The Best Private Island Resorts in the Caribbean

With room for up to just four guests, Gladden Island in Belize is our top choice

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Necker Island, BVI
Necker Island, BVI. © WheretoStay.com

Staying on a private island resort in the Caribbean is what dreams are made of. These exclusive locations offer nothing but the absolute best of the destination, and guests can expect spacious accommodations, outstanding service, a diverse array of on- and off-site activities, and a calm atmosphere for total rejuvenation.

There are many resorts to choose from, and whether you are looking for romance, a family getaway, exclusivity, or adventure, these private islands in the Caribbean have just what you need to create unforgettable vacation memories.

Best Overall: Gladden Island, Belize

Gladden

Courtesy of Gladden

Why We Chose It

Privacy is guaranteed on this secluded island, where accommodations allow for only four guests at most.

Pros
  • Home entertainment system, WiFi, and a selection of games on-site (including a pool table)

  • Access to kayaks, Hobie Cats, and paddle boards

  • Guests receive full attention of the staff

Cons
  • Only one restroom within the accommodation

Surrounded by dazzling white sand and untouched coral reefs, Gladden Island labels itself “the most private island resort in the world.” Guests arrive via helicopter or speed boat from Placencia, Belize, and are welcomed by a small, attentive team who can cater to pretty much anything you require.

The 3,000-square-foot villa accommodation features open-plan living areas with sophisticated stone, wood, and glass decor, complimented by beautiful glimpses of the Belize Barrier Reef from almost every vista. The villa's opulent bathroom has a double vanity, a deep stone bath, ornate furnishings, and a walk-in shower. Guests can laze in the sun on the expansive patio, beside the infinity pool, or on the rooftop terrace.

Custom meals with curated wines can be eaten anywhere, even on the beach. Excursions to the mainland are included in the price along with boat rides to nearby cayes. If you visit from April to June, you may even get to swim with whale sharks.

Notable Amenities

  • In-house chef
  • Spa on-site
  • Resort offers boat transfer to nearby islands

Best Value: Cooper Island Beach Club, British Virgin Islands

Cooper Island Beach Club

Cooper Island Beach Club

Why We Chose It

This eco-luxe resort that gives budget-conscious travelers a solid bed and breakfast option.

Pros
  • On-site restaurant, coffee shop, microbrewery, and rum bar

  • Sustainable property

Cons
  • No air-conditioning

Situated on the northwest shore of Cooper Island, a popular stop-off point for yachts in the BVI, Cooper Island Beach Club is a family-owned resort with just eight intimate beachfront guest rooms. Each accommodation has a bright and airy open-plan design with ensuite bathrooms, furniture made from recycled teak, insect screens on windows and doors, and private balconies offering spectacular views of The Sir Francis Drake Channel, Manchioneel Bay, and nearby islands. Connecting doors provide even more space by turning each room into a two-bedroom, two-bathroom suite.

The property is self-sufficient in electricity and water and its owners are rightly proud of the site’s sustainable tourism credentials, which include providing triple-filtered, treated drinking water rather than bottled H20. Many of the ingredients featured in the restaurant’s freshly prepared meals (such as coconut, cilantro, ceviche, and spiced pumpkin salad) consist of organic produce grown in the club’s own garden. While the resort certainly lends itself to lazy days in a hammock by the beach, more vigorous activities are available, including stand-up paddleboarding, snorkeling excursions, and scuba diving.

Notable Amenities

  • Round-trip boat transfers
  • Non-motorized water sports included in full board rate

Best for Romance: Palm Island Resort, St Vincent and the Grenadines

Palm Island Resort & Spa, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Courtesy of Palm Island Resort & Spa, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Why We Chose It

Predominantly adults-only (the age limit is 16+), this private island resort offers a tranquil setting ideal for a couple’s getaway.

