The Base Camp
Why Go: The Bahamas' Tiamo Resorts is so far off the Caribbean's ordinary cruise-ship, hotel-pool, and duty-free radar that few Bahamians had even heard of it until 2003, when the South Andros-based property won its third international travel award. The 11-room luxury lodge, with solar-generated power, is reachable only by boat and sits strategically within the South Bight, a gin-clear waterway that features the largest blue-hole fracture system in the world (nine undersea caves less than five minutes from Tiamo's beach hammocks). Jacques Cousteau came to explore the holes in 1970; now you can make like a Calypso crew member by donning snorkeling gear and exploring them for yourself. Then dry off and set out for the island's deserted 140-mile (225-kilometer) west side, one of the Caribbean's few remaining wilderness (yes, wilderness) areas, which is home to wild boars, 200 species of birds, and the four-foot-long (one-meter-long) endemic Andros iguana. Tiamo will outfit you with a guide, a kayak, and supplies. If you're not back in two days, they'll send out a search party. Seriously.
Need to Know: Expect a luxurious private cabin, sumptuous dinners of mango- infused hogfish prepared by a gourmet chef, and the kind of starry sky you'd behold on a clear night adrift at sea. But don't let the posh amenities deceive you: Tiamo is emphatically not just a landing pad for beach partiers. There are no discos, pool bars, or shuffleboard. And when the sea breeze stops, the sand flies start nibbling. Be sure to bring along some strong bug juice.
Outfitter: Tiamo Resorts www.tiamoresorts.com
Cost: $1,575 per person
Photograph courtesy of Tiamo Resorts
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