There are some Caribbean islands that get all the love, so much so, they don’t even need to be named. And while each island offers its own culture, history and charm, planning a Caribbean getaway can often become a battle of finding authenticity in an overwhelming amount of cruise ship docks, souvenir shops and cheesy Bob Marley shirts. While many people are reconsidering travel at this time in the wake of the coronavirus, the Caribbean has mostly been affected by the lack of tourism as opposed to the disease. And with flight prices dropping by the day, this could be your chance to explore a new locale that hasn’t yet been spoiled by international travelers with even less crowds. Here are five islands to consider.
Believe it or not, this Caribbean island that neighbors Saint Martin has no beaches. Saba is a sprawling, mountainous island without the casinos, cruise ships and the sandy coves that make many Caribbean islands overrun with tourists. There are just under 2000 residents who live here, and it’s best suited for travelers who want to be completely immersed with nature and enjoy activities like hiking and diving. And of course, there’s always rum with a view.
Where to Stay: Queen’s Gardens Resort & Spa is located on a lush cliffside that has just 12 suites.
How to Get There: St. Maarten’s Juliana Airport has direct, 12-minute flights into Saba. Ferry service is also available from St. Maarten to Saba.
Dominica is less than 300 square meters, but the small island offers more than enough for any traveler to get active or relax. Called the “Nature Island,” Dominica is an oasis of mountains, white sand beaches, hiking trails, waterfalls, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site,Morne Trois Piton National Park. You can snorkel in the water near the black sand beach of Champagne Reef, or enjoy a hot spring at Wotten Waven. The eco-tourist friendly island is adamant about protecting its wildlife and forestry, which is why it is one of the most pristine islands in the Western Hemisphere.
Where to Stay: Secret Bay This off-the-grid resort has just six sustainable luxury villas
How to Get there: Dominica can be reached by plane or ferry. There are no direct flights from the U.S. and all airlines connect through nearby airports like Puerto Rico, Barbados, Guadeloupe and Martinique.
Cue the theme from Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, because Mustique is definitely a playground for travelers seeking luxury. This private island in the Grenadines is very close to St. Lucia, and includes 1,4200 acres of unspoiled beauty. You don’t have to be a celebrity to visit (though you’re likely to see a few stars while there). There are 75 villas around the island that are available for rent and two boutique hotels. Located on the eastside of the island, Macaroni Beach is the epitome of a postcard perfect Caribbean beach. The shallow turquoise waters and low hanging palm trees are the perfect location for a picnic. For nightlife, Basil’s Bar is the place to be.
Where to Stay: The Cotton House has just 18 rooms and is one of only two hotels on the whole island.
How to Get There: If your private jet situation doesn’t work out, there are direct flights from islands like Barbados and St. Lucia.
PETIT ST. VINCENT
This paradise is located 40 miles south of St. Vincent and the Grenadine islands. The 115-acre island is also a resort with just 22 villas scattered across a tropical background. With no telephones or WiFi in the room, Petit St. Vincent is the ideal retreat for those looking to completely unplug. When you do need to communicate, a flag system outside your room allows you to communicate with an always available staff. There are two restaurants that feature locally caught seafood, Italian food and weekly beach barbecues. There are two yoga pavilions, a Balinese-run luxury spa and wellness center, and a number of water activities. Families will enjoy movie night on the beach, brought to guests by a large projector screen with of course, buckets of popcorn.
How to Get There: From Barbados’ airport, guests can take a charter flight to Union Island in the Grenadines, then a 20-minute boat ride to Petit St. Vincent.
Nevis offers a seclusion that neighboring island St. Kitts can’t compete with. Just south of Puerto Rico, Nevis is a 36-square mile island that is perfectly fine with not being flashy or marketing to tourists. There are no casinos or cruises coming through the island, and you can forget having unlimited pina coladas at an all-inclusive resort. What you will find, are unlimited opportunities to scuba dive, enjoy a cocktail at Sunshine’s beach bar, or sink your toes into the volcanic sand at Pinney’s Beach.
How to Get There: Airlines like American and Delta fly to Nevis’ international airport.
Where to Stay: Four Seasons Nevis is the one of the original luxury resorts that put the island on the tourist map.