Top 10 Secluded Spots Across the Caribbean

Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic there has been a huge wave of interest in getting back to nature. Stuck at home, we began to watch birds visit our gardens or marvel at the twilight skies, because little things became the biggest joys. Nature, its abundance and its healing powers all came into sharp focus as we watched deers roam city streets and dolphins return to the Venetian canals. I would wage this interest in nature is here to stay as people’s attention, including my own, was turned to something so endlessly beautiful.

The Exquisite Caribbean

A similar movement can be seen in the shift within the tourism industry as the idea of escaping to secluded getaways grows in popularity. Reconnecting to nature, escaping technology, and roaming landscapes you haven’t explored before have all become huge draws for travellers as they plan their next trips. Across the entire archipelago of the Caribbean, nestled in the forests and quietly dotted along river beds are a small number of hidden hideaways waiting for you to escape too. Sleep amongst the stars or cuddle up in the rainforest canopy, surrounded by the natural beauty that make the Caribbean a treasure trove of those same little things we’ve come to cherish.

Tendacayou Ecolodge & Spa

In the northwest of Guadaloupe, resting on the hillside are the treehouses and villas of Tendacayou Ecolodge & Spa. The goal of this incredibly unique property is simultaneous connection and disconnection, to nature and from 21st Century technology that has us endlessly scrolling through pictures of places just like this, without ever making the jump to discovering them for ourselves! Showcasing a very different Guadeloupe a lot of visitors do not get to see, here you can experience a truly natural holiday in the middle of the rainforest.

Swim in the spa pool covered in the dappled shade from the trees towering above before making your way up to sleep within the canopy. Take their treehouse ‘Fitzcarraldo’ for example; sleeping up to four people, this colourful cabin is suspended overlooking Deshaies Bay.

Nestled between mango trees, with the second bedroom coiled around an ancient tree trunk, it promises a night’s sleep like no other. Sit back in your own lounge marvelling at the sea views and sunsets, or cleanse yourself in the outdoor shower; even move your bed to the veranda so you can sleep under the stars! With a honeymoon treehouse and options for families too, these secluded hideaways surrounded by unspoilt scenery are the perfect spot for anyone to get away, return to nature, and get to know green Guadaloupe.

Rosalie Bay Eco Resort

On the banks of the Rosalie River on the southeast coast of Dominica is Rosalie Bay Eco Resort. On one side this natural escape has direct access to the stunning black sand beach nearby, while on the other countless hiking trails lead out through the island’s Central Forest Reserve, providing you with adventure at every turn. Verdant, vibrant green fills every corner of the view that isn’t the dazzling ocean waters, as the abundant leaves of the forest meet your eye at every turn.

The entire resort was hand-built, continues to be powered by wind and solar power, and supports the turtle conservation program located on the very same black sand beach. Soothe your soul and satiate your senses as you indulge in the nourishing experience out in the forest and sat at the dinner table. Here you get to dine on authentic, locally-sourced Dominican cuisine that celebrates local flavours at Zamaan Restaurant (meaning almond tree in creole). It’s the perfect way to end a day spent hiking the trail and dipping your toes in the waterfalls.

In fact, after a morning hike or a few laps in the pool you can enjoy a drink and a spot of lunch at the Leatherback Pool Bar. Those with green fingers might enjoy a stroll through the resort’s own organic garden where the team grows everything from lettuce to pineapples, via nutmeg! Fall asleep to the sounds of the gently flowing river, while filling your days with adventure as you make your way through the beauty of the Forest Reserve.

Tranquillity and a trek or two, what could be better?

Belle Mont Farm

1,000 feet above sea level, sprawled delicately across the hillside is Belle Mont Farm on the northwest of St Kitts. Overlooking the meeting point of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, everything about this place is a changing point. The resort is the product of Caribbean native Valmiki Kempadoo’s vision for a sustainable St Kitts and what he has created is really rather beautiful.

While this secluded spot is larger than those above, the ways in which the entire Belle Mont Farm operation runs, its focus on nature and community means that it really is an escape for those wishing to dive into beautiful landscapes, exploring all that they can produce.

