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Live, Retire & Invest in the Nature Island of the Caribbean, Dominica
By Jennifer Miller
or a long term investment in the "greenest" jewel of the Caribbean, take a look at the little known island called the Commonwealth of Dominica.

Half way along the curved necklace of islands comprising the Windward Islands of the Eastern Caribbean basks a mountainous rock of 290 sq miles (750 sq km).  At longitude 61º 20W, and latitude 15º 25N, Dominica is a land of steep mountains and cliffs plummeting straight into the blue Caribbean sea on the western side and the grey Atlantic on the eastern.  Rising at the highest point to Mt. Diablotin at 4,747 ft. (1,447m), this is a country of raw beauty, rugged headlands and moody mountains, their peaks often buried in cloud.

So writes Deb Andrews, the Editor of the Caribbean Property Magazine.

Dominica, the Nature Island of the Caribbean, is an alluring land of majestic, mist-covered mountains spilling with waterfalls. It is a place where rainforests with parrots like flying rainbows and orchids growing wild are part of the natural surroundings.

"There is an earthy, beckoning presence to this island where untamed Nature invites the newcomer to walk in her primal rainforests then enter the caress of her warm mineral baths... Many souls have lost their hearts to lesser beauty. The riotous abundance of fertile nature dazzles the eye and the sweet scent of bay leaf and ginger permeates the air like a perfume. ´Prepare to fall in love, utterly and completely,´ the Island whispers. Prepare to be unwilling to settle for life anywhere but on this living island."

This excellent eBook will thoroughly entertain as you learn step-by-step how you can move to a little-known paradise in the Caribbean and live the life of your dreams in the seductive tropics. Yes, you can afford to move to an English-speaking island in the Caribbean, and this fact-filled, fun-loving guide will show you exactly how to take yourself there!

Dominica is not for everyone, but it just may be the escape spot for you. Its modest cost of living could allow you to retire early and live the life you´ve always desired. Imagine being free to scuba and snorkel the pristine reefs, hike to waterfalls for a swim, or plant an exotic rainforest garden. You might decide to fish one day, to paint or write the next -- tropical living definitely makes the creative juices flow! -- or maybe today just lie in a hammock and read a book. Tonight you could socialize with the international community of fellow expats and native Dominicans. You won´t just live in an enclave of North Americans in the Commonwealth of Dominica. People come from all over the world and the expat community is richly multicultural.

Formerly it has not been easy to make a living in Dominica, but things are changing.  Improved infrastructure and communications, a stable government and support from external organizations are contributing to making the country attractive to outside investment - 
The People

Dominicans are amongst the kindest and friendliest of all the Caribbean peoples.  We work in the region with Caribbeans from every nation, and many of them are a joy to know, but most of our long term friendships have been formed with Dominicans.

These people have a resourcefulness and a confidence that is quite rare here. This is best illustrated in the fact that the island is counted as one of the poorest of the Eastern Caribbean countries, and yet the abundant natural resources, national pride for both Dominicans and Carib Indians, festivals, music, culture, environment, diversity of language and life longevity (second in the world) make this a rich nation indeed!

Dominicans speak English and a Creole which is a mix of French, Spanish and English.  Education is based on the old British system, and is both rigorous and thorough. Whilst other countries, including Britain have diluted the old system, Dominica maintains an excellent standard. We have yet to meet an inarticulate Dominican! ~ Deb Andrews

Windswept Beach

We wonder about beach properties. They are available, although harder to find.  Being low down, they tend to be hotter, but on the Atlantic side there is almost always a sea breeze. A 2 acre site on the east coast, close to Wesley and 10 minutes from the Melville Hall Airport was one that we look at.  It reminded us of the rugged coast of Cornwall.  The windward coastline of Dominica is wild and windswept, interspersed with beautiful protected bays and sandy beaches.  Where there are no reefs or bays, the coastline is fully exposed to the power of the Atlantic Ocean. This particular site is situated at sea level and takes full advantage of the rocky coastline.  There is a small bay to one side, which on calm days could be used for swimming.  The track to the site is driveable and the area is cleared for construction.

There are views to the mountains behind and the area is bounded by mature sea grape and coconut trees. ~ Deb Andrews

Dominica is open for business and many expats start their own companies on the island. The government provides attractive incentives for business owners. A number of expat residents have started new businesses and have launched successful second careers on the island.

