Guana Island was purchased in 1974 by dedicated conservationists Henry and Gloria Jarecki, and it’s both a nature preserve and wildlife sanctuary. This is one stunning landscape: Upon your arrival by boat, a Land Rover meets you at the docks and transports you up one of the most scenic hills in the region. From above you can see an old salt pond dotted with pink flamingos and the lacy fringes of beautiful White Bay, the island’s main beach. Guana even has the ruins of an old sugarcane plantation. The island is a model of self-sufficiency, with its own desalination plant and a private organic orchard, growing tropical fruits like papaya and key lime. The island has seven beaches in all, five of which require a boat to reach. All have sand as soft as baby powder, lapped by gin-clear sapphire seas.
The cluster of white stone cottages was built as a private club in the 1930s, on the foundations of a Quaker homestead. Each cottage has its own unique decor, but most have rustic wood-beam ceilings and New England–style wainscotting. The resort never holds more than 35 guests, and because the dwellings are staggered along a flower-dotted ridge overlooking the Caribbean and Atlantic seas, the sense of privacy is almost absolute. The Sea View pool cottage has its own private pool and three rooms. The North Beach villa has its own pool and beach. In fact, all four villas have infinity pools. Sixty percent of the cottages have air-condioning, but most guests find the hillside breezes plenty cooling. Hors d’ouevres are served nightly (6:30pm) in the stone living room, followed by 7:30pm candlelight dinner on the veranda’s communal tables. A new chef from Spain was getting raves in the kitchen at press time. Kids 8 and under stay free at Guana during “Kids’ Weeks” in July and August. The entire island can be rented by groups of up to 35 ($22,000 and up per day).