Real Estate in The Bahamas Islands Is Hot and Is Getting Hotter

The naturally derived privacy found on the islands has made these the latest high-priced accessory for Hollywood celebrities. Johnny Depp, Nicholas Cage, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods all have bought into the boom.

But buyers aren’t limited to the glitterati, according to realtor/appraiser Rachel Pinder of Island Living Real Estate, an all-broker-level firm specializing in Out Island properties on such islands as Abaco, Eleuthera, Exuma, and Long Island.

Pinder sited several types of buyers contributing to the land rush. They include:

o older investors planning their retirement;

o young investors setting up bed-and-breakfasts or other enterprises;

o natives returning to their childhood homes; and

o enamored vacationers getting a jump on the major-development openings.

“Our real estate buyers aren’t just coming from the United States,” said Pinder. “We’re getting many calls from Europe and Asia. The desire to buy into a piece of paradise is the primary motivator, of course. We have many affordable properties, some of which are ripe for development. Affordability is just one side of the economic coin. Bahamian liberal real estate and immigration laws draw many buyers.

The government levies no taxes on personal income, sales, inheritance, capital gains, dividends or even corporate earnings; exemptions available to all individuals, trusts, partnerships and corporations.
Property tax rates are friendly, as well. The first $250,000 of an owner-occupied property is entirely tax exempt. Up to $500,000 the rate is just 0.75 percent, with a 1 percent rate for all properties above $500,000.

While no government approval is required for foreign investors to purchase up to five acres of residential property; larger land acquisitions must be registered and approved by the Investment Board.
The 1:1 currency exchange between the U.S. and the Bahamian dollars is hard to resist, particularly at a time when the American dollar is sinking in many other parts of the world.

Flexible immigration laws provide accelerated consideration for annual or permanent residence to everyone from major investors to owners of residences valued in excess of $500,000.
Rates for unimproved properly are equally favorable.

‘Vacant land accounts for a large portion of our sales,” said Pinder. “Still, we’re getting calls from across the board, including Bahamas condos and houses; even condo and house rentals.

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© 2007 Sinai Marketing, Inc. and Island Living. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Sinai Marketing is credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this press release is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Discover Island Living With Four Fabulous Siesta Key Condos

The Sarasota area is famous for its beaches, ideal climate, water sports, and wide range of activities for people of all ages. Numerous visitors come to this popular area each year for fun and a glimpse of island life. Anyone thinking of making a move to Florida should consider one of these four fabulous Siesta Key condos for the best in amenities and beach location.

Siesta Key is a gorgeous island stretching for seven miles along the gulf coast with bridges connecting it to Sarasota on either end. Pristine beaches and temperatures averaging 73 degrees are the primary reasons that it is such a popular destination. Outdoor activities are possible year round thanks to an average of 361 sunny days annually. The area offers an abundance of golfing, retail shopping, fishing, and boating.

The condominiums at El Presidente offer beautiful views of the gulf in a beach front setting. Condos are double penthouse suites with incredible features including spacious rooms, gourmet kitchens, modern appliances, surround sound, and full wi-fi access. Balcony areas are a wonderful place to watch the sunset or entertain guests for dinner. The location is ideal for walking to nearby stores and restaurants.

Visitors to the island are often familiar with the Crystal Sands resort thanks to its curvy shape that looks like a question mark. This type of design lends itself to providing a view of the water from anywhere on the property. It offers villas and suites depending on the number of bedrooms preferred. Furnishings and appliances are modern and stylish. Residents can use either of two heated pools for private sunbathing or make an easy walk to the beach.

Seagrove is a smaller condo development with just 12 units, providing a more private secluded environment. The main building holds eight units and the remaining four are designed more as courtyard homes in the island style. Residents can enjoy a swimming pool with private cabanas and a private beach. Overall architecture is open and modern, offering spectacular views throughout the property.

Another exclusive condo residence is Crescent, situated on the beach with a wide array of luxury features. These include private beach, two private pools with terraces, spa, state-of-the-art fitness facility, and media room with top notch entertainment equipment. Units are upscale with finely appointed furnishings and unique custom architecture.

