Though several islands in the Bahamian chain sit less than 60 miles off the Florida coast, the entire archipelago seems to lie an ocean apart from the hustle and bustle Stateside. A laid-back lifestyle and a sense of joie de vivre, not to mention crystalline waters, white sand beaches, fish-rich mangroves, and lush low-rise terrain, have long drawn tourists to the 700-island nation’s shores. Today, thanks to a flurry of newly opened or forthcoming real estate developments and refurbishments, the region is also a viable vacation-home option for design-minded buyers.
Demand is strong for such real estate offerings and proximity has something to do with that, according to George Damianos, president of Sotheby’s International Realty, Bahamas. He cites the short travel time between the States and the western Bahamas—including the Abacos, Andros, Grand Bahama, and New Providence—as a major factor in this market’s appeal. Moreover, he says, Stateside buyers get “U.S. customs and immigration preclearance in Nassau and Grand Bahama—a major time-saving situation.”
Architectural options range from chic interpretations of traditional, multihued Bahamian cottages to modern penthouses within high-rises. What they have in common—and what Damiano describes as the key to the region’s real estate market—is access to the best of the Bahamian outdoors and a surfeit of amenities for the active family. “Buyers want instant options to play golf on a beautiful, challenging course, work out in a first-rate gym, play tennis on a top-notch court, and, of course, enjoy plenty of water sports and all things ocean,” he says. “They also want a place where it’s possible to perfect the art of doing nothing, outdoors and in.”
Following are several options in the western Bahamas where second-home seekers might delight in finding something, even nothing, to do.