Living abroad
June 13, 2024
Reading Time: 11 min

How much does it cost to live in the Caribbean?

Сountries in the Caribbean with the lowest cost of living are Haiti and the Dominican Republic — estimated monthly costs of one person in these states are lower than $500, excluding rent. However, these ones are usually not the first choice regarding relocation.

Countries like Grenada and Dominica provide more comfortable living conditions and still offer an affordable lifestyle. Estimated costs for one person in these countries are $650+ monthly, excluding rent. Moreover, it is easier to move to these islands as they offer citizenship‑by‑investment programs.

Lyle Julien
Lyle Julien

Compared Caribbean countries by the cost of living

Cost of living in the Caribbean

How much does it cost to live in the Caribbean?

Property purchase in the Caribbean: countries with the highest and lowest real estate prices

One can purchase real estate in the Caribbean for themselves or as an investment. Also, buying a property may help you get citizenship.

Since many Caribbean countries don’t publish official statistics on real estate prices, we based our research on crowd-sourced databases.

The cheapest countries in the Caribbean to purchase real estate, according to Numbeo, are Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the Dominican Republic, with average prices for a square metre from $1,095 to $1,426.

Foreigners are allowed to purchase property in each of these states — however, there may be specific rules and restrictions.

For instance, to purchase property in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, a foreigner has to obtain an Alien Land Holding Licence, which comes with a $2,500 fee. In the Dominican Republic, on the other hand, the law almost equates foreign property buyers to those among the country’s citizens.

The most expensive property is in Barbados and Jamaica. The average cost of a square metre in an apartment in a city centre in these countries varies from $2,230 to $3,100.

To purchase a house in Barbados, a buyer from overseas must obtain permission from the Central Bank. In Jamaica, the rules for foreigners and citizens are the same when buying real estate.

Average prices for real estate in the Caribbean countries:

  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines — $1,095;

  • Dominican Republic — $1,426;

  • Trinidad and Tobago — $1,804;

  • Grenada — $1,911;

  • The Bahamas — $1,968;

  • Jamaica — $2,230;

  • Barbados — $3,087.

The prices per square metre don’t include additional expenses a foreign buyer has to pay, such as taxes and fees.

Real estate purchases as investments for obtaining citizenship. In certain Caribbean states, it is possible to get citizenship of the country after buying property. This applies to:

If a foreigner buys real estate for that purpose, they need to choose a property that meets the criteria of citizenship-by-investment programs. The properties come from a government-approved list. Generally, these are high-end villas and shares in luxury hotels.

Prices on such objects vary from about $150,000 for two-bedroom cottages to $2,000,000 for luxurious villas with pools. Investors can also purchase shares in residential complexes for $200,000 and higher.

Properties bought for participation in the citizenship-by-investment programs must cost more than the set threshold. In Grenada, the minimal cost of real estate that qualifies for the program is $220,000. In the rest of the countries, the threshold is $200,000.

Most Caribbean citizenship programs imply that properties will be rented out to tourists to produce more profit. Investors are not supposed to live in those apartments and villas long-term but can stay there for one or two weeks per year.

St Kitts and Nevis is the country where investors can purchase real estate for personal use. Applicants may buy a private dwelling house or a one-family condominium, designated as an Approved Private Home, for at least $400,000. The property can’t be sold earlier than five years after obtaining citizenship and converted into apartments or condominiums.

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Cost of living in Caribbean countries that provide CBI programs

Among the Caribbean countries that offer citizenship by investment, Grenada and Dominica are the cheapest to live in. To lead a moderate lifestyle in these states, a single person requires less than $650 per month. This amount covers standard daily costs but excludes rent and utilities.

The cost of living is not significantly higher in the other Caribbean states that offer citizenship by investment. One person’s daily expenses in St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Kitts and Nevis, excluding rent and utilities, do not surpass $700.

gd-flag Grenada has the lowest cost of living among the Caribbean countries that offer citizenship-by-investment programs to foreigners. A single resident of Grenada pays about $410 a month on rent and utilities. Above that, they spend $582 on average each month on everyday expenses.

One fast food meal costs about $6, while a two-person dinner for two will cost nearly $75 at a midrange eatery. One cup of cappuccino costs less than $4.

The average cost of transportation is $9 for a single 8 km taxi trip and $76 for a monthly local transport pass. One litre of gasoline or other fuel typically costs $1,2.

