12 Tips for Living in Paradise Island, Bahamas
An expat who lives on Paradise Island in the Bahamas talks about international schools, crime, the cost of living in the Bahamas, fun organizations for expats, visas, the best beaches and much more.
Expat Life in Paradise Island
I believe the majority of foreigners are here for retirement and tax shelters. Many foreigners are here in the banking sector while others are here working in tourism.
Cost of Living in Paradise Island, Bahamas
Definitely on the high end. Almost all goods are imported and there is a very large duty fee for just about everything. COL is also high as many of the safer places to live come with a larger price tag. We have seen Paradise Island 2-3 bedroom condos from $2500-$5000 a month. The same product 'across the bridge' in Nassau will run about half of that.
Local Clubs and Organizations
There are a lot of environmental friendly organizations. Bahamas National Trust is a good start as they look after all the national parks. Blue Ocean Group is another. My wife is still looking for the right 'moms' club. We do see some postings for these types of things on Facebook. Fairly easy to look up once you get on one group, the rest will follow. Much of the socialization is targeted in your area of living. Perhaps consider the neighborhood with its potential for group activity. Much of the socialization is around the beach and boating.
International Schools in Paradise Island
We looked at schools from afar during our application process for this job. The websites are a decent source of information but meeting people on the ground is the best way to formulate which school to attend. Lyford Cay and St. Andrews come with the largest price tag and social stigma while Queens College and Tambearly are well suggested. All schools have programs ranging from Early Learning (kindergarten) through 12th grade. Most schools are well established and have been around for decades. Facilities ranges depend on which school but all the ones we researched had everything necessary to promote great education and well rounded extra activities. There are no schools on Paradise Island and several on Nassau.
Shopping in Paradise Island
Fresh Markets and Super Value are two food chains that service as major grocery stores. The latter being a bit less pricey and offers discounts for repeat business. Fresh Market has a wider assortment of expat delights but is far more expensive. Suggest Lowes for cleaning supplies, pharmacy and baby supplies. We shop Super Value for a big shop of necessities. Lowes for baby stuff and disposables. Fresh Market for meat and fish. The Marathon Mall has a store called, Kelleys, which is similar to a Walmart/Target.
People use the bus system and the term 'safe' is relative. It is a good practice to always be aware of your surroundings in the Bahamas despite the majority of the people to be very friendly and hospitable. Taxis are everywhere and fairly reliable. The general cost is basically, $1 per minute of travel. However, the drivers will discuss the terms in 15 minute intervals. Best to find a couple people you like and keep their numbers for future use. Establish that relationship and use it.
Tropical temperate. Humidity is high most of the year with temp ranging from 50-90 degrees. Rain comes and goes quickly. Hurricane season is one to watch as even if one does not hit your island, the affects from afar are felt in the tides and wave swells.
Restaurants and Nightlife
Anything and everything you want. A lot of tropical vibes with seafood as the prominent choice. Touristy to home made, it is all here. Suggest for the more intimate experiences to find one of the main spots in the hotels.
What are local hospitals and emergency services like?
Two hospitals service all the islands of the Bahamas. Princess Margaret is the free care hospital and waiting times are extremely lengthy. Doctors hospital is where most go if they have insurance or money to pay for an emergency. There are other private care clinics around that take insurance. Unfortunately, emergency services and response are associated with your area. There is a fire and police stations on PI, so we get pretty quick response. It differs in Nassau.
Expat Health Insurance in Bahamas
William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.
Recreational Activities in Paradise Island
We love the beach and sun. We walk to or take the golf cart to Cabbage Beach (public side) via the Paradise Island Resort entrance. It is on the east side of the island but well away from the public beach near Atlantis which is covered in tourists, vendors and others. Paradise Island Resort also has a small market that serves alcohol as well. We golf at the Ocean Club Golf Course. Fantastic and beautiful club and course. There are also three other courses in Nassau: Lyford Cay (private), Albany (private) and The Blue Course (Bahamar Resort). Most if not all of these have tennis. It is common to boat to some of the family islands for the day or weekend. Several charters from any marina if you don't have a boat. It may take a couple months to figure all the activities out and what is good for you but it will be worth it. Oh, snorkling, freediving and spear fishing are very popular.
Residency and Visa Requirements
You must have a job to get a visa to live. The job must convince the government no Bahamanian can do your job before the residency/work visa is permitted. You can qualify for residency visa when you purchase a home for more than $350k-$500k. That number may vary depending on which island. this can be a very lengthy process.
Crime in Paradise Island, Bahamas
There is a lot of drug based violent crime in Nassau. Breaking and entering is not uncommon. Most of the violent crime is gang on gang but you must always be aware of your surroundings. Car jacking is common for certain popular cars. We chose a more expensive place to live based on the limited crime and safety aspect. The crime is not unlike any other big city in the world, NYC, Wash DC, Miami, Johannesburg, London, Bangkok....all the same stuff happens.
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