In a world of smart phones, algorithms, and internet-enabled everything, it seems more than ever that escaping technology is an aspiration we seldom realise.
You could try deleting Facebook, or putting your phone in a draw when you go to bed, but between work emails and the latest binge-worthy Netflix series you’re never really out of reach.
Enter Petit St Vincent — a lush private island in the Caribbean with no in-room Wi-Fi and data charges that would make your eyes water. Phones and TVs are nowhere to be seen.
Need more coffee or want to submit your breakfast order? Raise a yellow flag from the flagpole outside your beach-side cottage and room service won’t be far behind.
You can forget about scrolling through Instagram while working on your tan or FaceTiming your mum as you sip a cold beer. Your only hope of connecting with the outside world is a hike up a hill to reception, where the signal doesn’t extend beyond a few feet.
If you’re looking to escape the world — and there’s certainly a lot reasons to right now — you would be hard-pressed to find a more remote and relaxing place.
With just 21 cottages on this 115-acre island, the chance of seeing other guests is slim. If you’re lucky you might spot someone cycling to their favourite beach spot or hiking up Marni Hill for a perfect view of the Caribbean Sea.
There’s enough space, and more importantly beach, that even if your preferred hammock is taken you can just walk a bit further and find your own piece of paradise.
Shy of buying your own island, Petit St Vincent is about as low key and private as you can get.
Fortunately, privacy does not come at the expense of activity. While you could certainly spend your days reading on the beach, this small island offers a great deal more.
There’s a fitness trail, best tackled in the morning, if you’re looking to really earn those hours of doing nothing. Tennis too, is available, if you’re curious to see how your serve fares in the Caribbean sun.
Keen divers can take advantage of the island’s Jean-Michel Cousteau Dive Centre. Whether you’re a beginner or a certified diver, you’re sure to find a site — be it a reef, marine park or local wreck — that suits you. Expect to see lobsters, eagle rays, turtles and even the odd nurse shark.
If you’re more comfortable on the sea than under it, you can set sail on Beauty — a 49ft sloop — and head over to Tobago Cays with skipper Jeff Stevens. The stunning archipelago has some of the prettiest coral reefs around, making it one of the best spots for snorkelling.
You can look forward to spotting turtles — we spotted four in one session — and spend what never seems like long enough trying to quietly stalk them as they effortlessly swim away.
Once swimming with turtles is ticked off your bucket list you can climb back aboard Beauty and enjoy a barbecue of freshly caught seafood right there on the deck. Those so inclined may even partake in a rum punch or two while you slowly sail back through the cays and wonder why you ever booked a return flight.
When your adventure on the sea is concluded those needing to wind down from all the excitement can visit the Hillside Spa. Complete with a team of Balinese therapists and a calm ocean view, wellness-seekers can pick from a wide variety of treatments and body scrubs — some are even available in your cottage if you don’t fancy climbing the hill.
After building up a mighty appetite you could choose to dine in your cottage or venture up to the main restaurant on the hill, which boasts an extensive wine cellar.
Expect a smart casual setting lit by candles and the stars, accompanied by an international menu with a rightfully Caribbean focus. Between the seafood linguine with a hint of chilli, the steam tuna with soy-sake mirin sauce or the slow roasted pork loin, there’s something for everyone on this menu.
For something more relaxed, Goatie’s beach bar and restaurant gives you everything from calamari rings and jerk chicken to yellow fin tuna and conch fritters. There’s even a beach barbecue held each week, possibly the best night of the week, where you can get your hands on mahi-mahi and lobster tail.
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