The sound of the Caribbean Sea lapping against the shoreline provides the daily soundtrack on Iguana Island, a volcanic island 12 miles off the coast of Bluefields, Nicaragua. Clear blue-green water dominates sightlines in all directions, and the region’s spectacular sunrises and sunsets make the views all the more dramatic at daybreak and nightfall.
This five-acre retreat, cloaked in coconut palms and banana trees for maximum privacy, combines a turnkey, freehold property with a very affordable price tag – something rarely found in a tropical setting this close to the United States.
As previously showcased on an episode of the HGTV series “Island Hunters” hosted by Private Islands CEO Chris Krolow, Iguana Island features a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house with a wraparound porch, dining room, bar, and living area, plus additional accommodations for staff on the other side of the island, all built to modern standards by an American developer. A boardwalk meanders around the property to encourage leisurely strolls among the foliage, home to migrating butterflies; a 28-foot observation tower allows visitors to gaze across the ocean to the rainforests in the distance.
There is ample room to add a swimming pool, but a refreshing dip is as simple as wading into the sea on the calm west side of the island near the dock. This part of Nicaragua earns raves for its fishing, and anglers can cast off the dock for snapper, mackerel and barracuda, venture offshore for tuna, billfish and wahoo or delve into the virgin jungle rivers of the mainland to pursue trophy-size tarpon and snook. Abundant tropical fish on the surrounding reefs will appeal to snorkeling and scuba enthusiasts.
The reliable longtime island staff, which includes on-site manager and caretakers, is willing to stay on with Iguana Island’s new owners. The overhead is low and everything is well maintained.
The structure was built out of local hardwoods approximately 10 years ago. The house is in excellent condition as it is painted yearly and maintained daily by the caretaker staff. The pilings underneath the house were just replaced last year with specially treated hardwood to resist decay. The roof which is tile is also carefully maintained by the staff from an ample supply of replacement tiles.
A back-up generator, septic system, and water catchment system add to the island’s self-sufficiency. Water tanks on towers pressurize the faucets and toilets. Television, internet, and cell service are available as well. The proximity to Bluefields, which has the largest population center on Nicaragua’s east coast, means that supplies are more readily reachable than they are in many other Central American or Caribbean island locales. Iguana Island is also safely below the hurricane belt with pleasant year-round temperatures and a noticeable lack of biting insects.
With its well-maintained infrastructure and small monthly maintenance fees, Iguana Island easily could be reimagined into a retreat for an organization or transformed into a source of rental income with more competitive rates than other island areas of Nicaragua. (Private Islands can assist with setting up a rental plan.) It could also provide a safe, idyllic place to retire – on a much smaller budget than you’d find on comparable tropical islands. Due to a death in the family, the current owner has Iguana Island on the market at a reduced rate and all reasonable offers will be taken into consideration.
Nicaragua’s country profile remains on the rise, thanks to a system that doesn’t tax foreign-sourced income, the low cost of living, and an increasing number of travelers drawn to its relaxed beauty. The World Travel & Tourism Council projects growth in international tourist arrivals to Nicaragua for at least the next decade, with numbers exceeding 2.7 million visitors by 2027.
Numerous daily flights connect between the United States and Managua, Nicaragua’s capital, and then it’s a 45-minute hop by plane to Bluefields for a boat transfer to Iguana Island from one of the town’s many public or private docks. The island has an area suitable for building a helipad, which would further reduce transit time.