We went to Guana in early October, just before their high season and during their annual month-long science program, which meant that, aside from a few scientists and some graduate students, we were the only guests on the island. We felt like interbellum-era creatives living the high life.
Guana is an amazing place, but you should understand what you're getting into. This is not some cookie-cutter Club Med or Sandals where you go for cheap thrills, easy hook-ups, and hokey after-dinner entertainment. We live in New York and have to deal with the mess and noise of 8 million people every day, so going to a beautiful place where you can enjoy silence, space, and nature while still being pampered was a dream come true.
A lot of the things that might turn some people off are the same things that make Guana great. There are no TVs. Watch TV at home, not when you're in an island paradise. Pack a lot of books; I made more progress in Proust in those six nights than I had in the six weeks prior. The roads are steep and the hiking trails are steeper. But this is part of the ethos: Guana is minimally developed and they intentionally retain somewhat of a rustic feel. Which also involves a commitment to conservation. Guana is full of animals. You will find lizards and insects in your room, and you will see (harmless) snakes on the trails. It's why you go to a natural reserve: to see what the world might be like if humans hadn't ruined everything.
If you can handle those things, you are almost guaranteed to have a great time. The vibe is very relaxed, and the staff is overwhelmingly (and sincerely) friendly. There wasn't a single request that they weren't happy to accommodate. If you're going on a hike, take a cell phone from the office and, when you're finished enjoying your destination, call to be picked up by golf cart or boat. The mango was the best we'd ever had in our lives, so they were happy to send someone to the orchard to pick up a few more just for us, and then slice them up at the beach bar.
On that note, the food was phenomenal. The chef is a fairly new addition, and what a find. At each lunch he would come and make sure that what he was planning for dinner suited our tastes, and it always did. Seeing the menu each night was a visceral thrill: a creative soup, a delightful antipasto, an immaculately prepared main, and a sublime dessert. And each night they place you at a different table, each with a different view. My favorite was seeing the lights twinkle from Tortola.
After a few days we settled into a groove and spent most of our days on White Bay Beach, snorkeling if we felt like it, or just lounging under a tree. The complete relaxation and almost-total seclusion was exactly what we needed. We'll definitely be back at the earliest opportunity.
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- Also Known As:
- Guana Island Hotel Guana Island
- Guana Island Hotel Tortola
- Guana Island Tortola
- Guana Island British Virgin Islands