White sands, crystal blue waters, incredible wildlife, and a vibrant culture are just a few of the things you’ll experience in the Caribbean. This unique part of the world is a collection of unique islands, each with something fascinating to offer. The hardest part of planning a Caribbean vacation is choosing which island to visit first.
Here are the top places to visit in the Caribbean Islands when planning your dream getaway.
Barbados is an incredible island with sprawling gardens, old plantations, hidden caverns, and stunning beaches. Adventurous spirits won’t want to miss The Animal Flower Cave, which is home to coral floors and live sea anemones. The cavern overlooks the northern coast, where humpback whales are said to frolic in the waves.
When deciding where to stay, choose a place near one of the incredible beaches that Barbados is famous for. Spend your afternoon snorkeling with sea turtles or aboard a catamaran sipping some locally made rum.
Barbados can boast of being one of the most emblematic and popular paradisiacal places in the world. Bathsheba is pretty unforgettable, as are places like Maxwell and Crane beaches. Crane Beach is one of the most famous and, in fact, is included in the list of the 10 best coastal areas in the world. Of course, before diving into this bay should prepare to withstand the strong waves that whip. Moreover, it is advisable not to go with children.
For its part, Brownes Beach is a large bay that starts from the nation’s capital, Bridgestown. It is ideal to relax, take a dip and have a drink in one of the bars. Harrison’s cave has become one of the greatest attractions of the Caribbean country. Inside, the Great Hall stands out, a huge room full of gigantic stalactites and stalagmites.
Another of its most emblematic rooms has been called The Village because of its extraordinary resemblance to a town that could be inhabited by fairies. If that is true, these same nymphs could bathe in the sparkling waters of the stream that irrigates this geological prodigy.
Rum had its origin in this small island. The locals learned to obtain it from the fermentation of sugarcane. There you can still visit the oldest traditional alembic on the planet. The distillery Mount Gay Distillery opened its doors in 1703, when this tasty elixir still lacked a name and was often referred to under the pseudonym of devil-killer.
2. Turks and Caicos
Turks and Caicos is a beautiful little archipelago that’s teeming with life. Kayak along the Chalk Sound lagoon and visit the Blue Hole for some diving. This natural phenomenon is 220 feet deep and is home to (harmless) lemon sharks, sea turtles, and scores of fish. As you paddle along, you’ll be able to see an underwater plane wreck. Elsewhere along the shoreline, you can see the wreck of the La Famille Express.
When you’re tired of adventuring, head to one of the world-famous beaches. Grace Bay Beach is conveniently located near many of the other attractions in the area, while Parrot Bay is more secluded and romantic.
3. Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands offer the perfect balance of luxury and adventure. Take a walk along Starfish Point, named for the hundreds of starfish that call it home. Spend an afternoon at the Cayman Turtle Center, where you can learn about the local environment and interact with the turtles.
While most people envision wealth and luxury on the Cayman Islands, there are a few mysterious places worth exploring as well. The Cayman Crystal Caves open up into a whole underground world, while Davinoff’s Concrete Sculpture Garden is like something out of a fantasy novel.
Don’t forget to stop by Hell— a patch of scorched earth that’s become a strange tourist phenomenon. You can snap photos and send a postcard from “Satan” from the gift shop.
4. US Virgin Islands
Pristine beaches, crystal clear waters and warm weather all year round are just some of the reasons why the United States Virgin Islands, a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea, remain a popular holiday destination. Start your trip with a flight to Cyril E. King International Airport in Saint Thomas. Take a walk through the city of Charlotte Amalie, the capital of the Virgin Islands of the United States.
Take a guided walk on Blackbeard’s Castle, a National Historic Landmark. Originally known as Skytsborg Tower, it served the Danish soldiers for a view wide of the sea and watch the arrival of the boats. But no trip to St. Thomas is complete without a visit to Magens Bay. As one of the best beach destinations in the world, it is characterized by its soft sand and crystal clear water, and is a favorite place to practice water sports such as snorkeling and paddle surfing.