The minimum investment for Grenada citizenship is under the option of a non‑refundable contribution: it is $150,000 for a single applicant. Another investment option is a real estate purchase of at least $220,000. In that case, the participant can sell the property and return their capital five years after obtaining citizenship.

Individual cost calculation of the Grenada citizenship

Individual cost calculation of the Grenada citizenship

dm-flag Dominica. The average rent and utilities bill in Dominica is $375 per month. Above that, a moderate lifestyle person spends about $623 monthly.

A dinner for two in an average mid-range restaurant costs about $60, and a meal in a fast food place is $6. A cup of cappuccino is, on average, $3.

A monthly pass for public transport in Dominica is around $14, and an 8 km taxi ride is $26. Gas costs about $1,3 per litre.

Dominica citizenship by investment program requires a minimum contribution of $100,000. That is non-refundable input to the government fund. A returnable option is the purchase of a real estate for at least $200,000.

Individual cost calculation of the Dominica citizenship

Individual cost calculation of the Dominica citizenship

lc-flag St Lucia. A single person residing in St Lucia pays around $376 monthly for rent and utilities. Everyday expenses for food and transportation above that are, on average, $645 per month.

In restaurants, one can expect to pay around $63 for a two-person dinner in a mid‑price place. A fast food meal in St Lucia costs around $9, and a cappuccino costs less than $3.

For public transportation, a monthly pass in St Lucia is approximately $36, while an 8 km taxi ride may cost around $39. The cost of petrol is typically around $1.6 per litre.

St Lucia citizenship by investment program offers foreigners four investment options from $100,000 to $1,000,000+. The $100,000 option implies a non-refundable contribution to a government fund. If an applicant wants to return their investment in 5 years, they buy real estate for at least $200,000 or bonds for $300,000.

Individual cost calculation of the St Lucia Citizenship

Individual cost calculation of the St Lucia Citizenship

ag-flag Antigua and Barbuda. An average bill for rent and utilities in Antigua and Barbuda is usually around $882 for a person living alone. Everyday costs above that are approximately $670 monthly.

Prices in restaurants. An average bill for a two-person dinner in a mid-range restaurant in Antigua and Barbuda is $92, while one meal in a fast food corner will cost around $8 per person. The average price for a cup of cappuccino is $5.

Transportation costs around $57 for a monthly pass on public transport and $33 for an 8 km taxi ride. One litre of petrol costs, on average, $1,3.

To obtain an Antigua and Barbuda passport, one has to invest at least $100,000 into the National Development Fund. A returnable real estate investment will cost a participant at least $200,000.

Other investment options include a $150,000 contribution to the University of the West Indies Fund and a business investment of at least $400,000.

Individual cost calculation of the Antigua and Barbuda citizenship

Individual cost calculation of the Antigua and Barbuda citizenship

kn-flag St Kitts and Nevis. Average expenses for rent and utilities in St Kitts and Nevis typically come to around $1190 for a person living alone, with additional monthly costs of approximately $677 for everyday expenses.

For a two-person dinner in a mid-range restaurant, you will pay approximately $71. A fast food meal costs around $12, and a cup of cappuccino is $4.

In terms of transportation, a monthly pass for public transport in St Kitts and Nevis is approximately $42, while an 8 km taxi ride may cost around $38. The cost of petrol is typically around $1.7 per litre.

St Kitts and Nevis citizenship-by-investment program offers three investment options:

  • a non-refundable contribution of at least $250,000;

  • a $400,000-worth real estate purchase;

  • an investment of $250,000 to a Public Benefit Project.

Individual cost calculation of the St Kitts and Nevis citizenship

Individual cost calculation of the St Kitts and Nevis citizenship

Caribbean countries with the lowest cost of living

According to a crowd-sourced database Livingcost.org, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Cuba, and Trinidad and Tobago are the most affordable Caribbean countries to live in. In these states, the estimated expenses of one person with a moderate lifestyle are about $560, excluding rent.

It is important to note that some of the cheapest places to live in the Caribbean are not very convenient to move to or retire. For instance, it is almost impossible for a foreigner to purchase property and get a residence permit in Cuba if they don’t have Cuban relatives.

The cheapest country on the list, Haiti, is a rare choice for expats looking to move to a tranquil island due to its unstable political situation and uncomfortable living conditions.

