taxis authorized by the relevant taxi associations.
There Could Be A Loss Of Privacy
While there is a great sense of community which can be helpful, the drawback to this is that there is a loss of privacy.
In small villages and communities where everyone knows everyone, people may tend to at times put their opinion in situations which can be detrimental to relationships and families.
Limited International Flights
With the opening of its new international airport, there has been an increased in the availability of airlines flying to the island. However, despite this the frequency in which they fly is limited.
As an example at the moment, American Airlines only flies to the island on Saturday. If you happen to miss this flight you will have to wait a full week to catch the next flight going to the destination.
On a whole, the pros of living in St Vincent and the Grenadines are that the people are friendly with easy access to international cities and affordable home and property prices. Alternatively, the cons are that the infrastructure is underdeveloped, high income tax and there may be a loss of privacy.
If you are contemplating traveling to St Vincent & The Grenadines or the rest 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?
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