The rise of the digital nomad lifestyle has led people to reconsider their work environment, often seeking beautiful, inspiring places to blend work and relaxation. The Virgin Islands, with their stunning beaches and laid-back lifestyle, may seem a prime candidate. But is this Caribbean archipelago truly a viable option for digital nomads? Let’s dive in.
5 Reasons Why Digital Nomads Should Choose The Virgin Islands
- Scenic beauty: The Virgin Islands are renowned for their stunning natural beauty, offering pristine beaches, lush landscapes, and breathtaking views that can inspire creativity and well-being.
- Welcoming communities: With a significant expat and digital nomad population, newcomers often find a warm, supportive community.
- Outdoor activities: The islands offer a wide range of outdoor activities like sailing, snorkeling, hiking, and more, making it an ideal place for those who love exploring nature.
- Climate: The tropical climate offers warm weather year-round, which is appealing for those weary of harsh winters.
- Cultural experience: Living in the Virgin Islands provides an opportunity to immerse in the vibrant local culture, rich history, and unique cuisine of the Caribbean.
5 Reasons Why Digital Nomads Should NOT Choose The Virgin Islands
- High cost of living: The Virgin Islands are known for their high living costs, including accommodation, food, and transportation, which may not be feasible for all digital nomads.
- Internet reliability: While the internet is generally reliable in urban areas, it can be less consistent in more remote or rural locations.
- Limited healthcare facilities: While there are medical facilities available, they may not be as comprehensive or advanced as in larger countries. It’s important to have a solid health insurance plan.
- Hurricane season: The Virgin Islands are in the hurricane belt, and the season typically runs from June to November, which could pose safety concerns and interruptions to work.
- Limited accessibility: Although there are regular flights and ferries, the islands’ relatively remote location could make travel to and from other destinations more difficult or expensive.
But what’s the appeal of the Virgin Islands?
Breathtakingly beautiful, the Virgin Islands are made up of over 90 islands, islets, and cays in the Caribbean Sea. The vibrant culture, rich history, lush landscapes, and pristine beaches make these islands an attractive destination. But how does each island stack up for the digital nomad?
Ranking the Virgin Islands for Digital Nomads
With reliable internet and an active community of digital nomads, St. Croix scores high. However, the cost of living can be quite steep.
The Nightlife in St. Croix
St. Croix, the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, is known for its vibrant nightlife that caters to a diverse range of interests. Whether you’re a lover of live music, a foodie, or just a casual bar-hopper, there’s something for you to enjoy after the sun sets on this picturesque island.
If you’re a fan of live music, you’ll find many venues scattered across the island that host local and international artists. Fort Frederik, located in the town of Frederiksted, often hosts local jazz musicians during their sunset jazz series. You might also enjoy the beachside setting of Rhythms at Rainbow Beach, where you can groove to the music with sand beneath your feet.
Dining and Drinks
St. Croix boasts an array of restaurants and bars serving both local and international cuisine. Savant, known for its eclectic menu and romantic ambience, is an excellent choice for a night out. For a more laid-back vibe, the Brew STX beachfront brewery and restaurant serves a variety of craft beers and delicious food.
Festivals form a significant part of St. Croix’s nightlife. From the annual Carnival celebrations, with their colorful parades and energetic music, to the Jump Up street parties held in Christiansted, there’s always something festive happening.
Casinos and Gaming
For those who enjoy a bit of gaming, the Divi Carina Bay Casino offers a variety of table games, slot machines, and occasional live entertainment. Remember to play responsibly!
Nightlife in St. Croix offers a perfect blend of local culture and international influences, catering to all tastes. Whether you prefer a quiet, romantic dinner or dancing the night away, St. Croix is sure to keep you entertained.
Life on this island can be expensive, with high housing and food costs.
- Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center: $800 – $1,200
- Rent for a one-bedroom apartment outside of the city center: $600 – $900
- Utilities (electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage): $150 – $200
- Basic groceries (milk, bread, eggs, fruits, vegetables, etc.): $300 – $400
- Dining out at an inexpensive restaurant: $10 – $15 per meal
- Gasoline: $3 – $4 per gallon
- Public transportation monthly pass: $60 – $80
- Monthly Internet bill: $50 – $70
- Fitness club, monthly fee: $30 – $50
- Cinema, one ticket: $10 – $12
What’s The Digital Nomad Community Like in St. Croix?
