When you've reached the point of needing a true escape, these nine unplugged tropical retreats are just the spots to escape to.
-- Alex Creange, Oyster.com
Nestled among the steep, winding hills of Jamaica's Blue Mountain, this former coffee plantation might just be the island's most isolated property. With 12 cottages on a sprawling 26 acres, Strawberry Hill offers an exceptional level of privacy. Though there's no beach on-site, the gorgeous cliff-top location affords incredible views -- especially from the infinity pool. Your in-laws will be the last thing on your mind when you're relaxing at the Ayurvedic spa or breathing deeply on the resort's yoga pavilion.
If complete isolation is what you're after, you'll find it at Blancaneaux Lodge. Tucked away in Belize's lush Mountain Pine Ridge forest reserve, this fabulous hideaway features rustic-luxe, thatched-roof rooms with private decks and plunge pools. With no TVs and a barely-there internet connection, you'll have no contact with the outside world (and your in-laws won't be able to contact you) during your stay. Whether you choose to spend your days lounging by the pool or enjoying a riverside spa treatment, you won't find too many places more tranquil than Blancaneaux Lodge.
Accessed via a 30-minute boat ride from Providenciales, this 1,000-acre all-inclusive resort on a private island is the definition of tranquility. With an incredible infinity-edge pool, world-renowned COMO Shambhala Spa, waterfront Balinese-style villas, doting service, and more than three miles of pristine beaches, Parrot Cay is easily one of the most luxurious and romantic options in the Caribbean. You'll be pampered by personal butlers, wined and dined by incredible restaurants and bars, and will certainly leave your vacation feeling refreshed after treatments at the exclusive spa. Maybe after a stay here you WILL be able to handle a few hours with your mother-in-law. Maybe.
A rustic-luxe wellness retreat with a preserved natural environment, the eco-friendly Aqua Wellness Resort is the ultimate beach retreat with an added wellness component. The resort's treetop setting offers incredible views of Redondo Bay, and guests have access to the lovely white-sand beach below. Luxurious rooms feature locally crafted wood and stone that seem to blend in with the natural setting. So don't be surprised when howler monkeys and iguanas make themselves at home on your balcony! Although, we guess they may be more welcome than your in-laws.
Built from a historic sugar plantation, the profoundly serene Caneel Bay Resort is located on 170 acres of astoundingly secluded landscape where wild donkeys still roam the grounds. Here you'll find seven isolated beaches, an attentive, professional staff, and excellent on-site cuisine. There are no off-site businesses within walking distance, nor in-room TVs or phones -- which means there's no chance of the in-laws calling to check in.
Lapa Rios Ecolodge & Wildlife Reserve, located in the remote coastal rain forests of the Osa Peninsula, is Costa Rica's original, luxury eco-lodge. You'll go off the grid at this hard-to-reach resort, and you won't see a phone, computer, TV, or curling iron for the entirety of your stay. Guests come to Lapa Rios to learn about sustainable tourism and practices, but are by no means "roughing-it." The hotel's 16 bungalows have thatched roofs, rain showers, gorgeous woodwork, and huge private decks with killer ocean views. Staff members are happy to arrange off-site activities, but most guests are content to stay on-site amongst the property's incredible wildlife.
You truly don't know the meaning of "off the beaten path" until you've traveled to Ti Kaye Resort & Spa. The intimate rustic-luxe retreat is built into the steep cliffside of St. Lucia's western coast and requires a long, winding, and slightly nerve-racking drive from the airport. But travel woes will quickly be remedied once guests lay their eyes on the resort's swinging rope hammocks and incredible ocean views. Romantic candlelit dinners on the beach are a specialty of Ti Kaye, as are wine tastings in the hotel's modern cellar.
Arguably Jamaica's most romantic escape, The Caves is an adults-only property with a dramatic cliffside location. The friendly, attentive staff are among the best on the island, and colorful cottages decorated with batik prints, hand-carved furnishings, and Jamaican crafts make for a memorable stay. The on-site restaurant serves delicious food with a focus on local, seasonal flavors and ingredients. And though there is no beach, and only one small pool, staying at The Caves is the perfect opportunity to try your hand at cliff diving.
The phenomenal riverside setting on a private rainforest reserve sets The Lodge at Chaa Creek apart from its competitors. Not to mention the rustic cottages with wicker furniture and local tile, gorgeous infinity pool with jungle views, and warm, friendly service -- which all help to make Chaa Creek a real standout. Though many guests are content to remain on the property for the entirety of their stay, the hotel is happy to book off-site excursions for anyone looking for a little something more. Best of all, room rates are fair for what you get -- and there are even budget accommodations available at Macal River Camp, located on the same property as Chaa Creek.