Among the top 5 most affordable Caribbean countries, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago are the most popular. They allow foreigners to obtain residence permits and provide comfortable living conditions.

Average monthly expenses of one person, excluding rent, in the Caribbean countries:

  • Haiti — $292;

  • Dominican Republic — $479;

  • Jamaica — $534;

  • Cuba — $541;

  • Trinidad and Tobago — $556;

  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines — $561;

  • Grenada — $582;

  • Dominica — $623;

  • Saint Lucia — $644;

  • Antigua and Barbuda — $669;

  • Saint Kitts and Nevis — $677;

  • Barbados — $704;

  • The Bahamas — $924.

do-flag The Dominican Republic. Monthly rent and utility bills for a single person residing in the Dominican Republic are, on average, $335. Above that, a person leading a moderate lifestyle spends about $480 on everything else, including groceries and transportation.

Restaurant prices in the Dominican Republic are relatively low: a dinner for two in a mid-range place costs around $30, and a fast food meal is around $7. A cup of cappuccino is a little under $2.

A monthly pass for public transportation in the Dominican Republic costs around $50, and an 8 km taxi ride will be $7. For those preferring personal cars, a litre of petrol costs on average $1.30.

jm-flag Jamaica. Rent and utility prices average around $390 for one person residing in Jamaica. Aside from that, one spends around $534 on everyday expenses, such as groceries and transportation.

Prices in restaurants in the country are relatively high. A dinner for two in a full-service restaurant costs around $46, and a fast-food meal is $6. The average price for a cappuccino is $3.

Transportation costs come down to $40 for a monthly pass and $22 for one 8 km taxi ride. A litre of petrol costs around $1,30.

tt-flag Trinidad and Tobago. People living alone spend around $437 monthly on rent and utilities. Above that, their daily expenses are $556 per month on average.

A dinner for two in a mid-range restaurant costs around $73, and one fast-food meal is $6 on average. A cup of cappuccino costs less than $4.

Average transportation prices are the following:

  • $40 for a monthly pass;

  • $22 for one 8 km taxi ride;

  • $0,80 for a litre of petrol.

vc-flag Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Monthly rent and utility payments for one person residing in St Vincent are $320. Everyday expenses above that are, on average, $560.

Restaurant prices are on the higher side compared to some other Caribbean countries. An average bill for dinner for two in a mid-range restaurant is around $64. One meal in a fast food place costs around $9, and a cup of cappuccino is under $2.

A monthly pass for local public transportation costs $57; a typical taxi trip costs $9. Petrol costs nearly $1 for one litre.

Cost of living in the Caribbean — Barbados

A street in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic

Caribbean countries with the highest cost of living

Barbados and the Bahamas have the highest cost of living among independent Caribbean countries. Monthly expenses for one person without rent and utilities are $704 and $924, respectively. This is almost twice as expensive as living in the most affordable Caribbean states, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

bs-flag The Bahamas is not a very popular choice among expats — not necessarily because of the high prices, but also due to strict rules for foreigners. For instance, a foreigner needs a special permit to purchase real estate in the Bahamas.

A typical monthly rent and utility bill of one person residing in the Bahamas is $1060. An individual living a moderate lifestyle would then spend an additional $924 on groceries, transportation, and other expenses.

Prices at restaurants: a fast food meal will cost about $8, while dinner for two at a mid‑range eatery is about $90 on average. The cost of a cup of cappuccino is $5.

A monthly pass for public transit runs about $64. The cost of an 8 km taxi journey is $31. On average, a litre of fuel costs $1,6 for those who favour personal vehicles.

bb-flag Barbados is a more frequent destination for expats and digital nomads. Many countries, including the EU states, USA, Australia and Canada, have visa-free agreements with Barbados that allow their citizens to stay on the island without a residency permit for a few months. For instance, USA nationals can stay in Barbados visa-free for up to 180 days, and citizens of EU countries can spend up to 3 months there.

The cost of housing and utilities for a single person residing in Barbados is $588 per month. The average costs over that are $704.

In a mid-range restaurant, a supper for two typically costs around $41. A cup of cappuccino will run you about $5, and a fast-food dinner is about $9.

An 8 km taxi ride costs $18, while a monthly pass for local public transit costs $56. One litre of petrol is around $2.

Cost of living in the Caribbean — Barbados

A marina in Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados

Pros of living in a Caribbean country

Aside from the relatively low cost of living, Caribbean countries have much to offer.

