Thinking of taking a tropical vacation to the beautiful Caribbean but not really deciding which island to choose? It can be quite overwhelming but choosing the right Caribbean island for you and your family is not really that difficult. From Alabaster-White Beach in Bermuda in the north to the cactus-top desert in the ABC Islands in the south, Dominica’s windy coves and surfing reefs in the east to the jungle-clad tips of Cuba and the Antilles in the west, the Caribbean is a long way to go. Combining comfort with adventure, captivating hundreds of years of colonial history with Arawak culture, European gastronomic talent with West Indian spices, honeymooners hilly walkers, budget backpacker hunters with the most exclusive hotels on the planet. It has got everything from Cuban cigarillos to magma-spouting mountains, not to mention countless beaches of unspoiled sand and glimmering turquoise sea. Here we recommend the top 16 best islands in the Caribbean for a holiday:
Unlike any other Caribbean Island, Jamaica is a unique place with glamour and enchantment. Huge mountains, dense rainfall, colorful coral reefs, spectacular beaches, different views of Jamaica attract different visitors. Adventurous travelers can hike, rock climb, or dive into the beach bamboo lounge or its clear water on the soft white sands of Seven Mile Beach. For an authentic dose of local culture, go to Kingston (the capital of the island) to participate in a lively festival, listen to reggae music, and try local specialties like Blue Mountain Ram and Jerk Chicken. Those looking for fun and relaxation should stay at one of the top all-inclusive resorts on the island.
2. St. Lucia
St. Lucia is one of the foremost wonderful islands within the Caribbean. Equally beautiful and mysterious, St. Lucia fascinates anyone who sets foot on its shores. Always unpretentious, it is greeted with its picturesque waves, warm beaches, and hospitable people. Look for St. Lucia’s vast chalk-colored beaches, huge volcanic peaks, and high-rise resorts. You can start your day with a hiking adventure through the Piton Mountains, soaking up some of the midday suns along Reduit Beach and watching the sunset over the Caribbean Sea. You’ll want to save time visiting the world’s only drive-in volcano, Sulfur Springs. The abundance of romantic luxury hotels in St. Lucia, most of which offer incredible views, makes this Caribbean especially popular among honeymoon couples. Escape to this tropical paradise is easy, with great hotels and private villa rentals. Organized trips and tours of St. Lucia are great ways to get to know the island. Here visitors always find themselves reluctant to leave and eager to return.
Antigua is considered one of the richest countries in the Caribbean because of its vibrant tourism industry and great financial services. This picturesque island protects stunning white beaches and hidden gulfs by almost incomplete beaches. Added to this are the transparent cobalt blue waters inhabitant with exotic marine life and coral reefs. Antigua is home to a variety of beaches so whether you’re interested in galley bay surfing and water sports or looking for a more secluded, romantic vacation at Half Moon Bay, you probably won’t be disappointed. Antigua also boasts of historical attractions such as Nelson’s Dockyard and Betty’s Hope, a must-see if you want to learn more about the island’s colonial past. Plus, Antigua is where you will find some of the best resorts in the Caribbean. Antigua offers uninterrupted activities ranging from exploring the colonial cities, the world-class cruise to the 4×4 Rain Forest Tour – there is something for everyone, young and old.
If you want to take action, Barbados is your next dream vacation island. Measuring fair 17 miles long and 14 miles wide, it is an East Caribbean island with a tremendous heart. Whether you want to rent a Barbados villa, go on a trip or go diving in the beautiful waterfront, you can get all the adventures you can get there. Again, Central Barbados is a must-see for its scenic beauty, breathtaking views, and limestone caves.
You will definitely find quality Caribbean staples – sandy beaches, round golf courses, duty-free shops, and palatial resorts – you will also discover that Barbados offers a very unique flair. Travel here to sample bittersweet Mount Gay Rum, take part in horse races, and dance to Calypso Tunes. Be sure to save time while touring the island’s historic arboriculture houses and exotic tropical gardens. You must also explore Historic Bridgetown, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is home to the Barbados Museum and the Historical Society, whose collections include samples of the island’s Amerindian and colonial history.
For good reason, the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) have become a popular travel destination over the years. Visit the Turks and Caicos Islands to see some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, including Grace Bay. You will find lots of beautiful beaches, luxuries, and paradise.
Turks and Caicos are home to the third-largest coral wall system in the world! This collection of coral islands also offers an unforgettable experience for snorkelers and scuba divers. Whether you choose to spend most of your time on land or underwater, these islands are a great retreat for those looking for the most comfort in a tropical environment, although hotel prices can be higher here than in other Caribbean locals, especially during the winter months.
Located just off the north coast of South America, visiting Aruba is an absolute dream. Aruba makes you think of paradise, pristine beaches, and lively nightlife, beautiful sites, and perfect weather, you will not be disappointed. The natural beauty and snow-white beaches make your vacation in the tropical environment memorable.
