While the cost of living in Trinidad and Tobago is relatively high, the standard of living is also above average. There is some crime, but this is typically gang-related and as such shouldn’t affect expats too much. Education and healthcare are both provided free and the nation has a decent infrastructure, as well as a good job market, making Trinidad and Tobago an attractive place for expats to move to.
Trinidad and Tobago has both public and private healthcare available, and, at least for the former, insurance is not required for residents due to a healthcare tax on income. There are a number of major public hospitals, as well as smaller, more regional clinics, and services are usually provided on a walk-in basis.
The Ministry of Health sets the policy for healthcare and is charged with ensuring goals are met and policies are adhered to. Many prescription drugs for chronic illnesses such as diabetes, depression, asthma and glaucoma are provided free of charge.
Trinidad and Tobago has incredibly impressive education statistics, with a literacy rate over 98%. This high percentage may be down to education being both wholly free and compulsory from age 5–16. Even more impressive is that primary and secondary school meals, books and transport are also free for students.
The education system is similar to the British system, with pre-school, primary, and secondary divisions and exams that equate to the UK General Certificate of Secondary Education. Unusually, university is also free up to the level of Bachelor’s degree and there are a number of institutions to choose from, including the University of the West Indies and the University of Trinidad and Tobago.
There are various private and religious schools available for fees, as well as a number of international schools to be found in Trinidad and Tobago, mainly in Port of Spain. So expatriates planning life in Trinidad and Tobago will find plenty of options if moving with children.
Trinidad and Tobago benefits from an extensive road and highway network, all of which is paved. Expats living in Trinidad and Tobago can drive with a valid international driver’s permit for the first 3 months of their stay. After that, they’ll need to get a national license.
With no functioning railways, road is the only way to get around on the islands, and as such, some traffic calming measures have been introduced. There is a priority bus route for the government-run bus service, known as PTSC. There are also private taxis and minibuses, also called maxi-taxis, which typically run along predetermined routes with some exceptions.
The roads in and around the cities can get busy at rush hours, so expatriates working in Trinidad will find taking the bus is preferable. There is a daily ferry service between the two islands, which takes three hours. The ferry is cheap and takes cars. There is a water taxi that takes large numbers of passengers down the coast from Port of Spain to San Fernando, which is another great way to beat the traffic.