I have seen in other posts that island life is not for everyone. I am considering STT and I would like to hear some downsides or drawbacks of island life other than the cost of living. I am trying to understand things that a statesider might not be aware. Thank you for sharing your experiences.
drawbavks / downside of island life
Reduce selection in the stores (food, non-food) compared to stateside. You can order some things, there are a few online retailers that will ship to VI and some for free. Island Time- "Tomorrow" doesn't always mean tomorrow, just not today. Crime is everywhere, not just on an island but there are those that may say the crime rate per capita is higher. But that is still dependent on specific locations/areas. Cars will get tired faster, especially brakes on STT. Health care will also be more limited and health insurance non-existent unless employer provided or you are non-US citizen. No snow. Downtown is mobbed on cruise ship days. No highways on STT. Potholes. Hurricanes. Seemingly random (but not typically very long) power outages during fair weather. Skeeters. Limited employment opportunities. Home Depot closes at 8PM.
These are the facts, whether they are truly downsides or just part of the price to pay for paradise is still somewhat personal opinion.
Rock fever. The sense that creeps up over time where you realize that you are essentially stuck on a small rock in the middle of the ocean with 40,000 other people and there's no easy way to escape it. Airplane or boat are your only options. Stateside you can feel like you can drive for two hours and be somewhere else. Not so on an island. This bothers some more than others and can be most pronounced when a hurricane is approaching and you are unable to get out of the way.
Crime. People tend to focus on the violent crimes of murders and mugging, but I find the petty day to day thefts and burglaries the most annoying. I have lived on STX long enough now to have the majority of my friends and myself have suffered from one theft or another, be it a car break-in, a home break-in, items grabbed from the driveway or patio in broad daylight, or an armed mugging or carjacking. It is tiring to constantly have to think ahead of thieves. Or else you do as some do leave everything unlocked and when something is stolen you don't sweat it.
-- same people you see everyday wherever you go (although this may be seen as a plus by some)
-- very few options for sports (other than water sports)
-- very few options for entertainment (other than live music)
-- very few options for professional career (other than service industry)
-- certain racial tensions
-- certain tribal/clannish mentality
-- necessity to be a "good member of the community", even if you don't feel like it
-- the persistent feeling that you are among the fugitives from Babylon
-- the feeling that you will always be a guest on the island that belongs to the "natives"
-- mosquitoes in a mind-twisting quantity and intensity
-- huge insects in your house
-- scary tropical diseases
-- substandard medical care
-- the abject poverty and despair evident among the locals
-- driving is a chore (because of the terrain and bad roads)
-- necessity to embrace/adapt to a different culture
-- possibility of living without electricity for months
-- less bang for your buck (35% higher cost of living, 40% lower wages/salaries)
-- never ending home/car invasions
-- the realization that criminals are blood-related to cops and politicians
-- the realization that since 1980s, the VI population has decreased (i.e., people move out), implying that if you want to move in, you are probably going against common sense and/or market forces
The state of education and limited schooling options. I hardly see any mainland families with children moving down here. Plenty of young pple working service industry and retirees.
What I miss the most is being able to go out in the evening and stroll with other people through downtown, stop for icecream, get a drink at the open air bar, do some window shopping. I just do not feel safe after dark in downtown Ch. A.
I have to regularly escape to San Juan where I can soak in local nightlife of Condado or Old San Juan.