Best Islands to Visit in the Caribbean
Known for some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the Caribbean region is spectacular. But with so many islands and destinations to choose, where is best to go?
There is far more to the Caribbean than just beaches, with culture, adventure, tasty food and drink, historic sights, friendly people and also some of the most luxurious places to stay in the world.
The Caribbean has warm weather all year round and every island is different offering something special for all types of travellers, couples and families with children.
If you would like to see as many places as possible, you might want to book a cruise. This might sound expensive but there are lots of affordable trips all year round especially departing from the USA.
Another option is to book a holiday to a specific destination, then either book tours or a yacht charter, both offer the chance to go island hopping and explore multiple places in the region.
Whether you are planning a dream vacation, a honeymoon or looking for the ultimate relaxation break, here is our list of the top places to go in the Caribbean.
Famous for being the birthplace of rum and Rihanna, you will be amazed by beautiful Barbados.
With English, African, and West Indian Roots, Barbados has a distinct identity, interesting history, and rich cuisine. You can go on sightseeing tour to see the rum production process and Rihanna's first home!
There is also a stunning clear ocean and so many white sandy beaches.
2. Saint-Martin / Sint Maarten
On one island, imagine being able to see a French colony in the north (Saint-Martin) and a Dutch colony in the south (Sint Maarten). While there is no physical border between the colonies and goods/people can travel freely, the cultural influence between the two colonies is distinct.
As the island of turquoise waters, you will find great opportunities to snorkel and participate in water sports. You will also find island paradise when shopping for luxury or fashion items duty-free!
Be sure to visit Maho beach which is only meters from the local airport, you are literally within touching distance of planes landing!
Aruba is a a constituent country of the Netherlands and a popular island to visit in the Caribbean. The attraction is clear to see, warm weather year around and miles of beautiful white sandy beaches.
Aruba also might look small on a map but there are so many things to to see and do including exploring coves, natural wonders and discovering the cute capital, Oranjestad.
There are lots of daily direct flights from the US and Canada and so getting to Aruba easy.
4. Dominican Republic
If you are looking for beautiful beaches, amazing resorts and outdoor sports like golf you will love the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Republic is one of the larger islands on our list and there is much more than just beaches. This island has a rainforest, savannah and highlands, including Pico Duarte, the Caribbean’s tallest mountain.
Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic is fascinating place to visit with shops, bars, restaurants and Spanish colonial buildings.
5. Turks and Caicos
If you love beaches, then you will fall in love the the Turks and Caicos which possibly has the beaches beaches in the region.
Turks and Caicos has incredible uncrowded beaches and spectacular oceans with vibrant coral reefs. These islands are home to luxury hotels, spas, and restaurants and it is one of the safest Caribbean destinations.
If you would like to go scuba diving in the Caribbean, then Turks and Caicos is one of the top places to consider. There is a 14-mile barrier reef on Provo’s north shore teeming with marine animals and a huge 2,134m underwater wall off Grand Turk island.
The Bahamas is a stunning country and due to the distance from from the Untied States, getting here is very quick and affordable.
The Bahamas was struck by the devastating Hurricane Dorian in August 2019 which destroyed thousands of houses and buildings in the country. Most the of the popular tourist destinations are relatively unaffected and tourism is being encouraged to help the country financially.
If you would like a vacation with a difference you might want to consider going to volunteer in the Bahamas. You should make sure you see the swimming pigs before departing - one of the most unusual things you can see in the world!
7. Saint Barthélemy
Saint Barthélemy or St. Barts as is it affectionately known is a popular destination with the rich and famous, this is usually where you can see Simon Cowell riding a jetski at Christmas time!
This is one of the most exclusive islands in the Caribbean, and one of the most expensive. The chances are if you visit, you will be sunbathing next to famous faces from around the world.
8. Puerto Rico
With a mix of Taíno, African, and Spanish influences, Puerto Rico provides rich cuisine, colorful arts and crafts, vibrant music, and traditional festivals as a United States territory.
Thousands of people take vacations in Puerto Rico every year visiting places like San Juan and it is easy to see why. There are beautiful beaches, fun cultural activities for guests, and a safe atmosphere. This is also one of the most affordable destinations in the Caribbean.
You will never forget the unique sound of the coquí, the frog that is a national symbol in Puerto Rico.
Cuba is such a fascinating country with history around every corner.
There are so many different ways to enjoy this country, you could book a tour of Cuba and see places like Havana and off the beaten track destinations. You might not realise it, but there are also lots of great value package beach breaks available in Cuba which are generally less busy than other destinations in the Caribbean.
You could also combine your holiday with enhancing your learning by booking a Spanish course in Cuba.
10. Cayman Islands
Famous for Stingray City, Grand Cayman is the largest of the three Cayman islands. You will have the thrilling experience of swimming with stingrays, if you are brave.
Grand Cayman is a popular destinations for families and is one of the most unique places to visit in the world due to how many (and how large) stringrays are there.
Grand Cayman is also a top destination for relaxing spa services on the beaches.
Jamaica is the birthplace of Bob Marley also famous for rum bars, friendly people, a vibrant culture and stunning beaches.
One of the safest and most enjoyable ways to see more of the island is on an organised Jamaica tour where you will get to meet local people, see beaches and explore the bustling capital, Kingston.
Jamaica offers great value for money compared to similar Caribbean islands
12. St. Lucia
St Lucia is beautiful and one of the most visited islands in the Caribbean.
Expect miles of rainforests, natural waterfalls, beaches, and the Piton Mountains, you will find adventure, natural beauty, and relaxation bundled in one place.
From sailing to exploring rainforests to trying your first ziplining experience, St. Lucia will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
If you are dreaming about a trip to the Caribbean, we hope our featured destinations have given you some ideas and will inspire you to explore this region for yourself. You really won't regret it.
If you have been to the Caribbean and have any experiences you would like to share, or recommend an island we have missed, let us know in the comments section below.