The Deserted-On-an-Island List

Okay, so you’re not trapped on a deserted island, but you’d like to be. What would be your top choices (without running out to look at back issues of Island Magazine), and it really doesn’t culebrahave to be deserted.

Culebra, a quiet little gem off the east coast of Puerto Rico, is charming for its lack of pretension. The first time we went there, the hot water was kaput in our B&B. No worries, it came back on eventually. Rent a bike or car and get yourself down to Flamenco Beach, a strip of sand that is the favorite of locals and visitors. You’ll know someone before you leave this island that some call the Ultima Virgen (last virgin).

stmartinSt. Martin still beckons with its Frenchness and baguettes as good as those you can get in Paris. The choice of beaches is fantastic (Rouge was our favorite) and the line-up of restaurants in Grand Case alone reaches to-die-for status. We timed our dinner at La Vie en Rose in Marigot so we would be there for the sunset. Perfection.

Prince Edward Island in Nova Scotia is aprinceedwardisland great place to relax, eat a lot of fresh lobster and Malpeque oysters, and enjoy some painterly scenery. The white sand beaches of P.E.I. offer miles of dunes and surf without all the crowds. Biking and hiking are very popular on this flatland surrounded by bountiful waters. We drove around the entire island and there was always a great picture around every bend in the road.

kauaiKauai is a lush patch of greenery that easily earned it’s rep as the “garden island" of Hawaii. Poipu Beach on the South Shore has the laid back beaches, while the North Shore has the surf of Princeville and the rugged cliffs of the Na Pali coast. Waimea Canyon cuts across the center of the island for a spectacular sightseeing adventure. We did the helicopter tour which made my knuckles go numb, but I got some great pictures.

Saba has no beaches to speak of, but the rainforest on top of Mount Scesabanery (honest, that’s the name) is unique and the diving is reputed to be among the best. A single road connects a few storybook villages and the lack of nightlife means you can truly relax here. I think everyone is descended from about 20 Dutch families, but the beer is cold at Scout’s Place, so what more could you want. Did I mention the scary landing strip? Forget it, you’ll love this island.

capriCapri may beckon too many visitors at times, but the charm of the people and the beauty of the Blue Grotto is very hard to resist. Rocky beaches mean you spend most of your time at the pool, but a great climate, incredible views, Roman ruins, and plenty of locally made (and wicked tasting) Limoncello make this a great island escape.

Captiva is one of those relaxing places where you can forget about cars and get back in touch with your legs. Also, captivaif you search the shoreline all day in search of magnificent shell specimens, you can get intouch with your lower back. When not on the beach, we take a fishing boat excursion or paddle a canoe through the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Our tradition was sitting on the beach every night with a big bowl of popcorn watching the featured show – a giant red ball setting in the Gulf of Mexico.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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