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Ehi wait a sec! What about a Plan C?

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Portoferraio - Elba Island - Mediterranean Sea Do we really need a plan C?  Actually not, one back-up plan is normally more than enough unless you are NASA trying to send people on Mars and we definitely are not. The fact is that in the last weeks....maybe more months....thoughts went wild, focusing a lot on ocean conservation, minimalism, freedom, scuba diving as inner peace and self rediscovery experience. So these new ideas coming up are now slowly distancing us from a classic touristic model and moving to explore alternatives which are looking more at our impact on the environment, on our and others lives and less at how to get an income, even if low.. Plan C in fact starts from a totally different prospective. It is not about finding the best way to ensure a minimum income to be able to live sufficiently comfortable in a warm place with limited responsibilities. No, this plan starts from thinking which would be the best way to live with the minimum possible cost in a warm place wi

Malta - Scuba diving and more

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Malta is an Eurpean islands state, located in the center of the Mediterranean Sea between the North African coast and Sicily from which it distances only 80 Km. It actually comprises of three islands, Malta, Comino and Gozo with a population of less then 500k people on 316 square Km. Malta has an extremely rich history, starting from amazing prehistoric misterious temples till the WWII, passing through several invasions and the famous knights od Saint John's ruling. We just spent two weeks of our summer vacation in Malta where we equally divided our time between diving and sightseeing with just only few beach days in between. Diving is mainly from shore, the coast has very attractive and scenographic sea bottom landscapes with plenty of caves, fractures, arches and walls. There are lots of wrecks, some sunked on purpose within the maximum recreational depth limit of 40 meters  and others, generally deeper, as consequence of WWII battles or bad weather. On the contrary to our expect

Important Update!

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On the 19th of June 2022, Natasja passed her PADI instructor exam!!!!! 👌 Congratulations for such great achivement and for reaching an important milestone of our Calypso project! We are now officaly a couple of PADI DScuba Diving Instructors and looking forward to dedicate our lifes to make a difference in people by let them discover their inner adventure and the ocean beauty. As for evert PADI Scuba Diver Instructor, the exam weekend is a challengin and emotional intense moment of our life which we will remember forever. 

The Shortlist

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Two years, that's how long it took us to go through the 18 Caribbean countries initially selected as potential destinations and to shortlist them down to the most suitable ones for our project. During this time, we faced the difficult consequences of the pandemic restrictions but now we are seeing the energy people are putting in forgetting Covid-19 and moving forward from here. Such an enthusiastic restart is causing economical problems like heavy inflation due to shortage of resources and on top of htat everything is complicated by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Still the spirit of people remains extremely positive. It seems that the pandemic made us more resilient and less concerned about the uncertainties of the future. But now let’s go back to our shortlist. Two thirds of the original list have been discarded for various reasons which means we are now with 6 countries left. The places we have excluded are fantastic and in many aspects wonderful destinations but they simply

Trinidad and Tobago

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The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is the southernmost island country of the Caribbean. It consists of 2 main islands, Trinidad and Tobago and several smaller ones. Trinidad is only 11 km north of Venezuela coast. As many Caribbean islands, also Trinidad and Tobago changed hands several times during the colonial period till becoming independent by the British in 1962. One of the peculiarity of the islands is that 35% of the population has indian origins becasue of the labor immigration which was established after the end of slavery to work in the plantations. Nowadays, Trinidad and Tobago has the third GDP pro capita of the American continent after USA and Canada. Unlike most of the Caribbean countries, tourism does not have a significant contribution to the economy which is mainly based on the oil & gas business. Only in the recent years, the local government has started to develop some interest in boosting the tourism industry with is mainly confined to the island of Tobago.

Sint Maarten

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Sint Maarten is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherland located on the south of a Caribbean Island shared with France. The Dutch territory covers the 40% of the island where lives little more than 40,000 people. The island was divided by the Treaty of Condordia in 1648 and despite the border changed sixteen times due to fights, the sharing is still in place till today. Cotton, tobacco and sugar plantation had been the main island income till after the WWII, when in the 50s the iconic International Airport was opened and the tourism business took off. Today the island economy is based on tourism, employing 80% of the population. Cruise ships and luxurious hotel resorts are the main type of tourism sources. The island location is exposed to the hurricanes season and it has been hit more then ones with the last in 2017 causing extensive damages to 70% of the houses and loss of lives. The real estate opportunities are almost exclusively top high end villas and th

Sint Eustatius

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Sint Eustatius, also known as Statia, is an island of the Caribbean West Indies and it is a special municipality of The Netherlands, like Saba and Bonaire. Statia is located in between Saba in the North and Saint Kitts in the south and has of only 21 square Km where lives little more than 3,000 people. In its history, from the 17th century the island changed hands 21 times between the Netherlands, France and Britain but most of the time it was under Dutch ruling. In the 18th century, Sint Eustatius was the most important and richest settlement in the Carribean; The Golden Rock was its nickname and the population reached 30,000. The main and most profitable business was the selling of weapons and ammunitions to any interested party, and at the that time countries were almost continuously fighting each other.   The island has also a place in the American history thanks to the “First Salute”: in 1776 the American ship Andrew Doria was approaching Sint Eustatius to purchase munitions and

