Feature

This week’s travel dream: A secluded gem in the Caribbean

The owner of Guana Island allows no more than 41 guests at the same time.

The travel destinations I seek are always “serene and secure in their own skin,” said Gully Wells in Condé Nast Traveler. In the British Virgin Islands, remote Guana Island is a perfect example of a place that exhibits no whisper of pretension or “need to follow the vagaries of the latest trend.” This private island also allows only a limited number of people to visit at a time. “You will find yourself sharing its 850 acres and seven deserted beaches with—wait for it—41 other guests at most.”

Those fortunate enough to make it here will find “gentle, green velvet hills, edged with a narrow trim of white satiny sand.” As I arrived by motorboat, “the only signs of ‘civilization’ were a slender wooden dock and a few cottages just visible through the trees.” I was picked up in a golf cart and driven to the simple stone main house of the island’s resort, where the windows—open holes in the walls—revealed “epic views of the Atlantic on one side and the Caribbean on the other.” Aside from the remains of a 1700s Quaker settlement, most of what’s on the island was built in the 1930s by a Massachusetts couple, which explains the “cozy ambience that well-brought-up WASPs know to create for themselves.” Presently, the island is owned by Dr. Henry Jarecki, who “restored the cottages without in any way altering the original charm.” The rooms have no televisions, locks, or telephones. What they do have: “bamboo furniture, ceiling fans, squashy chintz-covered sofas, hummingbirds that fly in through the open windows”—and silence.

With the help of an ornithologist, Jarecki strives to preserve Guana’s natural exotic allure, “planting all manner of fruit trees” and even importing iguanas (one that I encountered was “easily the size of a fat dachshund”). Jarecki, whose Jewish family fled Germany in 1937 to escape Hitler, perfectly described Guana when explaining why he was motivated to buy it: “I had been looking for an island for a while,” he said. “A place that was separate from the troubles of the world…where you could grow your own beans—and feel safe.”

Cottages on Guana Island (guana.com) start at $725 a night.

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