From weather, to stability, to security, and affordability, there's a great deal to consider. Scroll down and expand (-/+) to see a variety of topics that may interest you.
The territories most likely to get hit by a hurricane are:
Eastern Caribbean (also known as the Lesser Antilles), Northern Caribbean (Turks and Caicos, Bahamas), and Central America (Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua)
Hurricanes typically sweep west-ward every year, between May to October, and then move northbound along the eastern seaboard of North America.
Hurricanes also can sweep straight across the lower-Caribbean and move into Central America ( Honduras, Belize, Mexico)
As a result of these patterns, the North Coast of The Dominican Republic never gets hit by a hurricane. However, the same is not true for the South Coast or the East Coast of the Hispaniola Island. As a result, it is not advisable to buy property in Punta Cana or Romana, Dominican Republic.
The five most dangerous territories, for violence and crime are:
Bahamas, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts, Trinidad & Tobago
In Central America, there’s no shortage of crime either:
Belize City is 6th most violent city in the world, and they have over 22 gangs.
The murder capital of the world is in Honduras, and their justice system is ranked amongst the worst in the world.
Guatemala, Mexico & El Salvador are known to be gang infested and deeply corrupt.
Although it’s true that foreigners are generally safe in the Caribbean, and most crime is found amongst the locals, amongst gang members, or in large urban centres, most foreigners want to feel safe going to local establishments, walking down the street, and going about day to day activities.
The Dominican Republic receives 5 Million tourists a year, and increasing every year, making this the top destination for traffic and travellers in all of the Caribbean. With that volume of traffic, and an absence of reports of violence against foreigners, you can be confident that you will be safe in the Dominican Republic.
Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras
You cannot even consider these as viable countries to live in.
Cuba and Venezuela are communist and not open to foreigners at this time. Even though the Cuban embargo has ended officially, it will be a long time before this island is stabilized and normalized.
Haiti has the lowest standard of living in the Western Hemisphere.
El Salvador and Guatemala are extremely dangerous countries.
Honduras is an emerging country, but they have a long way to go. They have some nice new resorts opening up on Roatan. But, on the Lottery of Life index (where to be born), Honduras does not even earn a spot in the top 80 countries. Nigerian ranks higher! Besides, the murder capital of the world is in Honduras.
Some territories and islands are more expensive than others.
Turks & Caicos, Bahamas, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, St. Barts, St. Martin / St. Maarten, Aruba.
Real Estate is expensive on many small islands because there is actually a lack of property. Oddly enough, the smallest islands with the most expensive property prices are probably not islands that you would want to live in year round, because there's not much to do if you want to lead an active life.
All but 6 countries in the Caribbean have a population under 400,000. Those 6 countries are:
Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Jamaica, and Dominican Republic
On these small islands, it’s easy to get bored. These countries fall in the category “nice to visit, don’t move there”
Most of these countries cannot be accessed via direct flights from Canadian cities throughout the entire calendar year.
Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama
Nicaragua is an emerging territory for expats.
Panama is quite urban and you might just feel that you live in a hot and muggy city, as opposed to more beautiful Caribbean destinations.
Costa Rica is an established country, that’s safer than its neighbours, and quite frankly, a very nice territory for homeowners.
The flight to Costa Rica is 5 ½ hours from Toronto, and farther if you have to travel first to Toronto.
The Pacific Coast beaches are different than the Caribbean. They have black sand, murky and choppy water that is generally colder than Caribbean water.
Dominican is the only country in the Caribbean that has substantial infrastructure and tourism year round
This is also the ONLY Caribbean country that has a population over 400,000 and is NOT in the Top 5 most dangerous countries (excluding Cuba and Haiti).
The North Coast of Dominican is very attractive because this territory does not get hit by hurricanes
Dominican Republic is the top tourist destination in the Caribbean. Over 5 million tourists visit every year, and there are direct flights year round.
Due to the history of tourism, this country has impressive infrastructure, modern roads and airports.
Dominican Republic is a stable democracy with stable banks.
This country has pristine beaches and over 300 days of ideal sunny weather per year. Dominican Republic has it all.