As a lover of Islands I am always keen to add new and exciting places to my wish list of places to visit. Here are 10 beautiful Islands in the Caribbean that you probably have never heard of.
Tortola is the largest of the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, 19 km long and 5 km wide, with an area of 55.7 square km with a Population 23,908.
Tortola is a mountainous island. Formed by volcanic activity, its highest peak is Mount Sage at 530 metres (1,740 feet). Tortola lies near an earthquake fault, and minor earthquakes are common. It features several white-sand beaches, including Cane Garden Bay and Smuggler’s Cove.
Road Town, the capital of the British Virgin Islands, has a harbour dotted with sailing boats and is known as a yachting hub. In the island’s southwest, forested Sage Mountain National Park offers trails and sweeping views over neighbouring cays.
Bequia (pronounced bekway), is a green and hilly S-shaped outpost of the Grenadines, nine miles south of St Vincent. It is the second largest island in the Grenadines at 7 square miles with a population of around 4,5000. It is travel writer Fred Mawer’s “Perfect Caribbean island”.
Known for its diving the islands two scuba diving stores run dive trips to 28 identified dive sites around Bequia. There are several wrecks and shallow caves accessible to advanced divers. It is not unusual to see Hawksbill turtles, lobsters, moray eels and many kinds of fish when diving around Bequia.
Bequia is popular among cruising yachts, expats and tourists. One of the busiest times of the year is the annual Easter Regatta.
8. Jost Van Dyke
Jost Van Dyke is the smallest of the four main islands of the British Virgin Islands, measuring roughly 8 square kilometres. It rests in the northern portion of the archipelago of the Virgin Islands, located in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.
As at the 2010 Census, the population of Jost Van Dyke was only 298. However the population has grown strongly in recent decades, in line with the population of the Virgin Islands in 1991 it was as low as 140. The island has a young population with nearly one-half (46%) of residents under the age of 35 and almost 70% under the age of 50.
Jost Van Dyke receives numerous visitors. The island is accessible private boats and ferry service from Tortola, Saint Thomas, and Saint John.
Anegada is the northernmost of the British Virgin Islands, a group of islands which form part of the archipelago of the Virgin Islands. It lies approximately 15 miles north of Virgin Gorda and is 15 square miles with a population of 285.
Anegada is known for miles of white sand beaches and the 18-mile (29 km)-long Horseshoe Reef, the largest barrier coral reef in the Caribbean, and the fourth largest on earth. The reef makes navigation to Anegada difficult. The reef has caused hundreds of shipwrecks, Including HMS Astraea in 1808, the Donna Paula (1819), the MS Rocus (1929). As such, it was once an important scuba diving destination. In an effort to protect the reef, the BVI government has made anchoring on Horseshoe Reef illegal.
Anegada is also known for the large salt ponds which cover much of the west end of the island, these ponds, which support unique fauna, were designated a Ramsar Site on 11 May 1999.
6. La Désirade
La Désirade is an island in the French West Indies. It is a part of Guadeloupe, which itself is an Overseas Region of France. The island is 11 km long and 2 km wide population of 1,595 in 2006.
Geologically speaking, La Désirade is the oldest island in the Lesser Antilles with its most ancient rocks, at 145 million years old, being found at the easternmost point of the island. The beach at Pointe Doublé is frequently visited by geologists who come to examine the basalt and composite rocks, which give the area its striking multi-coloured appearance.
Lonley planet says “La Désirade is Guadeloupe’s least-developed and least-visited island. Even the nicest beaches are nearly deserted; for the ultimate do-nothing vacation it’s a place that’s hard to beat.”
Mayreau is the smallest inhabited island of the Grenadines, with an area of about 1.5 sq. miles and a population of about 271. The tiny Island has picture-postcard beaches and bays, and is populated mostly by fishermen and supported by tourism.
With no airstrip you have to sail to the island and it is said once there you never want to leave. The population is centred in an unnamed village, located on Station Hill, a hilltop in the south-west of the island.
Saona Island is a tropical island located a short distance from the mainland on the south-east tip of the Dominican Republic. It is a government protected nature reserve and is part of East National Park. It is a popular destination for tourists from all over the Dominican Republic, who arrive in fleets of catamarans and small motorboats on organized excursions every day.
The Island is famous for the natural beauty of its beaches, and has been used on many occasions by film-makers and advertisers looking for a stereotypical “desert island” setting for their film or product.
The seas around the Island are rich in wildlife, with many species of birds and tropical marine fish, and there are large areas where natural sandbars offshore bring the depth to just a few feet. These are once again popular with the tourist trade, with small boats stopping hundreds of meters off the beach and disgorging tourists into the waist-deep shallows where they snorkel, drink and inspect the fields of starfish indigenous to the region. Population 300 110km
Mayaguana is the most easterly island and district of the Bahamas. It is one of only a few Bahamian islands which retain their Lucayan names. The population of Mayaguana in the 2010 census was 277. It has an area of about 280 km².
More isolated and less developed than any other island in The Bahamas, Mayaguana is the ideal getaway for travellers seeking a secluded escape. Mayaguana uses the country’s mail boat system as its primary form of communication. Mayaguana is visited once a week for delivery and pickup.
The island has a plethora of fishing hotspots or small countryside fishing villages inhabited by friendly locals, Mayaguana is the perfect combination of seclusion and charm. Many underwater coral reefs are found off-shore, as well as shipwrecks.
Mayaguana is home to the Bahamian hutia, a rodent that was thought to be extinct until the mid-1960s, as well as American flamingos, Bartsch’s iguanas, plovers, terns, and osprey. Nestingsea turtles can be found throughout the undeveloped eastern part of the island. About 118 species of bird are found on the island, including two large brown booby colonies.
Watch this video from Matthias Hiermaier sorkelling in Mayaguana https://youtu.be/fJfc7y7-eO0
2. Peter Island
Peter Island is a 720 hectare private island located in the British Virgin Islands. It is about 5.2 miles south-west from Road Harbour, Tortola. Peter Island is the largest private island in the British Virgin Islands and the fifth largest of the 60 islands.
The island’s biggest beach is Deadman’s Bay, a mile-long crescent beach shaded by palm trees with a beach, bar, and restaurant open to day boaters. Deadman’s Bay is said to be named for pirates that were marooned on neighbouring Dead Chest island and subsequently drowned swimming to Peter Island, their bodies washed up on shore.
The only hotel, the 52-room Peter Island Resort, ranked in Conde Nast Traveller’s “Gold List,”. It has since twice been named by Conde Nast Traveller as one of the “Best Places to Stay in the World”
Ambergris Caye is Belize’s largest island; it is known for its Caribbean beaches, water sports and scuba diving. It is about 40 kilometres long from north to south, and about 1.6 kilometres wide with a Population 13,381.
Because of the island’s small size, the main form of powered transportation is the golf cart.
The main attractions are the Belize Barrier Reef and its beaches. That barrier reef is the second largest in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.
Off the eastern shore, the Belize Barrier Reef features famed snorkelling and dive sites like the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, with an abundance of sea life, and the 124m-deep Great Blue Hole. The town of San Pedro is the island’s gateway and a centre for sailing and reef exploration.
The caye has a small airstrip serviced by Tropic Air and Maya Island Air, and can be reached by plane from Belize City as well as by numerous fast sea ferries. Ambergris Caye can also be reached by ferry from Chetumal in Mexico.
Where have you been in the caribbean that has taken your breath away?
Check out some pictures from my time in Barbados another island that technically isn’t a Caribbean gem.