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20 Photos Guaranteed to Make You Want Your Own Island

Tired of living or vacationing on the mainland and only enjoying the view of the islands from a distance?  Maybe it’s time you gave island life a try.

Island living offers all of the amazing things you love about being in the tropics.  Except it comes with a panoramic 360 degree view and without all the tourist traps and high-rise developments you might have to endure on mainland beaches.

It’s also entirely attainable!  

Whether you choose to find a quiet lot on a larger, more developed island or even go looking for an entire private island for sale, here are 20 pics to remind you what you could be waking up to every day if you decided to call an island your home.

Boca Chica, Panama

Boca Chica photo by VivaTropical


Off Panama’s Pacific Coast, in the Gulf of Chiriquí, lies an archipelago of over 50 islands, which National Geographic described as “myriad emerald isles strewn like jewels in a sapphire sea.”

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Galapagos Islands photo by Planet Gordon

Planet Gordon

Located roughly 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands were described by Charles Darwin as a place where, “in both space and time, we seem to be brought somewhat nearer to that great fact–that mystery of mysteries–the first appearance of new beings on this earth.”

Marietas Islands, Mexico

Marieta Islands photo by Khayla


Off the coast of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, lie Las Marietas Islands.  Now a national park, thanks to efforts first championed by Jacques Cousteau, they’re home to the island of Playa de Amor which is pictured above.  More commonly known as Hidden Beach, this area is accessible only by swimming through a short tunnel from the open ocean.

South Water Caye, Belize

South Water Caye photo by Jorge Torres

Jorge Torres

Belize’s South Water Caye Marine Reserve is another protected marine park.  It offers long stretches of white sand, some gorgeous views, and a resort with luxury accommodations.

Roatan, Honduras

Roatan photo by John Colby

John Colby

Direct flights from the U.S. make Roatan an ideal destination for tourists and expats alike.  It’s just developed enough to offer a wide variety of restaurants, bars, and other goods and services.  Yet it doesn’t suffer from the overcrowding that plagues a lot of islands that offer these same great amenities.

Little Corn Island, Nicaragua

Little Corn Island photo by August Gregg

August Gregg

Little Corn Island is one of Nicaragua’s best kept secrets.  It’s home to beautiful beaches, a number of diving and snorkeling spots, and some of the Caribbean’s friendliest folks.  It’s a great place to get away and relax, while still enjoying a few modern conveniences.

Utila, Honduras

Utila photo by Simon Hooks

Simon Hooks

One of the Bay Islands of Honduras, Utila is one of the most affordable places to enjoy a scuba diving vacation.  It offers over 60 dive spots on and around the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, as well as some amazing sunsets.

Isla del Cano, Costa Rica

Isla de Cano photo by Jason Barnes

Jason Barnes

Located near Costa Rica’s Drake Bay, Isla del Cano is significant for both its environmental and archeological value.  On land are headstones that are believed to mark the graves of pre-Colombian indigenous tribes, and in the waters surrounding the island are a wide variety of coral and a wealth of marine life.

Bocas del Toro, Panama

Bocas del Toro photo by Roman Königshofer

Roman Königshofer

The islands of Bocas del Toro are one of Panama’s most popular Caribbean destinations.  From lush rainforests to crystal clear reefs to thick mangroves to authentic indigenous villages to pristine beaches to a slow, laid-back lifestyle, they have everything they need to compete with the top spots in the region.

Isla Holbox, Mexico

Isla Holbox photo by D. Aniela

D. Aniela

Located in Quintana Roo, north of Cancun, Isla Holbox is a welcome break from the high-rise hustle and bustle.  Its sandy streets and open-air bars and restaurants offer a much more relaxed atmosphere.  It’s also a great place to see whale sharks, which feed in the plankton-rich waters that surround the island.

