t's been called the "Billionaire Bunker" and one of the "wealthiest, private, most secure communities in Miami Beach and the world."
Indian Creek is a village of just 42 people on a tiny private island in Miami's Biscayne Bay. Its "Billionaire Bunker" nickname stems from its wildly wealthy and high-profile residents, including billionaire investor Carl Icahn, supermodel Adriana Lima, and Spanish singer Julio Iglesias.
"Indian Creek is an exclusive 300-acre island located on the beautiful waters of Biscayne Bay and recognized as one of the wealthiest, private, most secure communities in Miami Beach, and the world," Michael Light, founder of Miami Luxury Homes and senior director of luxury sales at Douglas Elliman, wrote on his website.
"The high level of privacy and security is the highest priority to the residents of Indian Creek and maintained by having its own private police force, as well as its own 24/7 armed marine patrol monitoring the waters surrounding the island."
The village's 34 homes are built around the perimeter of the island, giving them all waterfront views. The center is occupied by an 18-hole golf course and a country club.
I arrived at the island in an Uber. We were stopped at the guardhouse before even getting on the island.
Fortunately, my name was on a list of expected guests, so I didn't have a problem getting in.
The village of 34 residents is protected by a private 13-person police force, according to my tour guide, Nelson Gonzalez, a luxury realtor and the senior vice president of EWM Realty International.
The force even patrols the perimeter of the island from the water.
Indian Creek Village is accessible only by car via a single bridge that spans the waterway from Surfside.
We drove across the bridge, and I was dropped off in the driveway of one of the island's opulent mansions that I was planning to tour.
Homes in Indian Creek are rarely up for sale. Right now, there's only one house on the market: an eight-bedroom, Mediterranean-style mansion for $24 million.
Though the $24 million home is the only one on the market, houses in the village have been known to sell without being officially listed.
In February, an Indian Creek estate that wasn't officially on the market sold for $50 million, breaking the record for the most expensive single-family home sold in the Miami area.
It was the second time the home broke that record, after selling for $47 million in 2012, Business Insider's Lina Batarags previously reported.
The Indian Creek Golf Course is one of the prime golf courses in Florida, according to the website Top 100 Golf Courses.
"This is not one of the most accessible venues for the visiting golfer, so you'll need to befriend a member to tee it up on the classical William S. Flynn-designed course here at Indian Creek, which dates back to the 1930s," the website reads.
Among the wealthy people who have owned homes on the island are the supermodel Adriana Lima, the former Sears CEO Eddie Lampert, and the car-dealership tycoon Norman Braman.
One of the island's most famous residents is the singer Julio Iglesias, who owns several properties on the island, Gonzalez told me.
In 2017, Iglesias was asking for $150 million for four contiguous vacant lots he owns on the island. Together, the properties would offer 800 feet of water frontage.
The singer and actor Ricky Martin also lived on the island at one point, but it's unclear whether he still does.
The Indian Creek Country Club, a sprawling Mediterranean-style structure, sits on the island's southwest shore.
"The Indian Creek Country Club is Miami-Dade County's most exclusive, and controversial, private society," Gus Garcia-Roberts wrote in the Miami New Times in 2011.
The clubhouse includes a swimming pool, a fitness center, a massage and steam room, locker rooms, a bridge room, and a marina. It was built in 1929 by Maurice Fatio, the architect who designed many of the most famous estates in Palm Beach.
The island is really small — the driving tour took at most 20 minutes, and that was moving slowly with frequent stops.
The most telling detail of my short time on the island is that I don't remember seeing a single civilian on the street or in the yards, but I saw at least two members of the police force.
So while the level of security is definitely, and understandably, a draw to wealthy residents, I found it to be a bit of a deserted island.