This collection of 12 islets sits in the ‘NiCaribbean’, about 30 km away from the mainland. While some are little more than white sand banks fringed by coral reefs, others are home to traditional fishing communities. Accessible only by boat and feeling a world away from everyday life, Pearl Cays is the perfect setting for a private island retreat. 

A string of dazzling islands in a little-visited corner of the Caribbean, off the coast of Nicaragua

Things to do


Find a gem-sized island and play contemporary castaway for the day. In Pearl Cays, you might find the only footsteps on the sand are your own. The views get even more magical as evening starts to fall, with the sky glowing a soft pink as the sun sets to the west.


Many of the Pearl Cays are sheltered by coral reefs, which create wide, shallow lagoons ideal for snorkelling and paddle boarding. Beyond the reef, you’re out on the Caribbean Sea. Try your hand at spear fishing, or sail out to catch local fish such as snapper and stonefish. Then cook up your catch on a beach barbecue on your very own stretch of sand.


The Pearl Cays are a nesting site for the endangered Hawksbill turtle. Local conservation initiatives have raised awareness of the need to protect the turtles’ fragile eggs, which used to be common targets for poachers. The nesting season is at its peak in August and September, so be especially careful not to disturb any turtles you see coming up onto the sand.

The two-hour boat trip to Pearl Cays takes in heart-snaring views of mangroves and lagoons – and dolphins, if you’re lucky.

Top tip from SLH

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