Guana Island – British Virgin Islands, Lesser Antilles (British West Indies)

Your Own Private Wildlife Preserve

For latent hermits or people who want nature all to themselves, Guana’s 850 virginal acres will never feel crowded, even with an occasional full house of thirty guests. It’s the Galapagos of the Caribbean, a wildlife sanctuary that’s said to have the richest variety of flora and fauna of any island its size in the region.

A hundred species of birds—roseate flamingos, black-necked stilts, herons, egrets, and the endangered masked booby—make Guana a paradise for bird-watchers. In the 18th century, Guana was dominated by a sug­arcane and cotton plantation owned by two American Quaker families, and today that classic simplicity is still evident in the stylish but restrained accommodations at the island’s only lodge.

The panoramic sweep from the whitewashed ridge-top cottages is spectac­ular. Reached only by boat, the hilly island, with its twenty nature trails and seven beaches, is virtually private and for guests’ use alone (yacht “drop-ins” are discouraged); two of the beaches are accessible only by the hotel’s private launch. Why not invite twenty-nine friends and rent the whole island?

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