Get the Report - Click here!!If you are looking to get away from a pre-packaged life, you will enjoy reading this lively eBook about life in Dominica. You will learn about the challenges as well as the joys of living on the island. Information not readily available to the tourist is detailed and you will get a sense of how it is to live there. This eBook is full of insightful anecdotes about the island which give a real taste of island life. Details of cost of living, finding a house and deciding where to live on the island are all discussed in depth. You will also learn the steps of how to manage (and not mismanage!) a move to the island, including important pitfalls to avoid.

Called The Nature Island of the Caribbean, Dominica is an incredibly beautiful spot with rainforest-covered mountains, 365 clean rivers, and a rich marine environment which includes a resident population of whales. Literally, a stick placed in the volcanic island´s soil will sprout. Fruits and vegetables grow abundantly. During mango season the roadsides are full of fallen mangoes which people simply pick up to eat their fill. Avocados grow to enormous sizes and the variety of fruits and vegetables available in the open-air market is dizzying. The people of Dominica are very generous and often share the abundance from their gardens like country folk in the US once did. The locals say that no one need go hungry in Dominica if they were willing to plant a garden or fish.

"Fresh fish is readily available and is sometimes delivered to your door by fishermen who announce their catch by blowing a Conch shell. For about $7 EC dollars a pound or about $2.60 US you can eat the freshest yellow fin tuna you´ve ever tasted. Land crab, during its season, is used to make a tasty dish called crab backs, and prawns grow in the rivers to sizes unseen in America."

Life has little stress in this wayside nation. This and the fresh air, abundance of fish, fruits, and vegetables may be why Dominica was home to one of the worlds oldest women: Ma Pampo who died at 127. In fact, there are a number of residents over the age of 100 on the island: one source lists 22 in a population of just 70,000. Although retirees may not achieve 100, it is thought that a life on Dominica may undo some of the damage done by years of breathing polluted air and eating processed foods.
 
Ross University School of Medicine Ross University is a Medical University supported privately from a US source.  It provides additional resources to the country, which has a basic medical infrastructure. Good hi-tech hospitals are found in the neighbouring islands of Martinique and Guadelope.  Basic healthcare is found in clinics around the island.

Often mistaken for the Spanish speaking Dominican Republic, Dominica retains a decidedly English flavor due to its British colonial past. English is the language and wherever you go on the island, you will be greeted with a warm "Good Morning!" or "Good Afternoon!" The people and government of Dominica welcome new residents and after five years as a resident you can apply for citizenship. There is also an economic citizenship program which can quickly provide citizenship and a second passport.
 
Agriculture

Agricultural exports have slowed to a trickle and are difficult to sustain. For example the banana and coconut markets are too small to be really viable when up against the huge might of the south and central American conglomerates. 

Those farmers who still make a living through their banana smallholdings and the local co-operative, are hostage to the whims of large British supermarkets.

I see a full, ripe hand of yellow figs (bananas) on the ground, discarded, in the middle of a plantation. I wonder why?  "Run your finger along the skins" says the owner.  I can feel small, almost indiscernible blisters on them. These bananas were rejected for this alone, although the fruit inside was perfect and delicious.  A small blemish on one banana condemns the hand, and thus the tree, and thus the farmer's whole crop. The week we were there, 19 crops were rejected in the Calibishie area, 19 farmers with small holdings cut down their trees to reuse as fertilizer and were forced to replant, an 18 month crop cycle.

There are other possibilities for exporting crops such as, specialist natural health and beauty products.   Some products such as soaps are already produced by hand, and if well branded and marketed, could become the success story for future exports. ~ Deb Andrews

Dominica has not yet been invaded by hordes of tourists and their trappings. Relatively few people actually vacation there. You will find no big resorts, no golf courses, and no evidence of slick merchandising. One day the island will be discovered by the real world and this will all change, but today it is still relatively unspoiled by a tourist make-over. For someone seeking fresh air, abundant water and a dazzling natural setting, Dominica is the ideal spot.

Nestled between the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique in the West Indies, Dominica has all of the modern conveniences like broadband internet access and cable television. Cell phone service is excellent throughout the island and banking can be done with one of several international banks on the island.
 
Investment Opportunities
 
Some of the land that is becoming available for expatriate investors is farming land, some is rainforest from the lower slopes of the mountains and coastal hillsides . . .

