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The general manager of Coral Sands Hotel on Harbour Island, Bahamas, was having “island problems” — while she was unloading a boatload of tropical fruits, her smartphone fell out of her pocket and into the ocean, where it sank immediately. Puttering down the road in her customized luxury golf cart, she saw me walking and pulled over to share her day before carting off again at a top speed of, at most, 15 mph.
Though the most quintessential “island style” bit of the situation might be a toss-up, we’ll go with living in a place where golf carts are the preferred form of transportation for residents and visitors alike. There are plenty of destinations by the sea, but few are tiny and comfortable enough for golf carts to make more sense than cars. Such destinations that also offer luxury lodging are fewer still.
Following are three Caribbean isles with both modern accommodations and golf carts aplenty, making for a laid-back island ambience.
Harbour Island, BahamasHarbour Island, Bahamas, is famous for its couple thousand registered carts on the island. Locals trick out their vehicles for practical reasons as well as for self-expression. For example, a shopkeeper’s ride might boast a colorful paint job, while a hotel’s general manager may drive the equivalent of a Jaguar convertible. Guests at hotels around the island can rent a sturdy standard model starting at around $40 per day.
BOOK: Coral Sands Hotel (www.coralsands.com), Pink Sands Resort (www.pinksandsresort.com)
Ambergris Caye, BelizeWhile Ambergris Caye in Belize isn’t always lumped in with the Caribbean, it is technically a part of the region, and it’s a favorite of celebrities and artists for a reason. Belize’s unique blend of Maya heritage, recent British ties, Latin American friendliness and Caribbean culture make it a true melange, and Ambergris Caye wraps all of this in a charming, rustic island package. Clients will want to explore, and they can use the preferred means of transport: a nicely outfitted golf cart.
Many rentals are available by the hour, half-day, day or week in the town of San Pedro. Appropriate for the location, most popular custom models have either all-terrain tires (for exploring the rough) or eco-fuel systems (for green tourism close to town).
BOOK: Coco Beach Resort (www.cocobeachbelize.com), Las Terrazas Resort & Residences (www.lasterrazasresort.com)
Water Island, U.S. Virgin IslandsA quick ferry trip from bustling St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, is Water Island, where tons of day-trippers venture to see sea turtles and chill on Honeymoon Beach. The usual practice is to rent a golf cart from Kelly’s Karts or Rachel’s Repair and Golf Cart Rental. The vehicles make it convenient to drive the trails, explore the many beaches and visit a local restaurant for fish tacos and cold drinks. Warn clients to keep track of time to avoid missing the last ferry back to Crown Bay Marina.
BOOK: Marriott’s Frenchman’s Cove (www.marriott.com)