St. Croix, the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, has a growing and thriving digital nomad community. The island’s size, combined with its variety of activities, cultural experiences, and opportunities for networking, make it a desirable choice for those living a location-independent lifestyle.
Digital Nomad Meetups and Groups
One great way to get plugged into the local digital nomad scene is through meetups and groups. Websites like Meetup often have gatherings for remote workers and digital nomads. They may arrange coworking days, social outings, or informational workshops. On Facebook, you can find groups dedicated to digital nomads in the Caribbean, such as Caribbean Digital Nomads, where you can connect with others in St. Croix or nearby islands.
For those who prefer a structured work environment or crave the social interaction of an office, co-working spaces can be a great option. Places like The Hive in St. Croix offer a mix of open workspaces and private offices, along with amenities like high-speed internet, meeting rooms, and coffee.
Accommodations and Living
There are plenty of accommodation options suitable for digital nomads on St. Croix. From luxury villas to more affordable apartments, websites like Airbnb, Booking.com, and Expedia provide a wide range of choices. Moreover, you can find long-term rental listings on local real estate websites, such as Coldwell Banker St. Croix Realty and Realtor.com.
Local Culture and Leisure Activities
St. Croix offers a wealth of activities for digital nomads during their off time. The island is famous for its beautiful beaches, like Cane Bay and Buck Island, and its vibrant coral reefs attract divers from around the world. Besides, the island has a rich history with attractions such as the Whim Plantation Museum and Christiansted National Historic Site. Local events, like the Agriculture and Food Fair and the St. Croix Ironman 70.3 Triathlon, offer opportunities to engage with the community.
Overall, St. Croix’s digital nomad community is rich and diverse, providing ample opportunities for networking, collaboration, and socializing. Despite the high cost of living, the benefits of the island’s culture, beauty, and friendly environment make it a compelling choice for many digital nomads.
St. John is a haven for nature lovers, but it struggles with limited internet connectivity in some areas and a high cost of living.
Nightlife in St. John
While the island’s nightlife may not be as bustling as that in larger cities, it offers a unique blend of low-key venues, vibrant beach bars, and exceptional music.
Beach bars are a big part of St. John’s nightlife. Here, you’ll enjoy the Caribbean’s laid-back vibe, right by the ocean. The Beach Bar in Wharfside Village is a popular choice, known for its live music and refreshing cocktails. Another spot worth checking out is Joe’s Rum Hut, located on the waterfront, offering a variety of rums and a lively atmosphere.
St. John has a vibrant live music scene, with reggae and calypso being quite popular. Skinny Legs is a well-known venue that frequently hosts live music nights. Similarly, High Tide Bar & Seafood Grill is another spot to enjoy some live tunes while relishing delicious seafood.
Dining and Late-night Eats:
A night out in St. John often starts or ends with a good meal. The Longboard is a coastal cantina offering a range of healthy and locally sourced dishes, perfect for a relaxed dinner. For late-night food cravings, The Tap Room offers tasty brewpub fare along with locally brewed beers.
Local events often liven up the island’s nightlife. St. John’s annual Carnival in June and July is an extravagant celebration with music, parades, and food that light up the nights. Check out local event calendars like the one on St. John’s Official Travel Website to stay updated on the latest happenings.
If you prefer a quiet evening, a night cruise under the stars with companies like Stormy Pirates Boat Charters can be magical. Alternatively, St. John’s clear skies make for excellent stargazing opportunities on its less crowded beaches.
While St. John’s nightlife might not have the round-the-clock buzz of a big city, it makes up for it with its relaxed vibe, beautiful settings, and the opportunity to socialize with locals and fellow travelers alike. Remember, it’s a small island, so always consider booking ahead for popular spots.
Living Cost in St. John
Living costs are high, with expensive housing being the main concern.
