The best private islands available to buy now

Whether it’s a private island owned by a celebrity trying to escape the paparazzi, or the retreat of a superyacht owner prized for its deserted anchorages, a private island is the most exclusive holiday home that money can offer. Click through our edit of the best private islands available to buy now to find your own piece of paradise.

Isla del Burguillo

Spain

Set in the El Burguillo Reservoir in central Spain, this island may not be reachable by yacht, but it does offer a purchaser the chance to own a property worthy of the Game of Thrones. Covered with vineyards, fruit trees and pine forest, the 8,000-square-metre Isla del Burguillo is encircled by a four-metre-high granite wall. Inside sits an eccentric castle, which can offer accommodation for up to 10 guests (or subjects).

The reservoir is situated between the municipalities of El Tiemblo and El Barraco, around 90 minutes’ drive from Madrid, and borders the Iruelas Valley Nature Reserve. The island is 300 metres from the shoreline and can be reached in a few minutes by rowing boat or a power boat if required. There is a pier to land on the island and three doors that offer access through the stone rampart. The castle was a watchtower before El Burguillo Reservoir was created in 1927. It has four bedrooms and might need some updating, depending on the new owner’s taste. On the ground floor a large porch leads onto an open-plan kitchen with a fireplace and access to the wine cellar. The most impressive bedroom is in the tower, which opens to a terrace with spectacular views of the reservoir. The current owner also offers glamping for up to 34 guests.

The island is home to a wide array of trees and flora, with plenty of opportunities to grow your own produce. Peaches, apples, pears, cherries, figs and black elderberries already thrive on El Burguillo. It is also a twitcher’s paradise with a wide variety of birds – including griffon vultures, golden eagles and red kites – frequently spotted. The granite rock basin of the reservoir means that the water is beautifully clear and clean. Several beaches are perfect for swimming, and the reservoir can be used for canoeing, rowing, water-skiing and sailing. There are also ample fishing opportunities, with black bass, barbel, carp and rainbow trout all found in the waters. While the island may be less than a hectare, for the right purchaser it could be the perfect mini kingdom to rule over.

Isla del Burguillo is listed for sale with Vladi Private Islands for €3 million.

Pumpkin Island

Australia

Less than eight nautical miles from the town of Yeppoon on the Queensland coast, Pumpkin Island is a private retreat with a colourful history. The six-hectare island was a working oyster farm until the 1960s when a couple fell in love with its natural beauty and challenged the owner to a game of poker. They won the game, which gave them the opportunity to purchase the island for £60 and open a hostel. The couple welcomed their first guests in 1964.

The current owners bought the island via slightly more traditional methods in 2003 and set about transforming it into Australia’s first carbon positive island resort. Now on the market for only for the second time, it’s home to just seven cottages, which are powered by wind and solar energy (the island offsets 150 per cent of its annual carbon emissions). Up to 34 guests can enjoy its boho-chic accommodation, with large private decks offering front row seats to the magnificent sunsets and passing whale and dolphin pods. Its shallow shores provide incredible off-the-beach snorkelling opportunities, and keen divers can explore the surrounding dive sites of the Keppels. The new owner will also have the opportunity to purchase an oyster lease, allowing guests to shuck their own oysters off the rocks.

In keeping with its eco credentials, infrastructure on the island has been kept to a minimum but there are staff quarters, a manager’s office and a machinery building to help keep things running smoothly. Two registered moorings mean that you can keep your own yacht shoreside and the island has its own 36-passenger ferry, the Pumpkin Xpress. There is also a helipad for even quicker access from the mainland.

Eagle-eyed readers, or those who are fans of a tipple, might recognise the island from its starring role in commercials for Castlemaine XXXX. The Queensland brewery leased the island between 2012 and 2015, renamed it XXXX, and used to offer all-expenses paid trips for customers that found “the lucky gold can”. Pumpkin Island certainly seems to be the golden ticket for a green-minded hotelier seeking their next adventure.

Pumpkin Island is listed for sale with Sotheby’s International Realty for AUS$16.5 million.

