Remember the show Lost, about stranded survivors from a plane crash that have to survive on a remote island? Out of everyone on the show only two characters got it. I'm not talking about the ones that wanted to save the island or leave the island or die on the island. I mean this was a private island that was free with perfect weather and no slimy poisonous little reptiles. The only characters who got it were the ailing Rose and her husband Bernard, who hid from everyone for three years, built a little house and lived happily ever after far away from the voodoo going on around them. That's what I'm talking about.
This article isn't about the Johnny Depp's, or the Brad Pitt's of the world that want to spend huge sums of money on private islands that they can show off to the rest of the world. This article is about the little guy, and how they can leave the expensive city and build a little house in paradise. You don't need millions. If you can afford a small house, you can do it.
If you're like me, then you definitely need modern amenities, like power, water and communication to the outside world. Most importantly for the squeamish, you have to be close to something where you can buy meat and milk. We also need toilet paper and laundry detergent. The beauty of the modern world is that we have geothermal technology for heating, hot water and air conditioning and solar panels for electricity. Water filtration systems are everywhere. The cost of these green technologies will be recovered in about 7-8 years when compared with the price of electricity from the local utility company. If you want a cheap island then Canada is the place. No country has as much unspoiled beautiful nature close to amenities. Worried about the cold? Don't be. Ice makes for a fun ride on a snowmobile and the summers are warm. Want somewhere warm all year round where you can create your own little tourist trap, or just plain retire? Then spend a little more and head to Belize, Brazil, The Bahamas and even Florida. Start dreaming, because the list of private islands even you can afford is coming up, and it's bigger than you think.
10 Sweet Island, British Columbia, Canada: Price: $82,900 USD
Look at that, it's even got a dock and a small house on 3 acres of land. In the middle of Stuart Lake, a popular tourist trap with two provincial parks, as well as the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean as your backdrop. The closest town is Fort St-James, so you are close to everything, including the grocery store. The town is big enough to have motels and lodges. This place is famous for fishing and hunting. Are you a tranquil sportsman or an adrenaline rush junkie? Then this place is great. The island has its own small sandy beach. For the entrepreneur, fix up the house a little, rent it on Airbnb for about $120-$150 a night and you have a $40,000 a year salary, with a private vacation home for yourself and your own private island. Pay it off in a couple of years and sit back and enjoy, or sell it and buy one of the other islands on the list.
9 Alligator Caye Parcel, Belize: Price: $99,000 USD
Moving to more tropical climates, we have this bargain basement deal in a small picturesque country of 300,000 people. There has to be something wrong with this place, right? It's 10 acres of land in a tropical paradise for the price of a luxury car. Sounds great so far. It's not that far from land, as it is a 30 minute boat ride to the nearest town, Dangriga, and 45 minutes to Belize City and the nearest airport. Dangriga is a picturesque small town of 9,000 people complete with a hospital. On top of that it's in the Belize Barrier Reef, the country's most popular tourist destination and once described by Charles Darwin as "the most remarkable reef in the West Indies". According to the ad, the owner is motivated. That's real estate talk for, "you can have it for cheap". What more do you want? It's worth a cheap flight to check it out.
8 TidMarsh Island, Nova Scotia Canada: Price: $145,000 USD
Great news. It's a 24 acre island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, just 900 feet (or 300 meters) from the Nova Scotia Coastline. That's less than 1/4 of a mile. You could swim to the mainland. With that much land, you can finally have your own little Kingdom to rule and potentially all the lobster you can eat. Have you ever seen the Nova Scotia Coastline? It's spectacular. The closest town, Sheet Harbor, is 25 minutes away. The region has about 4,000 people, big enough to have all of the amenities. The town is about 70 miles from the closest large city and airport, picturesque and historic Halifax (roughly 300,000 people). So you are not even that far away from city life. The Canadian Dollar keeps deflating, so it could get even cheaper. Imagine what you could build here over time.
7 Lark Caye, Belize: Price $175,000 USD
Back to the tropics again, where most people dream of buying an island. This property is great because it's very close to the mainland and has excellent cell phone reception, so it's not just a vacation property, but a year round property as well. It sits on 2.2 acres with over 800 feet of sandy waterfront, once you clear out some trees. Imagine the snorkeling and diving in these crystal blue waters. Need supplies? The charming town of Placencia is only 6 miles away or 15 minutes by boat ride. It's excellent as a business opportunity, as it's near many snorkeling sites, with many tourist boats passing by the island. It's all about location. It doesn't look like much, but at only 2 acres in size, it really doesn't take that much money to build your dream.
