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Chatham Bay Caribbean Resort villa view

The first sound that greets me as I’m roused from a deep slumber is a lullaby of ocean waves. The gentle crash of water on sand lulled me to sleep last night as well, and here it is again, gently stirring me awake alongside the first soft gray light of early morning. To awake in a Caribbean resort in such a natural way fills me with energy.

It doesn’t take long for me to step outside of the wooden bungalow at Chatham Bay Resort and walk to the ocean, just a few hundred steps away from my wrap-around-porch where I stand with my bare feet in the sand. There is not another person in sight. The green hills that curl around the cove block the spectacle of rising sun, but sunrise is present nonetheless. As I watch pink hues fill the sky and turn to orange before setting into a solid blue I’m absorbed by just one question – Is this what alignment feels like?  

Despite what the majority of #travelinspo will have you believe about the Caribbean, between the throngs of cruise ships, mega all-inclusive properties and their prospective vacationers, it can be surprisingly difficult to find such serenity in one of the world’s most picturesque regions, let alone a private Caribbean resort that provides you with tranquility.

Chatham Bay Caribbean Resort poolside


Tenuta Chatham Bay Caribbean Resort

Tenuta Chatham Bay Resort provides a rare opportunity to re-wild yourself away from the crowds, with a touch of luxury. To find this secluded spot on a map requires a lot of zooming in. First you need to locate St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a country comprised of 32 islands in the Lesser Antilles. From there locate Union Island, a small pearl running 3-miles wide and 1-mile long with just over 2,500 residents. 

Chatham Bay Caribbean Resort map 

The bay is located on the Western side of the Island, further secluded by the fact that there’s no paved road that leads from the main town of Clifton to the resort. It’s accessible only by a 15-minute water taxi or 30-minute golf cart ride down an uneven dirt road that fills up with turtles at dusk. 

Tenuta Chatham Bay Resort is a place born out of love for the seclusion of the cove and the privacy it provides. The Caribbean resort’s owner fell in love with the stretch of white sand when it was empty apart from a few local Rastafarians operating shacks serving food (they’re still there). He first opened a restaurant to serve sailors and yacht-goers passing through and then opened the four villas for overnight stays in 2016. The company that owns the resort is Canadian and Italian, which feels right. The property is a blend of connection to the great outdoors and attention to artistic details. 

Chatham Bay Caribbean Resort view

In this remote setting, every stereotype of paradise abounds. Since the property only has four villas, the palm-tree-lined beach remains largely private. A heated infinity pool peaks out at the collection of yachts that bob up and down in the calm water. Fresh fish and lobster are served up nightly at the on-site restaurant, caught from the house reef that sits a few swim lengths off the beach, making for the perfect afternoon snorkel.

Chatham Bay Caribbean Resort Villa 

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Though it feels off the beaten path, Union Island is serviced by a small airport that receives daily flights from nearby islands, including Barbados. It’s also the gateway to one of the most sought-after sailing destinations in the Caribbean; the Tobago Cays Marine Park

The archipelago of five uninhabited islands is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I peeled myself away from the resort’s private beach for a day trip to discover what the islands are all about. 

A water taxi picks me up from the wooden dock and we race out to visit four of the islands before sunset. The boat zips up and down and I hold onto the rail as ocean spray hits my face, taking in the sight of the luscious cliffs of Union Island beside me, and the dots of the Grenadine Islands before me.

We make our first stop at Petite Bateau where we snorkel in between catamarans and yachts. Though there’s plenty of sea grass and smaller fish, I admit that I’ve been spoiled by Chatham Bay. The underwater scenery here truly does not compare to the resort’s wild and diverse house reef. 

Our next stop is Petite Rameau. Locals set up a barbeque here daily and we are greeted with heaping plates of fresh seafood, curried vegetables and chicken. After filling up on such an array of local delights I take a short hike to the island’s tallest point for a panoramic view and hit the beach for another short snorkeling session. 

The best snorkeling of the day is off of Baradal. Here we swim out to a habitat of green sea turtles. During my swim, three giant turtles pass me and I watch them twist and turn with the grace of adept dancers. 

The final island of the day, Petit Tabac comes into view and I immediately feel like I’m an extra in Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. The island is where Captain Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth are marooned towards the end of the film, and though the film came out 20 years ago, the island’s signature palm trees and white sand remain un-aged and highly recognizable.

With an hour to go before sunset the boat trip concludes and I find myself back at Chatham Bay Caribbean resort. I dart up to my villa to drop my belongings and then back down to the beach. I’m racing daylight. I have one last date with the house reef and am eager for another glimpse of the lobsters that sit concealed beneath the reef. It’s sublime.