Levels of literacy across the Lesser Antilles are generally very high, with Barbados boasting a literacy rate of almost 100%, putting it in the top five countries worldwide.
The education system across the islands is generally based on the British model of education. Pupils attend infant, primary and secondary schools, with the option to go on to university and college. Living in the Lesser Antilles often means attending compulsorily education up to the age of 16, and there are schools that provide free education. On some of the islands, entry into the education system can start from as young as two and a half years old, although this is not compulsory.
There are universities providing education across the islands. Some are expensive and some are cheaper. Dominica has a medical school, the Ross University, which has been operating since 1978. Trinidad and Tobago have a number of large-scale universities, including the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago, University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) and the University of the Southern Caribbean (USC).
There is a good road network across many of the islands, but if you live in the Lesser Antilles, you must watch out for roads that are poorly maintained. It is important to look out for potholes and other rough conditions to avoid expensive complications. Roads away from the motorway can be narrow and cramped. Honking of horns on roads when you live in the Lesser Antilles is not a sign of aggression, but a way of greeting other drivers.
Expats living in the Lesser Antilles must drive on the left hand side of the road and an international driver’s license is required to drive an owned or hired vehicle on the roads. On many of the islands, there is no legal restriction on driving under the influence of alcohol.
There are airports on most of the larger islands on the Lesser Antilles, although not all islands have regular international flights and this should be checked in advance.
There’s a real variety in rates of crime depending on where you plan to live in the Lesser Antilles. Islands such as Anguilla, Antigua, Barbuda and Dominica have relatively low rates of crime. Elsewhere, islands such as Trinidad and Tobago (with one of the world highest murder rates), Barbados and Curaçao have a higher rate of crime.
Regular precautions for expats living in the Lesser Antilles, such as not walking alone at night or along empty streets, and keeping expensive valuables out of sight, should be taken. On the higher risk islands, foreign visitors and expats should take extra precautions.