Island Hopping in the Caribbean

Banish the winter blues with 7 top-secret beaches and rarely explored hot spots

The best time of the year to enjoy a getaway to the Caribbean is during the months of November through April, when coastlines are the ideal temperature and island days offer long stretches of sunshine. From white-sand beaches to pristine beauty awash with otherworldly flora and fauna, each island boasts its unique dose of Caribbean charm. We’ve highlighted those must-see spots that enjoy the added benefit of being off the beaten track and only accessible via foot, ferry, or yacht. 

Canouan Island, The Grenadines 

A small, crescent-shaped island in the Caribbean archipelago nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Canouan heralds the calm waters and pink-sand beach of South Glossy Bay, with views of the southern Grenadines, and the beach at Windward Bay dotted with volcanic rocks. Although Canouan only measures five square miles across, it is bursting with 1,700 lush acres welcoming hikers and bikers of all levels and is home to a large coral reef, a resort golf course, and a wide variety of marine life, including leatherback sea turtles. The remote island destination of Punaise—imagine a sandbar in the middle of the ocean accessible by catamaran—offers swimming and snorkeling for those lucky enough to get to it. 

Marigot Beach, St. Barts

This narrow stretch of U-shaped beach in St. Barts (officially named Saint-Barthelemy and nicknamed “St. Barths” by the French) is mostly known to locals. Its waters are part of a marine sanctuary, which makes it perfect for spotting the abundant sea turtles, conches, and marine life that call this region home. While conveniently located near hotels and villas in the Pointe Milou and Grand Cul de Sac areas, there are no restaurants, bars, or shops on Marigot Beach—making it truly off the tourist path. If you dare, see St. Barths from a different perspective, via a four-wheel ATV jaunt around island peaks, for unobstructed views. 

Honeymoon Beach, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

On the north shore of St. John sits Honeymoon Beach, tucked along the lush green hillsides of the island, shaded by large sea grape and coconut trees. Perfect for lounging, snorkeling, paddleboarding, or any number of watersports, the beach features panoramic views of the islands of Grass Cay, Mingo Cay, and Lovango Cay. A one-mile hike through the Virgin Islands National Park takes you from the quaint village of Cruz Bay to Honeymoon Beach, where you can bathe in crystal-clear turquoise waters. 

Norman Island, British Virgin Islands

A breathtaking spot on the southern tip of the British Virgin Islands archipelago, Norman Island is said to be a source of inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s pirate novel Treasure Island. You won’t find any pirates here today—only the island’s cliffside wild goats and uninhabited stretches of beach, with hidden bays and water-level caves, perfect for snorkeling and perhaps a little treasure hunting.  

Le Marin, Martinique

There are several quiet beaches worth noting off Le Marin, including Petite Anse, Plage des Salines, and Anse Dufour—each more paradisical than the next. Forever sand, palm trees, and the French flavor of Martinque, complete with its plantation homes, rum distilleries, and pottery village, make each beach ideal for snorkeling, swimming, walking, or a lazy afternoon spent taking in the island culture and cuisine. 

Little Bay, Montserrat

Montserrat’s lush, verdant green fauna has earned it the nickname, “Emerald Isle of the Caribbean.” Little Bay is the isle’s crown jewel, inviting kayakers and snorkelers to its hidden black-sand beaches, coves, and caves, where chirping indigenous bats greet visitors. Little Bay’s proximity to the Soufriere Hills volcano, botanical gardens, and natural springs of Montserrat makes it an especially engaging getaway. 

South Friar’s Bay, St. Kitts

This long, golden-sand beach along the tranquil Leeward Islands coastline is dotted with sea grape and palm trees, perfect for loungers, swimmers, and snorkelers. This slice of paradise is home to several upscale restaurants and beach bars, most notably the Carambola Beach Club. The view of Friars Bay from the top of Sir Timothy’s Hill is breathtaking—and well worth the hike.  

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