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It’s easy to love its breathtaking beaches and azure sea. But with 28 nations and more than 7,000 individual islands, the hard part is choosing what to see, where to stay, and where to begin. Consider this a good start.
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Check Into a Knockout Private Villa
Drop your bags in your freestanding guesthouse (from $1,000 a night) at St. Kitts’s just-opened Belle Mont Farm, then grapple with your next move: a dip in your very own pool, plucking ripe fruit from 400 acres of organic farmland, or sipping craft cocktails at The Mill bar on the property.
Some people prefer to island hop for sandy strands. But you and yours can forgo extra jet-setting by staying put on friendly, flat Anguilla and touring its shores, where the sand is so soft you probably couldn’t even exfoliate with it.
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“St. Nicholas Rum Distillery, on Barbados, is right out of a fairy tale. The house is a pink Jacobean manor, and it has a veranda looking out over the lush gully—the perfect spot to enjoy rum!” says designer Erin Fetherston, who wed rocker Gabe Saporta at St. Nicholas Abbey Plantation, in 2013.
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Take in Jaw-Dropping Eats and Architecture
New hotel El Blok (from $195 a night), on Vieques, Puerto Rico, is worth its hype: First there’s the hot cuisine from star chef José Enrique, then there’s the mod design, and, finally, that bright white beach.
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Go to Kiteboard Heaven
“The waves off Playa Encuentro, just four and a half miles west of Cabarete in the Dominican Republic, are a dream,” says pro kiteboarder Laurel Eastman. One she wasn’t willing to wake up from: “I moved to the D.R. because it had the most beautiful tropical beaches I’d ever seen.”
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Follow Happy Trails
St. John, in the United States Virgin Islands, is 60 percent national park with more than 20 trails. On your hiketinerary? Secret beaches, old sugar mills, estate-house ruins, and pre-Columbian petroglyphs.
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Party at Next-Level Beach Bars
Off you go to the British Virgin Islands, where the beach bars are practically scientific studies in sun-drunk shenanigans: The Willy-T is a boat turned best-night-of-your-life. Foxy’s Bar is helmed by the ultimate local character. Soggy Dollar Bar invented the Caribbean’s most notorious cocktail, the Painkiller.
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Treat Yourselves to #SundayFunday
On Sundays, Vita Wade, the cool, young thing behind Aqua Montserrat, pulls together snorkeling excursions followed by a “lime” (Caribbean-speak for kicking back) on the beach with grilled fish and oodles of fresh fruit.
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Plan a Castaway Experience (With an Escape Plan)
The uninhabited isles of your fantasies live in the Tobago Cays, part of a marine reserve that’s reachable by water taxi or yacht and ready for a honeymoon hideout. (We recommend spreading out at Villas at Stonehaven on a hillside overlooking the sea.) Think palm-tufted islets, Day-Glo water, and…where’s Wilson?
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Try a Roaringly Delish Appetizer
The lionfish tacos at farm-to-table Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, on Grand Cayman, are doubly good. First, cooking up the species helps with the area’s overpopulation. And when fresh pieces get tumbled around with passion fruit and avocado, the results are seriously mouthwatering.
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See a Natural Wonder That’s a Movie-Scout Magnet
Diving or snorkeling around the Bahamas’ jaw-dropping underground cavern Thunderball Grotto—named for the Bond caper in which it starred—will have you two feeling like a debonair secret agent and leading lady on a watery escapade (book with starfishexuma.com).
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Make a Scent-Sational Souvenir
Blend your own fragrance at Tijon, a chic boutique perfumery on St. Martin. Once you’re back home, it’s sure to conjure up warm honeymoon fuzzies every time you dab it on (perfume classes from $85, tijon.com).
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Discover Hidden Hot Springs
Springs bubbling up from the earth, pouring into clawfoot tubs, being captured in spa pools—soak to your heart’s content around Wotton Waven village on Dominica.
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Catch a Trip-Making Sunset
Picture it: you two sipping rum drinks at a table in a candlelit, cliff-side cavern, part of Jamaica’s The Caves hotel, right as the sun dips (dinner from $150 for hotel guests, $300 for nonguests).