17 Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean

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.

Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean

Here are the top places to visit in the Caribbean Islands when planning your dream getaway.

1. Bridgetown, Barbados

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. Among the best things to do in Barbados, 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, Bridgetown. 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. Providenciales, 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. Saint Thomas, 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.

Saint 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.

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.

4. Montserrat

Montserrat are not actually the islands but they fall under the name of Leeward islands. It is called the Emerald isle of the Caribbean. It has 40 km of coastline. The island suffered from major losses as a possibly dormant volcano became active destroying the major city of Plymouth.

5. Saint Croix, US Virgin Islands

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 Saint 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 Saint Croix, on Highway 75.

6. Nevis

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.

7. Bahamas

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. Other things to do in Nassau is savor a good gastronomy based on seafood with a glass of rum and the kindness of its inhabitants.

8. Old Havana, Cuba

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.

9. Varadero, 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.

Most of the travelers visiting Cuba go to Havana, and forget the history, Fiesta del Fuego, carnival, and rum in Santiago de Cuba, and the tobacco culture in Pinar del Rio. All this and much more in a single island while you visit to Cuba and travel to Havana.

10. Trinidad, Cuba

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 4x4 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.

11. Dominica

There are very few beaches. The island is a semi-dormant volcano so the coast drops away sharply. It is a haven for divers and whale watchers. It has the largest area of rain forest in the Caribbean, and so there are plenty of eco tours and trips. They boast that they have 365 rivers, though to be fair many of them are little more than streams. Its nickname is nature island.

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 direct international 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.

12. Willemstad, Curaçao

When you post photos of your vacations online, you are in a certain way, taking your followers with you and you could even inspire friends and family to travel abroad on the island of Curaçao as well. The island of Curaçao is located 67 kilometres east of Aruba and with Bonaire they form the group of islands known as 'ABC'. Its capital Willemstad, popularly known as the Amsterdam of the Caribbean, is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city with many shops and cafes, especially on its waterfront.

We show you some of the best places to take photos of your vacation in Curacao and show them on Instagram.

Otrobanda, the name for the neighborhood across the famous Willemstad floating bridge, means "the other shore" in Papiamento. Many people cross to the other side of the bridge to take photos of the pastel-colored houses on Handelskade in Punda. And, in addition to these beautiful views, the other shore is full of restaurants, luxury hotels and great shopping centers.

Grote Knip beach is the most famous in Curaçao for photography and it really looks like a postcard . Grote Knip is popular on instagram mostly because of the fifty shades of blue. Mix a visit to Grote Knip with other nearby beautiful beaches in Westpunt, such as Kleine Knip, Playa Lagun, Playa Piskado (sea turtles and the Neptune statue) and Playa Kalki.

Porto Marie was always popular for its white sand beaches, double reef and crystal clear waters, but since there are highly domesticated and highly photogenic pigs it has really increased in popularity. Take a snapshot of these beauties and give them some love, in real life and online.

12. Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia is a beautiful volcanic island that has lush rain-forests, undulating agricultural fields and completely unspoiled 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.

Saint Lucia is very much a Caribbean destination, so if you like sea and sun, then it is an option. If you don’t, then it probably isn’t on your radar. As Caribbean destinations go it can be hard to tell them all apart sometimes, but two things that differentiate St Lucia are it tends to be at the cheaper end of the scale in terms of cost, and it has truly majestic landscapes - arguably the best in the Caribbean.

The Pitons are something to see. Castries itself is a bit of a rough town. So most of the tourist resorts tend to be out of town and in more private settings. If you like that thing, you’ll probably like it. If you don’t, you probably won’t.

13. 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. With its palm-fringed beaches and lush rainforests, it’s little wonder Tobago is an oasis for vibrant birdlife. Indeed, the island is home to an incredible 260 species – some of which you won’t even find in neighbouring Trinidad – making it one of the world’s most popular birdwatching destinations.

Not only are the birds here wonderfully unique, but some of its winged wonders are also surprisingly easy to spot, so make sure you’ve always got your camera at the ready! White-tailed sabrewing are one of the island’s most beautiful creatures. These large hummingbirds bear a vibrant green and blue plumage and are among the most unique species in the world. In fact, they’re so rare that they can only be found in Tobago or the forests of Venezuela.

Despite the name, Trinidad motmot is most abundant in Tobago’s, not Trinidad’s, rainforests. Along with a distinctive long, racket-tipped tail, it has a kaleidoscopic coat made up of orange, green and blue tones and is dubbed the ‘King of the Rainforest’ due to its lack of natural predators.