Aruba appeals to all kinds of travelers: gamblers can hit the casinos, nature enthusiasts can visit the Arikok National Park or travel through Ayo and Casibari rock formations, and water lovers can explore the sea or go on a boat trip. Beach lefties, meanwhile, can usually soak up some sun on the shoreline in a lounge chair without overheating to enjoy a gentle breeze. What’s more, the island is outside the hurricane belt, so it’s an ideal place to visit all year round, although house rates are usually minimal during the summer. All-inclusive resorts and Aruba are virtually synonymous. Aruba’s rich and colorful culture is one of a kind in the entire Caribbean Sea. If you like mixed culture then this is the best place for you.
“Posh” is the best word to describe the British Virgin Islands. This unspoiled and uncovered paradise, known as the sailing capital of the world. The shores of Cane Garden Bay are especially picturesque, the white sand beaches of Anegada Island are spectacular and the rocks and sea pools of Baths National Park are mystifying.
One of the best ways to see these picturesque islands is by yacht or a boat trip from the nearby U.S. Virgin Islands. You can also choose to relax in one of the upscale hotels in the archipelago but keep in mind that some resorts are still recovering after suffering damage from Hurricane in 2017. But there is much more to these islands because it is truly a paradise. Most tourists are sailors and some lucky people call it their home. But luckily there is something to enjoy here on all levels. There are plenty of surfing opportunities at Apple Bay, while the whitecaps around Anegada Island offer windsurfers some long and challenging rides.
The U.S. Virgin Islands are not your usual Caribbean paradise. Needless to say, they don’t have all the ubiquitous shiny sand and aquamarine-hued water. The Virgin Islands of the United States of America is the “Caribbean Paradise of America” - a carnival parade where Moko zombies (stilt walkers) dance, hear Creole dialect lilting patois, or salty fish spices.
You can visit either St. Thomas, St. John or St. Croix. Even better, you can spend some time on the three islands. This way you will get plenty of imperfect, unexpressed nature and colonial history jammed in one vacation. Spring is the best time to travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands, especially towards the end of April when St. Thomas’s hectic Carnival season begins. Spend the day enjoying the unconventional beauty of one of the many beaches along St. John’s Shoreline or visit St. Croix Castle for some history while on vacation. The main part? Americans do not need a passport to visit these Caribbean islands.
The white sand beaches and sparkling turquoise waters make the Cayman Islands an ideal vacation spot. If you are looking for a great travel route in perfect weather with white sand beaches and delightful recreation then this is the place to go. Travelers can relax and soak up the sun or practice one of the countless water sports available on the islands. The Grand Cayman is one of the most popular and seven-mile beaches is well-known in the Cayman Islands. In fact, the beauty of the Caymans is found in the water. These islands have very strict laws to protect the coral reef system, and the reservoirs around the island are some of the oldest in the Caribbean.
Whether snorkeling or diving, you will be able to see lots of tropical fish and wonderful blue water. The charming Cayman Islands will continue as a Caribbean voyage for both adventure- and relaxation-seeking travelers. One of the most scenic spots in the Caribbean, the Cayman Islands has premier dive sites along the abundant crescent-shaped shores, including Eden Rock and Devil’s Grotto. There are great colonial castles like St. James’s Castle and Georgetown has a long-standing collection of British maritime history and Caribbean pirates. These islands have some great hotel deals and affordable vacation rentals compared to other Caribbean islands, so you can enjoy white sand beaches and the serene ocean without wasting your vacation budget.
10. Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is the second-largest and most remote Caribbean country, known for warm and hospitable people. The Dominican Republic is the largest travel destination in the Caribbean. More than five million travelers from around the world visit this beautiful tropical island every year. The Dominican Republic is like no other destination, with a fascinating nature, fascinating history, and rich culture.
The Dominican Republic is best known for its white-sand beaches, warm weather all year round, and all-inclusive resorts. However, mostly unknown, the landscape of the Dominican Republic is also characterized by mountains, deserts, and rain forests. When you travel to the Dominican Republic on a holiday, you will see the region in a different light. There will be many festivals and activities that you can be a part of, which means you will have more fun on your vacation.
At an uncertain time around the world, the Dominican Republic has remained strong in the field of tourism. People love the fun and serenity the Dominican Republic offers, which is why they keep coming back year after year.
11. The Bahamas
The Bahamas is an archipelago consisting of about 700 islands. This beautiful island country is one of the most beautiful places in the world, providing beautiful beaches; Fantastic restaurants, and great food. It is a heaven on earth waiting to be visited. The Spanish original and literal translation of the word the Bahamas means ‘shallow water’. Although the Bahamas are part of the Caribbean Islands, they are actually located in the Atlantic Ocean, not in the Caribbean Sea, about 100 miles off the coast of Florida.
The crystal clear, sparkling blue waters, tempting beaches, and tropical sun all combine to make the Bahamas a perfect destination for a beach holiday. Aside from unwinding on the sand soaking up the sun, you can indulge yourself in a wide range of water activities. The archipelago offers some of the best diving and fishing in the world. One nice thing about the Bahamas is that these beautiful islands offer vacation packages that are suitable for every kind of budget.
