A Vacation to the Caribbean may be just what you need if you’re in search of some sun, sand, and relaxation. Based on user votes and expert insights, plus factors like accessibility to beaches, tourist attractions, and comfortable accommodations, U.S.
Combining adventure with relaxation, hundreds of years of colonial history with enthralling Arawak culture. West Indian spices with European gastronomic flair, honeymooners with hill walkers. Budget backpacker haunts some of the most exclusive hotels on the planet. It has something for every type of traveler.
It’s got everything from Cuban cigarillos to magma-spouting mountains. Not to mention countless airbrushed beaches of pristine sand and shimmering turquoise sea. See you in the rum bars!
You must see these places if you are planning a vacation to the Caribbean:
Lush, unspoiled St. Lucia has a growing fan base. Some of its vacation lovers are also music lovers, letting loose at the springtime St. Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival, or adrenaline junkies, testing their limits climbing The Pitons or zip-lining through the Chassin region’s rain forest. Others are honeymooners, unwinding on one of the island’s chalky beaches or holing up in one of its isolated resorts.
But what if you don’t fall into any of these categories? Don’t worry: St. Lucia refuses to be pigeonholed as any “type” of Caribbean vacation. Plus, you also don’t have to spend a lot of money (its reputation as a luxurious hideout is only somewhat warranted). To discover some of the island’s indescribable charms, you’ll have to visit for yourself. Start your mornings basking in an orange-tinted Soufrière sunrise then round out your evenings at an evening “jump-up” (or dance party) along Gros Islet.
Start on the Jamaican north shore. Where powdery white sands run their way along the coast from the ivory stretches of iconic Seven Mile Beach. Past the sheer-cut Negril Cliffs, through the luxury uber-resorts of Montego Bay, around the gushing Dunn’s River Falls and out to where famous James Bond Beach gives way to the jungles of Ocho Rios in plumes of swaying coconut palms, juniper bushes, mangrove, and tamarind.
Further in the east and the mighty Blue Mountains rise in verdant swathes of jungle. Jamaican boas swinging from the vines and the scents of coffee beans wafting along the undergrowth.
Then, on the inland hills, visitors can seek out the birthplace of legendary Bob Marley at Nine Mile, or simply opt to flit between the rum bars of Kingston listening to the master and his steel-drum and Rasta off-beats.
Mo’Bay, meanwhile, pulses with nightlife and the smells of jerk chicken. While honeymooners kick back on beachside decks and sip Red Stripe to the sunset.
British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands, or BVI for short, are some of the most exclusive and least developed islands of the Caribbean but this only adds to their appeal. The resorts, villas, restaurants, and other tourist attractions in this paradise are known to emphasize spare luxury over sprawling expansion, and they attract travelers with deep pockets and a love for sailing and seclusion.
Many travelers who plan a vacation in the Caribbean come by ferry boat from another Caribbean isle. Especially as some find opulent exile too hard to enjoy for longer than a day or two. Some say it’s better to split your time between here and the nearby U.S. Virgin Islands and Anguilla to the east.
On Tortola, you’ll find mountainous cliffs and chalk-white beaches, characterized by changing tides and calm easterly winds. A brief sail away, sleepy Jost Van Dyke offers delicious Caribbean food and drink, one of the region’s best New Year’s Eve parties, as well as a few outdoor excursions like diving and fishing.
On Virgin Gorda, you’ll find The Baths. Perhaps the most picturesque shore in the British Virgin Islands and with good reason that it offers unique grottoes amidst gigantic granite boulders (just be mindful of the day-tripping crowds). For supreme seclusion, try Anegada; its slow pace, flat terrain, and sparkling sand lies almost overlooked in the Caribbean Sea.
Turks and Caicos
If it’s beaches you’re after, then Turks and Caicos is perhaps the perfect spot. A peppering of over 300 tiny islets in the midst of the Lucayan Archipelago. TCI has little more than just sandbanks or rugged pillars of rock that rise above waters of the Caribbean Sea. The salt-washed jetties of Cockburn Town might be the capital, but it’s laid-back Providenciales that draws all the crowds.
And why not? This U-shaped speck of land comes fringed by alabaster-white Grace Bay, punctuated with luxurious five-star resorts. It is imbued with old pirate carvings from the 19th century and ringed by coral gardens just waiting for the intrepid SCUBA diver. Oh! and it’s the home of the island’s deep-fried conch clams too!
Further afield and the TIC offers up uber-romantic honeymoon suites on their own private island. Beaches like Malcolm Beach and the glowing turquoise has currents of Chalk Sound to boot!
