What Is the Best Bahamas Island to Live? Well, It Depends…

Amidst the allure of 700 captivating islands, each with its glitz and glam, finding the ideal place to call home depends on discovering a match that resonates with your dreams and desires. 

But don't worry — with savvy decision-making and expert guidance, you can uncover the island gem that ticks all the boxes for your ideal Bahamian home.

So, where do you start? Well, it's all about getting personal. So, take a seat and delve into what truly matters to you — the vibrant communities, serene beaches, or bustling urban vibes. 

List your priorities, and lean on the expertise of our seasoned realtors to navigate the vast array of options and ensure you find that perfect blend of comfort, affordability, and island charm. 

The Best Bahamas Island to Live Depends on Many Factors

You can't take a one-size-fits-all approach to choosing the perfect island to call home. Each island offers a distinct lifestyle, amenities, and natural beauty, catering to different preferences and priorities. 

From expats, digital nomads, and solo travellers to families, retirees, and celebrities, there's an island in The Bahamas uniquely tuned to your specific requirements.

Let's look at some pivotal factors when finding the best Bahamas island to live on for YOU.


If you're accustomed to modern-day conveniences, then the development level of an island can significantly impact your quality of life.

Nassau and Grand Bahama have well-established infrastructure, utilities, healthcare facilities, and transportation networks compared with the rest of The Bahamas. They offer a comfortable and convenient life for almost anyone — expatriates, retirees, families, celebrities.

Some family islands like Spanish Wells and Cat Island offer unparalleled natural beauty and tranquillity with basic amenities but a reliable internet attractive to remote workers and digital nomads. 

Not all expats seek fully developed islands, though. An authentic island experience and untouched nature are more important to them, and basic amenities are enough for them to call those islands home. 

Others like to buy an entire island — such as in the Exumas — and develop it to enjoy the privacy of a more secluded and off-grid living experience, like celebrities, away from the hustle and bustle of urban life.

Cost of Living

Living in The Bahamas usually comes with a premium price tag since they have to get everything imported and duty-paid. However, the prices can fluctuate depending on which island and neighbourhood you choose to live in. 

While Nassau boasts the most amenities and consequently higher expenses, islands like Eleuthera, Exuma, or Abaco may offer a more budget-friendly lifestyle. 

For instance, the average cost of living in Nassau, excluding accommodation, hovers around $1500 compared with the national average of $1400.


Quick air access should be a pivotal consideration in the decision-making process. If you're a frequent traveller, proximity to an airport ensures you spend less time in transit and more time savouring your island getaway. 

Opting for an island with an international airport, such as Nassau, Paradise Island, Grand Bahama, Exuma, or Eleuthera, facilitates smoother journeys back home. Conversely, if you're eyeing a secluded island, anticipate layovers as part of your travel experience. 

It's all about weighing the pros and cons against your personal preferences and lifestyle aspirations. 

Lifestyle and Amenities

Make sure your chosen island has the amenities to match your dream lifestyle. Whether it's the security of a gated community, quality education for a growing family, health facilities for retirees, vibrant nightlife for young expats, or ultimate privacy for celebrities, think about what's non-negotiable and what you're willing to compromise on in finding your perfect island hideaway.

For example, if you're here to spend your golden years in peace but with easy access to healthcare, New Providence is the island for you. Active travellers may find plenty of action and outdoor adventures in the Exumas, Cat Island would be perfect for history lovers, and celebrities usually prefer Harbour Island for its pristine private beaches. 


For families contemplating a move to The Bahamas, the education system holds significant importance. The Bahamian private education sector caters to a wide range of budgets and academic preferences, providing parents with access to top-tier learning opportunities for their children.

Nassau and Lyford Cay stand out for their schools with International Baccalaureate programs. Additionally, the family-friendly environment and educational facilities on islands like Exuma and Eleuthera make them attractive choices for families, too!

Now that you know what you're looking for, let's discuss some of the best Bahamas islands in which to live. 

