Caribbean Beat Magazine

Back of beyond | Round trip

The Caribbean has plenty of bustling cities and popular beaches — but when you really want to get away from everything, you can also find tranquil hideaways, from tiny coastal villages in Tobago and Dominica to the indigenous settlements of Guyana’s Rupununi

  • Parlatuvier, Tobago. Photo by Michaela Arjoon
  • Hillsbourough, Carriacou. Photo by Robert Harding/Alamy Stock Photo
  • Grande Riviere, Trinidad. Photo by Chris Anderson
  • Nappi, Guyana. Photo by Pete Oxford
  • Culebra, Puerto Rico. Photo by Hemis/Alamy Stock Photo
  • Calibishie, Dominica. Photo by Peter Schickert/Alamy Stock Photo

Parlatuvier, Tobago

There’s ample competition for the title of most picturesque beach in Tobago, but for those in the know, Parlatuvier Bay is always near the top of the list. An hour’s drive from Scarborough, Tobago’s capital, this quiet fishing village with its iconic wooden jetty is surrounded by forested hills, and Parlatuvier Falls a short hike away. Pause to take in the view along the Leeward Road and admire the crescent of golden sand and perfect blue water of the bay.

Hillsbourough, Carriacou

Largest of the Grenadine Islands, and a dependency of Grenada, Carriacou is sometimes called the “Isle of Reefs” for its unspoiled dive sites, especially on the western side of the island. With a population of eight thousand, the island is just big enough to provide some bustle in Hillsborough, the capital, but small enough to offer a hideaway to those looking for peace and quiet. Some of the best beaches are accessible only by foot, with a scattering of offshore islets for true seclusion.

Grande Riviere, Trinidad

Separated from most of Trinidad by the ridges and peaks of the northern range, Grande Riviere on the island’s north coast was once the centre of a sprawling cocoa estate. Today, the village thrives on eco-tourism, with a series of low-key lodges lining the beach. This is a major nesting site for leatherback turtles, and one of the best places in the world to see these strange creatures come ashore to lay their eggs during the nesting season.

Nappi, Guyana

Guyana’s Rupununi Savannah is a landscape unlike any other in the Caribbean: gently rolling plains stretching to the horizon, dotted with small creeks, sandpaper trees, and indigenous settlements, like the Macushi village of Nappi, near the foothills of the Kanuku Mountains. Community-run accommodations are rustic, but the real attraction is the extraordinary wildlife to be encountered in the savannahs and the nearby forested mountains, from giant anteaters to colourful parrots.

Culebra, Puerto Rico

Twenty miles off Puerto Rico’s eastern tip, and geographically part of the Virgin Islands chain, the island of Culebra, was once a US naval base. Today it’s devoted to far more tranquil purposes. Here you’ll find some of the Caribbean’s best beaches — including Blue Flag–rated Flamenco Beach — and a wildlife refuge, home to seabirds and nesting sea turtles. Hundreds of larger and smaller bays indent the coastline, with dramatic cliffs, mangrove forests, and sandy coves, and over a dozen tiny cays dot the surrounding sea.

Calibishie, Dominica

The coast around Calibishie, in Dominica’s far northeast, is said to be the most scenic part of the island — which is saying a lot, considering the natural beauty of the Caribbean’s “Nature Island.” In some ways, Calibishie offers all the attractions of Dominica condensed into a small area: gorgeous beaches, lushly forested mountains, rivers with waterfalls and hidden freshwater pools, and trails for hiking. Instead of typical tourist resorts, you’ll find friendly guesthouses and tasteful private villas, with views of Guadeloupe to the north.