Take the ferry from the Charlotte Amalie pier to St. John, the smallest of the islands. Trunk Bay is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world by Travel Channel and Condé Nast Traveler. Explore the waters with a submarine walk. Go to the Annaberg Sugar Plantation. In a visit to St. John, you can not miss a tour of the Virgin Islands National Park.
From Annaberg, go 20 minutes west on the winding North Shore Drive to enter the park through Cruz Bay, the largest city in St. John. You can choose between recommended walks in the Virgin Islands National Park Visitor Center. Tour the Cinnamon Bay Nature Trail to see the ruins of the island’s historic sugar plantations.
The Bordeaux Mountain Trail offers a steep route to the summit of Bordeaux Mountain, the highest point on the island. The Reef Bay Trail is the most popular hike, with dense forests, historic carved petroglyphs and a waterfall fed by a spring. Take a ferry back to St. Thomas and then a quick flight from Cyril E. King Airport to Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on the island of St. Croix.
From the airport, drive west on Highway 66 to Fort Frederik. Drive north on Centerline Road to Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve. On an island as green as St. Croix, it is not surprising that the kitchen movement abounds from the farm to the table. The best place to experience it is Ridge to Reef Slow Down Dinner. It is a six-course dinner that educates guests about the importance of organic, locally grown food.
Arrive at Christiansted, one of the largest cities on the island of St. Croix, on Highway 75.
St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands is often referred to as the gateway to the Virgin Islands. It’s an often overlooked destination in the Caribbean that both first-timers and annual visitors love. Spend your days snorkeling and kayaking in the beautiful lagoons, and your evenings on a sunset cocktail cruise.
As St. Thomas is a great starting point for exploring the islands, you’ll want to give yourself time to move around. Head to Blackbeard’s Beach and walk where the infamous pirate once roamed. Visit the Phantasea Tropical Botanical Garden and immerse yourself in the beautiful natural surroundings of the area.
Nevis is the smaller island in the famous St. Kitts and Nevis duo. While most travelers gravitate toward St. Kitts, Nevis is a bit more relaxed and serene. You can take sailing tours and go for hikes, explore the historical architecture, and immerse yourself in the local culture.
The Nevis Peak hiking trail will give you a panoramic view of the surrounding islands while the quaint hot springs are a great place to soak your tired feet after a day of adventuring.
The Commonwealth of The Bahamas is an independent state formed by about 700 islands located in the Atlantic Ocean, north of Cuba, northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands and east of the Florida peninsula. The country enjoys a climate between tropical and subtropical, and like all the Caribbean, suffers the scourge of hurricanes from late summer until the end of autumn.
Its capital, Nassau, has a large shopping center where you can breathe its colonial heritage mixed with the island’s own folklore. In the peripheral islands, handicrafts include basketry made of palm leaves that end up being the most popular tourist elements.
This destination combines the most precious ingredients for a relaxing holiday. While vacationing in the Bahamas you can enjoy the tranquility of the beaches and the deserted keys, an omnipresent sun, an underwater world to discover, and the fun of aquatic and terrestrial sports. You can also savor a good gastronomy based on seafood with a glass of rum and the kindness of its inhabitants.
Cuba is magic and it is passion. Walking through the streets of Havana causes in the stomach those butterflies of your own when you are newly in love. When you walk through Old Havana, through Vedado or the Malecón, you cannot do anything but enjoy the surroundings and a wonderful town as you travel Cuba.
Some will say that it is to go back to the past, for its colonial buildings and its vintage cars, but in reality it is to move to a world of tenacity and character. A character that is printed on each of the things we can see here. There is passion in cigars, in rum, mojitos, daiquiris and food of Cuba.
There is talent in salsa and jazz, and there is a bit of paradise in each of the Keys and, of course, in Varadero. Among things to do in Cuba, laze around white sands, transparent water and a whole hotel floor designed for the enjoyment of tourists. In Cuba there is also history, such as the monument to Che in Santa Clara, the cities of Camagüey, Pinar del Río and Santiago de Cuba.
All this and much more in a single island while you visit to Cuba and travel to Havana. Trinidad is the best preserved colonial city in Cuba. In addition, it has the famous Ancon beach of just 15 minutes away considered one of the best beaches in Cuba. Near Trinidad there is a huge natural reserve called Topes de Collantes.
You will be able to hike along its paths among incredible waterfalls. From Trinidad you can hire excursions in Cubatur or even with the locals of Trinidad to go to the park on horseback or even in 4 × 4 vehicles to see the best corners of the park and the best waterfalls.
One hour away from Trinidad you can find hundreds of waterfalls to explore. The Caburni waterfall of 75 meters of fall is the most famous and the typical to do in an excursion from Trinidad. But the most impressive is the El Nicho waterfall but its access is very complicated and tortuous, we recommend you use a 4×4 vehicle to reach the waterfall.
And the most photogenic and the one you usually see in photographs when you look for the waterfalls of Trinidad is the Vegas Grande Waterfall since it is easy to capture the entire fall of the waterfall.
With waterfalls, jungle, sulfurous springs, secret pools, rivers, reefs and coast, this untamed natural island promises unusual adventures. This volcanic island covered in virgin rainforest is a green backdrop for intense experiences, such as walking to a bubbling lake, relaxing in sulphurous hot springs, showering under a waterfall, diving or swimming in narrow gorges.
With its rugged coastline, dense jungle and hidden caves, Dominica was traditionally a haunt for pirates, so it is not surprising that it was chosen as the location for the Pirates of the Caribbean saga; the second and third films were filmed in Titou Gorge, Soufriere, the Indian River and Batibou Beach.
In many ways, Dominica is the anti-Caribbean island, having escaped mass tourism because it has very few sandy beaches, not a single ostentatious resort and no international direct flight. The Dominiqueses are so kind that they usually stop visitors to wish them a happy stay.
On the other side of the Trafalgar valley, linked by a road on the Blanc river, Wotten Waven is famous for its natural thermal springs. Dominica’s trek par excellence, and one of the hardest, is the 6-hour round trip to the second largest boiling lake in the world (the first is in New Zealand). At the beginning of the path to Lake Boiling, an orifice gives access to the narrow Titou Gorge, which flows into a torrential waterfall.
Champagne reef is one of Dominica’s most unique underwater landscapes with volcanic bubbles cross the seabed and emerge as drops of liquid crystal. The compact, noisy, chaotic but vibrant capital of Dominica is located between the coast and the Roseau River. Reggae music floods the alleyways that bustle with daytime animation.
9. Dominican Republic
Located north of the Dominican Republic, the Puerto Plata region is one of the most fascinating destinations in the Dominican Republic. Its numerous tourist and leisure centers (Ocean World, Cayo Arena, Ensenada Beach, Playa Dorada, Encuentro Beach) make this privileged corner of the Caribbean country, one of the most popular among tourists who choose the island to enjoy a well-deserved vacation.
The region of Cabarete and its paradisiacal coasts are the best attraction for lovers of kite boarding, wind surfing and water sports. Its seabed can not only be enjoyed by experienced divers and divers. Cabarete is also famous for its sand castle competition and its jazz festival, which is usually held at the beginning of November.
Sosúa beach is one of the most paradisiacal of the Dominican Republic and is among the main tourist spots of the Caribbean. It is surrounded by lush vegetation and protected by a large barrier reef.
The smallest island in the world that is divided between two independent nations (and not just tiny sections of or remote administrative districts of larger nations) is Hispaniola, which is split between the nations of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It is much larger than the above islands, at 76,192 km2.
if you are going to travel to Jamaica you may be interested in knowing these tips. Jamaica is a small territory that is located in the Caribbean Sea and very close to the Island of Cuba and Haiti. The land of the legendary Bob Marley, the reggae music or the sportsman Usain Bolt are some of the things that are known about this small Caribbean country.