- The cost of rent can vary greatly depending on the location, size, and amenities. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center can cost around $1,200-$1,800 per month, while outside the city center, it could be slightly less, around $800-$1,200 per month. Buying property is also quite high, with average costs around $400 per square foot.
- Basic utilities including electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage for an 85m2 apartment cost around $200-$300 per month. Internet can add an additional $70-$100 per month.
- Groceries are more expensive compared to the U.S mainland due to import costs. A basic basket of groceries for a month can cost around $300-$400. Dining out is also pricey, with a meal at an inexpensive restaurant costing around $15-$25, while a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant can cost around $70-$100.
- Owning a car is common in St. John due to its limited public transportation. The cost of a liter of gasoline is around $0.80-$1.00. Taxis are also available but can add up if used frequently. A one-way ticket on local transport (where available) can cost around $2-$3.
- Private healthcare is expensive, and it’s highly recommended to have a comprehensive health insurance plan. A visit to a general practitioner can cost around $100-$150, excluding tests and medication.
- Costs can vary widely depending on preferences. A monthly gym membership is around $50-$70. Movie tickets cost around $10-$12 each. Outdoor activities, like chartering a boat or a guided hike, can range from $100-$500.
What’s the Digital Nomad Community Like in St. John?
St. John, one of the U.S. Virgin Islands, is known for its beautiful beaches and natural parks. It’s smaller than its counterparts, St. Thomas and St. Croix, but it has a charm all its own. This makes it an attractive destination for digital nomads who enjoy a slower pace and being close to nature.
St. John has a smaller but steadily growing community of digital nomads. The main town, Cruz Bay, has become a hub for this group. It’s here where you can find several coworking spaces, providing a reliable internet connection, a comfortable workspace, and a chance to connect with like-minded individuals.
The digital nomad community often gathers for networking events, organized through platforms like Meetup. These events are great opportunities to meet other nomads, share experiences, and even collaborate on projects.
Blogs like Nomad List and The Remote Nomad provide firsthand accounts of digital nomad life in St. John. They give insights into the best places to live, work, and explore on the island, as well as practical tips on navigating the cost of living, weather, and culture.
Despite its size, St. John offers plenty of recreational activities. It’s home to the Virgin Islands National Park, a must-visit for nature lovers. There are also opportunities to join local clubs or groups, ranging from water sports to volunteering.
In summary, while St. John might not have the largest digital nomad community, it offers a tight-knit, welcoming group in an idyllic setting. It’s a great option for those seeking a balance between work and nature immersion.
St. Thomas offers good internet, a vibrant digital nomad community, but like its counterparts, the cost of living is high.
Nightlife in St. Thomas
St. Thomas, one of the U.S. Virgin Islands, is known for its vibrant nightlife that provides a delightful mix of local culture and fun. From elegant waterfront bars and beach parties to live music venues and fancy restaurants, there’s something for everyone on this lively island.
Bars and Pubs
St. Thomas offers an array of bars and pubs, each with its unique vibe and charm.
- Duffy’s Love Shack: Nestled in the heart of Red Hook, Duffy’s is renowned for its tropical cocktails and lively atmosphere. It’s an open-air bar, allowing you to enjoy the island’s beautiful weather while sipping on your favorite drink.
- The Tap & Still: This pub, with locations in Red Hook and Havensight, serves up a great selection of craft beers and arguably the best burgers on the island.
Clubs and Dance
If you’re into late-night dancing, St. Thomas will not disappoint.
- Epernay Lounge and Nightclub: Located in Havensight, Epernay is a sophisticated nightclub, offering DJ sets and themed nights, from salsa to hip hop.
- Starz Nightclub: This is one of the hottest spots in St. Thomas for those who want to dance the night away. They frequently host popular DJs and artists, making it a hit with both locals and tourists.
Live music is a significant part of the nightlife in St. Thomas.
- Iggies Beach Bar: Situated in Bolongo Bay, Iggies is famous for its beachfront setting, delicious food, and live music. They feature local bands and musicians regularly.
- Frenchman’s Reef Resort: Offering live music with a stunning view of the Caribbean Sea, the sunset sessions here are something you can’t miss.
