“Exotic” means a lot of things to a lot of people. But it always means something different, something unusual. Exotic islands are not like the islands you’re used to. They’re places where you find something unique, something beautiful, something mysterious. In the Caribbean, there are still exotic places all over the region, some private, some public, all equally, well, different. These are five exotic Caribbean islands to visit right now, big and small.
The Berry Islands
Maybe you’ve been to Abaco. Maybe you’ve been to the Exumas. But even or seasoned travelers to the Out Islands of the Bahamas, The Berry Islands are a frontier. The beach-heavy destination, which is also the Bahamas’ billfishing hub, is a haven for lovers of the water. There are a handful of places to stay, all of which are small and intimate, from the Carriearl Boutique Hotel to rental villas.
There is something mysterious about this place. It is beautiful, it is untouched and it is tranquil. The 850-acre Guana Island in the British Virgin Islands was once home to a Quaker settlement in the 18th century, and remains a refuge for travelers in search of new landscapes. The private island has 15 cottages and, more importantly, a beach bar so quiet you are often the only guest.
The San Blas Islands
Ok, so it’s not just one island, but this archipelago off the coast of Panama remains one of the few remaining frontiers for seasoned Caribbean travelers. And while the vast majority of visitors actually overnight here on boats or by camping, there are some out-of-the-way eco-lodges, like the quirky Yandup Island Lodge (above).
Terre de Bas
When most people refer to the tiny archipelago of Les Saintes in Guadeloupe, they’re referring to the island of Terre de Haut, a place we’ve described often in these pages. But there is another, smaller inhabited island to visit just across the water. This is Terre de Bas, a naturalist’s dream that also has a small eco-boutique called Reve de Robinson for overnight stays.
This islet off the coast of Le Francois in Martinique is one of the most charming places to stay in the French Caribbean, home to La Maison de L’Ilet Oscar, a boutique hotel with four rooms and a lovely restaurant. But the little island is also home to terrific diving and snorkeling, too.