The Best Caribbean Islands You Must Visit

Caribbean Islands Sign

Choosing the right island can definitely make the difference in your vacation experience. Many travelers assume the islands of the Caribbean are all the same, with great beaches, plenty of sun and warm turquoise waters . . . and most islands offer plenty of the above. I say most because the islands of Dominica and Saba are not on any beach lovers’ list.


Aside from spending time at the beach, most vacationers enjoy a particular lifestyle or activities such as: Shopping, Quiet and Secluded, Hiking, Golf, Photography and Nature, History and Archeology buffs, Snorkeling, Diving, Sailing, All Inclusives, Family Friendly Islands, Gambling, Nightlife, and the list goes on. Just remember when spending your hard-earned money, choosing the right Caribbean island will ensure the “perfect” Caribbean vacation.

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SHOPPING IN THE CARIBBEAN

You can shop on any island, but if you are looking for a “shop til you drop” experience, head to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, or Curacao (pronounced cure-uh-sow). Both islands have extensive stores, shops and designer boutiques that rival any U.S. or European city. Other islands that offer a variety of shopping are Barbados, Grand Cayman, Puerto Rico and St Martin/St Maarten.

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands


QUIET AND SECLUSION

Travelers who are looking for a more peaceful, secluded vacation will find it on Parrot Cay which is located on Turks & Caicos, St Kitts, St Vincent & The Grenadines, and Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.

Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands


HIKING IN THE CARIBBEAN

Dominica – Valley of Desolation and the Boiling Lake; Dominican Republic – Pico Duarte Ascent (Caribbean’s highest peak); Grenada – Mt. Qua Qua; Guadeloupe – La Soufriere Volcano; Jamaica – Blue Mountains; Puerto Rico – El Yunque National Forest; St. Kitts – Bloody Rivers Stream; Tobago – Little Tobago Cay; Trinidad – Asa Wright Nature Center; and the US Virgin Islands – 2/3 of the island of St John is a nature preserve.

Blue Mountains in Jamaica
Blue Mountains, Jamaica


GOLF

The best Caribbean golf courses are found on the islands of Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St Croix and St Thomas.

Flamingos in Aruba
Aruba Beach


CARIBBEAN PHOTOGRAPHY AND NATURE

Dominica, Jamaica, St John, St Lucia are wonderful islands for photography and nature lovers. In fact Dominica is called the nature island of the Caribbean.

Dominica Rainforest
Dominica Rainforest


HISTORY & ARCHEOLOGY

History and Archeology buffs will find the Caribbean islands of Barbados, Curacao, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico quite interesting.

El Morro Fort in Puerto Rico
San Felipe del Morro Fort, Puerto Rico


SNORKELING

Antigua, Bonaire, Grand Cayman, Curacao’s Marine Park, St Martin, The Grenadines, Tobago, St Thomas, Turks & Caicos, St Croix and St John all offer the best snorkeling in all the Caribbean islands.

Grand Cayman Snorkeling
Grand Cayman Island


DIVING

Caribbean diving enthusiasts prefer Bonaire, Grand Cayman, Saba, The Bahamas, St Croix, Turks & Caicos, and Virgin Gorda.

Bonaire Coral Reef
Bonaire Coral Reef


SAILING AND PADDLING

The best sailing in the Caribbean can be found on Antigua, Barbados, St Martin, The Grenadines, US Virgin Islands, and British Virgin Islands. Jamaica and The Bahamas offer lots of opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, and paddling.

St. Martin Island


CARIBBEAN ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORTS

Both Jamaica and The Dominican Republic do not have an infrastructure that is set up for tourism. This is why both islands offer an abundance of all-inclusive hotels and resorts. Jamaica is the largest of the Caribbean islands, and has many points of interest, however the roads are extremely bad. It should be noted that Jamaica is one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean, and travelers should be careful in choosing which part of Jamaica to visit. English is spoken in the resort areas, however once you get into the Dominican countryside, Spanish is required.

Punta Cana Resort
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic


FAMILY FRIENDLY CARIBBEAN ISLANDS

Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Jamaica, St Lucia, Tobago and Turks & Caicos. Also, the Four Seasons on the island of Nevis offers a great kids program, and all the Hyatt Regency resorts throughout the Caribbean offer family-friendly vacations.

Blue Lagoon, Jamaica
Blue Lagoon, Jamaica


CARIBBEAN GAMBLING CASINOS

The largest gambling casinos in the Caribbean are found in Aruba, The Bahamas (Cable Beach & Paradise Island), Curacao, San Juan, St Croix, and St Maarten. Barbados and Jamaica only have slot machines. Antigua, Belize, Bonaire, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St Kitts, St Vincent and Turks & Caicos all have much smaller gaming operations.

Nassau Bahamas
Paradise Island, Nassau, Bahamas


CARIBBEAN NIGHTLIFE

Lots of fun when the Caribbean sun goes down can be found in Barbados, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St Martin/St Martin, and St Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Curacao Island
Curacao Island


Hopefully, this will give travelers a guide to choosing a Caribbean island that will fit any lifestyle.

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