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An Expat Talks about Retiring in Clapham Ridge, Barbados

May 14, 2019


A Red Taxi in Bridgetown, Barbados

An expat talks about what it's like living in Barbados. He appreciates the good quality of life, active expat community, beautiful weather and friendly Barbadians.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Clapham Ridge

Why did you choose to retire abroad?

I love the island life and the weather. I needed to get away from the rat-race and the pace in Barbados suits me.

Are you retired abroad all year or part of the year?

We like to travel but Barbados is

Why did you choose the country you retired to?

The weather is great most of the year. Barbados is rarely affected by hurricanes. The quality of life is higher then many alternative Caribbean countries. Barbados is a commonwealth country which is a bonus for us as we are more familiar with the political and law systems in place.

Did you ever live abroad before you retired abroad?

Yes, we lived in multiple countries before retiring.

How long have you lived abroad since you retired abroad?

We have retired to Barbados for 3 years.

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How many countries (other than your home country) have you lived in as a retiree?

4

What have been the most challenging aspects of being retired abroad?

The cost of flights in and out of Barbados is quite expensive. The cost of food and water is also much higher than alternatives.

What have been the most rewarding aspects of being retired abroad?

We have all we need on this island. We can go fishing, sailing, see a concert, play sports, go to the horse track, eat at good restaurants, go to the drive in and much, much more. This is a Caribbean island with much to offer in the way of modern amenities and development.

What would you do differently if you were just starting the retire abroad process?

We choose to move our furniture here from our home country as it was expensive to buy new in Barbados. Now looking back I would have sold the old furniture and bought new with the money I would have saved on freight, clearing and duties.

What is life like for a retiree in your city and its surroundings? (Is there an active expat community? Cultural Attractions? Recreation? Nightlife?)

We have a very active expat community with lots of clubs to join such as the American women's club, Canadian women's club, majong club, cards group, sailing club, etc.

Their are also lots of opportunities for volunteering in different groups if that suits you.

The recreation mostly centers around water life (beach, boating, snorkeling, etc) but we also have other interests as I mentioned above.

The nightlife is good. We do not really go clubbing but have lots of opportunities to meetup with friends from drinks or have cocktails at fundraisers and other parties. The restaurant selection is also quite good.

What residency documents or visas did you need to obtain to retire in your host country? How difficult was this process? (Please describe)

Getting residency as an expat is mostly based on proving you can afford to live here on your own. You will need to show you have an adequate source of income from outside of Barbados. It is quite simple but best to contact a local lawyer to help you through the process.

Did you buy a home or apartment, or rent one? Is this a difficult process? (Please describe)

We rented at first so we could "test" out the different regions and be sure of a location before investing in purchasing a place.

Financially, has living abroad in your host country met your expectations? Exceeded them?

As I hinted at before it has been expensive for traveling in and out of Barbados as well as the cost of living being more then alternative retirement locations. However we also manage to live here on a semi-modest budget and have found ways to save money here and there. Eating local food and not what you are use to in your home country will make a big difference in your cost of living here. Also the housing market changes dramatically depending on which ever you are looking at.

What are the most important financial considerations for retiring to your host country?

Shop around for housing before selecting a place. Prices range quite a lot. You will also want to talk to some locals or expats about the regions you are looking at to make sure it will be a good fit for you.

How much can a retiree live on comfortably in your host country?

This is a tricky question as it depends a lot on how much quality of life you are accustomed to. If you are the type that goes out and eats out often you will need considerably more then someone who prefers home cooked meals and having card nights with friends. I would suggest that you could live quite comfortably on $60,000 a year but that is very dependent on the person.

Do you have access to quality medical care? (Please describe - is it close? Expensive?)

Yes, they have both a government hospital as well as private hospital. These are located in the south east part of the island near Bridgetown. They also have many clinics around the island and an ambulance service. As in most places healthcare for major issues can be quite expensive. Make sure you have private healthcare insurance and understand your coverage before needing it.

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Expats living in Barbados interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.

Is there a lot of crime where you live? (Please describe)

There is crime, which you hear about often but this is mostly because all news is big news here. The island is small in terms of population so you will hear about every killing that takes place. Mostly it is safe and we have walked alone outside at night without feeling afraid of such things happening to us. As with anywhere you need to take certain precautions and avoid bad areas at night.

Describe available transportation where you live. Do you need a car? Is there access to safe public transportation?

The public buses are cheap but quite an experience. They overload them and are not very policed as far as driving and environmental safety. Best to have your own transportation.

Is there high-speed internet access where you live?

Yes, quite reliable.

Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share about retiring abroad?

Go with an open mind, do not expect to live as you would in your home country. After all you are leaving that place right. Ask for help when you need it. In most cases if you are friendly with the locals and they will be friendly with you.

Talk with Expats in Barbados

If you're not involved in our Barbados Forum, it's a great place to meet others in your area, get answers to questions about moving to Barbados or offer advice to a newcomer.

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