The True Cost of Island Living

Photo Credit: ISLANDS magazine

Photo Credit: ISLANDS magazine

When you’re considering a move to St. Croix, cost of living is obviously something to research.  While you will find a couple of pain points (namely cost of electricity and some groceries), island life is financial feasible for most people.  It is sometimes less expensive than living stateside, because many spending options are simply eliminated.  Although that counts out Caribbean life for some people, for many it is a refreshing change to a simple life a little closer to nature, where value is placed on what is really important.  Island living is about less commercialism and consumerism, with more focus on experiences and relationships.


Housing costs on island are reasonable and comparable to the states (depending on from where you are moving).  While the housing may be more modest in some ways (you won’t find crown molding in most island homes) it may come with a breathtaking ocean view.  The topography of St. Croix is ideal to give many people a view of the water and not just the lucky few who have oceanfront property.


Many people on St. Croix chose to drive what is lovingly referred to as an “island car.”  These are generally five years or older (most closer to 10), with more than 100,000 miles and in less than ideal condition.  Because many island roads are in rough shape with many pot holes, most people prefer to drive a vehicle they don’t care much about doing damage to (Jeep Wranglers / Cherokees and similar sport utility vehicles are popular).  Garages or car ports are rare in island homes, so most vehicles sit in the sun full-time.  Lastly there are no automatic car washes on-island, so unless you want to wash your vehicle by hand or hire that service done, car paint is subject to the salty air.


There are some amazing restaurants on island which are worth every cent for the dining experience (Galangal, Savant, Salud Bistro, The Galleon and Dashi just to name a few).  But in terms of fast food, St. Croix only has a few options (McDonald’s, Subway, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Wendy’s and Little Caesar’s).  So there’s not the constant temptation to your stomach and wallet of grab-and-go food and drinks that you have stateside.  Delicious food trucks and roti stands? Yes.  Chain fast food?   Not so much.


The only major chain stores you’ll find on St. Croix are Kmart and Home Depot.  No malls to speak of and even the strip centers are sparsely populated with stores.  While some nice boutiques exist in Christiansted for clothing and accessories, binge shopping is really not an option.  Even online shopping is limited by the select few vendors who will ship here.

Ready to live where no one cares what model you drive, label you wear or brand you carry?  Download our free guide the 10 Best Reasons for Living on St. Croix.