1. New Providence Island

Best For:  Accessibility, Amenities, Expats, Families, Retirees, Digital Nomads 

Nearest International Airport:  Lynden Pindling International Airport

Nassau, The Bahamas' largest city, is located on New Providence Island, which is the beating heart of the archipelago. The capital retains its Bahamian charm, with colourful colonial architecture and warm hospitality at every turn. 

Oceanfront front homes, upscale condos and modern villas are the epitome of exclusive and expensive living in Nassau. The island is known for its food, art galleries, museums, beautiful resorts, and soft sand beaches. It's a peculiar blend of island living and modern conveniences.

Families with school-aged children can access top-notch private and international schools, whereas empty nesters looking to retire in The Bahamas will find excellent healthcare facilities with well-equipped hospitals and medical centres. 

People with diet-restricted lifestyles (gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan) will have no problem finding food choices to match their preferences. 

Nassau has amenities to cater to diverse tastes and preferences. From luxury boutiques to lively entertainment venues, there's never a dull moment in this bustling city. Shop duty-free at the straw market, get a tan at Cable Beach, or socialise with people from different countries in the community you choose to live in. 

2. Paradise Island

Best For:  Safety, Accessibility, Luxury Living

Nearest International Airport:  Lynden Pindling International Airport

Along the Northern shore of Nassau lies Paradise Island, a TRUE paradise for those seeking a relaxed and slow-paced lifestyle, complete with family-friendly activities and adventures. 

The island's pristine beaches and various facilities are meticulously maintained, offering an array of accommodations ranging from furnished houses and high-end condos to stunning beachfront properties, modern penthouses, and villas.

For couples, Paradise Island offers a perfect setting for romantic strolls and peaceful moments together. 

For people looking for a laid-back island experience, Paradise Island is a tranquil getaway. The two-mile stretch of soft sands and crystal clear waters of Cabbage Beach is the best destination for a lazy beach day.

From Cove Beach, framed by swaying palm trees, to the snorkelling haven of Paradise Beach and the serene waters of Arawak Beach, there's a perfect spot for every beach enthusiast. 

The island is also home to luxurious resorts such as Atlantis, The Ocean Club, and A Four Seasons Resort, which draw international visitors with their vibrant nightlife, thrilling casinos, top-notch restaurants, and championship golf courses. 

So whether you're a family seeking adventure, a couple seeking romance, or a beach lover seeking tranquillity, Paradise Island offers the ultimate escape.

3. The Abacos

Best For:  Digital Nomads, Solo Travelers, Boating Enthusiasts 

Nearest International Airport:  Leonard M. Thompson International Airport (formerly Marsh Harbour International Airport), Treasure Cay International Airport

Abaco, the second-largest island in The Bahamas, is a short trip from Florida — an excellent place to call home for remote workers who may need to fly to the mainland U.S. frequently. 

Life in Abacos embraces a humble lifestyle and a small-town vibe. Communities like Baker's Bay and Scotland Cay offer exclusive escapes, attracting solo travellers seeking seclusion and privacy while enjoying the sunshine. With uncrowded white sand beaches, there's ample opportunity to soak up the sun in peace.

At the heart of Abaco lies Marsh Harbour, the third largest city in the Bahamas. It's bustling with cafes, shops, restaurants, hotels, and resorts.

Mainland communities such as Treasure Cay, Winding Bay, and Schooner Bay feature canal-front homes and protected harbours, ideal for boat owners who enjoy island hopping straight from their backyards. Go on boating sprees every time you feel like it! Abacos is a boater's paradise, perfect for boating, fishing, and sailing. 

And if you're a fishing enthusiast, your boat can be in deep water within an hour of leaving the island. The surrounding waters of Abaco host gigantic Blue and White Marlin, Wahoo, Dorado and Yellowfin tuna for deep-sea fishing excursions. 

Each community on Abaco island has its unique charm — the colonial allure of Hope Town in Elbow Cay with its iconic candy-striped lighthouse, top-notch marinas of Green Turtle Cay, and the laid-back ambience of Sleepy Guana Cay with its famed beach bars. 

