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Moving to St. Kitts (all Caribbean info would be appreciated)

Moving to St. Kitts (all Caribbean info would be appreciated)

Old Aug 8th 2016, 4:01 pm
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Hello all -

Long time expat living in the US for the last 20 years. I have just taken a position in St. Kitts and will be moving in a fortnight. The work permit has been approved and I am ready to go. I will be bringing my wife and 2-year old son. Their visas have also been approved.

Any top tips for me for where to live, things to do, what to see? I will be looking to rent and my employer provides a housing allowance. I will be working in Christophe Harbour

I have moved a lot with my employer over the years, but all the previous moves have been in the US where they transport all my furniture, cars, etc. For this move they transport only 4,000lbs by sea and 500lb by air. No vehicles. I am in the process of selling and donating all our furniture and surplus items, but what things should we definitely bring? Should I buy, rent or lease a car on the island?

Any St. Kitts info, or general "moving to the Caribbean" info would be most appreciated! Thanks
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Old Aug 28th 2016, 2:07 pm
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Default Re: Moving to St. Kitts (all Caribbean info would be appreciated)

I am going to answer my own question as I have been here for a week now and have most of the answers. Hopefully, this will help others.

The big expat area to live is Frigate Bay and the communities directly surrounding Frigate Bay, like Calypso Bay. Renting can be expensive, with the average price for a one-bedroom @ US$1800 and averaging around US$2800 for a 3 bedroom. Prices can be negotiable, so bear that in mind if the price listed seems too high. If you are looking to buy, the threshold for citizenship by investment is $400,000 (comes to almost $550,000 after taxes and fees). Houses and apartments seemed to be reasonably priced to buy.

Cars are tough. Kittians drive on the left and most of the cars have the steering wheel on the right, but recently there have been a lot of imports from the US, so expect to see both. There is obviously no auto manufacturing in the Federation, so everything has to be imported. The government adds a whole bunch of taxes and fees. For example, if you wanted to import a car worth $5,000 to St Kitts, you would pay $2500 for shipping and another $8000 in import taxes and service charges and environmental fees and VAT Consequently, to buy a car is expensive and to rent a car is expensive also. A less expensive option for someone who is only going to be on island for a couple of years is a long-term private lease. This is what I did. I leased an SUV from an individual for US$500 p/m. He takes care of the insurance, registration and maintenance. Some of my colleagues rented long-term from car hire companies ranging in price from $950-$1300 p/m, so while their cars might be newer, I think I took the better deal.

The biggest piece of information I learned while on the island is about power supply. Everywhere online says that St. Kitts is 240v. Coming from the US, this was a problem. Outside of the small dual-voltage electronics, nothing was going to work. So I bought a heavy duty voltage convertor and used about 75 of my 4,000lb load to ship it over. I also bought 100 plug adapters from China to be ready. Then I sold or gave away all the electronics that I didn't think would work. When I get here I find everything is 110v!!! Not just the hotels, which I expected, but the homes too! I since found out that because the majority of the appliances come from the US, almost all the homes and businesses have been converted to 110v. Anyone want to buy a 5,000w up/down convertor?

It's a beautiful island and the people are very friendly. I'll update as I learn more.
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