Also known as the cocrico, Rufous-vented chachalaca is the National Bird of Tobago and even represents the country on its coat-of-arms. It’s also the only variety of game bird you’ll find on the island. Identifiable by their huge feet and claws that help them to walk easily on floating vegetation, Wattled jacana are a sight to behold! Look out for them in aquatic regions that are rich with floating plants.

It’s no secret that Tobago boasts everything you’d expect from an idyllic Caribbean paradise, but delve beneath the surface of its azure waters and you’ll quickly realise that this remarkable island is unlike anywhere else on the planet. From night-diving sessions amongst intimate reef systems to awe-inspiring bioluminescence tours, discover the underwater treasures and natural phenomenons that await you in Tobago and set your inner-adventurer free.

You may have swum beneath the stars before, but have you ever swum amidst them? Well, on this unforgettable tour, that’s exactly how you’ll feel. You’ll be mesmerised by the glowing electric waters as you paddle or kayak through the lagoon at night, as your guide explains the incredible natural phenomenon that is bioluminescence.

Get ready to see the underwater world like never before with a night diving session at the Kariwak Reef. Replete with marine life, you’ll marvel at closely-huddled schooling fish and moray eels, lobsters and even sea horses, while some of the headline attractions include barracudas, turtles, nurse sharks and rays.

Kelleston Drain is famed for having what may be the world’s largest brain coral with a 130ft depth. As you explore this natural phenomenon, you’ll also find ocean triggerfish, stingrays, nurse and reef sharks, plus different species of parrotfish, patrolling the area.

14. San Juan, Puerto Rico

In Puerto Rico is the Caribbean National Forest, known as El Yunque (The Anvil) from the shape of its highest peak. It’s the only tropical rainforest in the entire US National Forest System. It’s located about 1 hour’s drive east of the capital city of San Juan and is a prime tourist destination that’s frequently visited by tourists and locals.

What you can find there is luscious tropical vegetation beyond belief in addition to hiking trails and some day camping facilities. There’s a paved road that snakes its way all the way to the highest point and there’s abundant water everywhere in the form of pristine streams, waterfalls and ponds because the place gets 300 days of rain a year.

The rainforest comprises 28,000 acres and is so lush that it actually creates its own micro climate and its own rain and water cycles. Actually the place is so wet that air humidity frequently reaches 100% which means that the ambient air will hold as much water vapor as it can at a given temperature but because it’s located at a higher elevation than Puerto Rico’s coastal plain (as much as 3,500 feet) it’s actually about 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the territory’s average temperature of 90º to 100º (F) in summer and 70º to 80º (F) in winter.

El Yunque is home to several endemic animal and plant species including many threatened with extinction such as the Puerto Rican parrot. A trip to Puerto Rico isn’t really complete without a visit to this natural wonder which graces Puerto Rico’s natural beauty in the US territory’s version of the American quarter in the US National Parks series.

There are a number of very good local restaurants serving traditional Puerto Rican food on the way to “El Yunque” for all budgets and tastes.

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.

Puerto Rico has the longest Christmas season in the world. It starts the day after Thanksgiving (some might even dare to include Thanksgiving in the holiday) and ends almost at the end of January with the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián. This is a party that spans pretty much over 4 days in Old San Juan, with tons of music, dancing, food, drinks, and artisans.

And it is ONE HECK OF A WILD PARTY. If you’re not in the mood for the craziness, you can still go there to enjoy the artisans, food and other amenities at a more leisure pace.

15. Sint Maarten

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. Saint Martin

The Caribbean islands have tens of millions of visitors each year. But hardly a fraction of those visitors makes it to Montserrat. The British overseas territory is only 102 sq km (39 sq mi) in area. Also, the Soufrière Hills volcano erupted. This left the southern half of the island basically unsafe. Today, an exclusion zone still exists.

17. Anguilla

Another British Overseas territory in the Caribbean that has fewer visitors is Anguilla. A small island about the same size as Montserrat, Anguilla boasts dozens of pearl-white beaches and top-end resorts. The island’s high prices are the main reason for its fewer tourists, which are steep enough to stave off college spring breakers or honeymooners.

Anguilla is blessed with 50+ beaches and Maundays Beach is the best among all. The highlights are clear waters, pristine sand, and a nearly perfect half-moon arc. The beach is less crowded so you can come here for a relaxing weekend getaway. The shimmering waters are accented by upscale hotels and beachside shacks, offering a picturesque view.

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.
Kalyan Panja