Laughing Bird Caye, Belize

Laughingbird Caye photo by D. Scott

D. Scott

Just over 10 miles off the coast of Placencia, Belize, lies the photogenic Laughing Bird Caye.  While no overnight stays are allowed on the island, it’s a popular stop for diving and snorkeling outfits due to its many unique coral formations.  Its picnic tables and grills make it a convenient spot to break for lunch.

Dunbar Rock, Honduras

Dunbar Rock photo by Sonja Stark

Sonja Stark

Dunbar Rock is a privately-owned island and home to Dunbar Villa, which offers gracious accommodations, amazing views, and a top-notch diving experience.  It’s also a great example of what you get when you combine island ownership with a little imagination and ingenuity.

Tortuga Island, Costa Rica

Tortuga Island photo by Mauricio Diaz E

Mauricio Diaz E

Tortuga Island lies off the tip of Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula.  Its many opportunities for adventure make it a popular place for day tours.  These attractions include tranquil beaches, zip line canopy tours, snorkel and dive sites, and plenty of places for hiking or enjoying aquatic activities.

San Blas Islands, Panama

San Blas Islands photo by Ben Kucinski

Ben Kucinski

Also known as the Kuna Yala archipelago, these islands total 378 in number although only 49 are inhabited.  Located just east of the Panama Canal, they’re home to mostly Kuna Indians.  Visitors, however, are entirely welcome, with accommodations and meals consisting of small huts and the local fishermen’s catch of the day.

Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel photo by Mega Udonitron

Mega Udonitron

Also located near Cancun is the island of Cozumel, which has become increasingly popular among tourists in recent years.  Mexico’s largest island, it offers attractions in every category, such as snorkeling, bird watching, and shopping. February’s Carnival is a festive celebration and a great time to visit.

Ambergris Caye, Belize

Ambergris Caye photo by Ian Morton

Ian Morton

Claiming over half of all tourists to Belize, Ambergris Caye was also named the #1 best island in the world by the users of TripAdvisor.  For the second year in a row. It’s convenient due to its proximity to the mainland as well as to the Belize Barrier Reef and some of the world’s best diving.  It’s a great place to live or visit.  Laid-back, but with all the modern conveniences.

Cayos Cochinos, Honduras

Cayos Cochinos photo by Dennis García

Dennis García

Also part of the Bay Islands, the Cayos Cochinos are two small islands and 13 small coral cays that occupy a land area of less than 1 square mile.  They’re part of a protected marine area, which National Geographic described as “a marine biologist’s dream:  protected by the government, off-limits to commercial divers and fishermen, and busy with creatures that may not yet have names.”

Ometepe Island, Nicaragua

Ometepe Island photo by Ashokboghani


With a name that means “two hills” in the native language, Ometepe Island houses two towering volcanoes connected by a small strip of land.  Its fertile soil and excellent fishing allow its local population to thrive.  They also warmly cater to tourists who come to the island, located in Lake Nicaragua, to enjoy its beautiful landscapes, rich archaeological history, and hospitality.

Coco Island, Costa Rica

Coco Island photo by Petrusbarbygere


Costa Rica is ripe with pirate tales, and none of its locales can top the rich history of Coco Island.  Dubbed the world’s most beautiful island by Jacques Cousteau, this destination was considered for one of the new seven wonders of the world.  It’s easy to see why its miles of rugged coastline might be popular among marauders or merely adventure-seeking vacationers.

Contadora Island, Panama

Contadora Island photo by Gaspar Serrano

Gaspar Serrano

Part of the Pearl Islands archipelago, Isla Contadora is a popular tourist destination located in the Gulf of Panama.  With regular flights to and from Panama City, it’s a convenient and easily accessible destination.  A resort island, it’s also dotted with impressive homes owned by wealthy Panamanians.

Living on or owning your own island may not seem like a possibility to you.  But the reality is, it’s easier than you think.

Depending on the level of development and amenities available, island ownership can be surprisingly affordable.  And Central America is a fantastic place to score a tropical island getaway for a fraction of the cost of what the rest of the globe has to offer.

To learn more check out our listings, updated frequently, of Central American islands for sale.

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