5 Great glampsites
Looking to get closer to nature without sacrificing creature comforts? Joe Shooman seeks out spots for really cool camping
1 Anegada Beach Club, BVI
BEST FOR… Castaway cool
WHERE: Keel Point, Anegada
ROOM RATES: Hotel From US$235
INFO: +1 284 346 4005; www.anegadabeachclub.com
USP: Palm-roofed retreats on an out-of-the-way isle
Extremely isolated and extraordinarily beautiful, this spot in the BVI will fulfil many a castaway fantasy – without sacrificing comfort or style. Anegada Beach Club’s classy thatched-roof palapa retreats have it all: king-size canopy beds (and extra daybeds for stowaways), smart en suites and raised decks where you can swing in hammocks, gazing out at the sea. There’s also a hotel offering more standard suites with TV, WiFi and air-con – just not quite that deserted-island romance.
What’s the location? On the north-west coast of little Anegada island, a coral atoll home to only 200 people. It’s also an iguana preserve and has one of the largest barrier reefs in the Caribbean. Ferries sail to Anegada from Tortola.
What’s the vibe? Rustic beach-shack luxe; suits couples and families (kids over six only).
The lowdown: Beachfront, Ocean View and Surfside palapas; access to the beach club, with volleyball and games, pool and restaurant serving fresh seafood; activities include snorkelling, kayaking, bike hire and kitesurfing.
2 Wild Lotus Camp, Antigua
BEST FOR… Beach living
WHERE: Valley Church Beach, Bolands
ROOM RATES: From US$223
INFO: +1 268 788 5898; www.wildlotuscamp.com
USP: Wake up right on the sand
You can’t sleep closer to the Caribbean than in one of these beautiful bulb tents – each one is on the white sand beach, amid exotic flowers and banana trees. Inside you’ll find luxurious double beds, handsome hardwood furniture, fresh linens, solar-powered USB ports and a feeling of true peace as you’re lulled to sleep by the sea. The tents are totally off-grid, with tiki torches and solar-powered fairy lights illuminating the way. The star-gazing is out of this world.
What’s the location? Valley Church Beach; there’s a gated entrance, which is locked at sunset (you will have keys).
What’s the vibe? Adults only. In short, it’s utterly magical.
The lowdown: One Deluxe tent and a handful of Luxury tents; safes; padlocks for zip doors and windows; private solar-heated showers; shared toilet block; copper fire pits; breakfast of locally sourced ingredients available; nearby Nest Beach Bar has music and WiFi.
3 Virgin Islands Campground, USVI
BEST FOR… Stripped-back style
WHERE: Water Island, St Thomas
ROOM RATES: From US$149
INFO: +1 340 776 5488; www.virginislandscampground.com
USP: Private eco-cottages, close to nature
Hidden amid 500 acres of verdant foliage on the smallest of the main US Virgin Isles, these nine sensitively designed wood-and-linen ‘cottages’ are perfect for connecting with Mother Nature but detaching from the world. Combining Caribbean style and graceful simplicity, they’re designed to have a low environmental impact, drawing electricity from wind power. But they offer a little bit of luxury, too, with queen or twin beds, handy coolers, private porches and sublime views.
What’s the location? Lush-green site, five minutes’ walk from Honeymoon Beach; seven-minute ferry ride from St Thomas.
What’s the vibe? Great for couples and families – cottages sleep four adults or two adults and two children.
The lowdown: Large site; minimalist cabins plus one private suite attached to the owners’ home; shared pavilion for cooking, storage and socialising; communications room for taking care of business, watching TV and checking the internet; hot tub.
4 Kawaida Peyi, Martinique
BEST FOR… Secluded sleeps
ROOM RATES: From US$177
INFO: +1 696 030 585; www.facebook.com/pg/KawaidaPeyi
USP: One tent, one terrace, one totally unique experience
You can’t help but feel special at this one-of-a-kind Martinique bolthole. Kawaida Peyi has just one spacious canvas tent, set on a private raised sun deck surrounded by forest, complete with a generous double bed, outdoor kitchen and its own jacuzzi tub. The name means ‘unusual’ in Swahili, and Afro-Caribbean style permeates throughout. Breakfast is included; lunches and dinners can be provided on request, to enjoy with magnificent mountain views. Kawaida Peyi looks a million dollars – no surprise that it’s been a backdrop for fashion shoots.
What’s the location? A residential area in a seaside town, overlooking verdant scenery. Pretty Anse Mabouya beach is a 15-minute walk away.
What’s the vibe? Honeymooners, lovers, secret adventurers.
Ideal for African-infused alfresco romance.
The lowdown: A smart tent for two; fully enclosed outdoor area with swing chairs; private shower, toilet and jacuzzi; basic kitchen with fridge and microwave; private parking available.
5 Pitahaya, Puerto Rico
BEST FOR… Outdoor escapes
WHERE: Cabo Rojo
ROOM RATES: From US$125
INFO: +1 787 366 5516; www.facebook.com/PitayahaGlamping
USP: Simple site with super access to birdwatching, beaches and more
The five simple, soothing, spacious tent-sites at Pitahaya sit within the dry forest of Cabo Rojo. Made from pale canvas and neat timber, each sleeps up to six on comfy mattresses. There’s electricity, fans and lamps plus well-equipped kitchens and private showers. But best are the mountain views and access to the surrounding countryside, with great potential for exploring. This area is amazing for kayak tours – try paddling through the bioluminescent waters of Parguera. Guánica is only a short drive away, as are towering limestone cliffs, gorgeous beaches and wildlife-filled nature reserves.
What’s the location? Out of the way, but with easy links to Cabo Rojo.
What’s the vibe? Adventurous, outdoorsy, family friendly.
No pets allowed.
The lowdown: Five large tents; private kitchens; gas barbecue area; private bathrooms with toilet and shower; private parking; swimming pool.