Any of these four fabulous Siesta Key condos can provide owners with modern features and stylish design. The water front lifestyle of sun, sand, and amazing views of the gulf is ready and waiting.

Brief History Of The Cook Islands With Information About Resorts

The Cook Islands is a gorgeous necklace of 15 idyllic islands set in the South Pacific Ocean. Most resorts here are situated on the main island of Rarotonga which is a round volcanic island, almost completely surrounded by a reef enclosing a clear turquoise lagoon and safe white sandy beaches.

Historians believe that the first settlers arrived in the islands about 2400 years ago, with Rarotonga itself being settled about 1500 years ago. Although the origins of the Polynesian peoples are still unclear, it is believed that the indigenous Cook Islanders originally migrated from Asia during the great Polynesian migration.

Spanish explorers mentioned this area in their journals in the late 1500s, but it wasn’t until after Captain James Cook landed about 150 years later that the area received the name they are known by today. Christian missionaries had a big influence on their society during the 1800s, creating rules and regulations and a Christian heritage that is still very strong in the islands today.

They were made a British protectorate in 1888 and became a New Zealand dependency in 1901. Since 1961, it has been a self governing state, although defence and foreign policy for the islands are still controlled by New Zealand and Cook Island people have New Zealand citizenship. In fact, there are more Cook Islanders living in New Zealand than in the Cook Islands. Much of the travel between the two countries consists of family members travelling between the two places to visit their friends and loved ones.

International tourism has developed over recent decades, with resorts becoming a popular destination for travellers from all around the world. Tourism is a major income earner for this small nation, with visitors enjoying the fabulous tropical climate, friendly people and relaxing atmosphere.

Rarotonga is the home of many resorts, all situated along the ring road named Ara Tapu that circles the island. Visitors arrive at the airport in Avarua and travel by bus or car along the ring road to their various resort destinations. Rarotonga is the perfect place to enjoy a tranquil family holiday, a luxury honeymoon or a well earned vacation for a group of friends. These days many couples also choose one of the fabulous Cook Island resorts for their wedding celebrations.

A holiday in the Cook Islands is a great way to rest and rejuvenate after a busy year. It’s also a wonderful place to reconnect with family members, share romantic moments with a loved one and celebrate a special occasion.

Chincoteague Island – Beautiful Land Across the Water

Native American tribes were thriving on what is now Virginia’s Eastern Shore for more than twenty centuries when Captain John Smith arrived in 1607. One of these tribes, led by Chief Barabokees and Emperor Waskawampe, had claimed as their own an island five miles off the Virginia coast, calling it Chincoteague, or “The Beautiful Land across the Water.” The Assateague tribe gave their name to the barrier island just to the east of Chincoteague.

The Virginia and Maryland Indian tribes cherished Chincoteague, Assateague, and the other barrier islands for their rich stores of game and shellfish. They valued the shells of the whelk so much, in fact, that they used them to create strips of beadwork, referred to as “Roanoke.” Roanoke was considered legal tender among the tribes, who traded for other goods.

Although Chincoteague Islanders no longer use shells to fund their daily lives, they cherish their “Beautiful Land across the Water” as much as the Native Americans did four centuries ago. The marshes, forests, and beaches of Chincoteague and Assateague fill the islanders’ lives with year-long beauty, and provide a million annual visitors with glimpses of nature that have changed little since the islands’ paths were followed by Indians stalking wild game.

Much of Chincoteague Island’s timelessness has been preserved in the work of the Island’s gifted artists’ colony. Canvases depicting sunrise over wetland grasses stretching as far as the eye can see, or capturing a moment of perfect stillness before a great white egret sets down at Goose Pond recall scenes which would have greeted the Algonquins on their approach to the Beautiful Land across the Water. The lines of a perfectly carved Chincoteague swan decoy provide a lasting memory of these magnificent birds swimming along the Chincoteague marshes at twilight.

