I moved to Barbados four years ago with my husband and our two-year-old daughter. Originally hailing from the UK, we lived for a short time in Bermuda before making Barbados our home. When people ask why Barbados, the answer is simple, why not?
Beautiful beaches, consistent temperature in the high 70s/ low 80s, and lush countryside are well known features to tourists; and entrepreneurs are now flocking to the shores to take advantage of the high quality business environment and rich lifestyle.
The Government of Barbados has recognized that high net worth individuals wish to reside in Barbados and has recently made changes to immigration policies that allow such individuals to apply for special entry permits. These special entry permits will allow individuals and their families to reside in Barbados indefinitely so long as they can confirm their net worth remains at the specified levels.
Jetting in and out of Barbados is an easy proposition. The island is only 3 hours from the US Eastern Seaboard with daily direct flights with multiple airlines from London, Toronto, New York, Miami and other international business hubs. There is a separate terminal at the international airport for private jets, which allows passengers to clear customs and immigration with ease.
Once here, how can you entertain yourself? Barbados has a wealth of activities for every budget and choice of lifestyle. The sporty types can enjoy a healthy lifestyle on the water with a multitude of water sports available, from surfing, kite surfing, diving, sailing and my recent conquest – paddle boarding.
For those who are more the land loving types, golf is a number one pastime for many. With five PGA standard 18-hole golf courses, and two 9-hole resort courses, there is every opportunity to take in the scenery and enjoy the game. For aerobic activity, there are numerous health and fitness clubs across the island and certified personal trainers are available. The National Trust of Barbados conducts hikes throughout the year for different abilities, including moonlight hikes for the romantics amongst us.
From a spectator point of view there are a whole host of activities at different times of the year. Last year we sat in a farmer’s field with a picnic watching the cars zoom past at Rally Barbados. Polo is also a firm favourite with world-class facilities at Lion Castle, Apes Hill Club, Clifton and Holders Hill, where visitors and locals have an opportunity to watch the sport’s top stars in action, including members of the Royal Family. Holders is also the location of the Holders Season, which is a festival of music and performing arts. Finally, at the Garrison, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the Barbados Turf Club, the renowned annual event at the racetrack is the not to be missed Sandy Lane Gold Cup.
We now have two small children, so safety, security and education are of paramount importance to my family. Barbadian culture is based on a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, as such we feel much more at ease here than in our original hometown in London. Living on the island is akin to living in a village where you get to know your neighbours well and everyone looks out for each other.
Barbados boasts a ranking of 4th in the world for literacy (UNDP report 2007/8). This is evident with the excellent quality of education in Barbados. There is a good selection of private primary schools, several of which also provide private secondary education, including the International Baccalaureate. A common observation from families who leave Barbados is that their children are far more advanced than their counterparts in other jurisdictions.
There is a good system of public and private healthcare in Barbados, with private emergency clinics open 24/7, and a wealth of well-qualified consultants and physicians. Consultants work out of the main hospital, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and also the private hospital, Bayview.
Barbados is reputed to be the ‘Culinary Capital’ of the Caribbean and international and local cuisine feature island-wide. There are world-renowned restaurants across the island, which provide stunning dishes and wonderful ambience. The Cliff, Cin Cin and The Tides are just three of many such restaurants on the West Coast, while our children’s favourite is Lobster Alive, located right on the beach in Carlisle Bay on the South Coast. Whether you are a well-recognized celebrity, businessperson or a local, the atmosphere is congenial, the food delicious and scenery spectacular. If you feel like taking in a more authentic ‘Bajan’ feel, there are plenty of rum shops that serve great dishes. Do not be shy; newcomers are made welcome. Alternatively, Oistins and Lemon Arbour are two of the popular places where locals and visitors mix and mingle, and where you could easily find yourself debating current events with a member of parliament or talking sports with a former international cricketer.
Once the decision has been made to move to Barbados, the next big decision is where to live. There are spectacular properties available to rent or purchase inland or on the coast. At Cidel Bank & Trust we provide business facilitation for our international business clients, and we use experienced and knowledgeable realtors to find homes for them and their expat employees. Where you wish to live will depend, in part, on your lifestyle and personal preferences. We have chosen to live in breezy St Thomas, perched on a hill with beautiful views out to the West Coast. In London we had views of our neighbour’s fence.
So, my challenge to you is, why don’t you live in Barbados?