5 Tiny Islands for Your Next Caribbean Trip

They’re far from the crowds, far from the cruise ships, home to empty beaches and full glasses. These islands in the Caribbean are the way it all used to be, places where there is still the charm of discovery and the unadulterated quirk and character of small island living.

On the Caribbean’s tiny islands, you’ll find big personality in a small package, and the kind of authentic Caribbean experience that isn’t always easy to come by anymore.

Here are five tiny islands for your next Caribbean journey (And when we say small, we mean really small — think less than 10 square miles.)

Bequia – This funky seven-square-mile island in the Grenadines is a throwback to the Old Caribbean, with largely unpopulated white-sand beaches, spectacular vistas and a nautical vibe that makes it feel like New England meets the West Indies, in part due to its fishing, boatbuilding and history as a onetime whaling hub. Where to stay? The Bequia Beach Resort, above, is a solid option (its beach bar is fantastic), as are the boutique Sugar Reef and Spring House hotels.

Terre de Haut – We simply can’t get enough of this ultra-charming 2.3-square-mile mini-St. Barth in the minuscule Les Saintes archipelago of Guadeloupe. There’s a great little food scene here, lovely shopping and art to admire and a number of terrific beaches. It’s an easy ferry ride from the “main” islands of either Basse Terre or Grande Terre, and while the hotels are not luxurious, they’re warm and authentic, from the Hotel Lo Bleu to the Bois Joli, the latter as close to a resort as there is on the isle.

Staniel Cay – The Exuma archipelago of the Bahamas has been increasing its profile in recent years in large part due to its famous swimming pigs. But while the magnificent waters of this island chain are the main draw, you still have to find a place to stay on land. Enter Staniel Cay, the one-half-square-mile island home to an eponymous hotel and marina that’s a pilgrimage stop for all who pass through these seas (and go for the package that includes your own little boat).

Harbour Island – It’s about 3.5 miles long and about 1.5 miles wide, but there’s a whole lot happening on this little outpost off the coast of North Eleuthera. The vibe is beach chic, with just about everyone traveling around on golf carts and boutiques like the Island Company and India Hicks’ The Sugar Mill smack in the middle of downtown Dunmore Town. This is a kind of Caribbean Nantucket, safe and calm, ultra laid back and home to one of the Caribbean’s greatest beaches: Pink Sand Beach. Even better? There are some great conch spots all over the island, led by our favorite, Queen Conch, right on Bay Street in town. Where to stay? We like the Valentines resort and the old-school Dunmore boutique hotel.

Mustique – This privately-owned 1400-acre sland has long been a celebrity haunt (particularly those from the United Kingdom), but don’t let that fool you: it’s a wonderful, beautiful island with the kinds of classic views you expect in the Grenadines and the beach bars you dream about (see Basil’s Bar). Where to stay? It’s mostly villas here, but you can stay at one of the handful of luxury boutiques like Firefly and Cotton House.

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