What It’s Really Like to Live on a Tropical Island

So, what do you do all day? Sit on the beach with your laptop, and sip on the cute little umbrella drinks?

Well, I wish I was…

But here’s the thing, sometimes living on a tropical island is not so picture-perfect (but, close enough).

Hello, this is Paradise Calling

Picture this! Mango-orange, papaya-yellow, avocado-green and watermelon-pink architecture that rises before you.

What It's Really Like to Live on a Tropical Island

Behind you, crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean hugged by pillowy white sand. The temperature is perfect. The sun is shining, and the birds are chirping.

What It's Really Like to Live on a Tropical Island

Then, as you turn around to take this view of heaven, you feel a soft breeze. The wind is warm and brings a vague smell of tropical fruit or maybe golden coconut rum. Ah… The warm sunny days.

The only thing missing is a piña colada in your hand a smile on your face…

I have to confess that I was one of those people who have fantasised about packing it all into a tiny, little suitcase and moving to a tropical paradise.

My tropical dream mostly consisted of immersing myself into the chilled out atmosphere of the Caribbean and living the stress-free lifestyle.

So, I bought the ticket, packed the bag, and flew over the Atlantic Ocean to pursue my dream.

Pristine beaches, breathtaking sunsets, and never ending summer… Sounds, awesome right?

What It's Really Like to Live on a Tropical Island

But, is living on a tropical island is all about the lovely sunsets and fruity cocktails?

More importantly, what a “typical” day in the Caribbean looks like?

I’ve been living in Barbados for almost two months now and have experienced some of the things that are not so glossy.

So, allow me to impart some of my newfound wisdom. One mosquito at a time.

Mosquitoes are the Worst

They are everywhere, and they bite. Especially in the night. So, you always have to use an insect repellent wherever you go and whatever you do.

On the first two nights in Barbados, I got bitten by mosquitoes so badly that my legs were all covered in red bumps ant they were so itchy that even the next day I couldn’t sleep properly. Yuck!

It Gets Dark Really Quickly

It’s always dark after 6 pm. I mean, REALLY dark.

Before coming to Barbados, I was used to European summer daytime lasting until 10 pm (at least 9 pm), and suddenly I’ve lost a few hours of daylight.

But the good thing is that now I get up early (around 5 am) and get all the work done for the day in the sunshine.

What It's Really Like to Live on a Tropical Island

You are Sweaty. All the Time.

Welcome to the Caribbean, baby. It’s hot, and it’s sweaty. You can begin each morning all showered and dry, but within the first few hours, you will be soaked.

You will sweat, you won’t like it, but you will get used to it.

Everything Takes Longer than You Think

The cab driver that you called, the cocktail that you order at the beach bar will arrive.

Anytime from now to tomorrow.

There’s this thing called the “island time”, which basically means that everything happens really slowly. In the Caribbean, this concept can be easily applied to anything.

Here, even the simplest of tasks can take hours of waiting. For example, when we (my boyfriend and I) arrived in Barbados we had to go through the immigration post to get our passports and all the travel documents checked by the immigration officer. And it took hours.

Only two people were working at that time, and I can honestly say that they took their time. Nobody rushed. Everyone was just living their life, you know.

–  Why is it taking so long to go through security here?
–  Relax, we are on island time now!

It all would have been great if we weren’t that tired after 24 hours of travelling and crossing multiple time zones. But, you know what they say: the best things take time.

Did Someone Said Latte?

Espresso shots, steamed milk, and a very thin foam head. The perfect cup of latte…

The only problem, it doesn’t exist here.

Since I’m a huge coffee lover (no coffee, no workee) I was a bit disappointed that the quality of coffee is very low in Barbados.

Don’t get me wrong, there a few coffee shops here that serve great coffee, but I can’t afford to pay 5 US Dollars for a cup. It’s just too damn expensive.

Here’s the tip: If you ever decided to visit Barbados, please bring your own tea, coffee, and snacks. You will save lots of money and patience.

The Food is Tragically Expensive

Everything you can purchase (food, clothes, household items, electronics, etc.) is at least double the cost in Barbados than as in the US or Europe.

Barbadian government heavily taxes everything that comes onto the island. So, even the basic foods such as eggs, butter, milk are very expensive here.

Touristy restaurants are also not cheap. Mains can cost you anything from 45 to 95 Barbadian Dollars.

(Please, keep in mind that prices heavily depend on a specific restaurant, and what you order). So, this is just a general observation.

Overall, Barbados is a wonderful place to spend your vacation, but food will be your highest cost.

What It's Really Like to Live on a Tropical Island

You Will Find Sand Everywhere

“Any Closer to the Beach, You’d Have Sand in Your Sheets”

Yes, you will find sand everywhere. In your clothes, house, car, and even your sheets. And believe me, sometimes, it can be really annoying…

Sometimes it Rains. All Day.

It does rain in Barbados.

In fact, summer months (June, July, and August) are the rainiest months of the year in the Caribbean.

Besides rain, there’s also a hurricane season happening here. It usually runs from June through November.

Barbados is relatively safe from hurricanes (experiencing one about every twenty years), so if you are willing to take the risk and save a lot of money on accommodation come to the Caribbean in this season.

What It's Really Like to Live on a Tropical Island

Everyone is on Vacation. Except You.

How come everyone’s having fun at the beach except me?

All these college students, families, and business people are doing fun things today, like sunbathing at the beach, and having dinner at the beachfront restaurants…

And I’m all alone, with a ton of work to do.


Finally, It’s Freakin’ Awesome

Yup, all of the above annoyances are very true.

But if you are able to make this work, then you can make (almost) every day feel like a little vacation.

The beaches are to die for, locals are extremely friendly, and the fruit punch is the best.

Every day I’ve spent here I can’t help but think, life is good! Even if  have some sand in my shorts…

What It's Really Like to Live on a Tropical Island

Have you ever lived on a tropical island? If yes, what was your experience? 

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