Untether yourself from tech devices and rejoin the physical world. Slow to a more natural pace while socializing, exercising and breathing clean, fresh air: Providers of digital detox vacations say the experience can lead to improved health and more creative thinking, greater mindfulness and efficiency and a feeling of “connectedness” that enhances teamwork.
Some Caribbean hoteliers are catching on to the low- to no-tech wave. Others never wavered from their old-fashioned island ambiance in the first place.
The Arawak Beach Inn on Anguilla has been sampling tech checkout programs whereby Isolation Vacation guests turn their electronic devices in to staff when they arrive, and televisions, telephones, and Internet access are removed from their rooms. Still other Caribbean hotel properties afford a luxe ambience that, with the natural beauty of their semi-remote surroundings, are enough to make even a cell phone’s vibration feel like an intrusion. And then there are locales that are so isolated, so difficult to access, that even the most hardcore tech addicts have little choice but to recharge and reboot. One sits on an island that’s largely set aside as a volcano eruption zone.
These 10 Caribbean escapes are among those that afford the ultimate digital detox escapes:
1. Petit St. Vincent
Petit St. Vincent, The Grenadines
You’ll have to ride a jet, 6-passenger twin engine aircraft and boat to reach Petit St. Vincent, where 16 one-bedroom cottages scattered in the hills of ocean bluffs and on the beach feature floor to ceiling glass doors. The private accommodations at this 115-acre all-inclusive resort feature luxury in-room amenities. To communicate with the resort’s staff, guests raise flags on driftwood poles: red for “do not disturb” and yellow for butler service. For information:www.petitstvincent.com. Also in the Grenadines: Bequia Beach Hotel, www.bequiabeachhotel.com, and Palm Island Resort, www.palmislandgrenadines.com, where you might come across a sign that reads, “Shh. Vacations at Work.”
Video of Petit St. Vincent Resort
2. North Beach
Locals on boat-accessible Barbuda boast that there are no clocks here and so they tell time by the sun and the moon. The island’s lone major town, Codrington, is home to about 1,600 people – which is a heck of a lot more than the maximum nine that North Beach accommodates at any given time. The five oceanview cottages that comprise North Beach are appointed with “found” beach art, and the nearest town is five miles away. For information:www.barbudanorthbeach.com.
Video on Antigua and Barbuda
3. Guana Island
Guana Island, British Virgin Islands
Guana Island is accessed by boat and shaped like an iguana – and its tourism providers boast that it’s always been meant to provide a “disconnect from life.” Guests renting all-inclusive private cottages and villas on the island have access to tennis courts, non-motorized water activities and castaway picnics on deserted islands. One of the rentals served as the great house for 18th century Quakers who employed slaves to cultivate sugar on the island, and cannons and plantation remains linger. For information: www.guana.com.
Sensory Video of Guana Island
4.Bayaleau Point Cottages
They’re pastel painted on the outside and afford an old ship’s cabin simplicity on the inside. The ambience of Bayaleau Point Cottages is in keeping with its old Scottish fishing and boat-building village locale. Carriacou is accessed almost exclusively by West Indian cargo schooners and engineless fishing sloops. The island is near an active submarine volcano known as Kick ’em Jenny and is accessed by flying to Grenada and then either flying a nine-seater plane or a high speed ferry. For information: www.carriacoucottages.com. Also on Carriacou: Bogles Round House Restaurant and Cottages www.boglesroundhouse.com and the Green Roof Inn, www.greenroofinn.com.
Location Map of Bayaleau Point Cottages
5. The Hermitage
The Hermitage instructs guests to take their shoes off and leave them off. This 17th century property dates to around 1670, making it what’s thought to be the oldest wooden house in the Caribbean. Cottages, rooms and villas feature antique furnishings, porches and hammocks, and they’re equipped with good old-fashioned books rather than televisions. For information: www.hermitagenevis.com. Or, check oout the the 11-unit 19th century sugar estate-turned Goldenrock Inn with spring-fed swimming pool, www.goldenrocknevis.com.
Room at The Hermitage, Nevis
6. Hotel Le Bois Joli
Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe
Located on Terre-de-Haut, one of of eight French Caribbean islands known as Iles des Saintes, the contemporary six-room Hotel Le Bois Joli looks out on to Sugar Loaf Bay and features a restaurant, swimming pool, snack bar and shuttle service to town. Travelers who share hilly roads with free-roaming goats can enjoy European-style cafes, shops and galleries. Iles des Saintes is a six-mile boat ride from Guadeloupe. A rainforest on Terre-de-Bas, the only other inhabited island among Iles de Saintes, is a short boat ride away. For information: www.hotelboisjoli.fr. Also on Terre-de-Haut are Amareleo, www.amarelao.fr, and Auberge Les Petit Saints,www.petitssaints.com.
7. Kamalame Cay
Kamalame Cay, Bahamas
This private, 96-acre island describes itself as “the perfect stage for an updated Robinson Crusoe fantasy,” but it’s only a short ferry ride from Andros Island. The property’s 19 villas are adorned in tropical luxury, including Indonesian furnishings, Oriental carpets and muslin-draped French doors. A spa is on premises, a snorkel reef nearby and near-deserted powder white sand beaches steps away. For information: www.kamalame.com.
Soufriere, St. Lucia
Set 1,000 feet within the mountains, the 32 wood and stone-rich suites within Ladera feature private plunge pools and “open walls” affording endless views of the Pitons and the Caribbean Sea. The property, formerly Soufrière’s oldest and most famous cocoa plantation, was transformed in 1982. A restaurant and spa are on premises, and guests have a choice of sounds from the surrounding rainforest or technology. For information: www.ladera.com. Also in St. Lucia, Jade Mountain Resort: www.jademountain.com.
9. Secret Bay
Secret Bay’s sustainable luxury villas and bungalows are built of rich woods and nestled on a secluded cliff on the “nature” island of Dominica. Guests of this boutique hotel enjoy fresh, local organic food and views of the Caribbean Sea and have opportunities to explore the island’s beaches, rivers, waterfalls and more. For information: www.secretbay.dm.
10. Vista De Redonda
Isles Bay, Montserrat
On a clear day from this villa with a view you can see as far as Nevis, which is 62 km (38.5 miles) to the northwest. This two-bedroom, three-bath villa with office and private swimming pool has hosted the likes of musicians such as Sir Elton John. It’s located on Montserrat, the Emerald Isle, where the active Soufriere Hills volcano has buried the capital city of Plymouth, caused evacuations and led to the formation of an “exclusion zone” that encompasses two-thirds of the island and is considered so dangerous it’s illegal to enter. For information: Montserrat Villas Real Estate.