We’ve had some great times on South Beach and in St. Lucia. But like everyone else, we’re growing a little huffy with all of the crowds and tacky souvenir t-shirts this fall. We’re yearning for the day when we can stretch out a lounge chair in the sand and not have to worry about invading someone else’s space in the process. Thankfully, when it comes to these secluded islands, that isn’t a worry. These places are so far off radars that most tourists get lost just from searching for them on Google. But our Forbes Travel Guide editors have uncovered three secluded treasures for your next unforgettable — and bountifully private — vacation.
Been There, Done That: Trinidad
Try Instead: Dominica
Why You Should Go: An Eastern Caribbean island roughly the size of Austin, Texas (290 square miles), the Commonwealth of Dominica may be small, but it more than makes up for it in natural wonderment. Largely unbothered jungle presents brilliant opportunities for spotting lizards and agouti (a guinea-pig-like rodent). Activities in the mountains (hiking to Boiling Lake, the world’s largest hot springs after New Zealand’s Frying Pan Lake) and water (Champagne Reef diving) also make Dominica a great destination for adventure seekers. The 115-mile Waitukubuli National Trail allows you to walk through local communities, visit waterfalls and see rainforests — all the while never passing a single fast-food chain.
Where To Stay: Situated right into the thick foliage on the island’s east side, Jungle Bay Resort & Spa manages to mesh luxury (hand-crafted furnishings), landscape (outdoor raindrop showers) and a love for the environment (biodegradable toiletries) through its 35 tropical, pared-down cottages.
How To Get There: Though the island has two airports, Melville Hall and Canefield, the former is the one that primarily handles commercial flights. American Airlines has partnered with Seaborne Airlines to provide a daily trip from Puerto Rico to Dominica.
Been There, Done That: South Africa
Try Instead: Bazaruto Island, Mozambique
Why You Should Go: The geographically inclined reader will be quick to point out that Mozambique, an East African nation of more than 24 million people, isn’t an island at all. While that’s technically true, the nation also has a number of archipelagos within its borders, each with its own kind of exquisiteness. Some of the islands have never been populated, even though they’re surrounded by piercing blue water and sparkling white sand. Other tropical stretches, such as Matemo and Bazaruto Island, have taken the cautious approach with progress, allowing some commercial development and diving excursions, but making it clear that natural treasures such as the pristine coral reefs stay intact.
Where To Stay: Bazaruto’s Indigo Bay Island Resort & Spa offers posh accommodations (30 beach chalets and 14 bayview villas), water-centric activities (snorkeling, marlin fishing) and a spa (complete with its own rasul mud chamber).
How To Get There: Flights from Johannesburg, South Africa, to the Mozambican coastal city of Vilanculos take off six times per week. And depending on which resort in the archipelagos you choose, the manner of transportation can range from boat to helicopter to plane from there.
Been There, Done That: Hawaii
Try Instead: Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile
Why You Should Go: Daniel Defoe’s 1719 classic Robinson Crusoe is a tale of Alexander Selkirk’s shipwreck and survival on a mysterious island a little more than 400 miles off of the coast of Chile. Though questions still persist about the details of the story, residents of the Juan Fernandez Islands have no doubts. In fact, encounter a native with the right map and he’ll point you to the direction of where the remains to Selkirk’s hut can be found today. Beyond being a backdrop for any literary-based treasure hunts, though, Robinson Crusoe Island — it was originally called Más a Tierra, but government officials changed it in 1966 with the hopes it would spark a tourism boom (that has yet to happen) — offers other treats, too. Hire a guide for interior hikes, deep-sea fishing or kayaking experiences. As for taking advantage of all the solitude you’ll encounter on the archipelago of 900 or so residents, we’re guessing you won’t need any help for that.
Where To Stay: While remote, Crusoe Island Lodge still puts a lot at your fingertips: 15 smart, nature-embracing rooms and suites; a bay-front spa; and a restaurant that does inventive twists on kingfish and lobster recipes.
How To Get There: Catch the weekly flight on a seven-passenger airplane from Santiago to the Juan Fernandez Islands. Once you land from the two-hour jaunt, take a 30-minute boat ride to the main town of San Juan Bautista.
Photo Courtesy of Indigo Bay Island Resort and Spa