Early Island Travels – St. Lucia, Madeira, and Turks and Caicos

My Husband (“H”) and I have dreamed of moving to an island to live for several years now. Our first step was deciding which island. We have visited several islands over the few last years. We were married in St. Lucia which was absolutely incredible. I think our positive experience was influenced by the wonderful resort where we stayed. (Ti Kaye – highly recommended). We really didn’t see that much of St. Lucia other than in and around our resort, but I think that may have been when we first got the bug to move to an island.

The next year we went to Madeira, a Portuguese island. Madeira was very different from St. Lucia. First of all, a lot of people could not speak English. I can’t say enough about how friendly and helpful the people were, but the language barrier can be a bit difficult to overcome. Also, the beach was very rocky, and when I say rocky, I’m not talking pebbles. These were actually boulders that you had to climb over to get into the water. There may have been sandy beaches on another area, but we didn’t get to see them.

The following year, we traveled to Turks and Caicos. We stayed on Provo, the main island. We stayed at the Alexandra Resort. The resort was located on Grace Bay Beach which has been voted the World’s Best Beach, and it was incredible. The sand was so soft – not grainy or rough at all. All of the resorts were right on the beach so you could just walk for miles and pass each resort. There were a couple of times when H and I were walking for probably thirty minutes without even seeing anyone.

The Alexandra Resort was not really that great though. Most of the resorts on Provo are also condos. We felt like the “regular” guests did not receive very much attention. Also, the resort was building a new condo building so there was a lot of construction going on during our stay. Additionally, the staff just didn’t seem very “with it”. There was a shuttle bus that made the rounds picking up guests at the different resorts and taking them into town. One morning, I bought a pass for the bus. I waited for thirty minutes before asking the concierge where the bus was. She had “forgotten” that the bus didn’t pick up until 9:00 on that particular day. A lot of good that tidbit of information did for me at 8:00 a.m. A lot of the problems we had with service probably would have been alleviated if we had rented a car. (We have learned that lesson on subsequent island vacations.)

Anyway, ten days of the view from our resort confirmed that we did still have the island bug. We talked to some different people about what it would be like living on Turks and Caicos. These islands are a British Crown Colony which would present some challenges for foreigners moving to the islands. Foreigners are allowed to purchase land which is often a problem in Latin America countries, but there is a hefty stamp tax that is paid to the government on these purchases. I also believe that you continue paying US income taxes even if living full-time on Turks and Caicos. With some of these challenges, we decided that we might have an easier transition to island life on a US territory.

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