Looking for an escape? We’re thinking of a toes in the sand, bikinis on the beach, margaritas in your hands kind of vacation – with no tourists in sight. If you’re in, these private islands are calling your name.
Around the world, islands of all shapes and sizes are on sale right now, being bought every day by high-flyers and celebrities like Johnny Depp, Celine Dion, and Shakira. You can build your dream life one goal at a time, so why not make island-owning a goal? These status symbols aren’t just for billionaires. Private Island magazine calls island-owning “a lifestyle for the independent and adventurous personality,” so if that sounds like you (or someone you know), get ready to find paradise and share it with friends.
Islands can cost less than an NYC apartment, but that’s not why you’re here. You’re reading this to see the most spectacular and unique islands on the market today, and we won’t disappoint you. These aren’t your average tropical 10 acre choices. We’ve found the most glamorous, secluded, multicultural, and unique islands for you to browse through.
Maybe you dream of an island to escape to with your friends every summer. Maybe this year’s long winter has you fantasizing about Rihanna’s Bahamian lifestyle. Or maybe you are just fed up with having to deal with so many people crowding your personal space. We feel you! Life gets busy without a private paradise to call your own. Read on to start planning your dream life.
20 Lambay Cay, Honduras
Let's start with an island that will check all your boxes. Tropical? Check. Secluded? Check. Sandy beaches? Check. Crystal clear waters? Check. Lambay Cay is an undeniably dreamy Caribbean destination.
It's only reachable by boat (no fly-ins), with the closest village being the banana port town of La Cieba.
This has kept Lambay Cay sheltered from the outside world since its discovery by seafaring traders and pirates in the 18th century. According to PrivateIslandsOnline.com, these voyagers named the island after the pigs they brought to the "Cayos Cochinos," the family of small islands that Lambay Cay floats alongside.
That's history now, with the pristine island currently selling for a price available upon request. Its wow factors include front-door access to coral reef diving, two fully furnished houses, and its own functional harbour encircling its own private bay. What more could you want?
19 Isla Tortuga, Chile
This island stands out for its spectacular natural beauty, and not just the marine kind. Isla Tortuga is home to rich wildlife ('tortuga' is Spanish for turtle) thanks to the neighbouring lower Andes mountains and natural lake system of the region.
On the island itself, hills reach heights up to 200 metres and lows that dip into the property's own freshwater lagoon. If you're used to living in a city, the change in air quality offered by Isla Tortuga cannot be understated.
It also has a unique history, including ancient settlements from famous English explorers and Chinese travellers from the 13th century. Important historic artifacts have been found on this island that have added to the world's understanding of early Eastern cultures, and there may be more to discover! With over 300 acres to explore, it's worth a look.
18 Hope Island, Maine
This island offers a change of pace from the Caribbean ones listed so far. But don't be turned off by the lack of sand - Hope Island is an introvert's paradise with so much to offer. For example, it can be hard to find a private island that will support a lavish and ultra modern lifestyle, but this one can.
If you'd like to get away from the world but stay close to your time zone, it's also possible to live jetlag-free on this unique island destination. Its estate and grounds are twenty-four years in the making, with no expense spared in their construction. We're talking extensive landscaping featuring concrete roads, manicured gardens, and eight wildlife-protecting ponds.
Maine has a seaside culture all on its own. Charming and romantic, enjoy authentic East Coast vibes in your own island home.
17 Nengo Nengo Atoll, French Polynesia
Besides having a super fun name to say (Nengo Nengo!) this island is a gem of a destination, with ACTUAL GEMS on its shores. It’s one of the only places in the world where you can find Tahitian Black Pearls, delicate treasures that look just how they sound. These pearls come from the rare black lip oysters that live in the waters of French Polynesia. They retail for up to $40,000 - and if you own the island, its pearls are yours, too.
Nengo Nengo offers lagoons with a mix of deep blue waters, emerald green plant life, and natural beaches with sands that sparkle both bright white and soft pink.
It’s easy to see that the island has had minimal human impact over the years. At one point, it was home to 80 workers who made the island hospitable for future owners. Now, the only occupant on the island could be you.
16 Crawl Caye, Belize
Between Havana and Honduras floats Crawl Caye, an island of crystal clear waters, colourful coral reefs, and lush tropical undergrowth. It’s so beautifully situated that its location is part of a World Heritage Site, and
you can own it for a cool $4 million.
Imagine snorkeling in its deep and wild waters! The island’s perimeters are just a stone’s throw from the Barrier Reef. That means you’d be sure to see some of the most impressive (and often endangered) biodiverse species in the world today. You could fish, row, or just read a book by the shore of its blue lagoons. And if you ever got bored of life separate from civilization, you could just hop in a boat for a quick ride to Belize City centre. Adios!
15 Dolphin Jump Key, Florida
This island is separated from mainland North America by turquoise waters full of families of dolphins. Can you imagine? Sorry world, I can’t be part of your drama right now – there’s a dolphin in the way.
