Island Living. The Ins and Outs of Calling Cat Island Home


Cat Island is located in the central Bahamas, about 300 miles southeast of Florida. With an area of 150 square miles, it is the sixth largest island in the Bahamas archipelago. Cat Island is known for its stunning beaches, blue holes, and tranquil pace of life. The island’s main settlements include Arthur’s Town, Orange Creek, and Port Howe. Cat Island has a small population of around 1,500 residents.

The Bahamas is an island nation with a subtropical climate, situated just north of the Caribbean Sea. With over 700 islands and cays, it is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful beaches, coral reefs, boating, golf, and world-class fishing. The Bahamas provides an idyllic setting for those seeking relaxation, outdoor adventure, or an escape from cold winters. Its proximity to the U.S. makes it an attractive option for Americans looking to relocate abroad.

With its serene beaches, fishing villages, and laidback lifestyle, Cat Island offers a peaceful setting immersed in nature. For those looking to live a simple life by the sea, Cat Island may be an ideal home in the Bahamas.


Cat Island is located approximately 150 miles southeast of Nassau in the central Bahamas (,_Bahamas). The 48 mile long island has an area of 150 square miles, making it the 4th largest island in the Bahamas ( The terrain consists of ridges, hills, and steep cliffs, with the highest point being Mount Alvernia at 206 feet. The island is surrounded by shallow banks and reefs.

The climate is tropical maritime, with warm summers and mild winters. The average temperature ranges from 72-92°F. Rainfall averages 35-50 inches annually. The rainy season runs from May to October, which also coincides with the hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean basin (


Infrastructure on Cat Island has been steadily improving in recent years. The main form of transportation on the island is by roads. Major roadwork projects were launched in 2023 to pave and improve over 60-70 miles of roads along the length of Cat Island (Roadworks Underway for Cat Island). Prime Minister Philip Davis has also announced upcoming work to upgrade bridges, install traffic lights in key areas, and improve airport infrastructure on Cat Island and neighboring islands (Prime Minister Davis speaks of Infrastructure Developments).

The main airport on Cat Island is the Arthur’s Town Airport, with flights available to Nassau and other islands. Utilities like electricity, water, and telecommunications are available through Bahamas Power and Light and Bahamas Telecommunications Company, respectively. However internet connectivity can be limited in remote parts of the island.


Cat Island offers a variety of housing options, from luxury villas to more affordable homes. According to HGChristie, there are currently 67 real estate listings for sale on Cat Island, ranging from $50,000 for a starter home to over $1 million for a beachfront estate. The majority of listings are in the $200,000 to $500,000 price range.

Most housing on Cat Island consists of single family homes, though there are some condos and rental units available. Home styles vary from traditional Bahamian cottages to more modern designs. Manyfeature ocean views and beach access. Homes tend to have 3-5 bedrooms on average.

In terms of availability, inventory fluctuates but generally there is a decent selection of homes for sale or rent at any given time. According to, new home developments are underway in several parts of Cat Island as well, increasing housing options.

Overall, Cat Island offers pleasant housing options for Bahamian standards, with prices lower than Nassau but higher than some of the more remote islands. Home ownership or long term rentals are very feasible for those looking to live on Cat Island.


Healthcare access on Cat Island is limited but adequate for basic medical needs. There is a small community clinic located in The Bight called The Bight Community Clinic (The Bight Community Clinic). It is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, except on public holidays. The clinic provides basic medical care and medications. There is also a clinic in Orange Creek called the Orange Creek Clinic that provides similar services (Orange Creek Clinic).

For more advanced medical care, residents of Cat Island need to travel to Nassau. There is a clinic in New Bight that provides helicopter transport to Nassau when needed. Most residents obtain international health insurance to cover costs of care in Nassau. There are a few private doctors on the island, but availability is limited.

While healthcare access is basic, it meets the needs of many residents living a simpler lifestyle on Cat Island. However, those with serious or chronic medical conditions may find access limited. Additional travel to Nassau is often required for tests, procedures, or hospital care.


The educational infrastructure on Cat Island is limited compared to more populated islands like New Providence. There are only a handful of public primary and secondary schools located throughout Cat Island, with the main ones being Arthur’s Town Primary and High School, Old Bight Primary, and Cat Island Junior High School (Department of Education). Most schools only offer education through 10th grade. After that, students must travel to Nassau or elsewhere for grades 11-12 and university.