Cave Cay

The Bahamas

Something about the Bahamas makes celebrities want to stay. Johnny Depp bought Little Hall Pond Cay in 2004 after falling in love with the area while filming Pirates of the Caribbean. Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and singer and Shakira invested together on Bonds Cay, in the Berry Islands District. Lenny Kravitz and Eddie Murphy also purchased property there. They are not alone – after all, what superyacht owner has cruised the Bahamas without dreaming of owning their own slice of paradise?

Right in the heart of the Exumas, a group of 365 islands surrounded by sapphire waters (and home to the famous swimming pigs), Cave Cay sits just north of Musha Cay, the 280-hectare private island owned by David Copperfield. Reaching Cave Cay by yacht is not a problem thanks to its deep-water harbour (3.6 metres at low tide) and floating concrete dock system with 35 dock slips. For those flying in, there is also an 854-metre private airstrip which makes frequent visits a breeze. With lush vegetation, unspoilt beaches, and elevations of up to 12 metres, it’s a place of remarkable beauty. The main house, which is ready to move into, is located on the highest point of the island, affording 360-degree views on your very own tropical paradise.

Cave Cay is totally self-sufficient, with water and power supplied by a diesel generator, and the possibility to add solar power. You might be tempted to keep it all to yourself, but the island is fit to run as a commercial operation: approvals include a marina and a hotel with unlimited rooms. A clubhouse is also currently under construction, alongside a restaurant with shower and bathroom facilities, plus three guest houses with hotel rooms and suites. When it comes to further developments, plans have been drawn for 38 buildings totalling 70,000 square metres, including a three-storey houseboat with a marina shop on the ground floor and a two-storey residence overhead, alongside staff and maintenance buildings. It could be fully operational in six months, and all building materials and equipment are included. Also bundled into the sale price are a 36-metre landing craft and a dredger, and there’s a large excess of compact sand which could be sold to neighbouring islands. A team of six employees, familiar with the island, will make the handover process to the new owners smoother. Tempted? No one could blame you.

Cave Cay is listed for sale with Christie’s International Real Estate for $60 million.

Vatuvara Private Islands

Fiji

In the market for something a little more substantial than a single slice of paradise? Look no further: not one but four islands are part of this lot in Fiji’s pristine Northern Lau group.

Valued at $65 million (£46.9m), the most developed of the four is the 324-hectare Kaibu, home to the Vatuvara Private Islands Resort, which is certified organic and runs on solar power harvested from its own Tesla Solar Farm. It also comes with a water desalination plant, a four-hole golf course and its own marina. With just three secluded seaside villas that blend into the landscape, the discreet island is where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex decided to escape to while touring the Pacific. Each villa has private beach access, an infinity pool and a massage bure (thatched bungalow). Kaibu is just over an hour by private plane from the capital Suva, or from Nadi on the western coast of Fiji. There’s an all-weather concrete airstrip, and included in the overall sale price is the resort’s Twin Otter aircraft.

The remaining three islands are less developed, but no less striking in beauty. The 1,249-hectare Kanacea ($25 million) is made up of seven volcanic summits rising to 259 metres and is surrounded by fringing reefs and white-sand beaches. It’s known as “the farm”, providing much of the fruits, vegetables and herbs cooked in Kaibu’s kitchens as well as having a commercial coconut plantation. Also nestled in the archipelago is 41-hectare Adavaci ($7 million). The smallest of the four islands, it is virtually untouched by tourism despite boasting a picturesque tropical landscape and several beaches.

Finally Vatuvara ($55 million), considered by some to be the most beautiful island in Fiji, is an unspoiled 486-hectare island covered in forest and surrounded by coral reef. The islands’ buyer will also acquire the Vatuvara Foundation, a charity that aims to protect Northern Lau’s precious marine ecosystems. It works on implementing conservation programmes, promoting scientific research and empowering local communities. This is not just a place to escape to, but a real opportunity to contribute to the sustainable future of this stunning corner of the world.

Vatuvara Private Islands are listed for sale with Vladi Private Islands for $155 million.

Spanish Water Private Island

Curaçao

The very last island left to develop on Curaçao has now come to the market – and it’s up to you to decide whether to turn it into your own private getaway or maybe an exclusive resort. In Southern Curaçao – away from the hurricane belt – Spanish Water Private Island is an untouched 2.9-hectare plot located within Spanish Water Bay, with its several residential communities
and marinas. Largely undisturbed by humans since pre-Columbian times, it is home to flora found nowhere else except Curaçao’s Christoffel National Park.