There are many different benefits that obtain from investing in land in the Commonwealth of Dominica, these include:

· Investment in our global environment by purchasing prime rainforest for the future
· New business opportunities for overseas investors through the development of tourism and environmental projects
· An opportunity to have a second offshore home in one the most beautiful islands in the Eastern Caribbean:a World Heritage Site, where building costs are 1/3 of those in other EC countries.
· A retirement home
· Green Globe 21 Certification: this is in process. As Dominica becomes the Caribbean's environmental leader, property and land will become an extremely valuable investment

Some of the land that is becoming available for expatriate investors is farming land, some is rainforest from the lower slopes of the mountains and coastal hillsides, and some village plots sold off by families who need money to continue to live without work in the country.

The controlled sale of this real estate, will bring foreign exchange, new jobs, expand tourism and encourage immigration from those willing to invest in a personal as well as a financial future. As the small farmer is forced to find something else to do with his land other than commercial farming. He can secure his future through the sale of a few acres to foreign investment.  Expatriates, who will invest in a small tourism venture: a couple of villas, a small eco-resort, or a nursery for rare plants, will bring employment to the families, the villages and foreign exchange into the whole country.

Get the Report - Click here!!Historically, Dominicans farmers cut down the rainforest along the lower slopes of the mountains, and farmed the land according to their own needs. Agricultural crops include, coconut, avocado, citrus orchards, banana, pineapple, coffee, passion fruit, mango, tannia and many other root crops.  After seven years of continual farming the government grants them the husbanded land under a type of 'squatters rights' rule.

The same rules do not apply to the Carib Territory where land is not personally owned, but is held by the reserve in perpetuity for its nationals.

The two National Parks are the mountains of the north and the Morne Trois mountain group in the south. These protected areas are reserved land for the nation and can never be sold for development.

Building and zoning regulations are limited and are not currently enforced. This can result in unsafe building practices, and relies on each individual owner to design and build responsibly. Regulations are in place to control the purchase of land by aliens, or expats.

A Land Holders Licence must be applied for and granted to each expatriate wishing to make an investment in Dominica. There are taxes to be paid by the purchaser and these vary according to the type of investment made, whether for private or commercial use and the number of acres purchased.

Government issues good title documentation for land, but this is best checked out to ensure proper legal transfer for purchased land. We found Paul Blanchard very knowledgeable and willing to act as a consultant and advisor in these areas.  His local connections to government, local contractors, architects and lawyers are invaluable.

Permission to reside in the Commonwealth of Dominica can be obtained for anyone investing in real estate.  Naturalisation is also possible and maybe granted after the necessary applications and background checks.

Without local understanding it can be very expensive and time wasting, working through the many bureaucratic barriers which are the line of defence of all local authorities. There are a few architects, engineers and developers available in Dominica, as well as in other parts of the Eastern Caribbean.  There are almost no project managers on the island. 

On any private or commercial projects built anywhere in the Caribbean which is a hurricane and earthquake zone, a construction project manager becomes a necessity.   We consulted Design Management Ltd about our construction ideas.  They offer project management and architectural design, with years of experience in the Caribbean.  ~ Deb Andrews

Dominica is safe and enjoys the lowest crime rate in the Caribbean. Hiding inside an enclosure is not necessary there as it is on some other islands. The culture is somewhat like stepping back about 50 years. It reminds you of the small towns of days gone by before McDonald's, Wal-Mart and strip malls made everywhere look and feel the same. There are no traffic lights, no shopping malls, and even the streets of the capital, Roseau, are quiet after dark. It is really a sleepy little place to watch the rest of the world go by.

Real estate is moderately priced compared with other islands in the Caribbean. You can rent a fully furnished house with sea views and a garden full of fruit trees for a remarkable US $400-$700. Land is readily available for purchase at US $20,000 per acre and a sturdy hurricane resistant concrete house can be yours for an unbelievable US $140,000.

Sound good so far? This is just a small part of what this eBook contains. The real treasure in this thorough and delightful report is the important information anyone considering a Dominican retirement should know: how to move your household and what to bring in that move, where to live on the island, how to negotiate the visa process, how to buy a car, how to find a rental. This information was gathered at the "School of Experience" by the author and her spouse, and is shared in detail along with key mistakes they made in their move. The book also provides an important guide for visiting the island to check it out as a possible retirement spot.

Written with humor and love for the island, Jennifer Miller´s Retire to the Nature Island of the Caribbean, Dominica, is the only material available at this time about moving to the Nature Island. Yes, you can afford to retire on a green and pleasant English-speaking island in the Caribbean, and you can still get there before the real world does.
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