Dolphin Jump Key is in the heart of the Florida Keys. It’s five minutes from Marathon, the most famous of the Florida Keys with amenities that the rest of the islands’ occupants have open access to. This includes museums, summer camp activities, cookouts, birdwatching, reef-diving, kayaking, and more. You could live on Dolphin Jump Key and enjoy Marathon’s tourist services during the night but escape to your own private beaches all day, or vice versa.
Picture yourself swimming with the dolphins and drying off in the island’s own private cottage and shore house. It comes all ready to go for anyone interested in paying for this unique Floridian getaway.
14 Bijela Island, Croatia
Bijela Island is unique because it's situated right in the middle of the Adriatic Sea, off the coast of Croatia. This gives it a truly European feel, with white stony beaches and a castle-like homestead occupying the island all by itself. Could a Croatian castle island be your ideal escape?
Celebrity yachts are frequently spotted off the coast of Croatia, so you'd be sharing the hazy days and stunning sunsets with the likes of Jay Z and Prince Harry. The cast of Game of Thrones has also been spotted in the region because filming occurs just a few miles away in Dubrovnik. It's a true Valerian paradise for any Mother of Dragons, Dothraki, or Sandsnake. Just as long as they respect your luxurious privacy.
13 Lataro Island, Vanuatu
Go green on Lataro Island! For real, this island isn't just green to look at - it comes with infrastructure committed to environmental sustainability. If you're an eco-friendly type with tropical daydreams, put this private island on your mood board.
99% of the island's electricity is solar-powered, which tells you exactly how bright and sunny it is on the regular.
90% of the island is a protected nature reserve, completely untouched by Vanuatu's tourism industry. The island also has rainwater-collecting capabilities so you can reuse and recycle each drop that falls from its clear blue skies. Balinese-style buildings offer accommodations for you, your family, and housekeeping staff, along with covered walkways to keep you cool while you wander. Look out for parrots, eagles, and coconut crabs as you go!
12 Blue Dolphin Island, Panama
Interested in buying a private island as a business investment? You can own Blue Dolphin Island in Panama for the earning potential as well as the personal perks. This island is in the process of finishing its luxury resort and spa, a future draw for international tourists seeking a piece of that exclusive private island life.
You can own this island and its Environmental Impact approved hotel spaces, where you can be the owner of one resort on land and two future resorts floating at sea. Your island can host people like you who seek Caribbean adventures with the local wildlife and more. With hundreds of colourful fish around, clear water diving is especially enjoyable at Blue Dolphin. A bonus: it's even already equipped with Wi-Fi.
11 Dulichium Island, Greece
An island in Greece is the ultimate in bougie status symbols. Elizabeth Taylor had one! Aim high and own the largest private island for sale in Greece, Dulichium Island.
Composed mostly of red soil, this island is yet another choice that stands out from your typical idea of a private island.
The fertile ground is the reason for Dulichium's rich shrubbery and groves, including approximatly 4,000 olive trees. Tapenade, olive oil, and toppers for your margarita are never far away! Not only is the island vast, but it includes some impressive rocky peaks as well. The highest is 250 metres above sea level, which is extra impressive because it's located right next to the Ionian sea itself. It's the perfect place to live out your Grecian mythological fantasies.
10 Little Harvest Caye, Belize
Put the lime in the coconut and conga line your way to Little Harvest Caye, potentially the cutest entry on this list. At just 1.5 acres, it's absolutely tiny compared to the rest. But really, how much space do you need?
It's just 3/4 of a mile from the centre of Placencia Village, where you'll find bustling markets and everything you need to live comfortably like the locals do. A little piece of paradise might be your perfect fit.
All decked out in tiki-tent decor, you'll feel completely free from the everyday grind here. It's ideal for a couple, a family, or a small group of friends. If you can picture your clique splitting the cost of an island in Central America, claim this one before it's gone! Exotic evenings by the seaside await you.
9 Koome Island, Uganda
Uganda is known as "the pearl of Africa," and Koome Island might just be the pearl of Uganda. It's truly the best of the best: think towering palm trees, vast flat beaches, forests, and vines.
This is a great choice for anyone who loves nature in its pristine, untouched state. The island is as free and wild as the one Tom Hanks and Wilson shared in Castaway, just asking to be explored and enjoyed. While the urban parts of the world expand endlessly, you could find yourself in a place that's just as nature intended it to be.
Pick yourself up a pineapple and kick up your heels in one of the world's last vestiges of natural beauty. You can escape to your own African island for the aspirational amount of $4 million.
8 Villa Bergholmen, Finland
Nestled into the lush greenery of Taalintehdas is a state-of-the-art cottage home. It’s hard to see, but isn't that the point?
Just like the rest of Finland's countryside, this island is known for beautiful scenery, clean water and excellent fishing.
It's just a few strokes of the paddle to arrive by boat at nearby Finnish villages like Kasnäs and Högsora. They have everything you need to sustain a life by the sea, with shops and restaurants to entertain you if you ever get lonely. The home you can own with this island is a perfect European hideaway. It comes with a fully-equipped sauna, sun room, and wrap-around porch. Hang a hammock and you're ready to swing your days away at Bergholmen.
