How to choose among four Caribbean island destinations, each unique in character, vibe and sensibility.
Images courtesy of David Brook
Mustique / St. Vincent & the Grenadines
In three words: villas, exclusive, relaxed
Getting There: From New York City, fly five hours to Barbados, then take a forty-minute charter flight on Mustique Air.
Who Should Go: Those who want to hole up in a fabulous villa or join an international community of sun-loving people with big names and bank accounts but no urge to flaunt them.
Good to Know: Mustique has only two hotels, so most visitors rent villas.
Highlights: Having Champagne and getting to know your neighbors at the cocktail party thrown by the management company that oversees the island and its development; experiencing the weekly night jump-up dance parties at Basil?s; shopping for breezy caftans at Lotty B.
Celebrity Sightings: A host of British royals, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Harbour Island / Bahamas
In three words: tiny, rustic, laid back
Getting There: Flights to North Eleuthera originate in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Nassau. A fast ferry also leaves Nassau daily.
Who Should Go: Families and couples who seek an island with an easy, laid-back vibe and strong sense of place. If you prize luxury trappings and five-star comforts, this is not the place for you.
Good to Know: Nothing is fancy or tricked out, including the hotels.
Highlights: Homemade croissants at Arthur?s, shopping at Blue Rooster and Sugar Mill, walking along the east coast?s pink-sand beach.
Celebrity Sightings: Diane von Furstenberg
St. Lucia / Lesser Antilles
In three words: volcanic, dramatic, picturesque
Getting There: There are direct flights from New York, Miami and Atlanta.
Who Should Go: Those who want an easy, direct flight and don?t mind staying put at their resort. The island is large and mountainous, so traveling around can be difficult.
Good to Know: There are two airports, one in the north and one in the south. Be sure you know which is nearest the resort you?re visiting, as driving on the winding roads can be an adventure.
Highlights: Staying at Sugar Beach, an acclaimed resort with a gorgeous white -sand beach and views of the Pitons.
Celebrity Sightings: Gwyneth Paltrow
British Virgin Islands
In three words: unspoiled, pricey, yachting
Getting There: U.S. travelers can fly to San Juan, from which it?s a short flight to Tortola, or to St. Thomas, from which they can either take a (longer) ferry ride or charter a small plane or helicopter.
Who Should Go: Anyone who loves being on or in the water. The islands? closeness to one another makes for smooth seas and great cruising, and the abundance of water sports means that the hardest decision you make each day is whether to go snorkeling or paddle boarding.
Good to Know: Most properties are far from stylish, but their old-school Caribbean aesthetic has a certain nostalgic appeal.
Highlights: Bringing the kids to Little Dix, one of the Caribbean?s most family-friendly properties; sailing the incredible turquoise sea on a chartered yacht; exploring some of the world?s best snorkeling and dive sites.
Celebrity Sightings: Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz
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