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

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Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is the island country of the Lesser Antilles laying between Saint Lucia on the North and Grenada on the South. The territory is composed by the main island of Saint Vincent with the capital Kingstown and a chain of 32 smaller islands many of which are inhabitated by a total population of 110,000 people. After an intial period when the islands were under French control, they has been maintly a British colony till the 1979 when they gained full indipendency. Nowadays Saint Vincent is a parlamentary democarcy and a constututional monarchy with Elizabeth II as Queen. Since its indipendance, the state had political stability without any major issues. Saint Vincent is a volcanic island with moist forest while southern islands has dryer forest ecosystems. In April 2021 the main volcano La Soufriere erupted, 16,000 people had to be evaquated and ashes covered part of the island. Climate is the typical tropical one, hot and humid with dry season from December to

Saint Lucia

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  Saint Lucia is an island country in the easter Caribbean where the Atlantic Ocean starts. The island surface is 617 square Kilometers where lives a population of around 180,000 people. The French were the first European to live and rule on the island till 1663, when England took it over for few years. After that there was a continuous change of power between the two counties, in total there were 14 changes in 150 years. In 1814, the British gain the definitive control which lasted until the island obtained the independence in 1979. Nowadays Saint Lucia is a two parties parliamentary democracy part of the Commonwealth real with the Elizabeth II as Queen of Saint Lucia. Geographically it is a volcanic island, one of the most mountainous of all the Caribbean, with tropical rainforest climate and the consequent two typical seasons: wet from June to December and dry from January to May. Qualibou is the name of the volcanic area where there are active sulfur springs which are o

Saint Kitts and Nevis

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The official name of Saint Kitts and Nevis island country is Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis. The territory consists of two main islands located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles. With a population slightly over 50,000 people and a surface of 261 square kilometres , Saint Kitts and Nevis is the smallest sovereign stated in the Western hemisphere. The islands were among the first to be colonized by Europeans and has been for long time a English and French settlement with a short period under Spain, until the 18th century when France renounced the control on the islands which became part of the British Kingdom. Saint Kitts and Nevis gain the full independence in 1983 and today it is a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as head of State. Basseterre is the capital. Both the islands are of volcanic origin and are covered by tropical rainforest, the costs are mostly flat which is where the vast majority of the population lives. Since  1970s, tourism saw a c

Saba

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  Saba is the smallest special municipality of The Netherlands and a small Caribbean island of 13 square kilometres where less than 2000 people are living permanently. Located in the northern Leeward islands of the West Indies, Saba is essentially composed by the potentially active volcano Mount Scenery which reaches 887 meters of altitude. Historically since the 17 th century, the island has always been under Dutch dominion apart from a period of 150 years under the British Kingdom which ended at the beginning of the 19 th century. During the British period, Saba was a hideout for Jamaican pirates often joined by English people who were send to the island because considered “undesirable” by the homeland authorities. After the Dutch regain control of the island in the 1816, the legitimate trading and sailing become the main activities till when stating in the 1960s tourism was steadily growing importance also thanks to the construction of an airport and a vessel pear. Nowadays touris

Grenada

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Grenada is an island country of the West Indies at the south end of Grenadines islands chain. Independent since 1974,  after being initially part of the Commonwealth, Grenada went through a decade of  coups and revolutionary governments which end with the invasion of U.S. forces. Since then the island returned within the Commonwealth with a relatively stable political situation. The territory is les than 350 SqrKm with a population of less than 125,000 people. The economy is mainly based on tourism and nutmeg export. Nutmeg is so much part of Grenada's culture and life that is it even depicted on the national flag Tourism is the largest source of foreign exchange mainly coming from North America and U.K., instead the amount of European tourists is very limited but that could represent an opportunity for our project. Diving tourism is considered an important part and the Grenada Tourism authority believe in the potential and it is investing and promoting it and supports projects rel

Dominican Republic

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The Dominican Republic is the sovereign country shearing the famous Hispaniola island with Haiti. It is the second larger country in the Antilles by area after Cuba and the third by population with more than 10 millions habitants speaking Spanish as official language. Santo Domingo is the well known capital. Dominican Republic is the most visited country of all the Caribbean thanks to its climate and the natural diversity. In the recent years, ecotourism has grown significantly bringing excellent progress in energy efficiency and waste recycling. Tourism together with agriculture contributed to develop the larger economy of the Caribbean which created a significant immigration flow from other Caribbean countries especially from the closed Haiti. Traditionally, Dominican Republic is not a scuba diving destination, the diving spots are relatively limited not because of poor marine life but mainly because traditionally the tourism industry focused on white beaches, resorts and