You can stay in cottages set upon the hillside, the design of which harks back to the chattel houses of the sugar plantation that once existed on the very same land. Within complete privacy you can indulge in the beauty of your outdoor bathroom, admiring the verdant green treetops of the rainforest that surrounds you. Spend your days relaxing at the spa, strolling through the Farm’s orchards or organic gardens, chatting to the local nurserymen and exploring the huge variety of fruit and vegetables that grow there abundantly. 

Escape to the island of St Kitts and explore all that Belle Mont Farm has to offer, from home-grown dinners to artist’s hubs. The island’s undisturbed rainforest, tranquil beaches and fertile soil have provided Kempadoo and all those who lend their hands to create a truly sustainable, community-focused, natural retreat for you to enjoy. By promoting Caribbean arts, employing native St Kittians, and growing 90% of all the produce they use, Belle Mont Farm and the Kittitian Hill project provides you with a sustainable oasis of culture and colour to escape too.

“The Caribbean is home to so many remote and secluded spots perfect for a getaway that immerses you in all things natural. From organic ingredients to mountain locations, connecting to your environment is effortless in these beautiful retreats.”

Hermitage Bay

On the beachfront of Antigua’s western coast the private suites of Hermitage Bay are scattered within the greenery of the rising hillside. This boutique resort boasts the classic Caribbean holiday, with white sandy beaches stretching out towards turquoise waters – except here you have the guarantee of sunshine and seclusion. From chaka treatments and meditation classes, right down to the suites’ sleek curved design, always leading your eye straight to the ocean water below, everything within your stay at Hermitage Bay is about mindfulness. 

Dine on delicious, healthy meals that fill the plate with colour and flavour, after days spent within the peace that the Hermitage Bay team have so carefully curated. An open-air yoga studio is delicately concealed within the trees, while the Garden Spa sits within its own tropical garden, all for your indulgence. There are many activities and adventures that you can take part in, exploring the island and getting to know Antiguan life, but I would say the true delight comes as you return to the tranquility of Hermitage Bay.

The resort was created for those seeking a retreat, a place of relaxation and connection. In the dappled water of your private pool, and through the trees of this little hillside hideaway, I think it’s safe to say they’ve achieved it. 

Windward Islands

ECO Lifestyle & Lodge

On the coast of the Caribbean’s easternmost island lies ECO Lifestyle & Lodge, rooted in a deep respect for nature and celebration of a slower pace of life. ECO was the creation of couple Kyle and Maryam, who traded the bustle of New York City for the peace of Barbadian life. Soon enough they had a family in tow, had become important parts of the community and were able to start sharing the joys of a quieter, more nature-focused lifestyle with their guests at ECO.

Supporting local businesses, buying directly from neighbouring growers, filling their cabins with local art and furniture, all while supporting local charities means that Kyle and Maryam set the standard for Caribbean ecotourism, and do it all within their own hidden paradise. In the quiet hills, tucked away in the greenery you can stay in the stylish cabins and dine on the innovative dishes created by world-renowned chef Manuela Scalini.

Facing the Atlantic Ocean, ECO gets the gift of beautiful sea breezes to create the perfect tropical climate, so you can relax in true comfort. Surf the waves and soak up the sun, all while taking advantage of the peace that flows across the whole lodge, exploring and absorbing the sustainable ethos for yourself.

Ladera Resort

Secluded in the southwest of Saint Lucia is Ladera Resort, the only place on this list to be located on a volcano ridge-line! 1,000 feet above sea level, Soufrière volcano is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with uninterrupted views of the sparkling ocean below. Here, you can watch hummingbirds flutter around the gardens as you dine on delicious meals prepared by award-winning chef Nigel Mitchel in the open-air restaurant above. Ray, Ladera’s head gardener is a font of knowledge on all things floral, able to show you the wonderful indigenous plants Saint Lucia boasts all year round. 

Everything here is open, light and free. Take their Hilltop Dream Suite for example; overlooking the forest that trails down the hillside to the ocean, this open-air king-sized bedroom, complete with a private swimming pool and butlers service affords you seclusion in your own little hideaway. Resting on the top of an ancient volcanic line, you can’t help but connect to the earth alive under your feet.

