What’s the work/life balance like in Antigua? ‘Work hard, beach hard.’
That’s according to musician and videographer Louisa Cohen, who moved from London to the Caribbean paradise island for a few months during lockdown using a new company that takes all the heavy lifting out of the transition – Work Mango.
It finds schools and properties for clients – and even screenshots a speed test of the Wi-Fi for them.
What’s the work/life balance like in Antigua? ‘Work hard, beach hard.’ That’s according to musician Louisa Cohen, who moved from London to the Caribbean paradise island courtesy of relocation service Work Mango
The relocation service operates in Antigua and Barbuda, and Barbados, and was founded by Ronald Mind, who ‘took the plunge’ in March 2020 and moved to Antigua with his family.
He said: ‘The idea was born out of wanting to pass on the lessons I’d learned through my personal experiences, cutting out months of research for anyone else wanting to take the plunge too.
‘I wanted to offer a service to city dwellers looking for a bit of an adventure, but who still needed to attend to their business day-to-day.
‘I’ve done all the heavy lifting and have assembled an incredible team on the ground, to ensure all Work Mango members can make the transition from city life to island life with ease. In short, I’ve thought of every detail so that my members don’t have to.’
This two-bed, two-bath beachfront property in Antigua’s Dickenson Bay costs around $3,000 (£2,160) a month through Work Mango
So how does the service work?
Customers first sign up to become Work Mango members – it’s $495 (£356) a year for individuals, $850 (£612) for couples and $1,500 (£1,080) per annum for families.
Then Work Mango sets them up with a new temporary life in the Caribbean – the minimum stay is three months – and becomes the point of contact for all arrangements, including funnelling payments, from which it takes a 10 per cent cut.
As well as sourcing schools and properties, Work Mango helps with booking travel, visa applications and throws in an airport meet and greet service, housekeeping, gym membership, tennis membership, access to a ‘meeting and hangout space’ and more.
The view from Work Mango’s $3,000-a-day Dickenson Bay property
The spacious living room area of the Dickenson Bay property
Extras that can be arranged include private chefs, tours, food shopping and a butler service.
It can even help you let out your property at home if you live in London or New York.
Work Mango says: ‘You do not have to worry about anything other than getting here. We’ll take care of the rest.’
The firm offers accommodation in three ‘zones’ – among locals in the middle of the island (the cheapest option); near, but not on, the beach with sea views; and on a beachfront – the most expensive option.
You do not have to worry about anything other than getting here. We’ll take care of the rest
But how expensive is ‘expensive’?
A two-bed, two-bath beachfront property in Antigua’s Dickenson Bay costs around $3,000 (£2,160) a month through Work Mango, while a four-bed, four-bath sea-view property with a pool and a large garden costs between £3,500 and £6,500 a month.
Not cheap, but the equivalent in London would be between £8,000 and £12,000 per month.
Education is also less costly – certainly compared to London prices.
Ronald said he was paying £1,400 per month for a pre-school in the Highgate area of London for three days, but now pays ‘£700 a term’ for what he ‘considers to be a better pre-school for five days a week’.
He argued that even with the commission, a good Work Mango life in the Caribbean works out as great value for money.
Work Mango membership costs $495 (£356) a year for individuals, $850 (£612) for couples and $1,500 (£1,080) per annum for families. Pictured is Antigua’s Pigeon Beach
And customers that swapped the UK for Antigua at the end of last year and the beginning of 2021 agree.
The aforementioned Louisa described her typical day in Antigua: ‘Up at sunrise (6am). Meditation/coffee/yoga. Jumped on work quite quickly – wanted to be done with most tasks by 2pm so we could hit the beach for a couple of hours. Late lunch, exploring new beach clubs and venues each time, followed by some creativity for me. Dinner was normally early and light back at the house since we were early risers out there.’
She said that her time in Antigua cured her insomnia, with all the extra Vitamin D and bright mornings helping to ‘reset her sleep cycle’. She added: ‘I also felt able to exercise comfortably. No more cold lockdown runs in the UK.’
London-based Billy Hai also enjoyed his Antigua relocation.
He said: ‘The sound of the sea was therapeutic and everyone says hello. Once work was done and dusted, you still had more than enough daylight and heat to enjoy this beautiful island. The food was on point and it was hard not to eat out every day.
‘You get an opportunity to gather your thoughts and really take in the beauty. Plus, I met a lot of influencers, artists and entrepreneurs from all over the world.’
Work Mango member Darshana Ubl said of her Antigua taster: ‘We made some lovely new connections and memories that will last a lifetime’
London-based Work Mango customer Jeanette Lee is the co-owner of a UK record company and artist manager and found that if she started work in Antigua at 6am and finished at 2pm, it covered the working day in London, ‘the U.S offices easier still, and I had the rest of the afternoon to do other things – perfect!’
Manish Makwana, also from London, described his relocation as ‘an opportunity to reset’ and Darshana Ubl said: ‘Work Mango delivered more than what was on the tin. We made some lovely new connections and memories that will last a lifetime.’
For more on Work Mango visit www.workmango.com. For more information on the travel rules for Antigua and Barbuda click here and for Barbados click here.