Dreamy scenery and perfect weather. Caribbean islands are a dream destination for expats worldwide because of their beautiful nature, warm sea, lush rainforests and pleasant climate all year round.

Beneficial taxation conditions. Citizens of the Caribbean countries may take advantage of the taxation regimes of the countries. For instance, some Caribbean countries don’t charge taxes on capital gains, interest payments, dividends, donations, and inheritance.

Business-friendly environment. Caribbean governments encourage investors to register their businesses in the countries. For business owners, this can result in reduced tax payments and avoiding currency control restrictions.

Slow life. Foreigners relocate to the Caribbean islands to follow a tranquil, laid-back lifestyle without big city hassle.

Cons of living in a Caribbean country

Remote countries. Caribbean countries are quite remote for most people — it takes at least two long flights to reach any of them from Europe or Asia.

For investors looking to obtain citizenship, however, this disadvantage is insignificant, as they are not obliged to visit the countries or reside there to keep their passports. Only in Antigua and Barbuda do they have to make a 5-day visit at least once within the five years after obtaining citizenship.

Underwhelming cultural life. The flip coin of the islands’ tranquillity is that cultural life there is just as calm and slow. For someone who likes attending art exhibitions and big concerts, the experience can be underwhelming.

High risk of natural disasters. Many Caribbean islands are high-risk places in terms of natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes. The Caribbean is the second most disaster-prone region in the world. Currently, most states are building strategies to make the islands more disaster-resilient.

Key takeaways on the cost of living in the Caribbean

  1. Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Cuba have the most affordable cost of living. Haiti and Cuba, however, are not among the preferable states for expats due to the political situation.

  2. Grenada and Dominica are the states with the lowest cost of living among the Caribbean states that offer citizenship by investment. The list of countries with these programs also includes St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda and St Lucia. The investment amount for a passport starts at $100,000 for a non-refundable contribution or $200,000 for a real estate purchase.

  3. Saint Vincent and Grenadines and the Dominican Republic have the lowest prices for real estate. The average cost of a square metre in an apartment in the city is under $1,500 in these countries.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for citizenship and residence by investment programs in the EU, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East. Take advantage of our global 15-year expertise — schedule a meeting with our investment programs experts.

Download the guide of comparison of the Caribbean and Vanuatu programs

Practical Guide

Download the guide of comparison of the Caribbean and Vanuatu programs

Frequently asked questions

  • Which Caribbean island has the lowest cost of living?

    Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Cuba show the lowest cost of living. A person living a moderate lifestyle spends less than $550 above rent and utilities.

    Among countries that offer citizenship-by-investment programs, Grenada and Dominica are the most affordable to live in, with monthly spending under $650.

  • Which Caribbean country has the highest cost of living?

    Barbados and The Bahamas show the highest cost of living, with estimated monthly spending without rent of $704 and $924, respectively.

  • Which Caribbean island is the best value for money?

    Countries that provide citizenship-by-investment programs to foreigners, such as Dominica, Grenada, or St Lucia, have comparatively developed infrastructure and offer comfortable living conditions.

    Dominica and Grenada show the lowest average cost of living. However, estimated costs in all those countries are relatively low and do not exceed $700 a month for one person.

  • Where is the cheapest and safest place to live in the Caribbean?

    Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Cuba show the lowest cost of living. A moderate-lifestyle person spends less than $550 per month above rent and utilities.

    However, Haiti and Cuba are not popular choices for expats due to the inaccessibility of comfortable living conditions and political situations in the countries.

  • Is it expensive to live in the Caribbean?

    A relatively low cost of living is one benefit that attracts expats to the Caribbean islands. The most expensive place to live in the Caribbean is the Bahamas, with estimated monthly costs for one person above $900. In most countries, average estimated costs are lower than $650.

  • Which Caribbean country is easy to immigrate to?

    Some Caribbean countries allow obtaining citizenship by investment. This applies to Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, and St Kitts and Nevis. This path to Caribbean citizenship takes around six months.

  • Which citizenship-by-investment programs in the Caribbean require the smallest investments?

    Dominica, St Lucia, and Antigua and Barbuda allow foreign nationals to obtain citizenship by investing $100,000+. This applies to non-refundable investments into government funds.

    If an applicant for citizenship wants to return their capital later, they can choose another investment option — for instance, the purchase of the real estate. In that case, the minimal investment will be $200,000.