Islands are perfect for a romantic, get away from it all type vacation. On the whole, South America’s islands are a far cry away from the crowded resorts of the Mediterranean and Caribbean proper. Many are very undeveloped, and great for Robinson Crusoe like relaxing vacations.
Many of Belize’s Cayes are beautiful and unspoilt and offer great scuba diving potential. While some of the northern Cayes are well developed for tourism, most of the others a empty. A great way to visit Belize’s cayes is by sailing through them. Alternatively, there are many on sale for under $500,000.
Nicaragua’s Corn Islands are worthy on mention, though as I haven’t been there yet I can’t authoratively comment, other than to say they beautiful and very laid back.
The islands of Bocas del Toro in Panama is one of the most beautiful parts of the Caribbean I have been to. The area really is idyllic, and if you head out of the main town, you can find empty beaches lapped by turquoise waters. I walked along one such beach for a hour - the only humans I saw where a couple of snorkellors. Real estate tycoons have discovered Bocas del Toro and are fast developing in though. Hopefully it will be a long time before it develops into another Cancun. I’ve seen very small islands in Bocas del Toro for sale for as little as $50,000….. very tempting is Panama’s Bocas del Toro.
Bocas del Toro.
One place where you certainly can’t buy an island though is in Panama’s San Blas Archipelago. This semi autonomous zone is governed by the Kuna Indians, who are determined to preserve their traditional way of life. Until 10 years ago, the only form of currency was the coconut in the San Blas Islands. The idyllic islands have changed a little since then. I stayed at the Dolphin lodge when I visited, and really enjoyed it. While the beaches are very beautiful, and many of the small islands completely devoid of anything other than palm trees, a visit to the San Blas Islands is more about interacting with the Kuna Indians, rather than a simple beach vacation. San Blas Islands:
San Blas Islands
Colombia’s Rosario Islands are stunning (and again, not for sale). There’s about 30 of these small coral islands, which are 90 minutes from the mainland (Cartagena). The Rosario Islands are a very relaxing place to visit, and taking a boat trip amongst the islands is fascinating. Many of the small islands house dilapidated old buildings, while others have luxury mansions on them. I was very jealous - they really are idyllic personal islands. I was told the dilapidated buildings where previously owned by Colombia’s drugs barons, who are now on the run from the authorities.
Venezuela’s Los Roques islands also rank as some of the most beautiful in South America. Turquoise waters lap desert-like baron but beautiful islands, and there are many small, Italian owned posadas on the main island. The peace and tranquility is only spoilt by the few local Venezuelan tourists, who seem only to be able to enjoy themselves by blaring out (tacky) music from the catarmarans. Having said that, the islands are big enough to get away from such anti-social idiots.
Los Roques, Venezuela.
In Brazil, Fernando de Noronha should fulfil most people’s ideas of a perfect honeymoon getaway. The islands are great for scuba diving, and have some of the best beaches in Brazil.
Fernando do Noron, Brazil.
As a related post, you might want to read the guide on the best beaches in South America.