Unique Caribbean Island Escapes

Thinking about going someplace warm this winter? I certainly am after digging out my winter coat and scarf this morning to brave the weather of the northeastern U.S. Now is the time of year when the majority of our daily requests include the phrase: “I wanna go someplace warm, but not like Cancun or anything like that.” Tourists from around the world flock to Caribbean destinations each winter and, while it’s filled with well-known spots, there are still some off-the-beaten-path areas. Those seeking to travel to someplace warm and truly unique can find hidden and relatively untouched Caribbean islands that offer their own unique style.

Travelers who are thinking of going to the Caribbean this winter and looking to escape the crowds and wander off the beaten path may want to consider some of these destinations:

saba

Saba, Netherlands Antilles – One of our favorite off-the-beaten-path destinations located in the Caribbean is the island of Saba. Accessible from St. Martin via a fifteen minute plane ride or an hour and a half ferry ride, Saba is known as “The Unspoiled Queen.” Those who fly are in for a thrill ride. That’s because Saba’s airport has the shortest international runway in the world which sits on the largest and flattest portion of land. This land is sixty feet above the ocean with sheer cliffs on each side of the runway leading to rocky depths. With the risk of over-shooting the runway and falling into the ocean, many pilots rate this as the world’s most dangerous airport, even though no major tragedies have occurred there. Read the complete story…

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San Blas Islands, Panama – Bordering the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Panama’s coastline includes a plethora of lagoons and countless islands. Stretched out along the Caribbean coast is the archipelago of San Blas, a cluster of well over 300 islands of remarkable beauty. Forty-nine of the islands are inhabited by the Kuna Indians. While only a fifteen minute plane ride from Panama City, a trip to the San Blas Islands will transport you twenty centuries into the past where travelers feel as if they’re in another world. Fiercely independent, the Kuna Indians maintain their own language, customs and culture with their distinctive dress, music and legends. Read the complete story…

caye-caulker

Caye Caulker, Belize – One of my favorite places to experience laid back island life is Caye Caulker in Belize. The island itself embodies the word relax, with clear blue sea, cheap Caye Caulker hotels, palm trees swaying in the breeze, friendly people, great food and amazing underwater scenery. The motto on Caye Caulker is ‘Go Slow’. The island is only three miles long and narrow at points, so there is no way to get lost. The thing I like best is that there are only two streets on the island, Front Street and Back Street. I didn’t run into a single car as they are not allowed. However, I did witness the largest crab I’ve ever seen walking down sandy Front Street. Read the complete story…

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Vieques, Puerto RicoVieques is an island-municipality of Puerto Rico located six miles east of the main island of Puerto Rico. For over sixty years, the island was closed off and used as a major U.S. naval base. As a result, the island remained undeveloped for tourism. Now its key attraction, the sleepy, unspoiled island with its deserted beaches, is rapidly becoming a popular destination. Much of the island is now part of the U.S. Park Service. The U.S. Park Service maintains the dirt roads that lead to isolated beaches with crystal-clear, blue water. Vieques is perhaps best known for the luxurious W Retreat & Spa Vieques and Mosquito Bay, a pristine bio-luminescent bay filled with dinoflagellates (organisms that make the water glow) that is magical to swim in. Read the complete story…

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Roatan, Honduras – As the name suggests, the village of West End is located at the western end of the gorgeous Caribbean island of Roatan. The most popular tourist spot in Roatan, especially among budget travelers, West End has beautiful white sand beaches that are protected by a living coral reef. The reef is so close that you can easily swim out to it and snorkel or dive. In fact, spectacular diving is the main attraction here and the village is kind of like one big dive resort. Visitors will find cheap, comfortable rooms which are all within walking distance to the beaches, dive shops, and restaurants. Read the complete story…

IMAGES VIA: Radioflux on wikimedia commons, Joachim Pietsch, rootneg2, *AStarWithin* and martijnmunneke on flickr

7 thoughts on “Unique Caribbean Island Escapes

  • This is a great list of off-the-beaten path spots in the Caribbean. I can certainly recommend Saba, that airport is absolutely spectacular! The magnificent diving opportunities are also worth the trip there.

  • Great photos! I think each one of these is an off the radar destination. Places to escape the crowds and find total relaxation. I really want to visit Saba. I doesn’t have beaches and the landing can be a bit unnerving but it calls to me none-the-less. Who wants to go hiking on Saba with me!

    Cheers!

  • I absolutely love Roatan, it’s grown up so much over the years though. I don’t find it nearly as charming as it was when I first went 4 years ago, but it is still a great place to unwind. I particularly enjoy the West End, there is great snorkeling there.

  • I can second the rec on San Blas. A truly blissful place that has remained unchanged for the most park. Wholeheartedly recommend that for any traveler that is flexible and doesn’t need luxury to have a good time. good backpacker destination.

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