Previously classified as a conservation habitat, it is now a Restricted Development Area, with requirements including a permanent green zone between existing development lots and the unobstruction of natural channels to ensure rainwater reaches the mangroves. For now, the island is only accessible by boat, but in their development project the current owners have included plans for a birdwatching tower which would double as a helipad – and the 16-kilometre trip from the airport would require just five minutes of flight time. “The current development plan would convert the green island into a residential community consisting of 10 luxury villas and one or two marinas, complete with a lighthouse,” says Ray Seijs of Sotheby’s International Realty. “All the research made by the different island institutions, and by the owner group itself, for the island infrastructure and residences, is available to the buyer,” he adds. “These extend to sun and wind measurements, utility costs per villa, construction time frames and methods including megayacht marina installation options.” Included with the island is a 482-square-metre landing situated within the gated community of Jan Sofat nearby, which can be used to facilitate transportation, with permits to build a jetty and car park.

For mooring, the buyer will be spoilt for choice. To the east of Spanish Water Private Island lies Santa Barbara Plantation, a gated community with an 18-hole Old Quarry Golf Course, a Peter Burwash tennis complex and the soon-to-be 1,200-hectare Sandals Resort and its two marinas. And directly opposite is Seru Boca Marina, with 135 slips for 30-metre yachts, and the Barbara Beach Marina, with 12 slips accommodating boats up to 68 metres, which has already been visited by 69-metre Spectre, 45-metre Blue Ice and 66-metre Hampshire.

Spanish Water Private Island is listed for sale with Sotheby’s International Realty for $8.8 million.

Hummingbird Cay

The Bahamas

Those taking just a cursory glance at the particulars of Hummingbird Cay may well be inclined to raise an eyebrow. But it’s unlikely that anyone able to afford the $35 million (£25m) asking price will be particularly interested in the quality of the island’s current, rather timeworn, buildings. What they will be interested in is those two key components of property ownership: location and potential. And with Hummingbird Cay, you get both.

This is a 104-hectare unspoilt island in the Lower Exuma Cays, an area that has become the A-listers’ and billionaires’ retreat of choice for many reasons – shallow aquamarine waters, white sand beaches and fantastic fishing, diving and boating among them – all a pebble’s toss from a lush mangrove forest. All this, plus access that’s easy enough to make it convenient, yet just tricky enough to keep unwanted visitors at bay. The quickest access is via Great Exuma, a 15-minute private boat ride away. From Nassau it’s one hour by floatplane or five hours by boat.

Hummingbird Cay is all about addition. There’s the potential to build a much more substantial main property. The existing small-boat harbour could be extended to allow superyacht access and to provide dry dock storage for smaller vessels and toys, and there’s room for a 600-metre airstrip for light aircraft so you could fly in from Nassau or Miami, with onward international connections from there. A helipad could also be added. Agent Steve Donovan, of Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty, says: “Being a private island, building restrictions are minimal, giving the owners limitless possibilities to what can be built. There’s plenty of room to build several huge houses or any number of smaller ones on an island this size.”

Alternatively, you could create a boutique resort. The island is already self-sufficient in power and water. A field of solar panels, located away from the properties, provides electricity, with the option to add more cells. A deep water aquifer produces fresh water, with a desalination plant as back-up. The balmy climate near the Tropic of Cancer, plus the fact that the island has three beaches (one of which, at 760 metres, is the largest private white sand stretch in the Exumas) would certainly be a draw for paying guests. Or you might want to make like other well-heeled and well-known expats living nearby, and keep it all to yourself…

Hummingbird Cay is listed for sale with Sotheby’s International Realty for $35 million.

Isla Maná

Brazil

Located in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro state, Isla Maná is surrounded by the emerald waters that give the Costa Verde coast its name. Only three kilometres from the port of Bracuí, and a three-hour drive or 20-minute helicopter ride west from the city of Rio itself, Maná is part of an archipelago of 365 islands in the fashionable bay of Angra dos Reis, known for its white beaches and amazing diving.

