Archipelago of 100-plus ‘pristine’ Indonesian islands going up for auction

Photo provided by Sotheby's Concierge Auctions

A 100-plus island archipelago home to white-sand beaches and hundreds of rare and endangered species is on the auction block for the highest-bidding billionaire.

The Widi Reserve near Bali in far east Indonesia — one of the most environmentally sensitive places on Earth — will be open for bidding Dec. 8-14 in a "once-in-a-generation" sale, according to Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions. The islands are filled with biodiversity, and the ocean surrounding the archipelago is free from major plastic pollution or human interference.

"Every billionaire can own a private island; but only one can own this exclusive opportunity spread across 100+ islands," said Charlie Smith, Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions’ Executive Vice President, EMEA, in a prepared statement.  "We’re presenting a prime opportunity for any discerning buyer in the world to participate in the conservation and development of one of the most pristine areas on earth."


Photo provided by Sotheby's Concierge Auctions 

The bidder will not actually own the islands, because Indonesian law prohibits private ownership of its islands. Instead, they’ll be purchasing shares in PT Leadership Islands Indonesia, a business that owns the development rights to Widi Reserve.

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According to Sotheby’s, the company has been planning the development of eco-resorts on the islands for years. The designs are "close to 100% natural and sustainable," and the company claims locals on the mainland will get needed skills training and a number of employment opportunities.  


Corals reefs pictured in the Komodo National Park, Indonesia. Photo: Paul Hilton for Greenpeace

"Some will become rangers and join a top international team of conservation experts in, helping to protect this incredible oceanic habitat," the auction house says. "The Widi Reserve’s Conservation center will lead cutting-edge research programs including tagging, tracking and monitoring of iconic and critically endangered species. Embark on one of the most important conservation and sustainable development missions of a generation."

There’s no minimum bid for the islands, but there’s a $100,000 deposit if you want to make an offer, and there are conservation laws already in place. Only 25 of the islands are allowed to be developed, with a maximum of 500 villas. There are also plans for a new airport that will "connect to the reserve in less than an hour."


Photo provided by Sotheby's Concierge Auctions

The Widi Reserve is the same size as Bora Bora and 50 times larger than Tetiaroa, the coral atoll archipelago home to the famed resort The Brando.

If an archipelago is out of your price range, Sotheby’s Realty has two pages of other private islands for sale. Prices range from $50 million to $300,000.