They’re hard to get to and harder to leave, where you fall in love the moment you land (or step off the boat). We all dream about these tiny places scattered across the Caribbean, with few people, few hotels and infinite tranquility.
We’ve gathered some of our favorite minuscule destinations in the Caribbean for your holiday planning, with a range of “little” islands as far north as The Bahamas and as far south as the edge of the Caribbean Sea.
None of them can be reached directly; they all require either a second flight or a boat ride from the “mainland.” But journeys like these always reward travelers.
Here are 9 “little” Caribbean islands for your imminent Caribbean getaway.
Green Turtle Cay, The Bahamas It’s a short ferry ride from the “mainland” of Great Abaco: Green Turtle Cay, less than 1.5 square miles and long one of the best-kept secrets in The Bahamas. There are beautiful beaches, a pair of lovely hotels (The Bluff House and the Green Turtle Club) and a colorful town called New Plymouth with rich history — including the birthplace of the Goombay Smash.
Terre de Haut, Guadeloupe Few travelers are familiar with the French Caribbean department of Guadeloupe, and even fewer realize it’s actually an archipelago. The crown jewel of the island chain is Terre de Haut, the headquarters of 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, stunning beaches, most notably the Caribbean’s minuscule “Sugarloaf.”
Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands It is most famous for the world-renowned Soggy Dollar Bar, but this three-square-mile jewel is far more than just a beach bar. Sugar-white-sand beaches, lovely little eateries and, most importantly, a growing stock of boutique hotels, from the soon-to-debut Sandcastle (yes, you can actually sleep at Soggy) to the spectacular new Hideout, which in just a few months is one of the best hotels anywhere in the British Virgin Islands.
St Barth There’s no more luxurious — or glamorous — place in the Caribbean than St Barth, a slice of the French Riviera with a Caribbean soul. While you may know the super yachts and the luxury brands, tiny St Barth is an endlessly playful, fun-loving, breezy place, whether you’re at the island’s top hotel, Le Barthelemy, or tucked away in a WIMCO villa. It’s notoriously difficult to get to, with a tiny runway that doesn’t facilitate direct flights — but thankfully there’s luxury airline Tradewind Aviation that flies scheduled and charter service out of 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 sort of lovable place where chickens roam the runway and the there’s only one road. You’ll fall in love immediately with its elevated level of chill, and two beloved resorts: the Little Cayman Beach Resort and the Southern Cross Club. If you’re a diver, this is as good as you’ll find anywhere on earth. If you just want to laze on an empty beach all day with a cold beer, it’s just about perfect.
Harbour Island, The Bahamas Set just off the coast of north Eleuthera (and five minutes from North Eleuthera International Airport), this is The Bahamas’ capital of chic, a place where you get around on a golf cart, spend your afternoons on the world-class Pink Sand Beach and your evenings with breezy, water’s edge seafood dinners. Whether you’re at the legendary Dunmore resort or the historic Pink Sands, there’s no place in The Bahamas quite like it.
Bequia, St Vincent and the Grenadines It’s just seven square miles but it feels far larger. Bequia is a bucket-list destination for many Caribbean aficionados, and when you get here, you see why. The people are almost impossibly friendly, the beaches (and the beach bars) are superb and the island’s maritime history and centuries-old maritime history gives Bequia an almost New England-meets-the-Caribbean vibe.
South Caicos, Turks and Caicos Turks and Caicos has been one of the hottest Caribbean destinations since the onset of the pandemic, but that demand is still almost exclusively concentrated in Providenciales. Venture farther off into the remote islands of TCI and you’ll discover an entirely different universe — like 18-square-mile South Caicos, home to three resorts, from the luxe Sailrock to the family-friendly East Bay Resort. It’s a secluded, raw, stunning island.
Culebra, Puerto Rico This isn’t the Puerto Rico you know. Far from the bustle of San Juan, this gem of the so-called Spanish Virgin Islands (along with Vieques) is a place to turn down the volume on your life. There’s just one notable hotel, Club Seabourne, and a cluster of villas scattered across the island. And then there’s the centerpiece: Playa Flamenco, the ultra-calm, impossibly white beach that’s among the best anywhere in the Caribbean.