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Ten Caribbean Islands You Can Only Reach By Boat

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Mocka Jumbies and Rum...

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You can’t reach these islands by planes, trains or automobiles. It takes a boat, private or public, sail or power, to get you to these delightful off-the-beaten track destinations.


Green Island, Antigua
This private island, owned by the Mill Reef Club since 1947, lies off Antigua’s east coast near the mouth of Nonsuch Bay. It’s uninhabited except for day-trippers who come to swim off the white sand beaches that have changed little since Columbus visited in 1493. Snorkeling is excellent over the extensive coral reef. Anchor by the beach on the island’s northwest side. www.antigua-barbuda.org


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Jost Van Dyke
It’s the rum and reggae beach bar atmosphere that brings boaters to this three-square-mile British Virgin Island located five-miles northwest of Tortola. Little Harbour (best lobster at Harris’ Place); Great Harbour (home of calypsonian Foxy Callwood’s namesake bar); and White Bay (birthplace of the ‘Painkiller’ at Soggy Dollar

Bar), are the most popular anchorages. Annual events include Foxy’s Old year’s night Party on December 31, Wooden boat Regatta in May and the island’s Carnival in September. www.bvitourism.com/more-jost-van-dyke


St. John, USVI. Photo: Dean Barnes
St. John, USVI. Photo: Dean Barnes

St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
White sand beaches unfettered by resort or residential development and over two dozen hiking trails are big draws here thanks to the VI National Park, which occupies two-thirds of this 20-square-mile island. Explore the laidback shops, art galleries, bars and restaurants in Cruz Bay and Coral Bay. Coral Bay is home of the Commodore’s Cup and Thanksgiving Regatta annually. No marinas, but there are moorings available for a fee. www.visitusvi.com/stjohn/homepage


Petite Martinique in the distance. Courtesy of the Grenada Board of Tourism
Petite Martinique in the distance. Courtesy of the Grenada Board of Tourism

Petite Martinique
Fewer than a thousand people live on this one-square-mile island located two-and-a-half-miles northeast of Carriacou and a dependency of Grenada. The main anchorage is on the island’s northwest shore. Hike the 756-foot Piton volcano via a well-marked trail. Take a peek at local seafaring artifacts in the small village of Paradise. Swim and snorkel off Palm Beach. There’s a bar and restaurant here that serves specialties of fresh fish, conch and lobster. www.grenadagrenadines.com


Tobago Cays
Five small uninhabited islands: Petit Rameau, Petit Bateau, Baradal, Petit Tabac and Jamesby, form the Tobago Cays Marine Park. The park has become quite popular. Over 3000 yachts, cruise ship day-trippers and commercial yacht and dive charter guests visit annually. Yet the key attractions are still here: nesting seabirds, hawksbill turtles swimming freely and an incredible fish and coral filled reef. Pack a picnic to eat on the beach at Petit Tabac. This is where a scene from Disney’s ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl’ was filmed. www.tobagocays.org


Les Saintes by night. Courtesy of Guadeloupe Islands Tourist Board
Les Saintes by night. Courtesy of Guadeloupe Islands Tourist Board

Terre-de-Bas, French West Indies
Immerse yourself in the quaint culture of this 3.5-square-mile French island, one of Les Saintes located south of Guadeloupe, west of Marie-Galante and north of Dominica. The real finds here are the Salako, a locally-made hat that dates from the 19th century and offers great sun and rain protection, and Tourment d’amour, a tart filled with tropical-flavored fruit jams and covered with sponge cake. www.guadeloupe-islands.com/les-saintes/


Gilligan’s Island
Yes, its name is inspired by the TV show, but it’s no figment of Hollywood imagination. This tiny island is located a few hundred yards from shore and is part of the Guanica Dry Forest Preserve on the south coast of Puerto Rico. Pack a picnic, beach towels, bathing suits and snorkel gear. This is a great family spot to spend the day. www.seepuertorico.com


Tintamarre, French St. Martin. Photo: Turquoise & Office de Tourisme de Saint Martin
Tintamarre, French St. Martin. Photo: Turquoise & Office de Tourisme de Saint Martin

Tintamarre Island
An airport and airline were based on this 80-acre island located east of St. Martin back in the 1940s and 1950s. Today, there are some remnants of civilization such as the foundation of an old airfield building, overgrown strip of runway and rusted airplane parts, but most cruisers come here for the pink sand beach and therapeutic mud. In fact, a free invigorating exfoliating mud bath is what brings many day trippers. www.stmartinisland.org


Klein Bonaire
Flamingos are one reason to visit this little over two-square-mile uninhabited island about a half mile off the west coast of Bonaire. These beautiful pink birds live freely thanks to the island’s designation as part of the Bonaire National Marine Park. While the birds may be elusive the fish aren’t. Snorkeling and scuba diving are awesome on the shallow reefs, walls and drop-offs not far from shore. www.tourismbonaire.com


Hog Island, Grenada. Courtesy of the Grenada Board of Tourism
Hog Island, Grenada. Courtesy of the Grenada Board of Tourism

Hog Island
Located off the southwest side of Grenada, not far from St. George’s, this small uninhabited island is a favorite playground for cruisers. DIY beach barbeques, impromptu volleyball games and making new friends over a drink at the thatch-roofed bar are popular activities. Snorkeling is excellent over the nearby reefs. Technically, there is a foot bridge to the island. However, it’s easier to sail here since to get to the bridge from the mainland means traversing a long overgrown trail with a formidable gate at the end. www.grenadagrenadines.com

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  1. you have missed out Calivigny Island, Isle de Qaui, Isle La Rhone, Glover’s Island, Sugar Loaf Island, Marquis Island,all of these islands are in Grenada’s territorial waters. However, I move quickly to point out that Hog Island is reachable with a motor vehicle as there is now a connecting bridge built from the mainland.


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Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.

So Caribbean you can almost taste the rum...

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