U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands is “America’s Caribbean Paradise” the place to see moko jumbies dance at a Carnival parade, hear the lilting patois of a Creole dialect or smell the spices in a saltfish pate (all without losing cell phone reception). You can visit either St. Thomas, St. John or St. Croix, or better yet spend a little time on all three islands. That way you’ll get plenty of pampering, undisturbed nature, and colonial history jammed into one vacation.
Each island offers something different. Called “Rock City” for its hilly, craggy horizon, St. Thomas is known for luxury from the mega-yachts moored in the harbor to the high-end storefronts along Main Street which is located at a short ferry-ride east. St. John appeals to honeymooners and nature lovers, with more than 7,000 acres of dedicated parkland plus surrounding pristine beaches. Way down south in the Caribbean Sea, less-visited St. Croix has sugar cane plantations and rum distilleries that offer a glimpse into both the past and the present of the Virgin Islands.
A tumultuous past and political penchant for communism have meant Cuba has remained something of an off-the-beaten-track option for travelers in the Caribbean until only recently. The latest News is a loosening of travel and import restrictions from America. Both expected to bring hordes of new tourists to the so-called Pearl of the Antilles.
There’s certainly no shortage of pulls. For one, the capital at Havana oozes a vintage charm.
Cadillacs bump up and down the streets and peeling stuccoed frontispieces circa 1925 give way to the off-beats of samba, rumba, and songo. Aplenty cigar smoke puffs out of the speakeasies and the sun-splashed Malécon is strutted by all sorts! Leaving the Che monuments and Spanish streets behind, the greater island offers up picture-perfect if you want your vacation to the Caribbean captured well this is the place where you need a camera.
Do you like to party in the sand? Are you looking for safe, shallow waters where your kids can play? Would you be interested in exploring the ocean deep?
This paradise in the Leeward Islands has you covered with one beach for every day of the year. Historic sites, tasty cuisine, and a lively cultural scene can all be found in Antigua. But most often it’s the beauty and versatility of the island’s 365 beaches that draw travelers from afar.
Save your breaks from the sand and sun for the go-to sights of Antigua. Its sleepy sister island, Barbuda, has a more relaxed, less touristy feel. If you do venture to Antigua’s attractions, you’ll find that the panoramic view from Shirley Heights or the fascinating history of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine is largely overlooked by the sun worshippers who have set up camp along the shores. That will just make your sightseeing trips all the more pleasant.
Cacti-topped Aruba shares much with its Latin American neighbors. After all, this gem-shaped island on the far southern reaches of the region is closer to the mainland than it is to many of the other salt-washed islands of the Caribbean.
Let’s start with the weather, which remains unusually steady and warm, unperturbed by the hurricanes and cyclones that wash through the Atlantic belt. If you want to plan a vacation to the Caribbean before or the start of winter this is your best shot
The 300 days of sun and soothing shore waters ensure a steady stream of snowbirds from the US. Who can be seen reclining on the sands of Baby Beach in the south? the windblown rocks of Hadikurari shaded Arashi, or the reef-ringed likes of Boca Catalina right throughout the year.
Then there’s Aruba’s dusty, desert-like interior, peaked over by the lookouts of Haystack Mountain and the island’s curious Papiamento lingo, fusing Spanish and Dutch, Creole and Portuguese.
The charming Cayman Islands continue to be a coveted Caribbean getaway for both adventure and relaxation seeking travelers. Coral reefs and shipwrecks call to divers as the rum punch calls to the beach bums and Honeymooners hike through the 200-year-old Mastic Trail while parents take their children for interactive swims at Stingray City. Whichever way you choose to mellow out, the Cayman Islands can oblige.
The Cayman Islands are an archipelago of three islands that sit 150 miles south of Cuba. The largest, Grand Cayman, is full of gargantuan resorts with all-inclusive options, perfect for those who prefer preplanned itineraries and don’t mind sharing the sights with cruise crowds. Meanwhile, the less-traveled Cayman Brac and Little Cayman boast some of the best diving in the Caribbean.
Grenada is the Spice Isle. Land of nutmeg and vanilla pods and fragrant wafts of cinnamon that twist and turn in the sultry Carib air. Rolling down in breezes with the trade winds to the pretty bays of Grand Anse and the shiny white sands of Morne Rouge Beach is worth a visit for a planned vacation to the Caribbean
Volcanic in origin, the island spikes and dips with the cones of Mount Saint Catherine and the grass-rimmed crater lakes of Grand Etang alike.
Waterfalls gush and carve the landscapes too, running swiftly over the rocks at Royal Mount Carmel and flowing in moss-clad steps at the Seven Sisters, accessible only by winding hiking trails through the mountains.
Oh, and let’s not forget the human side of things: the lively local fish fries of Gouyave; the River Antoine brewing house – home to some of the oldest rum labels in the world.
Need some tips to plan your perfect tour? Check This “Tips to Plan Your Perfect Tour“
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