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Bring the heat: The Caribbean islands sprinkled off the coast of Nicaragua offer a tantalizing cultural brewone part Afro-Caribbean, with two jiggers of Latin America. Providencia, under Colombian jurisdiction, is a back-to-basics paradise where beach shacks hum with both reggae and salsa, beers are cheaper than bottled water, and there's nothing to do but back-float in calm, sun-dappled waters.
Select sand: Only three miles long and two miles wide, Providencia won't take long to explore, but once you hit the khaki crescent of Playa Manzanillo, with palm trees hanging over the water, it's unlikely you'll want to go any further.
Hookup potential: Love the one you're with. The neighboring island of San Andrés sees tourists from Colombia, but Providencia is gloriously quiet.
Privacy rating: 4. There are no T-shirt shops on the beach, but there will be a number of locals enjoying the surf as much as you are. And they like to visit.
Pillow talk: Long sunny days, the slow pace, and cheap lobster dinners are more than a match for more typical luxury. The 35-room Sol Caribe Providencia sits on a quiet bay and has its own restaurant, bar, and swimming pool. By the end of the first day, you'll be on a first-name basis with all the ladies manning that restaurant and bar.
Sol Caribe Providencia
Tel: 57 851 48036
Doubles from $135, including breakfast and lunch or dinner daily