7 Private Island Paradises in the Caribbean

Palm Island

Looking to get away with your extra-special somebody—and, preferably, nobody else? These 7 romantic private island resorts deliver sun, surf, sand, and seclusion, at off-the-path oases that you'll have (practically) all to yourselves. It's like being marooned on a desert island but with all of the amenities of a luxury resort, along with a doting staff. Each of these ultimate get-away-from-it-all island retreats are private paradises tailored for two—just be prepared to pay for the privilege of playing at castaways.

The Cotton House

COTTON HOUSE

WHERE: Mustique

The choice island of the British royal family, Mustique is best known for its '70s playboy hedonism, when barons and princesses threw headline-hitting scandalous parties. Cotton House, the sole full-service hotel on the isle, boasts plenty of awards alongside its impressive guest book brimming with celebrity signatures. Opulent mansions of the rich and famous, like those of Mick Jagger and David Bowie, speckle the remote hills. Private golf buggies enable the few privileged guests to explore nine bewitching beaches, where you'd be hard-pressed to see another soul. The 17 spacious pool suites span 13 lush acres. Plentiful activities keep the adventurous occupied with trails for hiking, diving, and boating charters (at an extra cost).

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Fodor’s Mustique Guide

Tyson Sadlo

PETER ISLAND RESORT & SPA

WHERE: British Virgin Islands

The largest private island resort in the British Virgin Islands, Peter Island Resort & Spa has been welcoming Caribbean-bound couples in search of easy-going elegance for more than 30 years. The 1,800-acre tropical isle brings together five beaches (including dreamy Deadman's Beach), countless coves, swaying palm trees, and forested mountains for an unspoiled island escape. Bunk down in one of 55 units, including indulgent private villas with your own staff and incredible ocean views; beachfront junior suites, set just steps from the sea; or value-friendly ocean-view rooms. Couples can opt for treatments at the Ayurveda-inspired spa (book one of the open-air bohios for couples' massages); book private beachfront dining experiences (like picnics in secluded coves or tiki torch-lit dinners); throw back cocktails with a Caribbean steel drum band; or partake in activities like snorkeling, sea kayaking, deep sea fishing, hiking, or diving (some activities carry fees). Guests enjoy a three-to-one staff-to-guest ratio, with intuitive service to attend to your every need—from unpacking your bags to crafting your customized island itinerary.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Fodor’s British Virgin Islands Guide

Oli Rusu

CAYO ESPANTO

WHERE: Belize

Just off the coast of Belize, this intimate private island paradise—measuring just four palm-forested, turquoise water-enclosed acres—beckons honeymooners for pampering and privacy. Sign up for optional activities like world-class sportfishing, snorkeling, or diving on the world's second longest barrier reef, and indulge in all-inclusive meals, catered to guest preferences (served at your villa, on the beach, or the dock). Retreat for romance at one of just seven beachfront villas, complete with private infinity edge plunge pools (one over-water villa boasts a glass-floor instead), alfresco showers, and private docks—plus the on-call services of personal butlers.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Fodor’s Belize Guide 

Ken Hayden Photography

PARROT CAY RESORT

WHERE: Turks & Caicos

Once said to be a hideout for pirate Calico Jack Rackham and his lady cohorts Mary Read and Anne Bonny, the 1,000-acre cay between Fort George Cay and North Caicos is now the site of an ultra-exclusive hideaway resort. This private paradise—a favorite for celebrities and other jet-setters—comes with all the trimmings you'd expect for the substantial price. Elaborate oceanfront villas border the island, and their wooden, Asian feel contrasts with the rather bland hillside terracotta–and–stucco building that houses the spacious suites. Suite and villa interiors are a minimalist yet sumptuous mix of cool-white interiors, Indonesian furnishings, and four-poster beds. Expect sorbet, cold bottled water, and cold, lemon-scented refreshment towels around the beach and pool. Service is unmatched in its ability to anticipate and meet your needs. The villas are the ultimate indulgence, with heated lap pools, hot tubs, and butler service. The giant Como Shambhala Spa takes destination spas to a whole new level with Indonesian and Balinese therapists.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Fodor’s Turks & Caicos Guide

Tropical Imaging

PINE CAY, TURKS & CAICOS

WHERE: Turks & Caicos

You might feel unplugged when you step onto Pine Cay since there is no TV, telephone, or traffic to be found on the tiny private island. The charm of this resort, which was built in the 1970s, is that it never changes; it prides itself on simplicity rather than celebrity. The simple beachfront cottages, most of the staff, and what is perhaps the world's smallest airport (in truth, a gazebo) have all stayed pretty much the same for years. On some nights, you can drive your golf cart to the runway for Drive-In Movie night. The 2.5-mi (4-km) stretch of beach is deserted, and instead of roads, you find nature trails and sun-dappled paths that crisscross the island, which can be explored by bike or on foot. Cuisine is excellent, with fresh seafood and delicious cakes and tarts served at lunch, dinner, and afternoon tea. Here you'll feel not isolated, but part of a small community. Guests are mostly overstressed executives, mature couples, and honeymooners; a large percentage of guests are repeat visitors. Children are welcome only in June and July.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Fodor’s Turks & Caicos Guide

Rainbowvisionsbvi.com

GUANA ISLAND

WHERE: British Virgin Islands

Guana Island is a nature lover's paradise, and it's a good resort if you want to stroll the hillsides, snorkel around the reefs, and swim at its six beaches, and still enjoy some degree of comfort. Rooms are simple but charming, with rattan furniture and tile or painted concrete floors, and are open to the tropical breezes. Once you're here, you're here. You can spend your time dining and socializing with the other guests or immersed in that book you never got around to reading. You can rent the entire 15-room resort if you'd like to vacation with a group of your friends or family. The hotel's launch picks you up near Terrence B. Lettsome Airport on Beef Island (Tortola's airport) for the short hop across the water to the resort.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Fodor’s British Virgin Islands Guide

Palm Island

PALM ISLAND

WHERE: St. Vincent

Perfect for a honeymoon, rendezvous, or luxurious escape, this palm-studded resort offers five dazzling white-sand beaches, a calm aquamarine sea for swimming and enjoying water sports, nature trails for quiet walks, a pool with waterfall, sophisticated dining, impeccable service, and exquisite accommodations. Picture-perfect Casuarina Beach runs the entire length of the western side of the island. Choose a room in a beachfront cottage, a palm-view room in the garden, a plantation suite (ideal for families), or a beachfront island loft that's set on stilts. All have wicker and bamboo furniture, rich fabrics, wooden louvered windows (with screens) on three walls to catch every breeze, and original artwork created by a resident artist.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Fodor’s St. Vincent Guide