Pros
  • Boat transfers to Union Island available

  • Spa treatments and massages on-site

  • Exceptionally private

Cons
  • Only accessible by boat

  • WiFi only available in the library and reception lounge

The Grenadines has long been a favorite Caribbean location for the rich and famous because of its unspoiled scenery, charm, and guaranteed privacy and Palm Island offers its guests all these qualities and more. The stunning accommodation at this award-winning 135-acre resort includes 43 rustic, loft-style rooms and elegant suites located right on the beach or in lush gardens. Two secluded and luxurious villas are also available at opposite ends of the island on the cliffside or on the beach, with a golf cart included for transportation. All room options come with separate showers and deep bathtubs, king- or queen-sized beds, and plenty of inside and outside spaces to lounge. Spend your days exploring the island’s five beaches; snorkeling with marine life in the warm, clear waters; and unwinding with a couples massage or special treatment at the full-service spa.

A la carte dining is available throughout the day at the Royal Palm Restaurant and Bar or appreciate a more relaxed lunch/dinner vibe at the beachside Sunset Restaurant and Bar. Resort staff can also arrange a cozy picnic lunch at one of four stunning locations around Palm Island or a candlelit dinner for two at the Beach Pergola or the Heart Tree. If you have a day to travel to the mainland, hop on the private charter over to Union Island, where you can hike up Mount Taboi (the highest peak in the Grenadines at 1,000ft), try kitesurfing, or walk around the main town of Clifton before getting refreshments at a friendly beach bar.

Notable Amenities

  • Freshwater swimming pool with waterfall
  • Fitness center and tennis court on-site
  • Bicycles available for guest use

Best for Adventure: Thatch Caye Resort, Belize

Thatch Caye Resort, Belize

Thatch Caye Resort, Belize

Why We Chose It

This private Caribbean resort promises a genuine island adventure experience.

Pros
  • Access to non-motorized water sports on the property

  • Air-conditioning in all accommodations

  • Property will arrange off-site tours for guests

Cons
  • All meals are communal

  • WiFi only available in communal areas

Situated off the coast of Dangriga, Belize, Thatch Caye Resort encourages guests (limited to 30) to make the most of its idyllic location by offering a range of land and water-based activities. Leaving your overwater bungalow or deluxe island cabana will be difficult though, especially as every room has been recently renovated with reclaimed island materials, and features a walk-in shower, private outdoor decking with hammocks, and a king bed or two twin beds.

However, the list of activities to indulge your adventurous side is hard to resist. It includes hunting for lobster/conch (which the chef will cook for you on your return); island crawls between cayes; an hour-long stargazing cruise; a riverboat tour looking for crocodiles, river otters, and manatees; and a Maya basket weaving and language class. Mainland excursions are also available in conjunction with Thatch Caye’s sister resort (Brisa Oceano) which arranges various activities, such as jungle zip lining, river tubing, horseback riding, and cultural tours of ancient Maya villages, for groups of four or more. After days of adventure a private massage or spa treatment can be arranged on your room’s balcony or rooftop terrace, and from the reviews we’ve read, the masseuses are phenomenal!

The on-site chefs have also impressed guests with their freshly prepared, healthy Belizean or international dishes. Three meals a day are included in every room package and are served communally at set times in the Coco Lounge breakfast room, the Grove’s covered dining area, or at picnic tables under the stars.

Notable Amenities

  • Natural saltwater pool and overwater bar
  • Bikes on-site for guests use
  • On-site spa

Best for Nature Lovers: Guana Island

White Bay Beach at Guana Island, British Virgin Islands

 cdwheatley / Getty Images

Why We Chose It

Guana Island calls itself the unspoiled gem of the British Virgin Islands, and it doesn't disappoint—the veritable untamed slice of Caribbean heaven is the ideal nature-centric getaway.

Pros
  • Free WiFi

  • Air conditioning

  • Tennis court and non-motorized sports on-site

  • Farm-to-table cuisine


Cons
  • Only accessible by boat

Tucked away within the mountainside of Guana island, which remains 99% untouched, this private island resort (established in 1934) has 18 beautiful rooms and villas which can accommodate up to 35 guests. Stay in a Sea View Cottage overlooking the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean or select from one of five opulent villas with one to six bedrooms, vaulted ceilings, private terraces, Jacuzzi tubs, and infinity pools.

