If you’ve always wanted to buy a tropical island but can’t afford it, there’s a band you need to know.
This is because the small group of investors bought shares to finance the purchase of an island through a project called “Let’s buy an island”. The 1.2-acre island, Coffee Caye, sits off the coast of Belize.
Here’s what’s even more interesting. Coffee Caye is no longer just an island, it’s a micronation now known as the “Principality of Islandia”. It is important to note however that as a micronation, the Principality of Islandia claims to be an independent state but is not recognized by the international community.
This is an important distinction. Gareth Johnson, the project’s co-founder and CEO, said, “We’re as close to a nation as you can get without having an army and navy,” according to CNN. Nonetheless, Coffee Caye is still within Belize’s borders and follows the nation’s laws, according to the Principality of Islandia.
A developing nation
The project started about fifteen years ago when Johnson thought it would be fun to buy an island and start a micronation. His next step was to purchase the domain name letsbuyanisland.com.
The plan moved forward when Johnson spoke to friend and travel enthusiast, Marshall Mayer.
“When Gareth first pitched the idea to me, I thought God no, it would never become a reality,” Mayer, now co-founder of Let’s Buy an Island, said, according to CNN. “But he started explaining how much an island could cost, and we realized that actually there are parts of the world where buying an island was a lot more realistic than I ever thought possible, especially if we were contributing. our funds.”
The two then started looking for investors and started selling stocks. Incidentally, the shares cost $3,250 each. It’s important to note that investors can buy multiple stocks, but each person only has one vote in the democratic decision-making process, according to Let’s Buy an Island.
After considering a number of possible islands, the group purchased Coffee Caye in December 2019 for $180,000 plus tax.
A private island
Let’s be frank: Investing in Coffee Caye is not for someone who wants to vacation in paradise and sit by the pool. The uninhabited and undeveloped island is small – taking only a few minutes to walk from one end to the other. And while one side has a beach, the other side is bounded by thick mangrove trees.
So what’s it like to own an island?
“It’s an amazing feeling to walk on an island that you’ve invested in and own,” Mayer said, according to CNN.
A look into the future
Johnson explains that turning Coffee Caye into a micronation is an “experiment with democracy itself”, according to Travel and Leisure.
Mayer, meanwhile, plans to create a micronation to do “ironically” and aspires to regenerate the island’s coral reef, according to CNN. Its long-term plans are to turn shipping containers into accommodations or develop glamping tents that can be used by investors as well as tourists.
Ultimately, however, the micronation Principality of Islandia is a democracy. This means that its future, including if and how the island will be developed, will be decided by all of its investors.
You can read more about Let’s Buy an Island, including the legality of buying an island and information on buying stocks as well as what exactly this involves on the nation’s FAQ page.
The Principality of Islandia is a micronation experience. You can read more about what this means, as well as how the micronation will be governed, on the micronation website.
While you’re thinking about the islands, be sure to read our content on Mexico and the Caribbean, including Our 7 Favorite All-Inclusive Resorts in the Caribbean 2022. You can also read all of our content on Belize, including 14 Reasons to fall in love with scenic Placencia, Belize.