There are no colleges or universities located on Cat Island itself. The nearest options are University of The Bahamas in Nassau, or small vocational schools like Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute. However, these require relocating from Cat Island. Online university programs allow some residents to obtain higher education without leaving the island.

The educational opportunities on Cat Island reflect its small population and infrastructure. Primary and junior high schooling is available locally, but university-bound students generally must leave the island. Adult residents have limited local options for vocational training or higher academic programs.


Cat Island has a small local economy based primarily on tourism, fishing, and subsistence farming. Job opportunities are limited compared to more developed islands like New Providence. The main industries that provide employment are:

  • Tourism – There are a handful of small hotels, villas, restaurants, bars, and shops in settlements like New Bight and Arthur’s Town that cater to visitors. Jobs include hotel staff, servers, tour guides, vendors, etc.
  • Fishing – Commercial and small-scale local fishing makes up an important part of the economy. Jobs involve working on fishing boats or processing/selling the catch.
  • Government – The public sector provides some jobs in education, healthcare, infrastructure, and local administration roles.
  • Farming – Small family farms producing crops like corn, beans, bananas, and citrus mainly for local consumption also provide livelihoods.

The job market is quite limited, so having an existing job offer, starting a business, or bringing independent income/savings is recommended before moving to Cat Island. Certain skills like hospitality, fishing, carpentry, teaching, or healthcare may be in demand. But overall job prospects are modest compared to more populous islands. Seeking advice from locals is suggested.


Cost of Living

The cost of living on Cat Island is significantly lower than more developed islands like New Providence. According to Cost of Living in Cat Island, Bahamas, groceries and utilities run about 30-40% less than in Nassau. For example, a loaf of bread costs around $2-3 on Cat Island compared to $4-5 in Nassau. Electricity is approximately $0.40 per kWh on Cat Island versus $0.50 in Nassau.

There are also lower taxes on Cat Island. The VAT (Value Added Tax) is only 7.5% compared to 12% on other more populated islands. Import duties are lower as well. For expats and retirees, there is no personal income tax in the Bahamas. However, imports, services, real estate transactions, etc. are subject to various taxes and stamp duties that contribute to the cost of living.

Overall, the rural nature of Cat Island allows for a simpler lifestyle at a lower cost. But certain items may be more expensive or difficult to obtain given supply chain challenges. Planning ahead and buying in bulk during trips to Nassau can help manage costs.


The laidback lifestyle and tight-knit community are part of Cat Island’s appeal for many residents. With a population of just 1,522, the island has a peaceful, small town atmosphere where everyone knows each other. Fishing, boating, beachcombing, and relaxation are daily activities for locals. There is a thriving arts scene, with Cat Islanders practicing traditional handicrafts like basket weaving, wood carving, and rake ‘n’ scrape music. Locals take pride in preserving Bahamian culture. The island’s isolation and lack of tourism development have allowed it to maintain a more authentic cultural experience compared to busier islands like Nassau or Freeport. Close community ties, emphasis on faith and family, and a deep connection to the island’s natural beauty characterize the Cat Islander lifestyle. While amenities are basic, the unhurried pace and friendly community help make up for it. As one resident described it: “Life here is lived according to island time!” (Moving to Cat Island, Bahamas).

Conclusion on Living on Cat Island, Bahamas

Cat Island in the Bahamas offers a unique opportunity for those seeking an off-the-grid, laid-back island lifestyle. However, there are several pros and cons to weigh when considering living there long-term:


  • Beautiful, secluded beaches and nature
  • Lower cost of living than more developed islands
  • Tight-knit local community
  • Slower pace of life


  • Limited infrastructure and amenities
  • Few job opportunities
  • Hurricane vulnerability
  • Transportation challenges
  • For those seeking an off-grid, peaceful island life surrounded by natural beauty, Cat Island offers an alluring opportunity. However, prospective residents should carefully consider the challenges around limited healthcare, jobs, infrastructure and transportation. With proper preparation and reasonable expectations, living on remote Cat Island can be deeply rewarding.

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