Shakira to Leonardo: 7 celebrity-owned islands

There are plenty of Wall Street guys who can drive their Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe over to Per Se for a nine-course meal and a bottle of Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey before heading out to their beach house in Montauk for the weekend. They're rich and they know how to spend money.

But there are only a select few who take it to an extreme level and buy their own island.

Catch Turney Duff on the new season of CNBC's "Filthy Rich Guide," Tuesday nights at 10pm ET/PT.

It's not as easy as snapping your well-manicured fingers and buying an island: You often need to clear the land, dredge the harbor for your yacht and set up electricity, Internet, cable and phone service. Plus, there are generators, solar power and propane to consider. And, of course, you'll need a staff for your isle — or at the very least, a caretaker. Do it wrong, and you could end up with Gilligan's Island.

Most of us would've folded already at the thought of all that work, but not these guys. Here are some islands of the rich and famous — who owns them, how much they paid and what they're doing with them. From pirate adventures conjured up by magician David Copperfield to Shakira's artist retreat and Leonardo DiCaprio's eco-friendly luxury resort, here are some real-life fantasy islands.

St. Phillips Island

Location: South Carolina
Owned by: CNN founder Ted Turner
Price: For sale for $24 million

It's unknown how much media mogul Ted Turner paid for this nearly 5,000-acre barrier island full of white-sand beaches, ponds, marshes and forests when he bought it in 1979, but he listed it last year for $24 million. Turner used the island as a sanctuary for friends and family. His son Teddy recently described it to the Beaufort Gazette as being "like Jurassic Park meets Fripp or Hunting islands." There are two residences on the island — a caretaker cottage and a 3,800 square-foot house — but much of the island remains wild. If you want to explore the island, Teddy said, "the best time is to do it in the winter when all the creepy crawly things are in bed." (i.e., alligators!)

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Lanai, Hawaii and Larry Ellison (inset)
Grant Kaye | Getty Images; Getty Images
Lanai, Hawaii and Larry Ellison (inset)

Location: Hawaii
Owned by: Oracle founder Larry Ellison
Price: Estimated purchase price is in the $500 to $600 million range

It's the sixth-largest of the Hawaiian Islands, but only about 3,200 people live there. In 2012, Larry Ellison, founder of Oracle purchased the 88,000-acre island from David Murdock of Dole Foods. It was actually once known as "Pineapple Island" because it produced 75 percent of the world's pineapples. It comes equipped with two Four Season resorts, multiple golf courses and a stable, though Ellison is doing a major overhaul of the island, hoping to make it "the first economically viable 100%-green community."


Necker Island and Richard Branson (inset)
Ken Gillham | Getty Images; David Orrell | CNBC
Necker Island and Richard Branson (inset)

Location: Virgin Islands, Caribbean
Owned by: Virgin founder Richard Branson
Price: Purchased for a reported $180,000

Virgin founder Richard Branson purchased the island in 1978 for a reported $180,000! It was worth $5 million but he knew the owner, Lord Cobham, needed the money, so he made him a low-ball offer he couldn't refuse. It's now estimated to be worth $200 million. He still calls it his best investment. You can book the whole island (you plus 33 friends/family members) or just a room. The Balinese-style villas on the island are equipped with endless amenities, outdoor activity options and a staff that's larger than the guest list to cater to your every whim. There is also the Necker Cup, a tennis tournament, held on the island every year.

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Musha Cay

Musha Cay, the Bahamas and David Copperfield (inset)
Marc Serota | Getty Images; Jon Kopaloff | FilmMagic | Getty Images
Musha Cay, the Bahamas and David Copperfield (inset)

Location: Bahamas
Owned by: Magician David Copperfield
Price: Purchased for $50 million

Magician David Copperfield reportedly spent $50 million on this private island in 2006 and then developed it into an ultra-luxe, ultra-private retreat for the rich and famous. There are five homes on the island that can accommodate up to 24 people, though only one group can rent it at a time. Rates start at $39,000 a night for up to 12 people. There are 40 private beaches, plus an outdoor theater, private speedboat, gym, tennis court and other amenities included. Just to ensure its exclusivity, Copperfield bought 10 other islands around it, calling it the Islands of Copperfield Bay. It's drawn an A-list clientele: Google's Sergey Brin married his ex-wife there, and Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates and Johnny Depp have all reportedly vacationed there, according to The Real Deal. Ever the showman, the website offers a grand tour, complete with a sweeping score. There's even the "Treasure of Copperfield Bay," an adventure guided by "pirates" to find some exotic hidden destinations on the island, including caves, hidden beaches and petrified lake.


Location: Ionian Sea, Greece
Owned by: Russian billionaire heiress Ekaterina Rybolovleva
Price: Greek news outlets reported a price tag in the $150 million range

This 74-acre island is located in the Ionian Sea, off the coast of Greece. Shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis (who was once married to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis) purchased the island in 1963 for $20,000. He put in utilities, imported sand, planted forest and built a family compound that includes three residences, a helicopter pad and a boat quay. Ekaterina Rybolovleva, the 24-year-old daughter of Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev purchased the island from Athina Onassis Roussel, the granddaughter and sole heir of Aristotle Onassis, in 2013.

Bonds Cay

Getty Images

Location: Bahamas
Owned by: Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters and singer Shakira
Price: Purchased for $15 million

Shakira and Waters bought the island, which is more than 500 acres, in 2011 with the idea of developing it not only as a destination for the rich and famous, with boutique hotels, luxury condominiums and private beaches, but also an artists' retreat, housing a rotating roster of artists-in-residence.

Blackadore Caye

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, center, walks down 6th Avenue during the People's Climate March on September 21, 2014, in New York.
Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, center, walks down 6th Avenue during the People's Climate March on September 21, 2014, in New York.

Location: Belize
Owned by: Actor Leonardo DiCaprio & Cayo Espanto Island Resort owner Jeff Gran
Price: Purchased for $1.75 million

The actor, also an environmental activist, purchased the 104-acre resort with partner Jeff Gran more than 10 years ago and plans to open an eco-friendly resort in 2018. The villas – which will, indeed be luxurious, with infinity pools and whatnot — will be built on a platform that arcs across the water, with artificial reefs and fish shelters underneath, according to the New York Times. There will be a manatee-conservation area and mangrove trees planted to replace invasive species. The idea is to help restore this island, which has suffered from overfishing and deforestation. "The main focus is to do something that will change the world," DiCaprio is quoted as saying.

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Commentary by Turney Duff, a former trader at the hedge fund Galleon Group. Duff chronicled the spectacular rise and fall of his career on Wall Street in the book, "The Buy Side." He's also a consultant on the upcoming Showtime show, "Billions," starring Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti. Follow him on Twitter @turneyduff.