The fields, beaches, and wetlands of Chincoteague and Assateague have fed and sheltered countless millions of migratory birds traveling the Atlantic Flyway through the centuries. The waterfowl, as well as the Island’s native deer population, were staples of the Native American diet. Bow hunters in limited numbers are still permitted to hunt deer on Assateague in order to control their population.

The island forests echo with the calls of nesting songbirds, like warblers, red-winged blackbirds, sparrows, and nut hatches. During the summer their songs are joined by those of cardinals, blue jays, and finches, while the staccato of woodpeckers keeps time.

The Native Americans relied not only on Chincoteague’s game but on the bounty of her waters for their survival. That bounty still draws a steady stream of recreational fishers each year, arriving in the spring for the first of the flounder runs, and continuing through the summer to head for deeper water to go after sharks, tuna bluefish, and in late July, the greatest of all game fish, marlin.

Then there are the oysters, clams, and crabs. The first Europeans to arrive on Virginia’s Eastern Shore in 1607 startled a group of Native Americans roasting a shellfish feast, and dined on the clams, crabs, and oysters when the Indians disappeared into the forest. By the 1800s The Beautiful Land across the Water had become one of America’s premiere suppliers of clams and oysters.

Beautiful, bountiful, and bright with the promise of adventure, Chincoteague Island has something for everyone!

There is a lot more to Florida than Disney and Crowded Beaches

Today, Norm Goldman, Editor of the travel site Sketchandtravel and the book reviewing site Bookpleasures is pleased to have as a guest, travel author, Bruce Hunt, expert on Florida Travel.

Bruce is the author of Visiting Small Town Florida Revised Edition, Florida’s Finest Inns And Bed & Breakfasts, and Adventure Sports In Florida.

Norm:

Good Day Bruce and thank you for participating in our interview.

Norm:

Could you tell our readers something about yourself and what prompted you to write books on Florida?

Bruce:

I’m one of those rarities–a Florida native. I’ve lived in Tampa all my life, and I’ve watched it grow from a medium-size town into a big city, with all the things that go along with that–traffic, crowds, etc.

I do love Tampa, but occasionally I need a break from the “big-cityness”, and I like to go visit off-the-beaten-path places–quiet and peaceful little towns where people you don’t even know smile, wave, and say Good Morning as they pass you on the sidewalk, where it’s still quiet enough in the middle of the day that you can hear birds chirping, and where Mom-and-Pop general stores and home-cooked-meal diners still exist. I figured there must be others like me, so I pitched the idea for the first volume of “Visiting Small-Town Florida” to Pineapple Press ten years ago.

That wasn’t my first book though. “Adventure Sports In Florida” (also Pineapple Press) came first. It’s out of print now, but it was a guidebook to high-adrenaline sports (skydiving, automobile racing, hang gliding, hot air ballooning, cave diving, etc.) and where to learn how to do them properly. I’ve been skydiving for 28 years and racing sports cars for 20, so this was a natural first book for me.

Some people think it’s odd that I have an interest in these types of things as well as the small-town stuff, but what can I say, I like them both. After “Visiting Small-Town Florida”, came Volume 2 of that book, and then “Florida’s Finest Inns and Bed & Breakfasts”, which complimented the “Visiting Small-Town Florida” series nicely, then in 2003 “Visiting Small-Town Florida, Revised Edition”.

Norm:

Do you believe that travel is a learning experience and by effectively employing our senses we will be handsomely rewarded? As a follow up and if you agree with this assertion, were there any events or experiences that would lead you to this conclusion? Please elaborate.

Bruce:

Travel is all about new experiences–placing yourself in a completely different environment–fresh sights, sounds, and smells. And I think the more you learn about the place you are visiting, the more you will enjoy it. That’s why I spend so much time digging up trivial tidbits of history about the places I go to and write about. Regarding events or experiences, I can’t pinpoint one–I’ve just had the travel bug as long as I can remember.

Norm:

What is your idea of the perfect romantic getaway, and the perfect romantic inn or B&B?

