How to Vacation on Your Own Private Island - Page 2

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 (iStockphoto)

Rent out an entire island
Whether you’re planning a destination wedding, a family reunion, or simply relishing utter seclusion, entire islands can be yours to rent all over the world, from French Polynesia to the Maldives to the New England coast, often at chillingly exorbitant costs. But renting out an entire island—even one floating in an idyllic setting—doesn’t have to cost a fortune. It costs €2,800 ($3,600) to book a five-night stay at Isla del Burguillo, a two-acre walled island in Spain with a pine forest, vineyards, and a sumptuous castle to rest your weary bones. The castle can accommodate up to 10 people; spread that cost out among five couples, the price works out to something like $720 per couple—not bad for a week’s stay in a romantic, private Spanish castle. Paradise can even come at rock-bottom prices: You can rent the entire island of Sandy Cay, set in the sparkling Caribbean Sea just off the coast of Honduras, for about $130 a night. Granted, the perks are minimal—no AC or TV—and the island is tiny, with only a modest two-bedroom cottage, but what else do you need when you’ve got sugary white sand, shady palms, and a horizon of turquoise sea?

Visit a private island on a day trip, nature tour, or cultural excursion
Deep-pocketed capitalists are not the only owners of private islands. The secluded San Blas Islands in Panama, for example, are the property of the native Kuna people. Visitors are welcome to take a boat tour from one idyllic tropical isle to another with a tour operator like Day Tours San Blas Islands, or enjoy a cultural tour of a Kuna village (and stay in Kuna-style lodge cabins) with guides such as Adventure Life. Long off-limits to visitors, the rural and sparsely populated Ni’ihau Hawaiian island, off the coast of Kaua’i, now allows strictly regulated adventure excursions, including a helicopter ride and aerial tour. Half-day trips with Nihau Helicopers take you to pristine beaches populated by turtles and monk seals.

Buy an island
Believe it or not, more than a few private islands can be yours, all yours, if you have the dough to buy one. You may not score as big as Oracle business magnate Larry Ellison, who recently purchased the Hawaiian island of Lanai, but if you have a couple of million dollars to spare, browse the island real-estate listings online. A good place to start is Private Islands Online. Recent offerings included Schloss Island, British Columbia, a densely wooded 82-acre island in Koprino Harbor ($957,000) with views of passing whales and resident sea otters; and pristine Eratap Island, in Vanuatu, an undeveloped island in the South Pacific, lush with coconut palms, ringed by white sand, and fringed by a coral reef ($1.2 million).

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