To continue our coverage from my recent trip to the Caribbean, I want to talk to you about Guana. I sadly haven’t been to every possible Caribbean island, but during my trip out there for my couple’s Caribbean destination wedding on St. Croix, I took a side trip to Guana. And I have to say, I think I’m in love. And you’ll fall in love with Guana too and want to have a Guana destination wedding. Let me tell you about it.
Guana is a small privately owned island situated between the Caribbean sea and the Atlantic ocean. Guana island (although not the most attractive name) is aptly named after an iguana shaped rock formation on it’s northwestern coast. In the 18th century, it was occupied by two Quaker families who raised cotton and sugarcane. When the Quakers departed, the land reverted to local ownership, but there are still sugar mills, canons and other ruins around the island.
Guana is a part of the British Virgin Islands, but it’s family owned and one of the few remaining privately owned islands left. It changed hands over the years from family to family but is currently owned by the Jareckis since 1975 who have improved the facilities while keeping it’s historic style, ambience and natural beauty. For those eco-conscious, the family has made Guana a nature preserve and wildlife sanctuary which allows for the protection and restoration of the plants and animals. Not only that, they have their own orchard which grows the fruit and vegetables served daily and their own water filtration system. Pretty cool.
The living room of the main house.
View from one of the patios.
One of the patios setup for dinner by candlelight.
Because Guana is private, the only inhabitants are those of the resort and it’s staff members. The island has accommodations for a total of 35 guests which means you can literally have your own island for your destination wedding, which I think is amazing. While I didn’t get to visit all the cottages, each one has its own special feeling and gorgeous views of the ocean. And while they are clustered in groups, they are all completely private. You truly feel as if you have the place to yourself which means you can be with all of your guests together, but still have individual privacy. There are many spots where you can have your Guana destination wedding from secret gardens to the white sand beach to the patio areas, all open and beautiful.
The living room in my room. White washed, tropical and bit shabby chic.
One of my two ocean views from my private patio.
One of the Jost House Villa’s bedrooms – a great place for the bride and groom or parents to enjoy and host events.
Jost House Villa’s huge outdoor area with pools, lounges and views galore (this picture doesn’t do it justice).
Eden’s garden where wedding ceremonies can be held.
Guana has 7 beaches, and miles of tropical forests, mountains, hills and valleys. As it’s brochures tout, it’s low key luxury. This is not a place for those looking for glitz or glamour or those looking for nightlife (unless you count enjoying the moon and stars). It’s laid back and has fantastic food, service and accommodations. It’s luxury, but it’s comfortable luxury where it feels more like home and less like a fancy hotel. And although the island is low key, there are endless things to do for the active traveller. Everything from kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, pedal boats, paddle boarding (my personal favorite), yoga, tennis, croquet, hiking (another favorite), sailing, fishing and of course massage. But, I promise you that part of the fun is just relaxing and enjoying the area.
Lush greenery surrounding the island.
Paddle boarding is one of many activities you and your guests can partake in.
To get there most people will fly into either San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas on the US Virgin Islands or Antigua. You’ll then take a smaller flight over to Beef Island/Tortola and from there the resort will ferry you to the island. Insider travel tip – if you need to fly a smaller airline to get to Beef Island, go with Cape Air, they are hands down the best. Also, note that the BVI has a airport tax when you arrive and when you leave, so make sure you have some cash on you.
Relaxing in a hammock looking out on the beach and the boats.
One thing I found really touching about Guana that I have to mention is that the guests who go there are annual visitors. Meaning they make a point to come back every year and they’ve made such great friends that everyone tries to come back every year with the same people at the same time. I met some couples who had been there 27 years or 10 years or 6 years running and it’s amazing to me that they all have such a connection not only to the place but also to each other. They didn’t just go on vacation, they made friends and discovered a profound love for the place. After my time there, I have to say that I don’t blame them. I have a connection to the place now too that can’t be denied.
Sunset dinner with a view.
So, why choose a Guana destination wedding? Because it’s such a special place that is peaceful, serene and beautiful. You can be as active or lazy as you want. The food is great (you know I love my food) and the staff really takes care of you. Most of all, it is totally private and being able to have a wedding where the island is completely yours is both unique and totally awesome. Don’t count this place out if you’re thinking about having a Caribbean destination wedding. And of course, if you need a destination wedding planner, you know who to call!