Better yet, all the resort’s furniture is designed and made by local craftsmen Boniface, Eustace and Eustachius, using tropical woods and stones from around the island. Everything and everyone at Ladera is rooted in Saint Lucia, from the staff ready to attend to your every need, to the indigenous birds visiting the gardens and resting on balustrades. 

Virgin Islands

Casa Grande Mountain Retreat

Set in an incredible 105 acres of tropical mountain greenery, Casa Grande Mountain Retreat takes seclusion to an entirely new level. This former coffee plantation is located in the middle of Puerto Rico, near Lago Caonillas. Fanning out from the swimming pool that centres the property are twenty tree house rooms – each simply yet chicly designed, providing you everything needed for a peaceful stay in the wilderness.

Made from organic materials, with a spa and no WiFi, it’s impossible not to connect to the wildlife around you as you sink into the serenity of it all. You can spend hours in the hammock on your private porch watching the clouds float by, or stargazing at night after a meal in the organic restaurant. Sleep completely surrounded by the trees from which beautiful birdsong emerges above the canopy, the world’s first and most delightful alarm clock.

Surrounding you on all sides is forest, as far as the eye can see; as you adventure out and walk the forest floor, marvelling at the magnificent greenery all around you, listen out for hummingbirds or try to spot the flash of brightly coloured tanagers as they flit and flutter above you.

If you are looking to truly get away from it all, to find a place where you can simply be present, exploring a beautiful wilderness you’ve never seen before, Casa Grande Mountain Retreat is exactly as the name suggests. This beautiful spot is a place for you to retreat to, where nestled within the bountiful natural landscape you can rejuvenate your mind, body and soul.

Dominican Republic

Paraíso Caño Hondo

Near the waters of the Jivalles River, on the edge of Los Haitises National Park is Paraíso Caño Hondo. Overlooking Samaná Bay this ecolodge has been created in partnership with the national park, to draw visitors to the natural beauty of the Dominican Republic. But, this proximity to the national park is significant for several reasons. 

Firstly, it means you stay immersed in amongst the wildlife with which the resort shares its home. This way not only does the resort reduce its impact on the environment around it, allowing the fauna to roam where it naturally wishes, but you also get a greater glimpse at some of the Dominican Republic’s wacky and wonderful wildlife. A prime example is the Frigatebird, an alarming sight at first glance; male Frigate birds have large red ‘gulet pouches’ under their beak, making them instantly recognisable.

They spend most of their day out fishing on the water, but come into the shelter of the trees to sleep at night. Samaná Bay is home to Cayo de los Pájaros and San Lorenzo Bay, islands dotted off the coast of the bay that are year-long homes to frigate birds and many others. Here you can lose track of time watching all the wildlife around you, getting to know the sounds of the forest and the wild residents of the bay. 

Secondly, the creation of Paraíso Caño Hondo is an important resort due to Los Haitises National Park’s own significance in Dominican history. Before it was ever a national park, that land was the home and territory of the Taíno indigenous population. This important, often forgotten history is celebrated by Paraíso Caño Hondo, and guests of the resort can take part in the excursions to the Museum of Taíno Art, as well as walks through the park to explore the history of the landscape.

You can even swim in the natural pools that flow from the Jivalles River, sinking into the beautiful waters and cleansing your body as you do it. Simply put, there is so much nature to explore and discover as you make your way through this incredible park.

"From mangroves to mountains you can spend endless hours in the wild thick of it"

Belize

Copal Tree Lodge

In soil rich with the remnants of ancient Mayan culture stands the towering rainforest of the southern Belize jungle. Surrounded by 22,000 acres of rainforest preserve, as well as their own 3,000 acre sustainable farm, Copal Tree Lodge is nestled in the canopy above it all. Before adventuring off into the forest or out to the coast, you can settle into your own Signature Canopy Suite. Surrounded as you are by 360° views of the treetops stretching as far as the eye can see, balcony’s rest in the branches complete with hammocks and hot tubs, all for your indulgence. Copal Tree Lodge is a powerful place for everyone who finds themself there.

