By Alexander Britell
Moving — or buying a home — on a very tiny island in the Caribbean isn’t always an easy proposition
Sometimes, the things that make a place exotic and beautiful — like remoteness — also make life more difficult, from higher costs on goods to a sometimes daily series of compromises.
But having a place to live on a very small island like this stirs the romantic in all of us, and it’s still the dream for most avid Caribbean travelers.
So here’s one place to think about: South Bimini.
While it’s got all of the elements of the perfect tiny island, it’s also just 50 miles from Miami, with daily ferry service and flights, a casino nearby, an international airport and a mix of locals, expats and weekend-goers that gives the place a particular kind of energy.
And yes, we mean South Bimini. Because Bimini is actually a small chain of islands, with the two populated ones North Bimini and South Bimini.
North Bimini is where the Hilton hotel is, the Resorts World Casino, the Big Game Club and the nightlife.
But over on South Bimini, you find a pristine, totally quiet, throwback island that’s the essence of laid-back Caribbean vibes.
“South Bimini is much quieter, laid back and authentic to the real feel of The Bahamas,” says Paige Waugh of the Bimini Sands, which is the place to go if you’re planning to buy on South Bimini.
Bimini Sands is a marina and residential community that includes 66 slips and a collection of condominium units right on the harbor or the beach.
But it’s that rare combination of proximity to the U.S. and little-island charm that makes South Bimini such an interesting proposition for a buyer, Waugh tells Caribbean Journal.
“You can have the best of both worlds with Bimini being conveniently located within 50 miles from the US; a 20 minute flight and/or two-hour boat ride,” Waugh says. “The fast pace, stressful lifestyle we live these days can be exhausting, unhealthy, and unproductive. Your body, mind, and spirit sometimes just needs a rest and Bimini gives me that rest and break I need and deserve.”
This tiny chain in The Bahamas has long been a magnet for adventurers and famous figures, from Ernest Hemingway, whose Islands in the Stream novel was set here, to Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. who made several trips to the island.
“My Grandfather always said that he felt time stood still in Bimini,” Waugh says.
Most have been drawn to Bimini’s remarkable marine environment, with some of the region’s clearest water, world-class bonefishing and a remarkably diverse eco-system.
The latter led to the creation decades ago of the Shark Research Lab, which performs cutting-edge research on sharks at its base in South Bimini.
What it also means is that there’s a funky, vibrant expat community, from SharkLab volunteers to a large number of Floridians who have built second homes here or bought at the Bimini Sands.
“There are a few others from the United States that came and never left,” Waugh says.
That sounds like a good idea.