Considering a future move to STX
Hi everyone! Would love advice from people who have relocated, etc.
My husband and I are both in our 30's without kids and have dreamed a long time of living in the Caribbean. We would love to move while we are still active and not wait until we reach our 60's (retirement age) to live our dream. We are just ready for something different and to break out of the norm of suburban life in the States. We both love snorkeling, sailing, swimming, diving, etc. We have previously traveled to PR, STT, STJ, and the BVI's. While we loved sailing in the BVI's we weren't crazy about Tortola and STT was way too crowded and touristy. We loved STJ but I do not think we could relocate there--too sleepy and remote. My job is not dependant on location (I'm a social media and marketing consultant for businesses all over the world) and my husband may be able to find something in STX or work remotely like myself.
I've done a lot of research and so far STX sounds like it would be our kind of place. We love good food, a laid back atmosphere, and the beach. Not to mention the housing prices in STX are very similar to what we currently pay (we live on the NC Coast in Wilmington, NC). We are not scared off by crime as again where we currently live has a reputation for crime but like most places you just have to be aware and street smart.
Would love to know other people's relocation experiences. Do you think STX would be a good fit for us? We would love to make friends with with other transplants or locals...are there plenty of fun people to hang out with? A good community vibe? We have two medium to large sized dogs--did any of you move with your pets? How did you make that work?
We are planning on visiting in March for a Pre-Move Visit of sorts (though if we move it would probably be a couple years--just so we could save money, etc).
Sorry to be so long winded! Thanks 🙂
I would suggest a PMV for as long as you can afford it. If you work from the internet make it a couple of months.
People usually tend to love it or hate it. First people we met there was someone we met because of this board. They had been there a year, he loved it and she could not wait until his year was up with his job so they could leave.
Another pair of friends we met in AZ who wanted to move there came down for a twp week PMV and never left. They cashed in their return tickets, had a realtor sell their house and had friends bring their cats.
Had friends there who were there for 10 plus years but moved away when their son was about ready to start school as they didn't want him in public school ( that will start another argument) and couldn't afford private school.
If and when you move, rent for at least a year!!!!
That will give you a chance to see if you really want to be there and what part of the island is for you.
We have been going there for 10 years and own a condo. We were going to move and even bought a piece of ;land ( forget what I said about renting for a year, and buy my land. LOL!!!) but when my daughter started having kids at 40, my wife now won't move as she wants to be here wit them.
] Read all old posts on this board as there is a wealth of info. Some color the place with rose colored glasses and some seem to hate every thing there, so you need to take the middle as there is a lot of great things there and a lot of bad.
If poor government is a sore point for you, you will not like it. Same as poor service, power bills, poor internet connection and cell service in some areas, and limited shopping.
But most of the people there are very friendly, the weather is great, as are the beaches and water.
My wife and kids are in the same boat. We are moving to STX from Austin in July. I wrote an article for The Virgin Island Consortium about the topic and our recent visit to St. Croix. Good luck!
Robb-- your article was SO great. I think you and your wife would be kindred spirits to my husband and I. We have always dreamed of owning a boat and living on an island (and I also love photography).It is so nice to know there are other people in our age group who are thinking along the same lines and don't think we are crazy for wanting to uproot our lives. ts too bad we won't cross paths in March when we come visit. I'll definitely keep following your blog. Maybe we'll meet you guys sometime in the near future. 🙂
My wife and I are very similar to you and your husband it seems. I'm in my 30's, she's a bit younger than me. We had visited the Bahamas out islands a few times and loved the island life and hoped to retire there one day. Then a job opening came up within the company that I work for and we decided to go for it. I got the job and we moved with our 2 dogs and cat. STX is perfect we feel. You get the island life but without a big "touristy" feel so far. The people have been friendly and welcoming to us.