Bruce:

Quiet, private, and picturesque–like the places I list two questions down.

Norm:

Why should we consider Florida as a romantic destination?

Bruce:

Well certainly Florida has its tropical and exotic side, and there’s something about being around beaches and the water that’s enticing, but I think there’s a lot of romance in well-preserved historic Florida too–St. Augustine, Fernandina, Micanopy, Apalachicola, Cedar Key, Mt. Dora, to name a few spots.

Norm:

If you had to choose 5 unique and romantic Florida destinations for a wedding, which ones would you consider and why?

Bruce:

How about seven?

The top spot would have to be Little Palm Island, a private island off Little Torch Key, about 25 miles north of Key West. But at $700 – $1600 per night, it’s not for everybody.

I also like the Elizabeth Pointe Lodge on Fernandina Beach/Amelia Island–looks like an old Cape Cod house, very nautical, but actually built in 1992 (it’s on the cover of my “Florida’s Finest Inns and B&Bs”).

The historic Don CeSar Hotel on St. Pete Beach is very elegant and posh.

Anywhere on Captiva (off Florida’s southwest Gulf coast)–The Castaways (simple little cottages right on the beach), the ‘Tween Waters Inn, or South Seas Plantation.

Seaside, up on the Panhandle between Panama City and Destin–perhaps Florida’s most beautiful beach–rent one of the many pastel bungalows.

The Herlong Mansion, a gracious turn-of-the-century red-brick Georgian (and maybe haunted?) bed & breakfast in Micanopy–about fifteen miles south of Gainesville.

The Dewey House B&B at the southern (quieter) end of Duval Street in Key West.

Norm:

As a follow up to the last question, which 5 inns or B&Bs in Florida would you consider to be the most romantically unique and why?

Bruce:

See the list in the previous question–but it’s a constantly shifting list–depends on what you’re in the mood for. If you ask me a month from now I’m liable to give you five different choices.

Norm:

Which five restaurants in Florida would you consider to be the most romantically unique, and why?

Bruce:

With the same disclaimer as above:

Beach Street Grill in Fernandina on Amelia Island:

Bud and Alley’s in Seaside:

Marquesa Café in old town Key West:

Alice’s On Duval also in Key West:

Oystercatchers overlooking the bay in Tampa:

Beach Bistro on Holmes Beach/Anna Maria Island–all because they have outstanding food, they’re in picturesque settings, and in great locations.
Norm:

How much time per month do you devote to travel and how do you go about choosing your destinations? As a follow up, how long do you stay in each town or destination before writing about them?

Bruce:

The answer to questions #1 and #3–time devoted to travel and how long do I stay, is, “It varies widely”. One month I might be gone almost every week. The next month I might not even step out of my office.

As for question #2–choosing destinations, as I had mentioned, I tend to seek out quiet, out-of-the-way places.

Almost all the Florida destinations that I write about are places I’ve visited many times over the years. Choosing my “Visiting Small-Town Florida” small towns was not nearly as easy as I first thought it would be. I needed a definition for the purposes of the book, and finally settled (for a starting point) on towns with a census population of less than 10,000. That set how big it could be.

For how small, I decided that if it had a name it could be a town. That let me include some tiny crossroads like Two Egg–population 31, and Cross Creek–“The Yearling” author Marjorie Rawlings’ home. Many of the places I already knew about and had visited, but some were suggestions by friends, and a few I went to see just because they had oddball names–like Sopchoppy, Ozello, and Yeehaw Junction.

Not all of the places I visited made it into the book–only those where I found a good story, a good hole-in-the-wall diner, interesting history, or something that made the place special.

Norm:

Is there anything else you wish to pass on to our readers pertaining to Florida getaways that we have not covered in this interview?

Bruce:

Just that there is a lot more to Florida than Disney and crowded beaches. There’s still plenty of off-the-beaten-path Florida, natural Florida, and old/historic Florida left to see, if you know where to find it–and that’s the purpose of my books.

Thanks once again Bruce for your participation.