Dining options on Guana Island are prepared by internationally trained chefs who create tantalizing dishes which fully utilize the resort’s organic orchard where 40 varieties of fruits, vegetables, and flowers are grown. Be sure to arrange a visit so you can see where your food comes from and enjoy a fresh coconut during your tour.

Nature lovers will also want to take advantage of the 8.5 miles of hiking trails on the island which take you to some special sites, like the ruins of the Lake House sugar plantation or the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain. Along the way, you may encounter a few of the island’s unique animal inhabitants such as the stout rock iguana, red-legged tortoise, and white-crowned pigeon. If you want to explore beyond Guana island’s pristine 850 acres, you can take a day or half-day boat trip to Norman Island, which was the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s original Treasure Island.

Notable Amenities

  • Private terraces
  • On-site library
  • Hibiscus Spa

Best Unplugged: Pine Cay, The Meridian Club, Turks and Caicos

Pine Cay, The Meridian Club, Turks and Caicos

Pine Cay, The Meridian Club, Turks and Caicos

Why We Chose It

Pine Cay (The Meridian Club) is technology-free (apart from WiFi in rooms) so guests can escape the outside world.

Pros
  • Non-motorized water sports

  • Daily snorkeling trips

  • Fat-tire bikes for guests

Cons
  • Closed annually Aug. 1 to Nov. 1

The 800-acre private isle of Pine Cay in Turks and Caicos prides itself on offering guests “no concerns and no distractions.” Modern technology is deliberately limited on the island (except for WiFi and air-conditioning in rooms) so visitors can feel free to completely switch off and unplug. The 10 beachfront rooms or two premium free-standing beachfront suites have walk-in showers, thatched-roof beach tikis, a screened porch or private garden, and access to a golf cart for transportation. 

Two miles of empty white sand await just outside your door, lapping the crystal, clear waters where you can snorkel, sail, kitesurf, dive, or fish. Island-inclusive rates give you access to gourmet dining from a culinary team led by experienced executive chef Carlos Andrés Meléndez. The menu changes daily but always includes freshly-caught seafood and produce from the resort’s small kitchen garden. Breakfast, brunch, or lunch can be enjoyed beside the pool or at the Tiki Beach Bar. In-room meals are also available, or you can request private dining on the beach (shoes are optional).

Notable Amenities

  • 18-hole golf course
  • Freshwater swimming pool
  • Fitness center
  • Sand Dollar Spa

Best for Families: Jumby Bay, Antigua

Jumby Bay, Antigua

Jumby Bay, Antigua

Why We Chose It

Antigua’s Jumby Bay is a 300-acre oasis in the ocean where families will find something for everyone.

Pros
  • Yoga classes

  • Three pools on-site

  • Full-service spa

Cons
  • Only accessible by boat

Jumby Bay might be one of the smallest private island resorts in the Caribbean, but it offers guests plenty to do and thoroughly lives up to the meaning of its name "playful spirit." The weekly activities calendar includes everything from wine tasting and Caribbean cooking classes to sunset cocktail cruises and round-the-island boat trips.

A kids’ club is also on site with a dedicated program for three to 11-year-olds to keep them fully occupied. The accommodation features 28 elegantly decorated suites and villas as well as 12 recently refurbished suites with sophisticated, natural decor, private pools, open-air bathrooms, and ocean views. The beach is never more than a few steps away from your door.

Drink and dining options are abundant and include the 1830 bar, the Pool Grille, and fine dining at The Estate House. The Jumby Bay Veranda restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner inspired by Caribbean and Mediterranean ingredients with dishes like Antiguan Spiny Lobster, Andalusian gazpacho, and Caribbean tacos.

The best place to unwind after taking part in all the resort’s activities is the Jumby Bay Spa. Listen to the soothing sound of the waves, and feel the cooling ocean breeze, while being suitably pampered in treatment rooms that overlook the Caribbean Sea.

