Buying overseas: The far side

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Away from the billionaires' palaces, some Caribbean islands offer castaway boltholes that start at just £70,000. Laura Latham reports

Barbados, Antigua, the Dominican Republic – the names bring to mind vast empty beaches. But too often, the reality is far from the picture-postcard ideal, as much of the Caribbean is suffering from mass development.

But such is the nature of these scattered islands that there are always places where you can get the dream – and some of these less-developed islands are cheaper than you might think.

The Bahamas, for example, has a reputation for being high-end but among the archipelago of 700 islands there are pockets where you can get more for your money.

To get to the less-developed islands you'll need to fly to Nassau or Freetown. Internal flights or ferries will then help you escape resort-laden places such as Grand Bahama as you head for more peaceful spots.

Less-populated areas include the Eluethera and Abacos archipelagos. Here, inland building plots can be found from as little as £15,000 for a quarter of an acre, and two- to three-bedroom bungalows start at around £120,000.

The same goes for other less-visited islands that don't yet have direct flights, such as St Vincent, which may offer good prospects to those who still want a certain level of amenities and services. The island is a 40-minute flight from Barbados.

Inland plots start at under £100,000 for around half an acre and it's possible to buy apartments in one of the newer developments from around £110,00. For larger, family-size villas, expect to pay between £200,000 and £400,000, depending on location and size.

You won't usually have to fight for space on St Vincent's volcanic-sand beaches, but change may be on the way. A new international airport is scheduled for completion in 2011 and this will bring more visitors and higher prices.

David Vaughan of Savills thinks that getting away from the usual haunts in order to find cheaper options is fine if you're sure you don't want to resell or rent out your property. "If you go off the map you can find places that are very peaceful and romantic," he says, "but if you want your home to be an investment, you need to leave romance at home – most tourists want direct flights and a certain level of amenities."

For those who do want the romance, try the Bay Islands of Honduras. Tourist traffic is only just starting to arrive in any significant quantity, and they can be reached via flights from the US. As well as having fabulous beaches, the Bay Islands also have one of the best barrier reefs in the world just off the coast of the main island, Roatan.

Prices on Roatan are rising, but you can still find good value with one- and two-bedroom apartments from £80,000, and two- or three-bedroom cottages from around £145,000, with large waterfront homes from around £180,000.

Phil Weir has lived on Roatan for 17 years and is adamant that the Bay Islands offer much better value than bigger, better-known locations. He claims that though development is happening, it is doing so in a controlled way. "If development is done correctly, then Roatan will continue to be beautiful."

If you simply want a tropical bolthole, while completely avoiding ritzy resorts, Dominica, in the Windward Islands, is quite undeveloped because you need to fly via Barbados or Antigua.

The island has some lovely beaches and a hilly interior covered in rainforest. The infrastructure isn't well developed but, according to Darren Milne of Caribbean Dreams, it has potential for those seeking a more authentic Caribbean destination.

Inland properties start from around £75,000 for two or three bedrooms, but there are also a couple of purpose-built resorts. Bamboo River is in a residential area where owners won't be shut off from the local community. Milne estimates that a three-bedroom villa with pool would cost around £70,000.

Milne thinks Dominica is the perfect escape, but cautions that, like other undeveloped regions, it's an unknown quantity as an investment. But then, buying in a paradise such as this, for under £100,000, it's hard to resist.

Caribbean Dreams: 01708 223 877,; Savills International: 020-7016 3740,; Phil Weir: 001 1504 445 3130,

Buyers' guide

*Some less-developed islands are unpopular because they suffer from poor weather. Dominica is in the hurricane belt and can have heavy rains. The more popular islands, including Barbados, Jamaica and Grenada also get hurricanes but less frequently.

*Non-Honduran nationals can only own up to three-quarters of an acre of land and must commence building within three years of purchase. To own larger plots you need to set up a Honduran company – but get sound legal advice first.

*Remember that less development also can mean less choice of shops and restaurants, little or no nightlife and a lack of entertainment, communication and transport options.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Suggested Topics
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
politicsIs David Cameron trying to prove he's down with the kids?
Dominique Alderweireld, also known as Dodo de Saumure, is the owner of a string of brothels in Belgium
newsPhilip Sweeney gets the inside track on France's trial of the year
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran will play three sell-out gigs at Wembley Stadium in July
Lena Dunham posing for an official portrait at Sundance 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Representative

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To promote and sell the Company...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Project Manager - Civil Engineering

£35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Business: This company is going thro...

Tradewind Recruitment: KS1 & KS2 Teachers Required

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Tradewind Recruitment are currently working...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea