Best Islands of the Carribean
Best Islands of the Carribean – The Caribbean is a region of the Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands and the surrounding coasts.
The region is southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America, and north of South America.
Best Islands of the Carribean – is a massive archipelago located in the Caribbean Sea, that can be subdivided into a few different regions: the Lucayan Archipelago, the Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles and the ABC Islands.
There are 13 sovereign states and 17 dependent territories in the Caribbean, and the predominant languages are English, Spanish, French, Dutch and Antillean creole.
Best Islands of the Carribean – The Caribbean sprawls across more than 1.06 million square miles and is primarily located between North America and South America.
Best Islands of the Carribean – St. Bartz
Saint Barthelemy, a French-speaking Caribbean island commonly known as St. Barts, is known for its white-sand beaches and designer shops.
The capital, Gustavia, encircling a yacht-filled harbor, has high-end restaurants and historical attractions like the Wall House, whose exhibits highlight the island’s Swedish colonial era.
Perched above town is 17th-century Fort Karl, looking out over popular Shell Beach.
There’s no doubt that the French Caribbean island of St. Barthélemy (or St. Barts) is in vogue with A-listers and yachters alike, and oftentimes appears out of reach for the average traveler.
But it’s far from snooty – if the sight of those free-roaming iguanas is any proof – and it’s also more accessible than you might think.
Careful and early planning will ensure that your island getaway is priced on par with other Caribbean destinations.
The island is ideal for those seeking a Euro-themed utopia with plenty of stunning beaches, upscale hotels, private villas and trendy restaurants.
Best Hotels in St. Bartz
Eden Rock – St Barths
Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa
Hotel Le Toiny
Best Things to Do in St. Barts
St. Jean Beach
Best Islands of the Carribean – Anguilla
Anguilla, a British Overseas Territory in the Eastern Caribbean, comprises a small main island and several offshore islets.
Its beaches range from long sandy stretches like Rendezvous Bay, overlooking neighboring Saint Martin island, to secluded coves reached by boat, such as at Little Bay.
Protected areas include Big Spring Cave, known for its prehistoric petroglyphs, and East End Pond, a wildlife conservation site.
Compared to some Caribbean islands masquerading as tourist traps, you’ll find something a little more authentic on Anguilla.
There’s an embargo on large cruise ships, casinos and high-rise hotels, but a surplus of clear, coral-filled waters, unmarked and unpaved roads and low-key beachfront villas.
Pampering is also at a premium, from the grandiose resorts to the sophisticated alfresco dining. With little to do but relax, the days here are long.
But after the sun does go down, you’ll be treated to one of the best live music scenes in the Western Hemisphere.
Everyone from Quincy Jones to Bankie Banx to Jimmy Buffett has stopped by Anguilla’s shores to perform.
Best Hotels in Anguilla
Belmond Cap Juluca
Zemi Beach House, LXR Hotels & Resorts
Malliouhana, Auberge Resorts Collection
Best Things to Do in Anguilla
Shoal Bay East
Best Islands of the Carribean – St. Lucia
Saint Lucia is an Eastern Caribbean island nation with a pair of dramatically tapered mountains, the Pitons, on its west coast.
Its coast is home to volcanic beaches, reef-diving sites, luxury resorts and fishing villages.
Trails in the interior rainforest lead to waterfalls like the 15m-high Toraille, which pours over a cliff into a garden.
The capital, Castries, is a popular cruise port.
Lush, unspoiled St. Lucia has a growing fan base. Some of its vacationers are 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.
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.
Best Hotels in St. Lucia
Jade Mountain Resort
Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort
Best Things to Do in St. Lucia
Pigeon Island National Landmark
Best Islands of the Carribean – Antigua
Antigua is one of the 2 major islands that make up the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda.
Ringed with coral reefs, the island is known for its many sandy beaches.
Set along English Harbour, restored Nelson’s Dockyard, which Admiral Horatio Nelson made his base in the 1780s, includes a marina and the Dockyard Museum.
Trails lead up to Shirley Heights, a former military lookout with panoramic views.
Historic sites, tasty cuisine and a lively cultural scene can all be found on Antigua.
But most often it’s the beauty and versatility of the island’s 365 beaches that draw travelers from afar.
This paradise in the Leeward Islands has you covered with one beach for every day of the year.
Save your breaks from the sand and sun for the go-to sights of Antigua.
Antigua’s 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 are 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 – you’ll have fewer people to wrestle with as you uncover some of this island’s hidden charm.
Best Hotels in Antigua
Jumby Bay Island
Best Things to Do in Antigua
Half Moon Bay
Best Islands of the Carribean – Barbados
Barbados is an eastern Caribbean island and an independent British Commonwealth nation.
Bridgetown, the capital, is a cruise-ship port with colonial buildings and Nidhe Israel, a synagogue founded in 1654.
Around the island are beaches, botanical gardens, the Harrison’s Cave formation, and 17th-century plantation houses like St. Nicholas Abbey.
Local traditions include afternoon tea and cricket, the national sport.
You can find a white-sand beach, a sprawling golf course or a duty-free shopping plaza just about anywhere in the Caribbean, but in Barbados, visitors can taste the bittersweet Mount Gay Rum, dance to the thrum of a calypso song or take in a polo or cricket match.
And though you could spend all your time on the beaches, you’ll find plenty more to do when exploring this Caribbean paradise.
