For travel writers like me, popping open a laptop to work on a Caribbean beach is a familiar occupational hazard. But amid the pandemic, having to work while you’re in paradise seems like a small price to pay to escape the confines of the living rooms and home offices where we’ve been sequestered for the past year.
Our collective cabin fever hasn’t gone unnoticed. With low virus rates, lots of empty hotel rooms, and safety protocols now firmly in place — plus so many people working remotely, anyway — a number of Caribbean destinations and resorts have launched programs for people who want to spend an extended period of time in the islands.
As the pandemic stretches into its second year, here are the places in the Caribbean where you can spend at least a year mixing remote work and play, blissfully distant from your own backyard.
Anguilla’s remote work program lets digital nomads, students, and families stay on-island for 90 days to one year, at a cost of $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for families. You’ll need proof of employment, a police background check, a passport and copy of your birth certificate, and proof of your relationship to any dependents tagging along.
Antigua and Barbuda
Set up shop in the twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda for up to two years with a Nomad Digital Residence (NDR) visa. Applicants must be currently employed or self-employed and able to work away from home with the use of mobile technology. Application fees are 1,500.00 for singles, $2,000 for couples, and $3,000 for families of three or more.
BEATS, or the Bahamas Extended Access Travel Stay program, allows digital nomads to alight in the islands of the Bahamas for up to a year for work and play. “At the end of a long day of meetings or classes, you will be rewarded with breathtaking sunsets, a relaxing walk on the beach, or fresh conch salad to feed your soul. It doesn’t get any better than that,” says Dionisio D’Aguilar, Bahamas Minister of Tourism & Aviation. Island-hopping is encouraged, and while remote workers will need to pay a fee of $1,025 for a BEATS permit, it’s discounted to $525 for college students. If you’re impatient to get going, Bahamas tourism officials promise a decision to approve (or deny) your application within 5 days — so get packing!