Dominica

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Officially "Commonwealth of ", Dominica is an island country of the Windwards island in the Lesser Antilles archipelago. Independent republic since 1978, the island has a past of French first and British later colony.  Main activity is cultivation and export of bananas, the economy is not well developed resulting in low GDP, one of the lowest in the Caribbean. The island natural environment is well preserved and in the recent years its rain forests, hot springs, waterfall and underwater life started to become attractive and the ecotourism has been growing while the absence of typical tropical beaches has kept traditional tourism low. Unfortunately the island is often hit by hurricanes which in the latest years have been increasing in frequency and force causing massive damages to the island with loss of human lives and destruction of infrastructures and economy. As positive consequence the Government is now determined to make Dominica the first "hurricanes proof" co

Curacao

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 Curacao, the C of the ABC islands, is where this project actually started.  We spent two wonderful weeks there and we met several people who emigrated there because tired of ordinary life and they all inspired us to look for an alternative way of living. The island is a former Dutch colony with an independent Government but still part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The fact that Curacao is independent but with a strong link with Europe represents an advantage because for us immigration procedures would be simpler than other Caribbean countries and at the same time we would enjoy the Caribbean relaxed management stile (including of course the issues). In addition to that, the positive aspects are great scuba diving sites, mostly shore dive, reasonably priced real estate, away from hurricanes area, increasing support to sustainability and ocean conservation policies, good potential for environmentally conscious tourism coming from Europe. So while we will keep exploring all the oppo

Bonaire

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Bonaire is the B of the well known ABC islands which are the three Leeward Antilles islands former Dutch colonies. Actually Bonaire is formally a special municipality of country of The Netherlands. The island is consider one of the top dive destination worldwide and in particular Bonaire is famous for being THE location for shore diving since no other place has so many dive sites reachable by shore. All the island is basically dedicated to diving tourism. mostly coming from North America, in fact beside the cruises tourists, almost all staying-over tourists are linked to diving. Compared with Curacao, Bonaire is smaller and offer not much more beside diving which is an aspect to consider well because it could be too limiting for a long period living. Additionally the island is in fact The Netherlands and this is not matching the idea to live in another country. Real estate prices are relative more expensive than the other two ABC islands, possibly due to the fact that the amount of acc

Barbados

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Barbados is an independent island Country of 432 sq Km in the Lesser Antilles with a population of less than 300,000 people, part of the Commonwealth.  Independent since 1966, Barbados is expected to remove the Queen and to become a republic  by November 2021. The capital of this former British colony is Bridgetown. The economy is mixed and well developed. Historically, the local economy was based on sugar cane cultivation but gradually tourism and finance became the main drivers. In the recent years, Barbados attracted an average of 1,2M tourists equally divided between cruises and stayovers. Almost 90% of the tourists came from UK and North America, very few from Europe and almost exclusively from Germany. Due to hurricanes season, the tourism peaks between December and April and in July. Stayovers accommodation is mainly in hotels and resort even though the offer of houses and apartment is growing. The prices of real estate properties are middle-high but it seems possibl

The Bahamas

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The Bahamas, officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a country within the Lucayan Archipelago of the West Indies in the Caribbean and consists of more than 700 islands. A former British colony, independent since 1973, and a very well known tourist destination. More than half of its GDP is coming from tourism which employ as well more than 50% of Bahamas population. Quite some years ago, we had our first Caribbean holiday there in a Club Med resort which does not exist anymore and it was fantastic. Despite Bahamas is a wonderful place with excellent diving opportunities, it will not be one of our project potential destination since its tourism is based for more than 70% on cruise ships and the rest on luxurious resorts. The real estate choice is limited to very expensive high end residences. The present Bahamas economical model of tourism is a bit too far from our idea of sustainable and personally tailored vacation experience...so let's move on.  

Aruba

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Aruba is an arid and relatively small (30Km x 8Km) island and a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Southern Caribbean Sea. The planned full independence were never reached and actually rescinded in 1995. Together with Bonaire and Curacao forms a group of islands called ABC Islands and they are part of Dutch Caribbean. Total population is estimated around 116.000, official languages are Dutch and Papamiento but English is widely spoken. Tourism and related activities counts for two thirds of the island gross national product. In the recent years, Aruba had around 1,000,000 stay-over tourists, 75% of which coming from North America and around 10% form Europe. The Cruise tourism brings more 800.000 passengers visiting the island. From a real estate point of view, there is a good availability of houses with value for money. The tourism is more hotel oriented than rental houses but there are opportunities especially with reference to European tourists.

Starting list

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Making selections is always difficult but unavoidable. We have decided to limit our selection only at independent Caribbean States and Dutch territories. In principle, we excluded French territories because we prefer to not study another language while US and UK territory due to immigration policies which would make difficult to obtain our residence permit. As result, we have to choose between the following: Antigua and Barbuda Aruba The Bahamas Barbados Bonaire Curacao Dominica Dominican Republic Grenada Haiti Jamaica Saba Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Vincent and the Granadines Sint Eustatius Sint Maarten Trinidad and Tobago Starting in alphabetic order, we are going to study all those Caribbean States. We will look at the geography, the climate, the diving peculiarities, the government, the immigration policies, the environment polices, the tourism business characteristics and the real estate market. At the end, we will see how many of this 18 destination have the potentia