The Caribbean Islands are a sunshine and beach-lovers’ vacation paradise. From rugged cliffs to gently arching coves, from crystal blue waters to vivid turquoise and from glitzy to ultra relaxed, the diversity found across these thousands of islands is immense. Your decision over which island is right for you is made much easier thanks to our mini guide filled with excellent insider advice from our regional luxury villa experts.

The Bahamas

The northernmost of the Caribbean islands, the 700 islands and cays of The Bahamas start off the east coast of Florida and trail south to just above the Turks and Caicos. The archipelago stands out for its soft white, sandy beaches and waters ranging from clear blues to flashy jades. As such, diving and snorkeling are very popular in addition to bone and deep sea fishing. You can expect great weather all year round, a laid-back vibe and relaxed, luxurious vacation homes. Travelers craving solitude can enjoy the deserted beaches on Andros or those looking for more action can find it on Paradise Island or New Providence, where the capital city Nassau is located. Enjoy a happy medium on Harbour Island, a particular favorite of our local expert Pamela H. Murdock.

Situated off the coast of North Eleuthera, this dreamy island bordered by pale pink sand is only accessible by boat and features the homes of several well-known people including Elle Macpherson and Diane von Furstenberg. Despite its small size there is a good range of restaurants, both casual and chic, or opt for picnic on a sandbar. You can often find Pamela nibbling away on succulent lobster quesadillas at Sip Sip or digging into fresh conch salad at tiny food shack Queen Conch on Bay Street. She also suggests taking the short boat trip over to Ocean Talley, a restaurant set in a lighthouse on Eleuthera or to settle in for sunset drinks at Acquapazza. Tap into more insider knowledge of The Bahamas and where to stay via our local specialists here.

Turks and Caicos

The 40 low-lying islands of the Turks and Caicos, southeast of The Bahamas, are one of the few remaining destinations in the Caribbean that hasn’t been overrun by mass tourism. It’s an excellent option for those looking for privacy and luxury without the glitz of many of its neighbors. The island’s calm, crystal waters are ideal for snorkeling and paddleboarding, especially on graceful Grace Bay on Providenciales Island, thanks to  its long, protected coral reef abundant in colorful marine life, including the endangered green turtle. Here you can also find some of the Caribbean’s best mega villas, like those available through our local experts at In Villas Veritas. There are also world class spa facilities, amazing restaurants and golf courses. You can continue exploring the archipelago from Providenciales on boat trips to some of the splendid nearby islets like Iguana Island and Water Cay. Discover the beauty and intimacy of Turks and Caicos with the help of our local villa experts at this link.

Necker Island. Photo Credit: Kansas Photo / Flickr

Necker Island, British Virgin Islands

If unabashed luxury and privacy in a truly stunning setting is what you’re after then our Tim Roney, director of Villa Concierge and one of our global experts, suggests this particularly gorgeous island of the 60-island archipelago. Located north of larger Virgin Gorda, This 30-hectare tropical paradise is entirely owned by Sir Richard Branson who’s built a heavenly complete buy-out resort. Featuring Balinese design and open walls, it has ten bedrooms which can accommodate up to 30 guests. There are two beaches, several pools, tennis courts, watersport equipment and your own private chef. What else could one need? Perhaps make it an extra luxurious experience by also chartering out Mr. Branson’s private yacht the Necker Belle. Holiday in this glamorous luxury destination by contacting Tim Roney here.

Anguilla

For those looking to escape crowded resorts, Anguilla is the perfect destination. This is British overseas territory located east of the Virgin Islands and directly north of Saint Martin features only private vacation villas, spa resorts and small boutique hotels. A laid back, luxurious 16-mile-long island, it has pristine 33 white-sand beaches, small and large designer boutiques, art galleries and a wide variety of dining options from gourmet restaurants to food shacks. It’s a haven for seafood and fish lovers, some of the best in the region and active holiday goers won’t be disappointed with the island’s excellent watersport opportunities from sailing to windsurfing. With the Caribbean’s highest concentration of extravagant “super villas,” especially on Shoal Bay and Meads Bay, our local villa specialists can assist you with planning the perfect luxury holiday to Anguilla. Reach out to them here.

