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St. Thomas, Barbados

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Jul 10, 2023

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees talk about what it is really like living in St. Thomas, Barbados. They offer advice about meeting people, cost of living, finding a home and more.

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What do I need to know before moving to St. Thomas?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to St. Thomas, they said:

"Before moving to St. Thomas, expats should know that the official language is English, but Bajan, a local dialect, is also widely spoken. The currency used is the Barbadian dollar, which is pegged to the US dollar. The cost of living can be high, especially for housing and imported goods. Expats should be aware that the climate is tropical, with a wet season from June to November and a dry season from December to May. Hurricanes can occur, so it's important to be prepared and understand the local warning systems. Healthcare in Barbados is of a high standard, with both public and private facilities available. However, expats should ensure they have comprehensive health insurance as medical costs can be high. The island is generally safe, but like anywhere, crime does exist, so expats should take normal precautions to protect their personal safety and belongings. Driving is on the left-hand side of the road in Barbados, and an international driving permit is required to drive. Public transportation is also available and is a popular way to get around. Barbados has a rich culture, with music, festivals, and sports playing a big part in local life. Cricket is the national sport and is passionately followed. The work culture in Barbados can be different from other countries, with a more relaxed pace and emphasis on personal relationships. Work permits are required for expats and can take some time to obtain. Finally, expats should be aware that Barbados has strict laws on drug use and penalties can be severe. It's also important to respect local customs and traditions to integrate well into the community," explained one expat living in St. Thomas, Barbados.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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