4. Cat Island

Best For:  History Aficionados, Pure Island Living Experience

Nearest International Airport:  Exuma International airport

Named after the pirate Arthur Catt and the hometown of actor Sidney Poitier, Cat Island is an idyllic retreat offering a glimpse into the history, myths, legends, and culture of The Bahamas.

Cat Island hosts a small, lively community with an unpretentious charm and laid-back atmosphere, beckoning those searching for an authentic island lifestyle. It's a simple, peaceful place with less tourist traffic, and it's one of the best islands to live in if you're a history buff. 

Modern amenities may be less available, but you're sure to get your fill of hanging in the hammocks and unwinding on the verandas of quaint cottages, beachfront bungalows, cosy apartments and spacious villas of Cat Island.

On weekends, you can explore Cat Island's natural beauty and rich heritage by climbing Mount Alvernia's stone staircase, the highest mountain point of the Bahamas at 206 feet above sea level. Visiting the Hermitage — a monastery carved into the rock of Mount Alvernia — is a popular tourist activity. 

Dance to the vibrant rhythms of Bahamian rake-and-scrape music at bars and resorts, born from the ingenuity and creativity of the island's locals. They use any available instruments like accordions, banjos, or goatskin drums. Even handsaws, wash tubs, and fishing lines serve the purpose.

Adventurists can scuba-dive into the Mermaid Hole, Boiling Hole, and Big Blue Hole, where mythical creatures are said to dwell — good luck spotting a mermaid! 

5. Grand Bahama

Best For:  Adventure and fun seekers, Expats

Nearest International Airport:  Freeport Grand Bahama International Airport

Grand Bahama Island has two major urban towns, Lucaya and Freeport, and offers a dynamic blend of urban amenities and outdoor escapades to visitors and residents alike. 

Whether you're seeking thrilling underwater explorations or tranquil encounters with nature, this island has something for everyone. 

The friendly community, stunning canal-front homes, modern medical facilities, golf courses, exclusive restaurants, and relatively lower cost of living than the capital of The Bahamas make it a popular choice for expats. Young families are particularly attracted to the Lucaya International School on this island.

Grand Bahamas also draws expats to its markets, Port Lucaya Marketplace, Freeport's International Bazaar, and Straw Market, to buy duty-free cameras, perfumes and endless clothing items. It's one of the best islands to visit if you're on a shopping spree or want to grab fitting souvenirs for people back home.

The island is also home to Lucayan National Park, the famed shooting location of The Pirates of the Caribbean. The park boosts lush mangroves where native and migratory birds beckon bird watchers and nature enthusiasts. Diving fans can explore the vast underwater caves.

6. Harbour Island

Best For:  Pink Sand Beaches, Romantic Escapades for Couples, Privacy for Celebrities.

Nearest International Airport:  North Eleuthera Airport and White Crown FBO

Just 2 miles off the northwest of Eleuthera lies the Harbour Island's rose-tinted shores, famous as a staycation for multimillionaires and celebrities like Tom Cruise, Revlon chairman Ron Perelman, India Hicks, Jennifer Aniston and many other A-listers.

The jaw-dropping three-mile stretch of Pink Sands Beach is lined with luxurious mansions, boutique resorts, and world-famous restaurants. Despite no mega resorts or casinos here, it's the second-most expensive Island community known for its ultimate security, privacy, and relaxed lifestyle. 

The architecture reminisces of New-England-colonial vibes. You can choose a second home or invest in waterfront real estate, including quaint cottages, luxurious villas, single-family estates, and open lots.

It's accessible via the International Airport on North Eleuthera, followed by a 5-10 minute boat ride; the Island is the perfect getaway for privacy. The island is small, so there are no cars, and golf cart rentals are available throughout the island for easy access.

So, whether you crave a celebrity-style fishing expedition, enjoy working remotely from its idyllic beaches, or are looking for an investment, Harbour Island promises it all!

