Mike and Nina Marco did not come upon Exuma easily. “We had travelled through most of the Caribbean islands for years, looking for a place to build a second home. We have been to islands that had some attractive properties but they were either too expensive, too crowded, or were too difficult to get to,” said Mike Marco.
“Finally, just by chance, we visited Exuma and within 24 hours knew it was perfect. We left New York on a cold, grey day in February, and arriving in Exuma was like a dream. We felt so lucky to have discovered a unique and magical island with perfect weather, spectacular beaches and water, friendly people and a very relaxed lifestyle – truly an escape from the everyday world.”
The Marcos purchased a second home on the island, and later invested in rental villas. Their eagerness to share the Exuma lifestyle with others ultimately led to their purchase and development of Casa del Mar.
The obvious physical beauty of Exuma may have been the initial attraction for the developer/designer couple, but it was certainly enhanced by a multitude of other key attributes. The island’s close proximity to the U.S. makes it easy to reach via direct non-stop flights from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta and Toronto.
“Where else in the world can you take off from the U.S. at 11:45am and be in clear, turquoise waters on your own piece of pristine beach by 1:30pm? There’s no place as close, and no place this beautiful. And when you do need to go back, it is just as easy. You can be out on your boat or relaxing on the beach until 1:00pm, then grab your bag and make it to the airport in under five minutes to catch an afternoon flight back to the U.S. or Canada,” explained Mike.
Investing in The Bahamas also made good business sense. The islands boast a stable democracy with civil law and property rights that mirror those of the U.S. and Canada. The Bahamians speak English, and the U.S. dollar is accepted on a one-to-one basis with the Bahamian dollar. There are no taxes on income or capital gains, and the property taxes are relatively low – less than 1% – with the first $250,000 tax exempt.
Nina’s firm, Casa de Marco Design, has expanded to Exuma as well. With the establishment of a second home and other investment properties, she now specializes in furnishing properties in The Bahamas with complete interior and exterior design packages. For the last nine years Nina has worked closely with a number of clients from all over the world in Exuma, creating turnkey island dream homes to fit a wide range of tastes and budgets.
While private home owners on the island already experience the natural beauty and activities Exuma has to offer, the Marcos are always seeking to share the Exuma lifestyle with first-time visitors.
With an eye toward establishing Exuma as a wellness and fitness destination, Nina recently launched Ultimate Exuma Retreats, and has partnered with Grand Isle Resort & Spa to present its inaugural retreat in February, 2013.