Wow! Pink sand beaches that stretch for miles on a narrow scimitar of land in the Bahamas, on an island named Eleuthera. It fascinated my spouse for months as he dreamed about living on a long empty stretch of beach with no one and nothing around.
There is a total population of approximately 8,000 people (mainly English-speaking) in this former British colony, with the nearest city of Nassau 50 miles away by air.
Whoa! Stop! I’m good with rural, or semi-isolated, but not Robinson Crusoe remote.
It was in 2002 that we fell in love with the turquoise sea of the Caribbean, and the search began for the perfect property for our dream home. We had a choice of over 7,000 islands in and around the Caribbean Sea including 501 in the Bahamas, 43 in the British Virgin Islands, 12 in the Cayman Islands, 58 in the Turks-and-Caicos and 81 in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Ah, but then, reality pokes its pesky little head up and says, what about obtaining building supplies for the dream home? A construction crew to do the work? Furniture? Milk? Meat? Veggies? Doctors? Dentists?
And what do you do when you finally get bored watching the ocean? As fascinating as it is, eventually you have to do something else with your day.
So when the opportunity arose to purchase a slice of heaven on Isla Mujeres we decided it was definitely worth considering. We opened a bottle of crisp, fruity sauvignon blanc, took two wine glasses and a bowl of mixed nuts and retired to our home office — our lakefront patio.
After lighting dozens of candles and lanterns to set the mood for serious consideration of our future, we started to list the reasons why Isla Mujeres would be a good decision:
• Close to the City of Cancún, population of approximately 800,000, with large, well-stocked stores such as Costco, Mega Commercial, Soriana, Walmart and Home Depot.
• Three excellent, and very affordable, hospitals in Cancún with American-trained doctors.
• Only 20 minutes via passenger ferry to the mainland, costing about $6 per person each way. Full-time residents pay less.
• Only 45 minutes via a car and passenger ferry to the mainland, for the cost of around $35 each way.
• Electricity available curb side.
• Internet service available curb side.
• Municipal water system.
• Municipal sewer system for the side of the island where we were proposing to purchase property.
• Easy air access from Canada to allow us to visit our families, and they to visit us.
• Easy air access to South America, next on our travel plans.
• A diverse and active expat community.
• Pleasant cool breezes and temperatures of between 20 and 33 C.
• Swimming, snorkeling and for the more adventurous, diving.
• Even in the rainy season storms passes quickly over the island’s low geographic profile.
• Two gas stations on the island.
• A variety of small grocery stores on the island, and more recently a Chedraui Super Store.
• A fabulous variety of restaurants.
• Three choices of banking options.
• Doctors at the new community hospital, and several dentists on the island with many more available in Cancún.
• And the best reason of all, we enjoy the Mexican culture.
By the time our bottle of wine was gone and the candles had burned down to nubs we had decided that, yes, Isla Mujeres would be the perfect place to build a dream home.
Almost 10 years later we are still happy with our choice.
The writers are Canadians who have been full-time residents of Isla Mujeres for nearly 10 years. You can read their blog here.