Petit Saint Vincent, the Grenadines. Photo: Neil Selkirk Photography
Neil Selkirk Photography

Crowd-Free Caribbean Islands: 7 Remote Getaways

If you crave some peace and quiet, consider these under-the-radar Caribbean islands. From Puerto Rico to the Grenadines, each of these islands has just the right mix of surf and sand for wannabe castaways.

Photo Caption: Petit Saint Vincent, the Grenadines.
Vieques Island, Puerto Rico. Community
Vieques, Puerto Rico
The emergence of this former U.S. military base on the hospitality scene has been blessedly unhurried. About 40 miles east of Puerto Rico, Vieques retains a rustic feel.

The island -- 22 miles long and 4 miles wide -- also has more than its share of five-star beaches, including horseshoe coves and palm-fringed black-sand stretches. Take a boat out in the bioluminescent Mosquito Bay and you're practically floating on stars.

Photo Caption: Vieques Island, Puerto Rico. Photo by Andiamodue/ Community.
Diving in Salt Cay. Photo courtesy:
Salt Cay, Turks & Caicos
If getting away from it all is your bottom line, head to Salt Cay (population: 60), little more than a spit of sand in ridiculously blue seas.

Salt Cay may be lacking many of the accoutrements of 21st-century civilization (such as cars and ATMs), but don't be fooled by its modest demeanor: People come here from all over the globe to snorkel, to dive, to whale-watch in the luminescent green seas, and to comb secluded beaches for treasures.

Photo Caption: Diving in Salt Cay. Courtesy
South Barbuda.
From above, Barbuda looks like nothing so much as a pink pearl dropped into a rippling green sea. It's a mere dot in the ocean compared with its sister island, Antigua, 30 miles due north. Most roads are unpaved, and you can count the options for lodging on one hand. After all, Barbuda has only 1,200 inhabitants, most of whom live in the island's only village, Codrington.

Barbuda is the kind of place where having nothing to do isn't a complaint; it's a blessing. It's also the kind of place where your toughest decision will be relaxing on blushing pink-sand beaches or sugary white-sand beaches. A 90-minute ferry ride lets tourists visit Barbuda as a day trip from Antigua.

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Photo Caption: South Barbuda. Photo by sharkbait/
Petit Saint Vincent, the Grenadines. Photo: Neil Selkirk Photography
Neil Selkirk Photography
Petit St. Vincent, the Grenadines
The privately owned Petit St. Vincent is one of the Caribbean's top honeymoon destinations and a favored pit stop for yachters. Each one of the 22 cottages on the 113-acre island is a model of serene seclusion -- don't expect phones or TVs here.

If you've got a craving for a frosty rum punch, it's simply a matter of putting a note in your mailbox and running the attached flag up the pole. Low-tech, and tasty, too. The Atlantic Ocean side of the island is great for snorkeling; the gentle Caribbean side is perfect for lazing about. This private resort was recently sold; look for cottage renovations, a new beach restaurant, and a kids' tree house.

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Photo Caption: Petit Saint Vincent, the Grenadines.
The beach at Stella Maris, Long Island, in the Out Islands of the Bahamas. Photo courtesy Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board.
Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board
Out Islands, the Bahamas
Built on a backbone of coral, the Out Islands owe much of their inaccessibility and lack of development to the fringing reefs and shifting shoals that have made navigation dangerous for big ships for hundreds of years. Stretching south from Grand Bahama Island, this chain of islands is prime for castaways.

Head to Cat Island, littered with the ruins of 18th-century plantation homes. The 365 islands and cays that comprise the Exuma chain are a sailing paradise, with secluded coves and uninhabited cays. Some people think Long Island may be the prettiest of the Out Islands. This slender thread of land, just 60 miles long and 1½ miles wide, has classic Bahamian pink-and-white-sand beaches. Long Island is also the site of Dean's Blue Hole, which plunges 660 feet into the ocean floor.

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Photo Caption: The beach at Stella Maris, Long Island, in the Out Islands of the Bahamas. Courtesy Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board
Kayaking at Nelson Spring Cotton Ground, Nevis. Photo: Courtesy Nevis Tourism Authority
Courtesy Nevis Tourism Authority
The sleepy counterpart to the sister island of St. Kitts, Nevis is the unvarnished Caribbean with bejeweled coral reefs and palm-fringed beaches. Still, goats and donkeys roam the largely rural 36-square-mile island, and untamed bougainvillea spills over colonial windmills. It's no vision of manicured perfection, and for many travelers, that's a plus.

Quiet seclusion has its fans, and Nevis is increasingly on the radar of folks who appreciate character-filled tropical hideaways far from the cruise-ship crowds. You can sail, windsurf, and fish to your heart's content, but really, put down that tennis racket and put up your feet. Taking it easy is known as "liming" here, and if someone back home asks you what you did on your Nevis vacation, the proper answer is "Liming!"

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Photo Caption: Kayaking at Nelson Spring Cotton Ground, Nevis. Courtesy Nevis Tourism Authority
Guana Island, British Virgin Islands. Photo: Courtesy of Guana Island
Courtesy of Guana Island
Guana Island, BVI
Another honeymoon getaway, this privately owned island is home to Guana Island, comprised of just 15 stone cottages and 850 acres of mossy hills, jungle vegetation, and white-sand beaches.

If you want to be alone, you'll have no trouble here: As the resort likes to point out, each guest has about 30 acres of his or her own to lounge on. It's chillingly expensive, but the all-inclusive designation makes the bill a lot less painful. And who can put a price on true peace of mind?

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Photo Caption: Guana Island, British Virgin Islands. Photo: Courtesy Guana Island