Here, you will be lucky to meet some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and enjoy a tropical climate that you will surely love. The best beaches of the Caribbean Sea are waiting for you in Jamaica. After a short tour of the country you will need some time to relax, and the best place to do it is at one of the beaches in the region, such as Bloody Beach, the most famous, Hellshire Beach or Cornwall Beach.
In addition, in all of them you can carry out numerous activities, such as horseback riding in the water or swimming among dolphins. Enjoy a dream vacation surrounded by the most incredible coasts you’ve seen. White and fine sands and crystal clear waters are the main characteristics of the beaches of Jamaica. Jamaica is also art.
With the influence of European, American and African culture, the island located in the Caribbean Sea enjoys a multiculturalism unique in the world and yet to be discovered. In the city of Montego Bay, known to locals as Mobay is the Doctor’s Cave beach. The name, little reassuring all is said, is that of Dead End Beach.
About 30 minutes by road from Montego Bay, you will find one of the most exciting places to visit: the Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon. It is a lagoon whose microorganisms light up blue, when there is movement in the water. Negril is the modern Jamaican destination, with its varied and varied accommodations and reggae nightclubs. Spend the night to the music that Bob Marley made internationally famous.
A mandatory stop is the Bob Marley Mausoleum which is located in the small town of Nine Mile very close to the city of Ocho Rios. Drop by the waterfall of Puerto de Antonio or the magnificent Blanco River. You cannot miss the opportunity to walk the beautiful trails of the Blue Mountains, very close to the capital, through which you will discover a completely unique natural environment.
Do you love tasting exotic flavors? The restaurants in Jamaica is characterized by a unique cuisine in the world and that will surely surprise you. Cities such as Kingston, the capital, Ocho Rios or Montego Bay are some of the best places to stop to rest and relax with a drink. In any of the Jamaican restaurants you will have the pleasure of tasting traditional Jamaican dishes such as Patty or Ackee and Salfish. Here are some stranger delicacies:
Canabutter – As the name suggests, this is a baked product made from infusing marijuana (cannabis sativa) and butter.
Mannish water – Despite what the name might suggest, it’s not actually water. Instead it is a soup that is cooked with scotch bonnet pepper and various boiled parts of the goat, which namely includes the head, the liver, testicles, tripe and the intestines. It gets its name from the fact that goat testicles are one of the most common ingredients used to make it.
Chicken foot soup – This soup is made with pumpkins, carrots, yellow yam and chayote. The recipe also uses okra (ladies fingers) and scotch bonnet pepper.
Peanut Porridge – This porridge is exactly what the tin says. It’s mainly made through blending flour, boiled water, cornmeal, boiled peanut, oatmeal in a container and then adding vanilla extract, nutmeg, condensed milk and evaporated milk.
Grater cake – This is a traditional Jamaican sweet treat that is made using the white parts of coconuts, sugar and peppermint essence.
Fish tea – This is a spicy and thick Jamaican tea that is used as a common appetizer with fish as the principal ingredient. Although it’s called fish tea, it commonly also includes ground yam, carrots, pumpkin and potatoes and green bananas. It’s also flavoured with milk.
Blue Drawers – This is a starchy and boiled pudding mainly made up of cornmeal, green banana, coconut, brown sugar and and spices which is tied up in a banana leaf. We also call it tie-leaf.
Stew Peas – Commonly eaten at lunch or dinner time, this dish is made with coconut milk, hot pepper, pig’s tail, stew peas and red kidney beans.
Conch – In Jamaica, people love to extract the meat of conch and then fry, jerk, stew or curry it and use them in soup and fritters. It’s also quite popular in the wider Caribbean particularly in Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Grenada and Haiti.
