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Image: San Andres
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San Andrés is situated 480 miles northwest of mainland Colombia.
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updated 6/10/2011 8:35:46 AM ET 2011-06-10T12:35:46

When it comes to the Caribbean, ever feel like you've been there, done that? For those intrepid travelers willing to venture beyond the glitzy casinos and cruise ports, the region holds a surprising wealth of authentic and diverse island treasures — if you know where to look.

Here, ISLANDS editors have handpicked six less-traveled Caribbean islands you should add to your bucket list.

Click here for images of secret Caribbean islands

Corn Islands, Nicaragua
Fifty miles offshore from Nicaragua, the twin isles of Big Corn and Little Corn island are a top draw for fishermen and solitude-seekers. You won't find major shopping and dining venues here, but artisan shops and street vendors line the quiet roads and offer up plenty of low-key diversions for island travelers who truly want to get away from it all. Transport to the Corn Islands is relatively easy given how remote they seem: Hop a 90-minute regional carrier flight to Big Corn island from Nicaragua's capital city of Managua, and from there, it's just a 30-to-60-minute water taxi ride to Little Corn.

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San Andrés, Colombia
Situated 480 miles northwest of mainland Colombia, San Andrés is part of the country's Caribbean archipelago that also includes Providence and Santa Catalina islands, as well as several smaller islets and cays. The largest of the islands in this chain, San Andrés is also the hub of tourism in the area, accessible by charter flight or by ship — though commercial ferries do not currently operate to the archipelago. Snorkeling and diving are big draws here, with high visibility and an array of reefs and wrecks to explore, so come armed with mask and fins.

Guadeloupe
An overseas region of France, Guadeloupe is a Monarch-shaped island comprised of two land masses — Grande-Terre on the east and Basse-Terre on the west — split by the Riviere Sale. Work up an appetite on the island's western side, home to the Parc Nationale de la Guadeloupe, a 74,000-acre rainforest that's perfect for hikers and nature lovers. Then head to the eastern side at sundown, as Grand-Terre caters to the foodie set with a feast of Creole-influenced dining options.

Margarita Island, Venezuela
Venezuela's Margarita Island won't qualify as a "secret" Caribbean destination for much longer, as tourism on the isle continues to grow year after year. The island's 106-odd miles of shoreline provide 50 sandy coves perfect for beach lovers, and cities such as Porlamar and La Asunción, the capital, offer an array of dining and nightlife venues with a South American flair. Just 25 miles offshore of mainland Venezuela, Margarita Island is easily accessible by air or ferry.

Click here for images of secret Caribbean islands

Montserrat
A short puddle-jumper flight from Antigua or St. Martin, the volcanic island of Montserrat feels a world apart from the bustling Caribbean hubs nearby. You won't find any cruise ports or mega all-inclusive resorts on this volcanic isle — home to fewer than 5,000 permanent residents; Instead, the mighty Soufrière volcano is its top attraction, luring nature-lovers, adventure-seekers, and many of the scientific community's top volcanologists. Plan your stay at one of the island's hillside villas for dramatic views of the active volcano right from your terrace.

Los Roques, Venezuela
Rougly 80 miles north of Caracas, Venezuela, the Los Roques archipelago is comprised of roughly 350 islets and cays that have been protected under the Los Roques National Park since 1972. Fishing in the biodiverse marine park is highly regulated, but the region still draws a steady stream of Caribbean snorkelers and divers each year with its well preserved coral reef system. The atoll is also a favorite among sailors and water sports enthusiasts, who find shelter at night on Los Roques' only town, remote Gran Roque.

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