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12 Tickets to Paradise:
Spanish Wells & Eleuthera, Bahamas

What makes the perfect island? Having it all to yourself. These 12 adventure oases are guaranteed to transport you well beyond the masses.
Text by Meg Lukens Noonan   Map by Pietari Posti 

Spanish Wells & Eleuthera, Bahamas
Ride a Bahamian Wind

BASE CAMP: Pineapple Fields

Kiteboard pristine sand flats

The residents of Spanish Wells, a tight-knit lobstering community off the northern tip of Eleuthera, are starting to get used to the kites that whip over their island's aquamarine sand flats. But they still can't quite believe anyone would get wet in winter, when the wind blows constantly and water temps dip into the 70s. Apparently that's not a problem for kiteboarders; in the past few years this tiny cay has become one of the hottest kiting destinations on the planet. "It's shallow a half mile (less than a kilombeter) out, the sand is like marshmallow, and it's butter-flat—even at 20 knots and over," says AJ Watson, an Aussie transplant who runs a kiteboarding school on Nassau and took his first exploratory group to Spanish Wells two years ago. "It's a great place to learn."

Map: Eleuthera, Bahamas

GAME PLAN: Base yourself in a rented house on Spanish Wells if you'll be content with simple, just-off-the-boat seafood and nightlife that consists entirely of BYOB "circling"—a ritual in which residents and visitors drive golf carts around and around the one-square-mile island. Otherwise, make the five-minute water taxi crossing back to Eleuthera, a narrow, 110-mile-long (177-kilometer-long) island that is on the rebound after drifting off the tourism map in the '80s. Book yourself at Pineapple Fields, a two-year-old luxury condo hotel on a three-mile-long kitable beach near Governor's Harbour. Tippy's, the hotel's casual beachfront bistro, is one of the island's best eateries (try the lobster paella) and is the place to be on Friday and Saturday nights, when dance bands play under the stars. Neighbor Lenny Kravitz sometimes stops by.
THE VITALS: Pineapple Fields ($240; Cross Shore runs a five-day trip to Spanish Wells with 20 hours of kiteboarding instruction ($1,800;

HOT TIP: Don't miss Eleuthera's Glass Window Bridge. From the single-lane span, you'll see the exact spot where the indigo Atlantic crashes into the aquamarine Caribbean.

Wild Islands: 12 Tickets to Paradise

Aitutaki, Cook Islands Maldives
Eleuthera, Bahamas Molokai, Hawaii
Barbados Seychelles
Cayos Cochinos, Honduras St. Kitts
Guadeloupe Sumba, Indonesia
Isla Holbox, Mexico Vieques, Puerto Rico

All Adventure Islands

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