As one of the ABC Islands (along with Aruba and Bonaire), Curacao also sits outside the hurricane belt. About 90 miles north of Venezuela, the island of Curacao is one of the busiest urban centers in the Caribbean. Reliable weather and notable coral reefs make Curacao a place for divers, snorkelers, and beach lovers. Willemstad, the main port city of Curacao, is what the Old World European city would look like if one left it in the Caribbean. The brightly painted Dutch colonial buildings reflect the pinks, yellows, and blues of the cerulean St. Anna Bay.
Once you leave the city, the landscape shifts to the desert view, sprouting from the tops of the thorny aloe and mesquite peaks. But the real attraction for Curacao is the beach. As the picturesque bay and coves surrounding the island, their turquoise water is lightly flipping against the dusty white sand. The reefs of Curacao combine with marine life, providing a great underwater playground for scuba divers and snorkelers. In addition to being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Willemstad has a number of fascinating museums, rich street art scenes, and the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue – America’s oldest surviving shrine.
The Caribbean is full of beautiful places, but each has something unique. Among them, Grenada is a little green gem at the southern tip of the Windward Islands. Grenada is referred to as the “Spice Isle” because of its strong bond with the spice business and its growing supply of spices locally. Grenada will cater to every type of traveler whether you are looking for adventure or relaxation. You can explore hiking, snorkeling, and remarkable landscapes by visiting one of Grenada’s many historic landmarks.
When you’re ready to relax and enjoy the sun, check out Anse Beach, a popular choice among tourists and locals alike. This beach has 2 miles of white sand and a calm sea. The island has expanded its protected areas, including Levera National Park (a nesting site for leatherback sea turtles) and the Grand Etang Forest Preserve (which provides bird watching, mountaineering, and river tubing activities). If you get the chance, check out the island’s countless cultural festivals, including the Grenada Chocolate Festival, Fish Fridays, and the Carriacou Maroon & String Band Music Festival.
St. Martin /St. Maarten island is located in the northeastern Caribbean Sea. Among other things, it is known for its unique system of governance, with Dutch territory on one side of the island (St. Maarten) and French territory on the other (St. Martin). It is the smallest island separated by two nations. Set against the backdrop of stunning sun, gorgeous mountainous terrain, and Caribbean turquoise waters, St. Martin / St. Maarten creates a unique and eclectic culture. Add some Caribbean flairs to this Dutch-French island and there is a unique spot for you to visit.
In St. Martin-St. Maarten you will find first-rate beaches and plenty of activities as well as a repository of hotel options and vacation rentals for all budgets. Experienced and first-time scuba divers can explore the reefs, ship breaks, sea life, and rock formations around the island. Meanwhile, you can enjoy dinners with seafood and French-Creole specialties and barbecue extra ribs, in a free-air LoLo’s located along the shore.
15. St. Vincent and the Grenadines
If I were to give a brief account of the beauty of all the Caribbean islands in one country, I would say that St. Vincent and the Grenadines are the winners. Consisting of 32 islands, St. Vincent and the Grenadines have something for every traveler. From the tropical valleys and smoky volcanoes of St. Vincent’s Island to the idyllic beach of the small Grenadines.
This is a perfect destination for those who like a bit of diversity in their travels. You can enjoy your time on St. Vincent, the largest island in Kingstown, the capital and port city. Here you will find a fresh botanical garden and fresh fish. Like most of the Caribbean islands, the population is largely made up of descendants of African slaves. It’s clear in their strong creole culture, fusion music, and colorful markets, as well as in the “peace and love” atmosphere that you can definitely feel in many places.
16. St. Kitts and Nevis
There are thousands of reasons to visit St. Kitts and Nevis island. St. Kitts is known for its pristine beaches, rain forest hills, and white, gray, and black sand. Whether you want to relax by the beach or take an adventure through exciting activities, this Caribbean island will be a great destination for almost any type of traveler. Consider ziplining with the rain forest, going snorkeling at Dieppe Bay Beach, a trip to Catamaran in Nevis, or a natural trip on a railway trip that was actually an old sugar train.
St. Kitts Frigate Bay’s normal sand and buzzing nightlife boosted its popularity in part. Although many prefer to vacation here to relax at the beach resort and enjoy delicious seafood and fresh fruit. This destination also offers plenty in the way of culture. It hosts great festivals like the St. Kitts and Nevis National Carnival and the St. Kitts Music Festival. When you need a break from the action, hop on the ferry for a day trip to the quiet island of Nevis, where you will find Oualie and Pinney’s Beach. St. Kitts is very small to see in a day but big enough to explore for a lifetime.
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Are you looking for more practical information about the Caribbean islands? Make sure to check these posts as well:
- Discover The Caribbean Islands
- Discover the Bahamas
- Caribbean Dreaming: The Most Captivating Things to Do in the Bahamas
- Beachfront Elegance: Discovering the Best Accommodations in the Bahamas
- The Best Family Friendly All Inclusive Resorts Caribbean
- Disney Castaway Cay: Your Ultimate Guide to Paradise in the Bahamas