A cold drink, warm sunshine, and the sound of the roaring sea – or is that a roaring jet? If you’re lounging in the Caribbean near major airports like Montego Bay, Nassau or Punta Cana, your Caribbean vacation could be interrupted by the din of jetliners ferrying visitors into and out of a tropical paradise. But, if you go a little further and pack a little lighter, you can escape the crowds behind the whir of a propeller blade at these exclusive Caribbean resorts.

Editor's note: Please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip and always follow government advice.

The rooftop views from Le Barth Villas extend over the town of Gustavia.
The rooftop views from Le Barth Villas extend over the town of Gustavia © Joe Sills / Lonely Planet

1. Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa – St-Barth

Landing in St-Barth can either be a breeze or a nail-biter, depending on local winds. One route sends visitors onto Gustaf III Airport’s single stretch of tarmac over the marina of Baie de St Jean and sets them down smoothly. The other route? Let’s just say it involves a sharp plunge over a mountaintop.

A narrow road meanders a 20-minute route from the airstrip to the quiet cove occupied by Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa. There, a backdrop of windsurfers and beachgoers paint a real-life portrait of paradise from the seaside rooms and two award-winning restaurants that overlook the turtle-laden, tropical lagoon. Le Barthélemy even offers entire seaside houses or a one-of-a-kind mountaintop cabin via its sister brand, Le Barth Villas.

Getting there

St Barth’s Gustaf III airport (SBH) is accessible via daily Tradewind Aviation flights from Luis Muñoz International Airport (SJU) in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Each ticket provides passengers access to a private lounge and a fast-tracked re-entry portal upon return to the United States.

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The Colonial-style lodge at Hamanasi, at dusk. Trees are visible in front of and behind the building.
The Colonial-style lodge at Hamanasi hosts an award-winning restaurant, live music and an exploration-themed library © Joe Sills / Lonely Planet

2. Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort – Belize

Most major airlines operate regular flights to Belize City. But access to this remote dive resort near the country’s barrier reef requires an extra leg. From Dangriga, passengers bound for Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort will board a Tropic Air transport that feels part city bus and part passenger plane. A single flight to Dangriga’s Pelican Beach Airstrip (DGA) can make multiple stops, landing to let passengers off at several small outposts before finally touching down at your stop.

Hamanasi arranges for transport from the airstrip to Hopkins Village, a backpacker’s hideaway turned dive destination where visitors can explore Garifuna culture at a local dive like Tina’s Kitchen or the Funky Dodo bar, then retire to their own jungle treehouse in the shadow of Hamanasi’s clubhouse.

Getting there

Tropic Air runs flights from Belize City’s Philip SW Goldson International Airport (BZE) to Dangriga (DGA), where a Hamanasi shuttle will ferry you 32km (20mi) down the Southern Hwy to Hopkins Village.

The stars shine over Cape Santa Maria Resort, as a woman stares up at the sky.
The stars shine over Cape Santa Maria Resort, where summertime visitors can get a firsthand glance at the galaxy © Joe Sills / Lonely Planet

3. Cape Santa Maria Resort – Bahamas

Christopher Columbus landed near the powdery, bleached beaches of Cape Santa Maria in the 15th century. 500 years later, travelers exploring this secluded side of the Bahamas can do the same thanks to a pair of airstrips located on Long Island. This lesser-known Bahamian outpost is home to incredible cave exploration opportunities; the Blue Hole, a world-class free diving location; and some of the best reef fishing in the country.

At Cape Santa Maria Resort, a bevy of seaside bungalows large enough for an entire family serve as base camp for fishing and cave snorkeling expeditions, in addition to meals overlooking the Caribbean sunset.

Getting there

Bahamas Air operates daily shuttles to Stella Maris Airport (SML) and Deadman’s Cay (LGI), from Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS).

Editor's note: Cape Santa Maria is reopening on Nov. 8. 

Private villas at the Belmond Cap Juluca along the beach. Palm trees are lined up alongside the villas.
Private villas at the Belmond Cap Juluca provide privacy amidst Mediterranean-style architecture © Joe Sills / Lonely Planet

4. Belmond Cap Juluca – Anguilla  

To access the pint-sized British island of Anguilla, you’ll need to hop on a puddle jumper and make your way to Sint Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM). From there, you can either board a ferry for a crossing or snag a 10-minute flight on a second aircraft to the generously-labeled Clayton J Loyd International Airport (AXA).

The impeccable, Mediterranean-style rooftops of the Belmond Cap Juluca stand watch over Anguilla’s southern coast, about five miles from the airport. The resort is a haven for sailing, kayaking, golfing and birding. Guests here will be forgiven for mistaking their current digs for a faraway oasis on the coast of North Africa.

Getting there

Seabourne Airlines operates flights to Sint Maarten (SXM) and Anguilla (AXA) from San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU). Tradewind Aviation offers charter flights from San Juan (SJU) to Anguilla (AXA).

Editor's note: Belmond Cap Juluca is reopening on Nov. 1.

An aerial shot of the pool at the Mandarin Oriental, St Vincent and the Grenadines. Pink parasols are around the side of the pool.
Canouan bills itself as the place "where billionaires go to escape millionaires" © Courtesy of The Mandarin Oriental Canouan

5. The Mandarin Oriental – St Vincent and Grenadines

During peak season, The Mandarin Oriental Canouan is on the shortlist of the most expensive resorts in the Caribbean. Situated on the secluded island of Canouan, rates here regularly top US$2300 per night from May to November. A focus on extreme luxury beginning in the 1990s has earned this US$126 million resort a unique moniker: “the place billionaires go to escape millionaires.”

Despite the intimidating tagline, The Mandarin Oriental reduces rates during shoulder season, offering a slightly lower entry bar to the world of the ultra-elite.

Getting there

The Mandarin Oriental operates its own, six-seat charter jet from Barbados (BGI), St Vincent (SVD), St Lucia (UVF), Grenada (GND) and Martinique (FDF) for US$4500 round-trip. Grenadines Air Alliance also flies to Canouan from Barbados (BGI), St Vincent (SVD) and Grenada (GND).

Deck chairs are lined alongside a pool at Queen's Gardens Resort and Spa. Behind a fence a lush, green valley is visible, next to two mountains.
Queen’s Gardens Resort and Spa rests squarely in the shoulders of Mt Scenery’s jungle valleys © Courtesy of Queen’s Gardens Resort and Spa

6. Queen’s Gardens Resort and Spa – Saba

The volcanic wilderness of Saba stands alone as one of the few Caribbean outposts where the main attraction lies not on the coast, but inland. The tiny, 13-sq-km (5 sq mi) Dutch island occupies the peak of Mt Scenery, a dormant stratovolcano towering over a seascape of subsurface mountains. The peak forms an exotic haven of hiking trails that honeycomb through a cloud forest at Mt Scenery’s summit.

The Queen’s Gardens Resort and Spa rests quietly nestled into the jungle landscape, offering five-star services in a setting that feels more Jurassic Park than Pirates of the Caribbean.

Getting there 

 Flights to Saba (SAB) depart several times a week from Sint Maarten (SXM) via Windward Island Airways.

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