Looking for a place that separates you from the real world? A virtual paradise so serene, the only noise you hear is the chorus created by chirping birds, gentle waves and the sea breeze? Guana Island, in the British Virgin Islands, is that slice of paradise.
Guana Island is a privately owned sanctuary with seven pristine beaches–four of which are accessible only by boat; an unspoiled and perfectly tended environment where you can appreciate nature’s majestic beauty, as well as commit to nothing more than total relaxation.
Peace and quiet is a given on the island. It’s like being cut off from the rest of the world. No television, telephone, restaurants or shops. Most of the food used for the only hotel’s gourmet meals is brought in by boat from nearby Tortola. This tradition of simplicity and affluence was started by an American couple who bought the island in the early 20th Century.
In 1934, a young couple from Massachusetts, the Bigelows, were looking for an island to convert into the ultimate “private club.” They fell in love with Guana Island’s surreal beauty; green velvety hills, pearly white sand, and pristine setting, while sailing through the British Virgin Islands. With the help of the locals, the couple built six stone cottages intended for friends and guests to experience the combination of simple but exotic island life. The resort is simply called Guana.
Another American family, Dr. Jareckis and his wife, Gloria, bought the island in 1967. True to their predecessor’s tradition, the couple developed and improved what the Bigelows had started in terms of accepting guests who wanted to experience the simple life in paradise. The Jareckis’ focus was more on restoration and conservation of the Caribbean wildlife. Thanks in large part to them, there are more species of Caribbean flora and fauna found on Guana island than any other similar-sized island in the region–even on earth!
Getting intimate with nature, whether sun-loving or even just strolling around Guana Island is pure joy, especially if you’re the type who revels in privacy and isolation. The island’s only hotel caters to 36 guests at a maximum. Divide that into 7 beaches, 3 reefs, and a salt marsh, and you end up with a high probability of having an entire beach to yourselves!
If you love to hike, Guana does not disappoint. Twenty hiking trails lead through different conservation plots in and around the private sanctuary. Marvel at iguanas the size of small dragons, along with 14 species of reptiles and amphibians and 50 species of birds including Caribbean flamingo and brown pelicans. There are also several species of plants including vibrant colored flowers like the Virgin Islands euphorbia and Hohenberg’s ground bromeliad.
Guana Island is truly one of the remaining slices of unspoiled paradise left in the world. Seven heavenly beaches, unspoiled resources, a solid connection with Mother Nature are just a few of the reasons Guana Island should be on your bucket list!