Not only can you escape to the treetops, bask in the sunshine and connect to the earth beneath your feet, but, by doing this you also support the community whose footpaths line the forest floor below you.

The Copal Tree Lodge farm that grows 70% of the lodge’s produce also works to preserve indigenous cuisine and crops. By paying fair wages and hiring from the surrounding communities, the lodge team have successfully achieved their goal of helping to promote economic stability in southern Belize, through sustainable agriculture. Explore the ‘bean-to-bar’ chocolate making, the sight of limes and vibrant pitayas growing in the cocktail garden, and experience the smells of coffee and cocoa growing in the flavour garden.

Additionally, in an effort to further develop the economic and cultural well-being of the surrounding area, in 2018 Copal Tree Lodge began distilling its very own rum. Those looking for the real taste of Belize can head over to the Lodge’s distillery and get sipping on the beautiful creations made from sugarcane grown right on the farm. Escaping to the depths of nature and feasting on its many delights could not be easier here.

The branches that engulf Copal Tree Lodge in the Belizean rainforest may not resemble those that line your garden or your walk to work, indeed a stay here may be a world away, but isn’t that the point? What remains universal is the enthusiasm to get people connected to ground below them, and the produce grown within it – and at Copal Tree Lodge you can do it all in style.  

Gaia Riverlodge

Set above the majesty of the Five-Sisters Waterfalls in Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, is the Gaia Riverlodge. I think you’ll agree the lodge is aptly named once you experience the eerie darkness of the shallow rock caves and the dappled sunlight under the rainforest canopy – the earth takes centre stage here. Operating solely on hydropower, you can relax in the quiet of your private cabana in the knowledge that your stay is not harming the beauty around you.

Choose from cabanas high up in the mountains or down by the river, and settle in for a stay like no other, sleeping under traditional thatched roofs. The very goal of Gaia Riverlodge is to connect you with the abundant beauty all around it, from the produce on your plate, to the water at your feet as you step into the natural swimming pools that collect at the bottom of the waterfalls. Gaia Riverlodge is a farm-to-table experience, so you can visit the lodge’s own on-site garden before dining on the very same tantalising tropical fruit and vegetables.

Everything else comes directly from local farmers and a network of community producers to create true Belizean cuisine from true Belizean ingredients. Most treasured of all is the rich history on which the lodge stands. In the caves by the river and throughout the landscape, symbols of ancient Mayan culture can be spotted, right down to the lodge’s very own organic garden. Gaia Riverlodge works to celebrate this indigenous history and culture that thrived so long ago.

Tours of local Mayan sites are offered, so you can dive into the history for yourself, all surrounded within the stunning rainforest reserve. Waking to sweet birdsong, watching branches stretch out from ancient trunks, listening to the river as it passes you by, Gaia Riverlodge is paradise. 

The Caribbean is home to so many remote and secluded spots perfect for a getaway that immerses you in all things natural. From organic ingredients to mountain locations, connecting to your environment is effortless in these beautiful retreats. Many people have found within themselves an interest in all things green this last year or so, and with it the realisation of how good getting out in the wild can be for mental clarity and health.

So, when you go to plan your next holiday, remember the simple beauty of the treehouse bedrooms curving round their ancient tree trunks, or the 360° rainforest vistas from the Casa Grande Mountain Retreat. Each and every one of these hidden Caribbean gems are waiting for you, and so too is the enticing greenery of the landscapes all around them.

“It is a delight to highlight these fabulous, sustainable retreats across the Caribbean. Along with so many more across the archipelago, these places are the real definition of unique escapes into the wild, providing you with adventure and relaxation in equal measure, all within a stunning tropical climate. ”

Belize

Belize

A land of ancient Mayan temples and relics, deep lagoons, cacao plantations, breath-taking beaches and dense jungle – Belize ...

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Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is the second largest country in the Caribbean, and is a haven of tropical rainforests, fertile valleys, ...

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British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands

Welcome to mother nature’s little secret. Floating in the Caribbean lies a volcanic archipelago made up of over 60 ...

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