Top 5 Ways to Move to Jamaica and Live On a Tropical Island in the Caribbean

Top 5 Ways to Move to Jamaica and Live On a Tropical Island in the Caribbean

Believe it or not quite a few people who call Jamaica home are those from other countries who simply decided living on a tropical island sounded like a pretty good idea! Many who came for just a short time changed their minds and have never left. Between visions of balmy, breezy Caribbean nights, the lilting Jamaican accent, reggae music in the air and long stretches of white sandy beaches and water of shifting shades of blue, it’s easy to see why this is a fairly common fantasy. The thing is, this is a fantasy you can actually make a reality.

Here are just a few ways you can join the ones who figured out how to embrace the island life and make it their own.

Volunteer for a Year

Volunteering in Jamaica is a great way to have the experience of a lifetime and even to try living in another country for a while without making it a permanent decision. Can't even quite commit to a year? There are opportunities from 7 days to spending the Christmas season on the island, where you get to interact with locals in a real way with programs such as Musicians Without Borders in Trenchtown, operating in one of the iconic birthplaces of the reggae music of Bob Marley and the Wailers. There are more traditional programs that have been around for a long time such as the internationally recognized Peace Corps and other individual projects that will have you teaching kindergarten, coaching sports, building homes and otherwise contributing to enhancing your life and the lives of others.

*Always do your research to ensure any program you sign up with is reputable and has safety measures and assurances in place


Study the Island Life

With University campuses across the island why not spend a year studying in Jamaica? Simply plug in the phrase ‘study in Jamaica’ and programs from going to University in Jamaica for a semester, the opportunity for ESL study to a summer internship will pop up. There is even the possibility of not having to take a break from your chosen degree as the tertiary level programs on the island are quite comprehensive, including study internship opportunities in Jamaica in fields as varied as Dentistry and Marine Biology, which of course offers you the best argument to give anyone who thinks running away to live on an island could be considered 'irresponsible'. We know better though don't we?


Help Others Find Their Zen
Are you a yoga teacher or dance instructor? Why not help yourself while helping others find their inner peace or express their natural creative spirit. Teaching yoga in Jamaica or other wellness fields like Pilates, meditation or even belly dancing has more of a market than you may realize. With yoga retreats occurring year round in Jamaica as well as yoga centers dotting the island, you could experience a new part of the country every other week. You could also manage how long you would like to stay, a week, a month, a winter or even find a way to live for a year in Jamaica, it’s up to you! Best of all, you're almost guaranteed to find yourself in the most stunning scenic spots the island has to offer from yoga at sunrise or sunset on the 7 mile beach in Negril to overlooking the city of Kingston from the cool verandah of Strawberry Hill Hotel. You can also check out teaching yoga classes at hotels across Jamaica, who often offer comprehensive fitness and wellness programs, so who knows, with the right paperwork you could be saying Namaste every day on any one of the beautiful properties on the island.


Get a Job
Yes, you can join the ever growing community of expats that live, play and work in Jamaica all year round. From Negril in the west to the pulsating capital city of Kingston, citizens of countries like England, Ireland, Spain, Germany, the USA, Canada, Nigeria, China and so many more can be found behind counters and in offices during the week and hanging out on the postcard worthy beaches on the weekends along with all the locals. You can try for a job in Jamaica with a local company or the easier route is to work for a company in your own country which does postings for job positions on the island or seek out work projects in Jamaica. Some may be permanent moves while others are contractual. The transition will be easier and you'll have logistical support along with the potential to pack up and move elsewhere to continue exploring the world if you ever get sick of living in paradise (inconceivable, we know!)


Retire to the TropicsFor many retirees who have spent their working days in places like England or the USA, savings can stretch a long way in Jamaica due to the favorable exchange rate. People who have income from a pension or investment or who have means of financial support can also apply for residency status and US citizens can spend up to 6 months in Jamaica, which makes it the perfect spot for a second home. Live half the year or all year round in paradise at only a portion of the cost of back home. Becoming a resident of Jamaica is fairly easy if you meet these criteria and, even if you only spend half of the year on the island, retirement in Jamaica is still an attainable prospect.

Tips On How To Work In Jamaica

Working requirements for those hoping for employment in Jamaica are dependent on the work you are choosing to do, the length of time of the contract, your potential employer and your nationality.

Although the government of Jamaica recognizes that there may be expertise needed for economic development and a shortage of certain skill sets on the island, the hiring of non-Jamaican nationals in Jamaica is governed by the Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment) Act. This act dictates that Jamaicans are given first consideration for postings before being offered to foreigners.

Commonwealth citizens may apply for work permits after they arrive on the island while non-commonwealth citizens (such as Americans) have to apply prior to arrival. 

For full details on applying for a work permit visit the Ministry of Labour and Social Security at


Ministry of Labour and Social Security

Head Office

1F North Street


Tel: (876) 922 9500-14

Regional Office in Montego Bay

4 Sam Sharpe Square

Tel: (876) 971 4313/952-2327


So, whether you've been to Jamaica before on vacation and liked what you saw and want to discover more or you're an adventure seeking soul ready for the next exploratory chapter of your life's journey, consider running away to an island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea.

Jamaica awaits you.