The Best Places to Live in The Bahamas | BE Luxury Real Estate

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The Best Places To
Live In The Bahamas

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It almost goes without saying that The Bahamas is a tropical paradise. It’s close to the US but has an entirely more favorable tax regime. With thousands of hours of sunshine and temperatures that range from mild to hot it’s hard to imagine an unpleasant corner of the island country. And with over 700 islands to choose from, it’s easy to think that options must be unlimited.

The best places to live in The Bahamas for you will depend, at least partly, on your goals and life situation.

Is your relocation part of a dream retirement plan? Are you moving your digital nomad operation to The Bahamas? Will you be working for a company in the country’s financial center?

We’ll take all of these factors into account as we figure out where to live in The Bahamas. Read on for your guide to strategically approaching this essential question.

Eleuthera Island


An Island View of Where to Live in The Bahamas

Compared to other Carribean countries that fit into the one-big-island category (like Cuba or Jamaica), The Bahamas is what’s known as an “archipelagic state”. In other words, the country is spread out across 100s of islands, reefs, islets and cays.

First of all, of the 700 total islands, only 30 are inhabited. That cuts the selection down significantly but there is still a noticeable difference between the inhabited islands.

When relocating to some countries it’s mostly about picking the right town or neighborhood for you. But in The Bahamas, what island you’re on is what makes most of the difference.


NEW PROVIDENCE IS THE MOST POPULOUS

Roughly 70% of the 320,000 Bahamanians live on New Providence island. Nassau, the capital, largest city and financial center is located on New Providence and legally covers the whole island.

There were various settlements on New Providence but development and relocation to the island since the 1950s has caused Nassau to sprawl over basically the whole island.

New Providence includes a few wealthy and very exclusive areas. Lyford Cay is one of the most exclusive gated communities in the world and includes one of the Bahamas’ top-rated schools.


GRAND BAHAMA IS THE OTHER INNER ISLAND

In the Bahamas, locals refer to all of the islands except for New Providence and Grand Bahama as “the Out Islands”.

Most people on Grand Bahama live in either Freeport or Lucaya. The former is more touristy (with cruise ships calling regularly) and the latter has more of a locals-only vibe.


BAHAMAS' OUT ISLANDS

Away from the cruise ships and bank towers these are where you’ll truly find the pure expression of island life in The Bahamas. Highlights in this part of The Bahamas include:

  • Eleuthera: As idyllic as the name sounds, this group of outer islands has 11,000 inhabitants. It’s especially popular with retired expats who want to try their hand at gardening because there is more soil here than in the generally quite rocky country.
  • Abacos: This chain of islands is the spot of choice for enthusiasts of outdoor pursuits. For instance, it has a world-class links-style golf course, but with a view of the sunny Caribbean instead of the blustery Firth of Forth.
  • Exumas: Living here, especially in retirement, is like a constant vacation. Beyond the famous swimming pigs on Big Major Cay, this part of The Bahamas also has some of the best diving in the world.

The Out Islands can still be an option even if you’re not ready to retire to the beach for the entire year. The government of The Bahamas understands that the secluded lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean giving up creature comforts and occasional access to the outside world.

For instance, there are four flights a day from Exuma to Nassau and much of the main Eleuthera island is served by municipal water and sewer systems.


EXPATS: WHERE TO LIVE IN THE BAHAMAS?

Generally, when a country becomes a popular focus for expats there are three likely candidates to consider when looking for where they’ve already clustered. They are:

  • The biggest city where jobs are most available and there might already be more diversity than in the countryside.
  • Special areas set aside by the government where development is encouraged and new-economy companies have established themselves.
  • Vacation-friendly areas that have matured beyond just resorts to also include long-term rentals within easy reach of the beach and other outdoor pursuits.

In some ways, The Bahamas offers all three. Wealthy expats tend to live in gated communities within easy reach of both the beach and the financial center. Nassau also has more affordable options in newly established areas.


communities of choice for expats on new providence

Expats with children tend to think that the communities close to the top schools, including St. Andrews, Lyford Cay International and Windsor are the best places to live in The Bahamas.

Here’s a list of expat communities on New Providence:

Lyford Cay

Old Fort Bay

Paradise Island

Ocean Club Estates

Sandyport

Cable Beach

Eastern Road


FINDING THE RIGHT PLACE TO RETIRE IN THE BAHAMAS

If you’re planning to retire to The Bahamas and want to be among other retirees, look back to the discussion of thinking of The Bahamas on an island-by-island basis. Very generally speaking retirees group themselves:

  • Those looking for culture, golf, the height of luxury seem to end up on New Providence.
  • If sun, sand and less people are priorities, Grand Bahama (away from the cruise ships at least) is the place.
  • Gardeners and nature lovers feel at home on Eleuthera, Exuma and Cat Island.


MOST REASONABLE PLACES TO LIVE IN THE BAHAMAS

The main factor that make things expensive in The Bahamas is tourist demand. Generally, this means that the further you move from the beach and Nassau, the cheaper may be.

The Bahamas’ real estate market is not at all an apples-to-apples comparison. A beachfront home on Eleuthera, one of the popular Out Islands, could go for $2,000,000 while the same in Nassau can be had for about $10,000,000.

With such variations in price, it is critical to understand the real estate market and work with a trusted agent when finding property for sale in The Bahamas.