They’re hard to get to and harder to leave, where you fall in love as soon as you land (or step off the boat). We all dream of those tiny places scattered across the Caribbean, with few people, few hotels and endless tranquility.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite tiny Caribbean destinations for planning your vacation, with a range of “tiny” islands as far north as the Bahamas and as far south as the edge of the Caribbean Sea.
None of them can be contacted directly; they all require either a second flight or a boat ride from the “mainland”. But trips like these always reward travelers.
Here are 9 “small” Caribbean islands for your next Caribbean getaway.
Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas It’s a short ferry ride from the “mainland” of Great Abaco: Green Turtle Cay, less than 1.5 square miles long and one of the Bahamas’ best kept secrets. There are beautiful beaches, a pair of charming hotels (The Bluff House and the Green Turtle Club) and a colorful town called New Plymouth with a rich history – including the birthplace of the Goombay Smash.
Terre-de-Haut, Guadeloupe Few travelers know of the French Caribbean department of Guadeloupe, and even fewer realize that it is actually an archipelago. The jewel in the crown of the island chain is Terre de Haut, home to an even smaller archipelago called Les Saintes. It’s a slice of Brittany in the French West Indies, with a fishing-village vibe, terrific bars perfect for a ti’ punch, and a quiver of secluded and gorgeous beaches, including the tiny Caribbean “Sugarloaf.”
Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands It’s most famous for the world-famous Soggy Dollar Bar, but this three-square-mile gem is so much more than just a beach bar. Sweet white sand beaches, charming little restaurants and, above all, a growing number of boutique hotels, from the brand new Sandcastle (yes, you can actually sleep in Soggy) to the spectacular new Hideout, which in no time a few Month is one of the best hotels in the British Virgin Islands.
St. Barts There’s no place more luxurious – or glamorous – in the Caribbean than St Barths, a slice of the French Riviera with a Caribbean soul. While you might be familiar with super yachts and luxury brands, little St Barth is an endlessly playful, fun and airy place whether you’re staying at the best hotel on the island, Le Barthelemy, or tucked away in a villa WIMCO. It’s notoriously difficult to get to, with a small runway that doesn’t facilitate direct flights – but luckily there’s luxury airline Tradewind Aviation that offers scheduled and charter services from San Juan.
Little Cayman, Cayman Islands Yes, they mean it when they say little. There are less than 200 people living here full time, the kind of adorable place where chickens roam the track and there is only one road. You will immediately fall in love with its high level of relaxation and its two beloved resorts: Little Cayman Beach Resort and Southern Cross Club. If you are a diver this is as good as you will find anywhere on earth. If you just want to laze on a deserted beach all day with a cold beer, this is about perfect.
Harbor Island, Bahamas Located just off the north coast of Eleuthera (and five minutes from North Eleuthera International Airport), this is the upscale capital of the Bahamas, a place where you get around by golf cart, spend your after- noon on the world class pink sand beach. and your evenings with seafood dinners by the water. Whether you’re in the legendary resort town of Dunmore or the historic Pink Sands, there’s no place in the Bahamas quite like it.
Bequia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines It’s just seven square miles, but it feels a lot bigger. Bequia is a must-visit destination for many Caribbean aficionados, and when you get here, you see why. The people are almost incredibly friendly, the beaches (and beach bars) are great, and the island’s maritime history and centuries-old maritime history give Bequia an almost New England-meets-Caribbean vibe.
South Caicos, Turks and Caicos The Turks and Caicos Islands have been one of the hottest destinations in the Caribbean since the start of the pandemic, but that demand is still almost exclusively concentrated in Providenciales. Venture further into TCI’s secluded islands and you’ll discover an entirely different world – like South Caicos, which spans 18 square miles, is home to three resorts, from the luxurious Sailrock to the family-friendly East Bay resort. It is an isolated, raw and beautiful island.
Culebra, Puerto Rico This is not the Puerto Rico you know. Away from the hustle and bustle of San Juan, this gem in the so-called Spanish Virgin Islands (along with Vieques) is a place to turn down the volume on your life. There is only one notable hotel, Club Seabourne, and a cluster of villas scattered across the island. And then there is the centerpiece: Playa Flamenco, the ultra-calm and impossibly white beach that is among the best in the Caribbean.
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