The island also boasts a range of restaurants that serve excellent food, often with live entertainment.
- Sunset Grille: With a fantastic view of Secret Harbour Beach, this restaurant serves excellent seafood and steaks. It’s the perfect place for a relaxed, romantic dinner.
- Caribbean Fish Market: Located in the Elysian Beach Resort, the Caribbean Fish Market is known for its fresh seafood, warm service, and beautiful beachfront location.
In conclusion, the nightlife in St. Thomas is diverse and entertaining, promising unforgettable experiences to its visitors. From laid-back beach bars to pulsating dance clubs and fine dining restaurants, there’s something for every taste.
While St. Thomas has more affordable options than its counterparts, it still leans on the expensive side.
- Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in the city center: $1,200 – $1,600 per month
- Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment outside the city center: $800 – $1,200 per month
- Rent for a 3-bedroom apartment in the city center: $2,500 – $3,500 per month
- Rent for a 3-bedroom apartment outside the city center: $1,800 – $2,500 per month
- Basic (electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage) for a 915 sq ft apartment: $250 – $350 per month
- Internet (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, cable/ADSL): $70 – $100 per month
- Basic lunchtime menu (including a drink) in the business district: $15 – $20
- 1 liter of whole fat milk: $1 – $2
- 12 large eggs: $3 – $4
- 1 kg of tomatoes: $3 – $5
- 500 gr (1 lb.) of boneless chicken breast: $5 – $7
- 1 kg of apples: $4 – $6
- One-way ticket (local transport): $2
- Monthly pass (regular price): $60 – $75
- Taxi trip on a business day, basic tariff, 8 km. (5 miles): $25 – $35
- Gasoline (1 liter): $1 – $1.5
- Cold medicine for 6 days (Tylenol, Frenadol, Coldrex, or equivalent brands): $10 – $15
- 1 box of antibiotics (12 doses): $15 – $25
- Short visit to a private doctor (15 minutes): $100 – $150
- Dinner for two at an Italian restaurant in the expat area including appetizers, main course, wine, and dessert: $80 – $120
- 1 cocktail drink in downtown club: $10 – $15
- Cappuccino in expat area of the city: $4 – $6
- 1 beer in a neighborhood pub (500ml or 1pt.): $5 – $7
What’s the Digital Nomad Community like in St. Thomas?
The digital nomad community in St. Thomas is vibrant and continually growing, with several expats and remote workers choosing to make this scenic island their home base.
One of the significant aspects of the digital nomad community in St. Thomas is the spirit of collaboration and mutual support. This isn’t surprising as the island lifestyle tends to foster a strong sense of community. It’s common for digital nomads to gather for coworking, networking events, and social activities, thus promoting personal and professional growth. While there isn’t a central online hub for the community, websites such as Nomad List and Meetup often have valuable information about digital nomad events and gatherings.
A critical aspect that attracts digital nomads to St. Thomas is the co-working spaces. Though not as plentiful as in larger cities, the island does have a few quality spaces. Workvie, a coworking space located in the heart of St. Thomas, is a notable example. It offers high-speed internet, office amenities, and a collaborative atmosphere that digital nomads appreciate.
Another major draw for digital nomads is the opportunity for outdoor activities during downtime. From pristine beaches to explore, like Magens Bay, to hiking trails such as the Reef Bay Trail, there’s plenty to do when not working.
Accommodation is also an essential factor, and while the cost can be high, there are various options available. Websites like Airbnb and Expedia can help find suitable housing, from shared apartments to private villas.
Overall, the digital nomad community in St. Thomas is one that thrives on the unique blend of work and island lifestyle, promoting an atmosphere of community, creativity, and mutual support.
Please note that while St. Thomas generally has a welcoming atmosphere and a growing digital nomad community, every person’s experience can vary greatly based on personal preferences and lifestyle. It’s always recommended to conduct thorough research and planning before moving to a new location for digital nomad life.
The British Virgin Islands
With a good mix of connectivity and community, the British Virgin Islands are appealing. However, high living costs remain a hurdle.
