NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Private islands weren't much of a refuge during the recession, but the island real estate market is starting to look a bit more serene.
Back in 2009, private islands were lingering on the market with scarcely a buyer in sight. The price of an oasis on the water was dropping 50% from original listings. Today, prices for developed private islands are still lofty, but there are a few other ways to get your foot on the sand that aren't quite so costly.
Developed private-island prices are still high, but there are other ways to get your feet in the sand.
We thumbed through the listings and found 10 examples of private islands available to those with either the time or inclination. While some are as glitzy and palatial as real estate daydreamers might imagine, others may leave potential buyers wondering how they're going to get a work crew out there or what it's going to take to kill the swarms of flies buzzing around their potential paradise:
Location: St. Lawrence Seaway off New York State
Price: $4,000 a week/rent
If you don't have the cash to buy your own island right now, it doesn't mean you can't try one on for size. This three-acre island is one of the seaway's 1,000 Islands between New York and Canada and has a 6,500-square-foot, 1901-vintage Victorian home on its shores. The home has 10 bedrooms with room for 20 people, four bathrooms, a living room with a fireplace and piano, a dining room with windows overlooking the seaway, satellite television and Internet access. It's as private as an island gets, but close enough to civilization to just jaunt back if the novelty wears off.
Location: Lake Gatun, Panama
If you want a private island for minimal investment, this is how you have to do it. Located on one of the largest manmade lakes in the world, this 0.75-acre patch looks like a desolate opening in the middle of the jungle, but it's fairly close to the mainland and minutes away from nearby towns, marinas and restaurants. The house that once occupied it was torn down, leaving only the septic tank and a toilet on the island's high point. Construction will be a must, but mobile phone coverage and electric supply right near the coast should help you get started. Did we mention your neighbors will include monkeys, parrots and toucans? It's not much to start with, but it's yours.