St Martin/St Maarten

Discovered by Christopher Columbus on November 11, 1493, the island was baptised after that day’s saint. The 37-square-mile island played a key role in West Indies trade from the 16th to 19th centuries and was eventually shared by the French and the Dutch. Today its spectacular beaches, tropical forests and vibrant restaurant scene provide an ideal vacation setting for those who want to relax or those who want to experience the best Caribbean glamor. Discover historic forts, plantations and old houses in Marigot, peruse the fabulous tax-free boutiques of Philipsburg, lounge by the pool of one of Terres Basses’ mega villas or find out why the island is known as the “Food Capital of the Caribbean” by tasting your way around the incredible restaurants of the picturesque fishing village of Grand Case. Our local expert Meghann Cundall of Carimo recommends those looking for laidback beach restaurants with amazing food should Le Sand, Calmos Cafe and Kontiki or for an amazing gourmet experience book in at Bacchus, Temptation or the Loterie Farm. Get more fabulous insider tips and the best luxury villas on the island with the assistance of our local experts here.

Saint Barthlémey

St. Barthlémey is a tiny (8 square miles) piece of France in the middle of the Caribbean, south of Anguilla. Our local expert Peg Walsh of St Barth Properties tells us more about this small but exceptional island:

St. Barth is not like any other island in the Caribbean. There is no poverty. There is a Swedish influence because Sweden owned the island in between French rule, as such, many of the streets in Gustavia have Swedish names. It’s renowned for having the best food in the Caribbean. The restaurants are fantastic, but casual. No jacket and tie! We also have sidewalk cafés, designer boutiques, and beautiful beaches. Since no high-rises taller than a palm tree can be built here, the island maintains its charm. There are no all-inclusive hotels, instead there are small 5-star hotels and over 250 private villas scattered across the island. The airport is also tiny. The largest plane that can land here is a 19-seater STOL.it, therefore it takes an extra effort to get here which keeps away large crowds. Many of the beaches have been protected from development, so exploring the beaches is a favorite pastime. – Peg Walsh, St Barth Properties.

Discover the best luxury accommodation on Saint Barthlémey via our experts here.

Photo Credit: Andrew Moor / Flickr

Antigua

With stretches of deserted sand bordered with aquamarine waters, this 174-square-mile island, and its sister island Barbuda, offer a wonderful beach escape with a healthy dose of history and local flare. In the southeast of the Island, English Harbour has long attracted sailors due to its sheltered bay, a tradition it retains today being a popular yachting and sailing destination. It also plays host to the Antigua Sailing Week, held annually at the end of April/early May. Visitors can visit its historic Nelson’s Dockyard or catch a passionate game of cricket. Discerning travelers can stay far removed from the cruise ships docked in the capital St John’s by vacationing in exquisite Jumby Bay, another favorite secret spot in the Caribbean of our expert Tim Roney of Villa Concierge. Here you’ll find the best exclusive, excellent fully staffed private villas along with a range of great restaurants, art galleries and other luxurious facilities. Use Tim Roney’s astute expertise to find you the perfect villa in Antigua at this link.

Barbados

In the south of the Caribbean, to the east of Saint Lucia, Barbados offers interesting colonial history, miles of white sandy beaches, a vibrant culinary scene and an abundance of island charm. Considered one of the safest islands of the Caribbean, the 21-mile long, 14-mile wide island offers a wide range of holiday options, though tends to attracts the uber-rich drawn by its collection of lavish vacation homes. The glamorous west coast of the island has narrow beaches with calm waters bordered by classy hotels and luxury rentals. There’s something for everyone on Barbados and visitors can spend their days lounging on the gorgeous beaches, hitting the waves surf board in hand, roaming through tropical forests, visiting heritage sites of historic Bridgetown or sipping some of the island’s delicious rum on a terrace overlooking the sea.

Our local Barbados specialists Blue Sky Luxury draw on their 30+ years in the luxury rental business in Barbados to bring you the most exceptional villas on the island. Let them help you plan the perfect holiday on this spectacular island by contacting them here.

Canouan, The Grenadines

The Grenadines may have 32 islands, but it’s hard to beat the exceptional beauty of chic Canouan with its divine beaches, picturesque coves and bays, steep green mountains dense in tropical forests and jaw-dropping sea views.

“But what really makes Canouan so special is its famous breeze,” reveals another of our global experts, Sylvia Delvaille Jones director of Villas and Apartments Abroad. “The island is ideally positioned to enjoy the full benefit of the northeast trade winds all year round.”

Spend your days combing its beaches, hiking into the hills, discovering its quaint towns or taking your clubs out on one of the world’s most scenic golf courses: The Grenadines Estate Golf Club. At the end of the day, soak up the spectacular sunsets over the neighboring islands and bobbing sail boats at one of the island’s flower encircled villas. Let Sylvia help you plan an amazing island holiday on Canouan here.

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