Hidden within the tropical greenery covering its 6.2 hectares is a series of properties: a 120-square-metre main house, four bungalows, a caretaker’s house and a boathouse, all offering scope for development, either into a grand private residence or a boutique tourism venture. The main house comprises a living room, two bedrooms, a dining room, an impressive kitchen and a dramatic wooden decking area for al fresco dining. The four bungalows each serve as a private suite with a bedroom, bathroom and breathtaking ocean views. The bungalows share an additional decking zone, with covered dining area, leading on to a bar at one end and the glittering waters of the Atlantic at the other. Pathways connect the main house to this area, snaking through lush flora and linking the island’s buildings to a helipad and dock. Maná also has its own solar-powered electricity network, stone-carved freshwater pool and palm-fringed landscaped lawn for sunbathing or enjoying a barbecue while sipping a caipirinha.

Isla Maná is listed for sale with Vladi Private Islands for $3.5 million.

Katafanga Island

Fiji

Located in Fiji’s unspoiled Lau Islands, Katafanga has all the credentials to become a world-class luxury resort. One of the last freehold islands in the South Pacific, it has had a considerable amount of groundwork put in place. There is already a ring road, runway, reservoir and staff housing on the 90-hectare site. Twenty high-spec villas are also under construction, leaving a new owner free to come in and complete the development with their vision.

At 1.6 kilometres long and only 500 metres wide, Katafanga is covered in palm trees and tropical vegetation and is surrounded by sugar- white beaches. But it’s the 2,000-hectare turquoise lagoon surrounding the island that’s likely to be the biggest draw for future visitors. Encircled by a vast, healthy reef, it’s home to schools of tropical fish and bioluminescent organisms which light up at night.

Katafanga is an hour’s flight from Nadi International Airport, and by boat, the island is just over 200 nautical miles from Port Denarau Marina. Fortunately, there is a natural 60-metre break in the coral reef, which will allow superyachts to pass through and enjoy a sheltered anchorage within the lagoon.

Katafanga Island is listed for sale with Vladi Private Islands for $17 million.

Isola delle Femmine

Italy

Sitting 300 metres from the shoreline, Isola delle Femmine is just a quick tender (or an ambitious swim) from the toe of Italy – but it feels like it belongs to another time and place. The 15-hectare island, which is being sold by one of Italy’s aristocratic families, boasts a landscape covered in mandrake, mallow and erba stella, and dominated by an old watchtower.There are many rumours as to how the oval- shaped islet got its name. The most popular tale is that 13 Turkish maidens were banished by their families for misdemeanours and ended up shipwrecked there for seven years. Although there is little evidence for this, there are plenty of relics from the island’s genuine history, including Ancient Greek and Roman stone basins and a well that dates back to the Middle Ages.

The old watchtower was damaged during the Allied landing in Sicily in the Second World War but could be used as the starting point for a new development. The island’s shores are predominantly white pebble but there is also a sandy beach in a cove, which provides the best landing spot for small boats. Depending on the plans, it might be possible for the new owner to apply for tax incentives and funding to help secure the future of Isola delle Femmine.

Isola delle Femmine is listed with Christie’s International Real Estate for €2.45 million.

Ethereal Island

Greece

As its name suggests, the five-hectare island of Ethereal, which sits less than a nautical mile away from the mainland town of Eretria in central Greece, is so beautiful that it has otherworldly qualities. Surrounded by crystal blue waters, its flora-covered shores are home to pomegranate, apricot, peach, almond and fig trees that were planted by its original owner. The island’s natural beauty hasn’t gone unnoticed – previous visitors include The Beatles, members of the former Greek royal family and the late Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie.

The island is already equipped with two traditional Greek homes that were built in the 1960s. The main house has four bedrooms and extra guests can be accommodated in a bungalow on the largest beach. There is also a staff house with a further two bedrooms. Additional features include a picturesque chapel with hand-painted walls, and a Venetian-style stone tower, which previously served as a studio for the former owner, who was an artist. The island may feel like it belongs in another universe, but it is only 15 minutes by helicopter, or an hour’s drive, from Athens International Airport. It can also be easily accessed from the mainland by boat and has two piers on its west side that can be used for mooring.

Ethereal is listed for sale with Sotheby’s International Realty for €7.5 million.

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