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
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
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

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London