The idea of a private island is one of the most seductive in travel, especially when the microdot is located in some obscure and far-flung archipelago, thereby confirming that the world is still much bigger and more exotic than is sometimes assumed. Here at Andrew Harper, traveling halfway around the world to review a remote atoll taxes our ingenuity and resources, but we keep a list of likely candidates and over time they find a way onto our itineraries. Here are five that we are most anxious to visit.
Islas Secas, Panama
The Islas Secas, an archipelago made up of 14 islands, are located in the Gulf of Chiriquí 20 miles off the Pacific coast of Panama and are home to an extraordinarily rich diversity of terrestrial and marine life. Louis Bacon, an American hedge fund manager and environmental philanthropist, purchased the islands and created an eponymous jungle ecolodge, which opened at the end of 2019. This remote haven of nine lavish casitas is set on the Isla Cavada, the only one of the 14 islands that has been settled. (Bacon has ensured that 75 percent of the archipelago will be left undeveloped.) The stylish guest lodgings, all immersed in vibrant tropical vegetation, afford magical sea views, and most are augmented by plunge pools and outdoor soaking tubs. The restaurant is housed in a cathedral-like bamboo structure and serves “ocean-to-fork” cuisine. Activities range from marlin and tuna fishing, on the legendary Hannibal Bank, to snorkeling with whale sharks, and scuba diving in the pristine waters of the nearby Coiba National Park.
Exclusive buyout for a maximum of 24 guests per night: $30,000. Nightly rate: Casita Mirador for two, $2,000.