Nightlife in the British Virgin Islands
Bars and Pubs
The British Virgin Islands are home to many quaint beach bars and pubs that offer a relaxed setting to unwind after a long day. One standout is the Soggy Dollar Bar located on Jost Van Dyke Island. It’s reputed to be the birthplace of the famous Painkiller cocktail, a delightful mix of rum, coconut, pineapple, and orange juice.
Another popular choice is the B-Line Beach Bar on Little Jost Van Dyke, a small, off-the-beaten-path spot offering superb drinks and a tranquil atmosphere.
Music and Live Performances
Live music is a staple of the British Virgin Islands’ nightlife. You’ll find a variety of venues hosting bands playing everything from local reggae to popular international tunes. The Willy T, a floating bar and restaurant, often features live music, creating a vibrant atmosphere. It’s also a unique experience that’s hard to find anywhere else.
The Quito’s Gazebo in Cane Garden Bay is another must-visit spot for music lovers. Owned by Quito Rymer, a renowned local musician, this venue offers live music most nights of the week, often featuring performances by Quito himself.
For those who prefer a high-energy evening, the British Virgin Islands offer several dance clubs. One of the favorites is The Elm Beach Bar in Tortola, which transforms into a dance club in the evening hours, featuring local DJs spinning a mix of Caribbean beats and international hits.
Festivals and Events
The British Virgin Islands also host several annual events that offer a taste of the islands’ culture and vibrant party atmosphere. One of the major events is the Emancipation Festival, a week-long celebration featuring parades, music, dance, and more. Similarly, the BVI Music Festival is a three-day beachfront celebration that attracts international artists and local talent alike.
In conclusion, the British Virgin Islands offer a varied nightlife scene, catering to both relaxed beach-goers and energetic party lovers. Whether you’re sipping a Painkiller at the beach or dancing to live music under the stars, there’s something for every digital nomad to enjoy when the sun goes down.
The cost of living in the British Virgin Islands is quite high, especially housing.
- Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in the city center: $1,500 – $2,000
- Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment outside the city center: $1,000 – $1,500
- Monthly rent for a 3-bedroom apartment in the city center: $2,500 – $3,500
- Monthly rent for a 3-bedroom apartment outside the city center: $2,000 – $2,500
Utilities (electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage)
- For a 85m2 apartment: $200 – $300 per month
- Basic (60 Mbps, unlimited data, cable/ADSL): $60 – $100 per month
- Basic lunchtime menu (including a drink) in the business district: $15 – $20
- Combo meal in fast food restaurant (Big Mac Meal or similar): $8 – $10
- 1 liter (1 qt.) of whole fat milk: $1.50 – $2.50
- 12 eggs, large: $3 – $4
- 1 kg (2 lb.) of tomatoes: $4 – $6
- 500 gr (16 oz.) of local cheese: $8 – $12
- 1 kg (2 lb.) of apples: $4 – $6
- 1 kg (2 lb.) of potatoes: $2 – $3
- 0.5 l (16 oz) domestic beer in the supermarket: $2 – $3
- 1 bottle of good quality red table wine: $15 – $20
- 2 liters of Coca-Cola: $2 – $3
- Bread for 2 people for 1 day: $2 – $4
- One-way Ticket (Local Transport): $2 – $3
- Monthly Pass (Regular Price): $60 – $80
- Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff): $2 – $3
- Gasoline (1 liter): $1 – $1.5
- This can vary greatly depending on coverage, but expect to pay upwards of $200 per month for a basic coverage plan.
Fitness & Leisure
- Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult: $50 – $100
- Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat: $10 – $15
It’s essential to keep in mind that while some costs like groceries and local transport might seem similar to prices in the U.S., others like accommodation and dining can be significantly higher, particularly on the more tourist-oriented islands.
What’s the Digital Nomad Community Like in the British Virgin Islands?
The British Virgin Islands, a British overseas territory, are gaining popularity amongst digital nomads due to their stunning natural beauty and laid-back lifestyle. Though smaller than the digital nomad communities in some better-known destinations, it is an active and growing group.
There’s a lot to unpack about this unique community, so let’s dive into some of the aspects that make it a distinctive place for digital nomads.