Notable Amenities

  • All-day a la carte dining
  • Kids’ club
  • Weekly activities
  • Bicycles for guests

Best for exclusivity: Necker Island, British Virgin Islands

Great House at Necker Island

 Courtesy of Virgin Limited Edition

Why We Chose It

Necker Island has everything you could ever want from an exclusive tropical resort.

Pros
  • Can be booked exclusively (entire island) or individually

Cons
  • One gym

Famously owned by British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, Necker Island’s 74-acres exudes exclusivity, and if you book the entire island for just you and your family/friends, that is certainly how it will feel. This private island can entertain up to 48 adults and six children in properties dotted around the resort that are as impressive as you would expect. No two rooms are exactly the same, but all have unparalleled views of the ocean, indoor and outdoor showers, large, private balcony areas, and some have four-poster beds. The Bali-inspired decor is primarily made up of wood, stone, or bamboo with white, blue, or cream furnishings, which gives the resort a truly elegant appeal.

The list of things to do on Necker Island is extensive. Choose from a bespoke yoga class, tennis with a resident professional, snorkeling or scuba diving, or kick back in one of the Samudra Spa treatment rooms. Half-day excursions to other parts of the British Virgin Islands can also be arranged. If your budget does not stretch to renting out the entire island, individual rooms can also be reserved throughout the rest of the year during so-called "Celebration Weeks."

Notable Amenities

  • Five infinity pools
  • Two floodlit tennis courts
  • On-site watersports
  • Bespoke yoga classes

Final Verdict

Caribbean private island resorts offer the ultimate vacation experience but with a substantial price tag. Not sure where to start? Gladden Island is probably the closest you’ll get to feeling like you have been shipwrecked and washed ashore in paradise. The fact that it is extremely remote is actually one of its main selling points and adds to the overall perception that anyone lucky enough to stay here is encountering a place that few others will ever get to see. 

But the other options are not to be overlooked: Cooper Island provides good value because it is one of the few private island resorts to provide a bed and breakfast rate, rather than just the pricier all-inclusive (or island-inclusive) option. Palm Island Resort’s adults-only (16+) stipulation makes it perfectly geared towards romance. Adrenaline junkies will adore Thatch Caye Resort in Belize because of the sheer number of immersive activities you can take part in on the island itself, or on the mainland, and the technology-free Pine Cay resort (The Meridian Club) in Turks and Caicos is particularly appealing for guests who want to leave the real world behind for a few days. Families will love Jumby Bay Resort in Antigua because of the wide range of activities available for adults and children. This private island resort is one of the few to have a kids’ club and even offers children’s parties, babysitting, and a "kiddies spa retreat" (at an additional cost). Even by the standards of other private island resorts in the Caribbean, Necker Island’s exclusivity is at another level.

Property Resort Fee  Rate  Free Wifi 
Gladden Island, Belize 
Best Overall
No $$$$ Yes
Cooper Island Beach Club, British Virgin Islands 
Best Value
No  $$$-$$$$  Yes 
Palm Island Resort, St Vincent and the Grenadines 
Best for Romance
No  $$$$  Yes 
Thatch Caye Resort, Belize 
Best for Adventure
No  $$$$  Yes, in the Coco Lounge
Guana Island, British Virgin Islands 
Best for Nature Lovers
No  $$$$  Yes 
Pine Cay, The Meridian Club, Turks and Caicos 
Best Unplugged
No  $$$$  Yes 
Jumby Bay, Antigua 
Best for Family
No  $$$$  Yes
Necker Island, British Virgin Islands 
Best for Exclusivity
No  $$$$  Yes 

How We Chose the Best Private Island Resorts in the Caribbean

We researched several private island resorts in the Caribbean and carefully appraised their unique selling points before deciding which ones to include. We also examined criteria such as the island’s location, room and resort descriptions, dining options, and the types of activities and experiences available in addition to numerous customer reviews. In each category (value, adventure, romance, etc.), the private island resort that was chosen was weighed against at least one other competitor before being selected as the best in that segment.

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