With gorgeous turquoise waters, warm climate, white sandy beaches, and a vibrant mixture of Spanish, African, Creole, and European cultures, the Caribbean region is a magnet for those who want to vacation or live there and enjoy everything it has to offer. There are many opportunities to do either volunteer or paid work in many of the countries that make up the region. If you’ve been considering volunteering or working in the Caribbean, there is some information you need to know before setting out on your next adventure.
There are various organizations in western countries such as the U.S., U.K., and Canada that send people to the Caribbean to volunteer to work on various projects and other humanitarian missions. Some of these groups are faith-based, while others are non-religious.
Gapforce is a wildlife conversation group based in the U.K. aimed at gap-year and university students who work alongside scientists to study the Andros reef system in the Bahamas. Global Volunteers does two-week humanitarian programs in Cuba and St. Lucia while Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit non-governmental organization whose main focus is on affordable housing projects the world over.
There are various Christian–based volunteer programs in the Caribbean, one of the most well-known being Global Ministries and the Latin American Missions program, which focuses heavily on projects in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti.
Before signing on, research the organization you’re interested in working with to ensure that they are legitimate. Also, keep in mind that you will most likely have to pay your own way to and from your destination and that many volunteers organizations will charge you a fee to volunteer with their programs.
There are many benefits to volunteering. In addition to spending time in the tropics, you’re lending your time and skills to citizens of developing nations and learning about an entirely different culture!
Working in a boat crew
Well-paying employment opportunities in the Caribbean region are few and far between. Most of these nations are dealing with high unemployment rates and have strict work visa requirements for foreigners.
One job that is plentiful on the islands is being part of a crew on either a yacht, fishing or commercial vessel. The major advantage of working as a boat hand or crewmate is that the boats are always moving from one island to the next, which makes your work situation flexible and helps avoid immigration hassles. To find such jobs, check online boards or visit marina towns and cities in Florida such as Miami and Fort Lauderdale and talk to yacht crews who frequently travel and work throughout the Caribbean. Crew Finders (U.K.) and Crew Seekers (U.S) are agencies whose specific mandate is to place workers with boat and yacht crews in the Caribbean.
There are many opportunities to teach English in the Caribbean, although most are not so well-paying. Before searching for a job, you are advised to earn your TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification. The best countries in the Caribbean to teach English are Montserrat, the Dominican Republic, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Ready to explore the Caribbean? These articles can be helpful: