Who hasn’t daydreamed about moving to a tropical climate and spending days on the beach or lounging in a hammock? While almost everyone loves the idea of this fantasy, many have altered their lives and fulfilled lifelong dreams of living in paradise. But, like everything else in life, living in a tropical locale includes both pros and cons. For one thing, people aren’t the only things that thrive in warm, humid temperatures. Teeming wildlife, mold, poisonous plants, and diseases also do very well. Gorgeous year-round weather can also be interrupted by dangerous storms.
1. Animals and Insects Love the Tropics
One of the wonderful things about moving to a warm-weather area is the abundance of exotic wildlife. Many countries worldwide and the U.S. states of Florida and Hawaii are home to species that include interesting and colorful snakes, lizards, alligators, and birds. Citizens of U.S. territories also co-exist with dozens of unique animals that thrive in the tropics. Many of these regions also teem with various insects, some of them poisonous.
Unfortunately, problems with wild animals and insects are also common in the tropics. Like creatures elsewhere, many species will invade homes searching for food and shelter. The problem is so common that being on the lookout for snakes and alligators is an everyday thing for some South Florida residents.
2. There’s Good and Bad News About the Weather
When new residents move to tropical areas, they soon learn there is a vast difference between climate and weather. Most people choose the tropics to enjoy year-round warm temperatures that fluctuate very little. People can live an outdoor life all year round and wear sandals or go barefoot. In many countries, the warm weather also leads to a relaxed, slow-paced vibe that is a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle of northern regions.
But, tropical countries and states also share weather-related disasters. To Tropical House & Garden, most tropical regions are located within storm belts that frequently generate cyclones, typhoons, and hurricanes. Storms barely graze some areas, while others are routinely decimated, resulting in a significant loss of life. Those who love living in their warm paradises typically counteract the problem by building homes that can withstand the harsh conditions.
3. The Plants Can Be Stunning and Dangerous
Tropical flora and fauna attract many people to tropical locations. There are hundreds of breathtakingly beautiful plants native to the tropics. These include the blood flower, angel’s trumpet, canna plant, taro Plant, and bitter cassava. While growing most of these flowers in greenhouses, they are found everywhere in the tropics, growing naturally. Homes are often surrounded by trees and flowers that burst with color year-round.
However, many of the plants that thrive in tropical weather can be deadly. Per mongabay.com, inhabitants of warm-weather areas should be on the lookout for a range of lethal plants that grow naturally. For instance, the castor bean generates poisonous seeds. Every part of the chinaberry tree is deadly, and contact with the beautiful, vine-like cowhage may lead to blindness. The aptly named death lily is often mistaken for onion but is very poisonous. Oleander is attractive but dangerous if eaten and, when cooked, emits toxic fumes.
4. Warm Weather Is Wonderful But Presents Challenges
People often move to tropical climates to get away from harsh winters or because they are older and freezing temperatures create health problems. Newcomers to the tropics are usually delighted the first time they wake up on a January morning to a warm, balmy day. Flowers are blooming in their yards, and they can keep all the windows open.
Virtually everyone who moves to the tropics also enjoys the relaxed style of dress. Many northern transplants going from cold climates to areas like Hawaii, Florida, and Manila are surprised at how casually people dress. Residents frequently live in shorts, short-sleeved shirts, and flip-flops year-round. Clothing is lighter and often less expensive than the heavier materials required for the cold.
The downside of summer clothing is that it doesn’t protect against mosquitoes. It is often necessary to wear bug repellent. Despite the constant heat, many natives and semi-natives also wear long-sleeves and pants when they are near water, where mosquitoes can thrive. Tropical areas are also extremely humid, which means clothing can look like it’s been slept in after being worn for an hour. Controlling mold is another wardrobe maintenance challenge. Newcomers to the tropics quickly learn that, if clothes are left in laundry baskets or hamper too long, mold quickly begins to grow anywhere there is the slightest trace of humidity.
Hot weather can also make it hard to sleep and easier to pick up hard-to-get-rid-of skin infections. Constant sweating may lead to dehydration, so it is essential to drink water constantly. From a cosmetic standpoint, heat and humidity may cause hair to become frizzy and makeup to run.
5. Beachside Living Has a Few Downsides
A huge number of people relocate to tropical areas so they can be near the beach. Few things are more relaxing than listening to the surf roll in, and living beachside makes it easy to live a healthy lifestyle. There are endless opportunities to walk in the sand and collect treasures, swim, sail, and fish. Breezes off the water help cool homes, and residents enjoy stunning sunsets and sunrises over the water.
But, homes located on the water are often in the most danger, and the first to be evacuated during hurricanes and storms can cause frequent flooding. Homeowners also need to deal with salt. The salt in the air can erode electronics, building materials, and cars. Those living beachside have to protect computers and appliances from exposure to salt.
Millions of people move to the tropics to enjoy warm weather, a casual lifestyle, sunny beaches, exotic wildlife, and gorgeous scenery. Tropical locales offer all of those things, but they also present some challenges. Inhabitants must be wary of wild animals entering their homes, poisonous plants, and dangerous storms. Humidity can make grooming difficult and lead to damaging mold. Those living near the sea also have to deal with the corrosive effects of salt.