Gizzada – The is a coconut tart made from a mixture of grated coconut and sugar that is placed within a pastry shell.
11. St. Lucia
Saint Lucia is a beautiful volcanic island that has lush rainforests, undulating agricultural fields and completely unspoilt beaches. St. Lucia is also one of the windiest places in the world, since the trade winds blow from the sea to the southern coast. St. Lucia has spectacular islands, a beautiful mountainous landscape, Qualibou volcano and its sulfur gushes, orchids and exotic plants, and roads bordered by flowers on both sides.
12. Trinidad and Tobago
You have to prepare for the calypso, the cricket and the carnival when you travel to these Caribbean islands better known for bird watching than for the beaches. Trinidad and Tobago are a beautiful contradiction. In Trinidad, virgin mangroves and rainforest-covered hillsides coexist with refineries and industrial estates.
Tobago has everything you would expect from a Caribbean island, like palm trees and white sand. Combined, the two islands that make up this republic offer unparalleled conditions for bird watching, diving, hiking in rain forests, swimming in waterfalls and cycling; and an electrifying nightlife, with a fabulous carnival that is the best and most colorful of the annual celebrations of the region.
The capital, Port of Spain, is an excellent place to socialize with Trinidadians, catch up with soca music and watch a cricket match, and only a short trip separates it from the beaches of Maracas Bay. The fishing village of Speyside, in Tobago, overlooks Tyrrel’s Bay and attracts divers and birdwatchers, as well as being the starting point for excursions to uninhabited islands.
The village of Blanchisseuse, on the north coast of Trinidad, is a magnificent base for hiking, especially to Paria Bay.
13. Puerto Rico
The most natural way to get to Puerto Rico is by flight, and the good thing is that San Juan has many connections and it is likely that you can get cheaper air tickets from cities like Miami or New York. As for the airlines, the one with the highest number of destinations from Puerto Rico is American Airlines. On the other hand, it is also possible to arrive by sea to Puerto Rico, usually if you are taking a Caribbean cruise.
It is possible to travel from Santo Domingo to Puerto Rico by ferry, for relatively cheap prices compared to the airplane. It is possible to find cheap hostels in San Juan from 20 USD if you search well. Immerse yourself in the monumental legacy of the Old Town of Old San Juan and visit the Bacardí Rum distillery.
No trip to Puerto Rico is complete without enjoying its wonderful beaches, from Condado and El Escambrón to Luquillo and Montserrat.
After a catamaran trip you can access Culbera Island, a beautiful island east of Puerto Rico. Among things to do in Puerto Rico, you can snorkel and enjoy the colors of the Caribbean Sea. Here you can find Flamenco Beach, the best beach in the world and Vieques where a phenomenon of bioluminescence occurs that makes its waters shine with fluorescent colors during the night, due to the presence of unique microorganisms that cause this effect.
Ornajestad is located on the picturesque southern coast of the island of Aruba, and is the capital. It is a perfect place to walk, shop and enjoy its restaurants. With tall multi-colored houses, carved wooden doors, typical Dutch tiles with outdoor patios, and the fusion of Dutch and indigenous cultures, it has an unparalleled charm.
Enjoy its beautiful beaches, visit the Wilhelmina Park, the Arikok National Park, the Bird Sanctuary of Bubali or the Grotto of Lourdes. You cannot miss the excursion in Atlantis Submarine, from where you can see corals and multicolored fish at a depth of up to 50 meters. Transportation in Aruba include taxis, public buses and a new tram system that takes you free to the city center.
Discover the island by car, on an ATV tour or on a jeep safari to visit the emblematic places of Aruba as you pass the colorful cunucu horses. Enjoy the coast or the countryside on horseback. The Archaeological Museum in the heart of Oranjestad located inside a beautifully restored village house. This museum preserves the Amerindian heritage.