6 Leader Island, Nova Scotia, Canada: Asking Price 190,000 CDN (About $145,000 USD)
Nova Scotia has a lot of islands for sale in the ocean, and they're all big and close to shore, with this one only 1/4 mile from the mainland. This one even provides you with enough land for two parking spots once you reach the main shore, as you dock your boat. Only 30 minutes from Halifax, you are not far from civilization at all. You could even work a 9 to 5 job from here (you are that close), until you build something that you can retire with. 11 acres of land is more than enough to build your dreams. With a decent size city next door, the possibilities are endless.
5 Staff Island, Ireland: Price $193,000
If you've dreamed of your own little European island, then Ireland is the place to start for those on a budget. Don't look South, it's not going to happen for you just yet. Not only is it a beautiful country, surrounded by water and green pastures, but it's also a good place to be if you are a highly skilled worker. The country may be virtually broke, but the people sure aren't. Thus you don't have to go far to find people willing to come to your private little kingdom, if that's what you're into. This island has 10 acres of wooded land, that according to the owner doesn't have to be cleared in order to enjoy a nice stroll. You want some civilization? The waterfront restaurant, Knockninny Quay & Restaurant, as well as the Carrybridge Hotel & Marina, are all within a close radius.
4 Cockroach Bay, Belize: Price $199,000 USD
When you buy this island, kick in a few extra bucks for a name change (if it's possible at all) if you want to attract tourists. Apart from the name, the 10 acre island is currently in its natural state with coconut trees and mangroves and white sandy beaches. Look at that picture, and imagine your own white sandy beach. The oceanfront is 500 feet long, located on Turneffe Atoll, off the coast of Belize, and just a few hundred feet from the Great Barrier Reef. Turneffe Atoll is a tropical coral atoll comprised of many small islands divided by natural channels. It's hard to judge from the ad whether or not the whole island is yours or just a piece of it. Why is that important? If you want your own private island, then private means it's all yours.
3 Hangover Island, Florida, United States: Asking Price $200,000 USD.
Just the name is enough to attract throngs of students ready to in-debt themselves on your island. You'll appear at the front of the list for a commonly searched item on the net. What's even better is that this island is 40 acres, the largest piece of land on this list. It's a former Amerindian colony, so you can play Indiana Jones and find all sorts of ancient artifacts on the island. The property is located on Crystal River, two miles to the Gulf of Mexico and one mile to the nearest town of Ozello. It's only an hour away from Tampa as well, making it conveniently close to the big city. The greatest part of the river is that it has the largest Manatee sanctuary in the world, meaning that although you can't swim with the dolphins, you can swim with other rare docile creatures. Want another reason to buy? The owner is motivated to sell.
2 Isla Alhambra, Brazil: Price $247,000 USD
As huge and as populous as Brazil is, it still has lots of land left to spare, and this 9 acre virgin island represents the entry level price for owning a piece of Brazil yourself. The ad explains it beautifully, so let's quote it verbatim: "A gorgeous undeveloped island in Brazil, featuring all the characteristics of a tropical fantasy. Lots of sparkling white sand beaches, pristine blue water, and beautiful palm and pineapple trees create a picture-perfect island getaway. And a comparable price in this desirable region is impossible to find. Located near Itacare, one of the prettiest coastal towns in Brazil, you'll enjoy the feeling of seclusion with civilization only minutes away by boat. The views are absolutely breathtaking, and the island would be perfect for residential development. "
1 Little Gaulding Cay, Bahamas: Price: $275,000 USD
This small little Island, about 2 acres in size, is by far the most secluded in this list. What makes it special? It's located in the Berry Islands, a secluded chain of 30 islands and almost 100 Cays with 798 residents, who boast that they have the most resident millionaires per unit area than any other place in the world. For the price of a small house or Condo in most places, you can pretend you have more money than you actually have. There is a price for such prestige, as the island is hard to get to, and accessible only by private plane that lands on one of the larger Cays in the area. Although, it's not that far from Miami and even closer to Nassau (Bahamas). It's going to be more expensive to build something here than any other island on the list, but at least you can charge more money as all of your clients will be rich, and when you retire with all that cash, you'll have the money to live there too.
Sources: Private Islands Online