Private Island: North Beach

North Beach cottages in Barbuda

Photo: Vanessa Hall

Barbuda's North Beach cottages are a low-key alternative to the typical Caribbean resort.

WHEN TO GO: Weather is rarely an issue, with year-round temperatures hovering between 72 and 83 degrees.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Strictly speaking, you won’t really have the isolated and beachy West Indies island of Barbuda all to yourself; it’ll just feel that way. North Beach is an enclave of five spartan cottages clustered on a remote, breezy peninsula ten sandy miles from the island’s only real town, Codrington, and cooled only by steady trade winds, with turquoise warm-water shallows, untrammeled strand, and enough peace and quiet to cure whatever may ail you, and fast. All meals (think lots of fresh-caught lobster) and cocktails are provided on-site in the screened-in hut that passes for a dining room. A few kayaks and Sunfish sailboats await, should an adventurous mood strike, and you’re likely to spot sea turtles and stingrays just offshore, plus the occasional wandering donkey. The rest is up to you. Need a concierge, a hot stone massage, or four-star pampering? Book elsewhere.

TYPICAL DAY: Indulge in a morning of aimless beachcombing, keeping an eye out for messages in washed-ashore bottles, a Barbudan specialty. After lunch—curried conch, maybe, washed down with rum punch—paddle over to the nearby mangrove estuary to spot juvenile game fish, or, if you’re feeling energetic, out to the island’s Frigate Bird Sanctuary, where a thriving colony of the angular, slightly pterodactyl-looking creatures swoop to snatch unlucky fish from the sea. Back at North Beach: another rum punch at dusk? Why not.

GETTING THERE: First, book a flight to Antigua. (A few major airlines, including American and Delta, offer either direct or connecting flights there.) From there, take a twenty-minute flight or a ninety-minute ferry ride to Barbuda, where you’ll be just a twenty-minute boat ride away from North Beach.