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Best Secret Islands on Earth

Colombia: Islas de Rosario

Cartagena may be the latest Latin American hot spot, but do yourself a favor and venture off the coast to the Islas de Rosario—a chain of 27 mostly uninhabited islands that are home to the country's largest coral reef. With their mangrove-dotted white-sand beaches, they're also known as paradise for in-the-know Colombians. Stay at the tropical-chic San Pedro de Majagua Hotel (57-5/664-6070; hotelmajagua.com; doubles from $290), on Isla Grande. There, you'll find 17 white-on-white rooms with nautical accents (wooden oars, stripped lamps) and panoramic Caribbean views, and a restaurant that serves regional dishes such as fresh-caught snapper, grilled whole and served with coconut rice. Of note: the hotel organizes snorkeling and diving excursions in 45 different locations where you can spot butterfly fish, stone bass, sea turtles, and about 1,300 other tropical species.

T+L Tip: Come nightfall, take a boat to the Enchanted Lagoon, on the other side of the island, to see thousands of luminescent plankton sparkling under the moon. —Stirling Kelso

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