Tortola, the largest of the British Virgin Islands, is the main hub for digital nomads. The island’s capital, Road Town, is a vibrant center with cafes and coworking spaces that cater to remote workers.
Nanny Cay, a marina with a resort, restaurants, and business center, is also popular among nomads, especially those who enjoy being close to the sea. Their facilities, as shown on their official website, are top-notch.
Internet connectivity in the British Virgin Islands is generally good, especially in populated areas. Numerous businesses in Road Town offer free Wi-Fi, making it easy for digital nomads to stay connected.
Most digital nomads opt for a local SIM card from providers like Flow or Digicel, which provide a variety of data plans to suit different needs. You can find more about these on their official websites: Flow and Digicel.
Though there aren’t many dedicated co-working spaces in the British Virgin Islands, a few spots are popular with the digital nomad community. In Road Town, the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association has facilities available. More information can be found on their website.
Another option is the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship – Caribbean. While primarily a business accelerator, they also offer workspaces. You can learn more about them here.
Meetups and Networking
The digital nomad community in the British Virgin Islands is still growing, so formal meetups and networking events are not as frequent as in larger nomad hubs. However, nomads often connect informally through social media groups or local events. Facebook groups like BVI Community Board can be an excellent place to connect with other digital nomads.
The British Virgin Islands offer a fantastic work-life balance for digital nomads. The islands are renowned for their stunning beaches, sailing opportunities, and water sports. When not working, digital nomads can explore the unique natural environment through activities like diving, hiking, or simply enjoying the beach. For more on the islands’ lifestyle, check out the official tourism website.
Tips for Digital Nomads Considering the Virgin Islands
Research Accommodation Options
- Before deciding to move to the Virgin Islands, thoroughly research the accommodation options. This includes the cost, location, and type of accommodation. Airbnb is a popular choice for short-term stays, and you can check availability and rates here. If you’re considering a longer stay, look into renting an apartment or house. Websites like Craigslist and Islandia Real Estate list long-term rental options.
Plan for Connectivity
- Stable and fast internet connection is critical for digital nomads. The islands generally have good connectivity, but it can be patchy in remote areas. Viya is a popular internet service provider in the Virgin Islands. Consider getting a local SIM card or a portable hotspot for a backup internet source.
- Given the high cost of living in the Virgin Islands, budgeting is crucial. Plan for accommodation, food, transportation, and leisure activities. Websites like Numbeo can give you an idea of the cost of living.
Healthcare and Insurance
- The Virgin Islands have healthcare facilities, but it’s recommended to have a good health insurance policy. Services like SafetyWing offer travel medical insurance for digital nomads.
Get to Know the Local Laws and Regulations
- Familiarize yourself with local laws, visa requirements, and tax regulations. U.S. citizens do not require a visa, but if you are from another country, check the U.S. visa requirements.
- Join local groups and meetups for digital nomads and expats. Websites like Meetup can help you connect with like-minded individuals.
Prepare for the Climate
- The Virgin Islands have a tropical climate with hurricane season typically running from June to November. It’s important to check the weather updates regularly and have a plan in case of emergencies. The National Hurricane Center provides regular weather updates and alerts.
- The Virgin Islands offer a unique blend of natural beauty, culture, and history. Take the time to explore the islands, try local cuisines, engage with the community, and immerse yourself in the local culture.
The Virgin Islands offer an alluring prospect for digital nomads. While they have their challenges, such as high living costs, they also offer unique benefits. It’s all about finding the right balance that suits your lifestyle and work needs.
What is the internet speed like in the Virgin Islands?
In major areas, the speed is adequate for most online work, but it can be slower in remote locations.
How is the digital nomad community in the Virgin Islands?
There’s a growing community, especially in St. Thomas and St. Croix.
What is the cost of living?
The cost of living can be high, particularly housing costs.
Is it safe for digital nomads in the Virgin Islands?
Generally, the islands are safe, but like any destination, it’s important to take common safety precautions.
How can I prepare for the hurricane season?
Keep an eye on weather updates, have a plan, and secure your accommodations.