7 West Calf Island, Ireland
Ever dreamed of falling into history? Do you feel like you were born in the wrong time? Discover West Calf Island, a piece of the world that time hasn't touched. It's easy to imagine life on the windy shores of this Irish island hundreds of years ago, as culturally vibrant and emotionally resonant as it is today.
This island is a great balance between total seclusion and access to civilization. Its future owner will be able to completely remove themselves from the outside world by the rough seas that surround it, or visit the many pubs, restaurants, and museums that its nearby mainland has to offer.
The historic villages of West Cork are so close, you just might hear some Irish music floating from them on a calm day. The neighbouring town of Ballydehob hosts a traditional music festival every summer. Step into your own island of traditional Irish culture.
6 Rangyai Island, Thailand
It doesn't get much more beautiful than Rangyai Island in Thailand. This all-natural island just happens to be shaped like a whale swimming in the deep blue waters the region is famous for.
Coincidentally, whales and dolphins are frequently spotted in this part of Thailand. It's right next door to the island of Phuket, which hosts whale-watching expeditions for tourists year-round.
You may have heard of Phuket before. It's a thriving tourist destination in the Far East. If you were to buy Rangyai Island, you'd get every single one of the geographical perks that Phuket offers - the same climate, the same wildlife, the same white sandy shores - without any of the tourists. You and any guests you invite can spend time enjoying this island's 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape, lush tropical forests, and quick access to major Thai landmarks and cities. The location couldn't be better!
5 Isola Marinella, Italy
Isola Marinella is part of Italy's Sardinia region, a piece of the country that has housed civilization and Italian culture for thousands of years. If you own this island, Be sure to step out of seclusion in the summertime, when Sardinia hosts prestigious film festivals and yacht shows. Year-round you'll be steps away from Sardinia's world-famous cultural scene, including museums, ancient ruins, dancing, street parties, and of course, mouth-watering food.
Load up on authentic Italian cuisine and settle into an island of your own, floating peacefully on the Punta Marana. Isla Marinella has perhaps the most unique landscape on this list. It's dotted with little coves around its northern edge, and boasts inviting sandy beaches along with sharp rocky shores. The island even boasts a microclimate, caused by its protective cordon of juniper. As if having your own island wasn't enough, how about having your own climate, too?
4 Isla Di Yerba, Caribbean
Live like a true legend on this unique island estate, located in the Spanish Water Bay of the Caribbean. This island could be the definition of paradise. Calm blue azure waters extend for miles around, with mountains in the distance and fair skies above.
If you purchase Isla Di Yerba, you also get some mainland properties that compliment the island lifestyle. This includes a boat jetty and access to two marinas. The surrounding restaurants and hotels are world famous, and a quick boat ride from your potential front door.
Perhaps the most appealing benefit to living in this paradise is the company - celebrities and public figures often choose the Spanish Water Bay for holidays, and end up staying in villas right across from the private island. If Oprah loves it, you know you're doing something right.
3 Darby Island, Bahamas
Darby Island lies in the centre of the 360 islands known as the Exuma Cays, the Bahamas' iconic yachting, sailing, and swimming paradise. The nearest islands to Darby happen to be Rudder Cut Cay and Musha Cay, which are both owned by the magician David Copperfield.
It makes sense that someone who was into magic chose to live in the Exuma Cays. The views can only be described as enchanting. Even Rihanna, unofficial queen of the Bahamas, is a regular visitor to this sprinkling of little islands in the sun.
Choose Darby Island as your dream escape destination for its expansive size, unique inner-island lake, and 7,000-square-foot castle (!) built by Englishman Sir Baxter, in 1938. Sit back and imagine sitting on a turret with salty wind sweeping your hair back (and some Rihanna playing in the background).
2 Steel Pointe, British Virgin Islands
Steele Pointe is stunning. Where else can you find luscious greenery mixed with striking rock formations, or ocean waters flowing beneath ultra-modern architecture? It's those juxtapositions that make this island the second most unique choice on our list.
It's all ready to be sold to the lucky buyer. Recently, Steel Pointe was refurbished to the highest of standards, unlike the other islands in the bay. That gives you unobstructed views of the surrounding natural beauty from a vantage point of complete comfort. It's even recently had a helicopter landing pad installed, so you can fly right out of your hectic life and into the pristine opalescent island landscape.
If your island fantasy involves sailing, this is definitely your best choice. In fact, it's rumoured that the only sounds that might disturb you while you relax on this island are the whipping of sails in the wind. Talk about luxury.
1 The World Islands, Dubai
When it comes to being unique, you simply can't top this private island purchase. Just look at it! The United Arab Emirates has spent millions constructing man-made island groups that resemble the continents of the world, with the goal of making a mini Earth that can be seen from space.
You can own your own World Island for a price that's available upon request, or buy the bunch of them for a staggering $16 million.
It's really the ultimate in privacy, luxury, and most of all, exclusivity. Located off the coast of Dubai, you're sure to be in expensive company with one of these islands in your name. David and Victoria Beckham, Giorgio Armani, Brad Pitt, Madonna, and more own homes in Dubai. But an island? That's next level.
Sources: Private Islands Online, NYT Real Estate