My wife was able to get a job within a few days of getting here after corresponding with a few places for weeks before we moved. We decided to live on the West side of the island. We have loved it all so far. We've met a few people that live on either the East or West end and NEVER visit the other end of the island. That's not us but thought that was very interesting. We decided to rent for the first year and have begun hunting for a house to buy at this point. We brought our 2 dogs and a cat all of which were small enough to take as carry on pets on the plane. I was able to secure our rental place a couple months before moving when down for an interview visit.
We are avid scuba divers and snorkelers and love the active part of the beach. We will go sit on the beach and read books every now and then but would rather be diving, snorkeling or swimming.
We have met some people on the island, mostly transplants but some lifelong Crucians. We haven't felt unwelcome or in danger at any point so far living here.
You will need a good amount of liquid assets to make the move happen. You'll need to ship a car or buy one once on island plus all the costs that go with the registration and swapping over your license. Money for a place, first/last month, security deposit. Money to ship your goods down if you choose but many places come furnished so that's not a necessity. Always good to have a few months backup money in case employment doesn't happen right away and most jobs on island do not pay well so you working remotely with your job is a plus.
My wife and I are fairly new yet being here less than a year but feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions.
Welcome mgspencer10. I suggest a 1-week PMV for most people, especially If you've never been to STX before, so you're not stuck here for longer if you decide it's not for you. Just treat it more like a research trip and less like a vacation. If you're researching properly, there's not much you'll learn in the second or third week that you didn't figure out in the first week.
Don't buy a house of condo in the first year. Just rent until you're sure you like it here. However, pets will limit your choice of rentals.
It's easy to meet people here, if you're not shy about striking up a conversation with strangers at bars, restaurants, or wherever. People here are pretty friendly like that. There are plenty of social opportunities.
Thanks so much TommySTX! It sounds like you two are very similar to us. Maybe when we come in March for our PMV we could meet up and pick your brains a little about your experience living in STX. Its nice to know there are so many like minded people in STX. Thanks again for the encouragement!
I second both Tommy STX and STXBob's recommendations. A P.M.V. as a tourist will not help. A proper research will make all the difference. Mingle, walk around, drive around, ask, buy the STX Avis, visit both towns, visit (Call or e-mail) the shipping companies, etc. A back up plan, if you decide STX is your place, in case things do not turn out as you expected is highly recommended...
Best wishes always... (tu)
Thank you mgspencer! Everyone thought we were crazy too. I think that is normal. We wish you well and I think that St. Croix is a wonderful location to raise a happy family and live a good life. Stay in touch and let's get together when you make the move!
My wife and I are also in the planning stages of putting together a move to STX! This forum is a very good place to see and hear both positive and negative aspects. I visit here regularly for info and updates. We are also planning a week to go down to STX for some exploring and getting info as well!! Hope it all works out!
Our experience and interests are very similar to Tommy and Bob, and yours except that we just retired, and moved here on January 1! We had made several trips previously, the first primarily as a vacation, but an exploratory one. The second was more on the exploratory side. We, on the other hand, have a sailboat that we intend to bring down next fall, and we can live on the boat. However, we did fall in love with a lot that overlooks the Caribbean and Buck Island, so we bought it. We, too, spent a lot of times in the Bahamas, and thought that was where we were going to retire. However, we did notice that we did not care for the tourist orientation, and constantly getting hit on to tour condos or buy jewelry by pushy street "agents". It was almost an afterthought that we started looking into St. Croix, and the more we learned, the more we liked the idea. Aside from the obvious advantages of a Caribbean island (and by the way, anything farther north is in the Atlantic, not the Caribbean), it is off the beaten path, it is a U.S. Territory, and is serviced by The United States Coast Guard, Social Security, Medicare, and a surprising number of mainland stores like Home Depot, KMart, McDonalds, Subway, etc.
Expect to pay higher prices. Gasoline is about $1.50 higher than the mainland, and food prices I would say are 30 to 50% higher, on average.
Others have pretty well covered the other issues. We have heard a lot about either loving it or hating it. We fall in the "Loving It" camp, and can't imagine feeling any other way.
Best of luck!