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Own Your Own Island

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- John Donne may have written "No man is an island, entire of itself," but at least anyone with a few million bucks can get an island of their own so they have a quiet place to think about what Donne meant. Maybe down by the boathouse or helipad?

Actually, once you get past the price of ownership, not every island for sale is a luxury experience. Whether looking at real estate brokers such as Coldwell Banker in the Bahamas or specialists such as Toronto's Private Islands, there's a little something for everyone in the warehouse. Some islands have accommodations ranging from the rustic to the luxurious, and some are totally pristine, ready for your Robinson Crusoe fantasies. There are bargains to be had, and plenty of money to be spent.

Here are some standouts, from most affordable to least.

Isla Gatun, Panama: $30,000
We'll start with a bargain: $30,000 will buy you all 0.74 acres of this island in Panama's Lake Gatun, one of the largest man-made lakes in the world and a major part of the Panama Canal. There used to be a house on the land, but now all that is left is the septic tank and toilet. Oh and plenty of tropical gorgeousness with monkeys, parrots, toucans and tapirs as your neighbors. Isla Gatun is also minutes from a small marina with restaurants and cell phone reception and only a 40-minute drive from Panama City. The island also has some amazing game fishing for the non-native and notoriously ornery Peacock Bass.

Now for the downsides: Yes, huge ships will occasionally travel past your island as they take this shortcut from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Also, during the dry season there is a shortage of water in Gatun Lake, as it is drained every time the lock is opened, but environmental measures are being enacted to diminish water loss. The island is also not titled (like 95% of Panamanian islands), which means you'd be buying a Right of Possession, which is not as secure as buying a titled island. But for the price ...

French River Georgian Bay Island, Ontario: $485,890
Located in an area famous for its trophy walleye, bass, muskie and northern pike game fishing, the island is equipped with two cottages. One has hot and cold running water and plenty of living space. The second, bigger cottage still needs some work, but it has solar panels, a wood stove and plenty of rustic charm -- all for $485,890.

Ice Age glaciers sculpted this dramatic landscape out of pink granite cliffs, creating the French River Delta's thousands of islands opening to the Georgian Bay. The island is about four hours north of Toronto. American citizens are free to own property in Canada provided they have a permanent U.S. residence where they spend at least six months of the year.
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