Travel insights from Jenna Buege, associate editor of The Compass

Destination Discovery: Secret Islands Around the World

Want the illusion of having a tropical paradise all to yourself? Dream of laid-back beaches, quaint city streets and calming blue waters? These are some of the lesser traveled islands around the world that can give you just that.

Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

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Happy days exploring with new and old friends. ❤️ #mychtravelstheworld

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Dubbed one of the top islands in the world by Travel + Leisure in 2019, Virgin Gorda is the affordable beach getaway you’ve probably never heard about (seriously – some suppliers can get you there for a cost similar to Cancun). Adored for its exciting yacht club, glorious ocean views and relaxing natural baths hidden among gigantic granite boulders, Virgin Gorda makes for the perfect British Virgin Islands vacation spot. An interesting bit of history, Virgin Gorda became a luxury getaway in 1964 when American businessman Laurance Rockefeller founded Little Dix Bay.

Eleuthera and Harbour Island, the Bahamas

Located on the “Out Islands” of The Bahamas, Eleuthera and Harbour Island offer a different vibe than the high-rise hotels of Nassau. In fact, one of this area’s draws is how underdeveloped the islands really are. Upon arrival travelers won’t find the usual restaurants, shops and hotels and are instead met with luxurious pink-sand beaches and brilliant turquoise water. Eleuthera offers a small number of quaint hotels for guests to enjoy. If you like to explore some of Eleuthera’s hot spots, Glass Window Bridge, Blue Hole and the Queen’s Bath are definitely must-sees. Harbour Island neighbors Eleuthera and is only three miles by a half mile long. A place sprinkled with gorgeous seaside cottages mixed with local flair, Harbour Island is a place where golf carts are the main form of transportation. 

Nevis, The Caribbean

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Pro tip: It's off season in the Caribbean. Put your feet up on these pristine beaches.

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Just a ten minute jaunt from bustling St.Kitts, Nevis likes to keep things a little lower key with no all-inclusive resorts, no cruise ports and no casinos. At just 36 square miles, Nevis is a small but mighty vacation spot where celebrities like Anna Wintour and even royals such as Princess Diana have trekked to retreat. Some of the island’s most popular attractions include hiking to the summit of Nevis Peak; jaunts to historic sites such as The Hermitage, a family-owned hotel said to be the oldest wooden structure in the Caribbean; and a visit to the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton.

Mallorca, Spain

The perfect mix of Mediterranean beauty, old school charm and lots of European history, Spain’s Balearic Island of Mallorca is a haven unlike any other. Evidence of cultures past can be seen throughout the island including Mallorca’s capital, Palma de Mallorca, which was founded by the Romans, robbed by vandals and eventually reestablished by the Byzantines. The town center is home to winding city streets, impressive architecture and the Alcazar, aka the Royal Palace. If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, Mallorca has no shortage of natural beauty with rolling hills and mountains and impressive underground cave systems.

Block Island, Rhode Island, U.S.

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My serenity.

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Brimming with Victorian charm and cliffside views, Rhode Island’s Block Island is the perfect place for exploration. Take a hike at Clay Head Preserve, a trail within the Island’s Nature Conservancy that wanders a span of sandy beach and inland footpaths. If you’re looking to spot some marine life, don’t miss a kayak trip on the Great Salt Pond where you can mingle with local wildlife and search for oyster farms.  For those just looking to relax, Block Island has a nice selection of tasty bars and restaurants to help you wind down and get into that vacation state of mind.

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