7. Spanish Wells

Best For:  Digital Nomads, Peaceful living, Local Charm 

Nearest International Airport:  Northern Eleuthera Airport  

White powdered sand beaches, tranquillity, no crowd, and a stable internet connection — Spanish Wells is a digital nomad's dream! It's a hidden Bahamian gem, only 5 miles in size, a quaint haven away from the bustling crowd and traffic of the capital. 

Beyond breathtaking beaches and clear waters, Spanish Wells has all the essential amenities for those seeking a new home. Additionally, finding your favourite imported products in local stores is a breeze. 

Spanish Wells offers a range of housing options. You may choose a cosy seaside cottage with colonial vibes or build a home with modern finishing on one of the empty lots boasting stunning views. 

Renowned as a quiet fishing community, every day is a feast of fresh lobster delicacies. The nearby Devil's Backbone is fantastic for snorkelling among colourful coral reefs. Moreover, you can go deep sea or sport fishing a few miles offshore, where tuna, marlin, and wahoo are abundant.

8. The Exumas

Best For:  Boating, Exploring, Nature Lovers, Private island ownership

Nearest International Airport:  Exuma International Airport

Exuma, a jewel in the heart of The Bahamas, has three regions: Little Exuma, Great Exuma, and Exuma Cays. Each location offers its enticing beauty and benefits. 

Little Exuma and Great Exuma are characterised by a laid-back vibe and welcoming community spirit. Exuma offers diverse housing options to suit every taste and budget. From luxurious waterfront estates with private docks and swimming pools to cosy beachfront cottages surrounded by swaying palm trees, there's a home for everyone in Exuma. 

Adventurists will love the Exumas for its breathtaking underwater attractions, such as Thunderball Grotto, underwater caves made famous by the James Bond film "Thunderball," swimming pigs of Big Major Cay, and fishing excursions in its innumerable cays. 

Exuma Cays are a gateway to exclusive living and an unbelievable opportunity for island ownership! Stretching over 100 miles, these 360-plus private islands include some of the most famous, such as Highbourne Cay, Norman's Cay, Cistern Cay, Halls Pond Cay, and the renowned Musha Cay. 

Whether indulging in freshly caught seafood at a beachside shack or exploring the hidden caves and secluded beaches dotting the coastline, Exuma offers a lifestyle unlike any other.

9. Bimini

Best For:  Party Vibes, Fishing Enthusiasts

Nearest International Airport:  Bimini International Airport (BIM)

Bimini, just 50 miles from Florida, offers the perfect blend of natural beauty and urban amenities. Nestled in the azure waters of the Bahamas, It is renowned for its casino, nightlife, and rich maritime history.

It's the sportfishing capital of the world and is famed for being the former fishing grounds of Ernest Hemingway. Every fisherman dreams of visiting Bimini since the legendary waters of Bimini offer trophy catches of marlin, sailfish, tuna, and wahoo, as well as exhilarating shark dive expeditions.  

You can also explore the history and sunken wreckage of the SS Sapona or take a stroll along the historic streets of Alice Town, where multi-hued pastel buildings and cosy shops transport you back in time. Only 20 minutes away from Miami, Bimini regularly receives guests, and the night is alive with casinos, parties, and clubs.  

In terms of real estate, Bimini offers a variety of options to suit every lifestyle. From stunning beachfront villas with panoramic ocean views to cosy cottages, all amidst lush tropical foliage, there's something for everyone. 

Many properties boast modern amenities such as private pools, spacious outdoor living areas, and state-of-the-art kitchens, perfect for entertaining guests or enjoying an island day.

So, whether you're savouring the sea-to-table menu at a waterfront restaurant, soaking up the sun on a secluded beach, or simply taking in the breathtaking views from your backyard, life in Bimini is nothing short of paradise.

Finding your ideal island home in the Bahamas is deeply personal, influenced by your lifestyle preferences, budget constraints, and unique needs. 

Partner with ERA Dupuch Real Estate for expert guidance. Our seasoned realtors will help you find the best Bahamas island to live in. They will point you to some of the finest listings, making your dream of living in this paradise a reality. 

Posted by Helen Dupuch on
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