If you were to sit and think up an image of what paradise may look like, most would conjure up the idea of a sun-kissed island, complete with soft, white sandy beaches, crystal clear ocean and palm groves hanging above the coastal scene, this image is also known as the Caribbean. This collection of over 7000 islands in the Caribbean is home to some of the world’s most stunning natural settings and they make for the perfect place for your dream destination.
Choosing which of the islands you should visit is not easy, and much depends on what kind of vacation it is that you are looking for. We have rounded up the finest options from an idyllic escape in Curacao, a luxury house in Anguilla or cultural exploration in Cuba, read on to find to which is the destination that most suits your needs.
If you and your partner are looking for a place to get away from it all and relax in one another’s company, the Caribbean is the ultimate choice. The top three options for a couple’s retreat would be Jamaica, St. Lucia and Bermuda, all of which offer the perfect balance of escapism, remote hideaways and resorts which are designed to give couples the greatest experience. St. Lucia probably tops the list for me with its dramatic landscape of cliff edges, rock formations and hidden coves, couples with its wide-ranging dining options and luxury accommodation.
Something for all the Family
As beautiful and tranquil as many of the islands may be, the Caribbean offers something for everyone, and that includes families. Depending on the ages of your children, you will no doubt be looking for a location where the parents can relax, the kids can seek adventures, and the whole family can involve themselves in a huge range of activities. The one island which immediately springs to mind when thinking of a family destination is the Bahamas, a resort-heavy island which has the infrastructure which vacationing families will love. The Bahamas itself is a small collection of islands, and for those who are traveling with family, both Paradise Island and Bahama Island are the best spots, packed with busy resorts, plenty of activities both on and off the water, all-inclusive options and adventures to be found for all ages.
The Caribbean islands can still be enjoyed by the solo traveler and there is much more to discover behind the glamour of the beaches. The top choice for anyone who is flying solo is Curacao, an island which has been heavily influenced over the years because of colonialism from the Portuguese, French and Dutch. Here you will find some incredible architecture and artistic displays, unique dining spots unlike any other island, as well as the Caribbean-standard of stunning beaches with swooping palm trees and corals lurking beneath the turquoise waters.
This is a tough category to choose as the truth is that you could go to any one of the 7000 Caribbean islands, and find beaches which will make you never want to leave them. With that being said, we have whittled the choices down to three, Aruba, the Grenadines and Barbados. Aruba is the best beach location for those who want to get active, offering many locations for water sports, beach activities and a lively beach scene with plenty of bars and restaurants on the sands. Barbados has gained the most fame for its beaches, thanks to its long Gold Coast of powdered white sand and clear waters. For those looking for a beach to their own, the Grenadines is a great spot, it has lower numbers of tourists than the other options and plenty of hidden away coves and remote locations along the water’s edge. A special mention must also go to Prickly Pear Cays in Anguilla, two small and uninhabited islands which will give you the perfect beach escape, where you will feel as though you have the whole place to yourself.
If anyone knows how to party it is the islanders here on the Caribbean, and if you too want to indulge, Puerto Rico, San Juan in particular, is the best spot to seek out. Here in Puerto Rico you will find a sizzling blend of Latin, American and Caribbean culture, all of which intertwine perfectly to create some of the hottest night spots, coolest dance halls and a nightlife which tops all other islands. There is decadence here in San Juan if you want it but you can also find more refined options with its fine dining, all night casinos and sleepy bars.
One activity which brings thousands of people to the Caribbean every year is diving, and thanks to the huge amount of reefs, underwater eco-systems and shipwrecks, they make for the perfect place for divers of all abilities. Whilst strictly speaking the country is in Central America, Belize’s Glover Reef sits bang smack in the middle of the Caribbean sea, and offers some spectacular underwater adventures. This protected marine reserve is an oval shaped atoll which is over 20 miles long, 8 miles wide, and consists of over 850 patches of coral. Many divers who come here are on the lookout for the Nassau grouper, an endangered species which can only be found in nine locations around the world. Here divers can expect to find rare lobsters, conch and finfish to name just a few of the species, coupled with witnessing bright coral, intricate ecosystems and unique rock formations under the water.
What type of Caribbean vacation are you looking for? Whatever it is, there is an island which will most certainly suit your needs.