It is also worth visiting the Aloe Factory and Museum, located in Hato. It tells the story of how Aruba Aloe Balm became the world leader. There is a similar but smaller museum, located in the center of San Nicolas, the second largest city in Aruba. Aruba’s traditional music is a mix of waltz, dance, mazurka and tomb, which is played during festivals and holidays including Día de Betico, Flag Day and the National Anthem, Dera Gai and the weekly Bon festival Bini.
The local community and visitors to the island mark their calendars on the hottest days of the annual music festival, the Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival, the Aruba Soul Beach Music Festival, and the Aruba Piano Festival. Both the hotel area and the city center offer trendy places and varied clubbing nightclubs where you can find from karaoke nights and martini bars to sophisticated bistros and pubs.
Typical Aruban dishes include bread bati (a cornmeal bread), carni stoba (stew meat), and keshi yena (stuffed cheese).
15. Saint Martin
The smallest inhabited island divided between two nations is Saint Martin/Sint Maarten, which is divided between the Saint Martin overseas collectivity of France and Sint Maartin, a constituent country of the kingdom of the Netherlands. Its area is 87 km2.
16. British Virgin Islands
Tortola is the main island of the British Virgin Islands and its surroundings possess the incomparable natural beauty of the Caribbean islands, both on land, and under the transparent waters. Tortola is a paradise for lovers of water activities. The beautiful island is also a famous diving center.
Tortola has thousands of attractions and incredible scenarios in its beautiful beaches and lush landscapes. The activities and tours in Tortola, the main one of the British Virgin Islands, are varied and go beyond sports and culture. The beautiful and comfortable hotels give you the best view of the clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean islands.
During your trip to Tortola you will discover the many and varied activities that this small island has to delight its visitors, a mixture of natural beauty and excellent services. Enjoy water tours, fishing, snorkeling and diving to explore the coral reefs, rock formations in deep waters and legendary sunken ships. In Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands, activities and tours on land include horseback riding and through the tops of mountains and mountains. Adventure is a common word in Tortola!
In the tourist destination of Tortola, the local people will tell you that the blues are always good activities! When you travel to Tortola, make incredible snorkeling and diving tours in the magnificent waters of the beach, lagoons and inlets. You will also have the opportunity to surf and windsurf, observe the most beautiful landscapes of the Caribbean islands in a parasailing or ride aboard a fast and powerful speedboat.
During your trip to Tortola you can enjoy one of the most incredible activities you can do in the British Virgin Islands. Swimming with the dolphins has become one of the favorite attractions for locals and visitors and can take place in a fantastic place, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Caribbean islands.
Family vacations in Tortola are fun and educational. This sunny tourist destination is ideal for water sports, such as snorkeling for children and diving for adults. This Tortola travel guide suggests you do some of the tours and educational activities in the family in full contact with nature: jungle tours, bird watching, horseback riding, biking and a visit to the Museum Folkloric of the island.
Visit Mount Health National Park, symbol of the era of sugarcane plantations in the British Virgin Islands, where you will find intact vestiges of a windmill whose walls are made of stone. Take a tour of the Sage Mountain National Park, where you can see beautiful jungle landscapes from the highest elevations.
The Tortola travel guide recommends you to carry out your event here: travel to Tortola and discover the most romantic and wonderful landscapes to make the wedding of your dreams come true and an incredible honeymoon, with tours in Tortola for two, surrounded by the majestic Caribbean Sea, on the famous beaches of the British Virgin Islands.
In Tortola there are many other activities and attractions to enjoy. This small Caribbean island has several natural parks and national parks, right here and on nearby islands, the trip is short and fun. You should also visit the island’s famous art galleries and dine at its delicious restaurants.
Enjoy and tan on the soft sand beaches, always using biodegradable sun lotions, so you take care of your skin and the environment at the same time.
Where to Stay in the Caribbean
No matter where you go in the Caribbean, there’s always an adventure to be had. You can’t go wrong with any of the gorgeous beaches or beautiful settlements. Make your decision based on the activities you want to enjoy during your vacation.