This luxurious island is brimming with breathtaking architecture, a passionate sports culture and a party-loving attitude.
The easternmost island in the Caribbean, Barbados juggles two different cultures to create a distinctly Bajan personality.
Even after gaining its independence from Great Britain in 1966, this island still holds tight to British traditions like afternoon tea, cricket and horse races.
Trademarks of the Caribbean and West Africa are still evident, however, in the island’s sugar cane fields, rum distilleries and lush landscapes.
And then there are the many beaches.
While all of Barbados’ shorelines boast picturesque views and calming ocean breezes, some of the country’s must-visit beaches include Dover Beach, Bathsheba Beach and the sands overlooking Carlisle Bay.
Best Hotels in Barbados
Fairmont Royal Pavilion
The House by Elegant Hotels
Best Things to Do in Barbados
Best Islands of the Carribean – Jamaica
Jamaica, a Caribbean island nation, has a lush topography of mountains, rainforests and reef-lined beaches.
Many of its all-inclusive resorts are clustered in Montego Bay, with its British-colonial architecture, and Negril, known for its diving and snorkeling sites.
Jamaica is famed as the birthplace of reggae music, and its capital Kingston is home to the Bob Marley Museum, dedicated to the famous singer
Many say Jamaica is the heart of the Caribbean.
The birthplace of reggae music, the Rastafari movement and all-inclusive resorts, Jamaica symbolizes many of the things most loved and, perhaps, most misunderstood about the region.
Come to the land of sugar cane, coffee and limestone, and form your own opinion.
Your new ideas are bound to be swathed in cream-colored beaches, bordered by rugged Blue Mountains and anchored in foamy waterfalls.
Most who travel here don’t leave the comforts of their all-inclusive resort; those who do typically don’t venture too far outside their immediate area.
As the third-largest island of the Caribbean, Jamaica is hard to cover in one trip.
Rather, it’s best to choose your activities and vacation priorities, then make your hotel plans accordingly.
Of the three main tourist pockets on the island, westernmost Negril is popular for its beaches and upscale accommodations; northwestern Montego Bay is well-liked by golfers; and Ocho Rios in the northeast appeals most to adventurous types who might be interested in climbing waterfalls like Dunn’s River.
Some (but not many) visitors choose the eastern area of Port Antonio to try the top-notch surfing at Boston Beach, the hiking along the Blue Mountains and the river rafting along the Rio Grande.
If you want to explore areas of the island not often seen by tourists, sign up for one of the best tours in Jamaica.
Best Hotels in Jamaica
Round Hill Hotel and Villas
Best Things to Do in Jamaica
Dunn’s River Falls and Park (Ocho Rios)
Seven Mile Beach (Negril)
Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park
Best Islands of the Carribean – Aruba
Aruba, officially the Country of Aruba is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands physically located in the mid-south of the Caribbean Sea, about 29 kilometers north of the Venezuelan peninsula of Paraguaná and 80 kilometers northwest of Curaçao.
Believe it or not, the Spanish colonists who settled in Aruba and her sister islands of Bonaire and Curaçao in 1513 nicknamed them the “Islas Inútiles,” or Useless Islands.
They couldn’t have been more wrong. Centuries later, this southern Caribbean cluster is using an arid climate and minimal rainfall in their favor; Aruba in particular lures tourists with its blindingly white beaches and craggy limestone landscape.
And with its extensive underwater visibility, this island is a preferred getaway for divers looking to explore buried shipwrecks or to study some magnificent coral reefs up close.
Inflated room rates and airfares (some of the most expensive in all of the Caribbean) have nurtured Aruba’s reputation for exclusivity, but just take one look around Palm Beach and you’ll see that’s not the case.
College kids, honeymooners, young families and baby boomers are all jockeying for their own piece of shade under the nearest divi-divi tree.
Those colonists be damned: Aruba is indeed being put to good use.
Best Hotels in Aruba
Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, Aruba
Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino
Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
Best Things to Do in Aruba
Casino at Hyatt Regency Aruba
Best Islands of the Carribean – Grenada
Grenada is a Caribbean country comprising a main island, also called Grenada, and smaller surrounding islands.
Dubbed the “Spice Isle,” the hilly main island is home to numerous nutmeg plantations.
It’s also the site of the capital, St. George’s, whose colourful homes, Georgian buildings and early-18th-century Fort George overlook narrow Carenage Harbour.
To the south is Grand Anse Beach, with resorts and bars.
It isn’t the cost of the airfare or the caliber of the hotel that you’ll remember most about your trip to Grenada.
It’s the kaleidoscope of reds, yellows, and greens that characterize St. George’s harbor (arguably the most beautiful in the Caribbean) and how they’re reflected in the cerulean water.
It’s the sound of the waves lapping against Grand Anse’s soft sands that echoes in your ears long after the sun goes down.
It’s the aroma of nutmeg and vanilla that wafts through Market Square and throughout the islands’ spice plantations.
It’s the warm sensation you feel in your stomach and on your tongue after sampling the River Antoine Distillery’s 150-proof rum.
Grenada isn’t just meant to be seen; it’s meant to be savored.
Americans have long overlooked Grenada (pronounced gre-NAY-da), opting for showier, resort-laden islands.
But Yanks, take a hint from the Brits who have spent many a winter here: Grenada is worth visiting.
Sure, this part of the Windward Islands doesn’t feature the sprawling all-inclusives or glitzy nightclubs of St. Lucia or Barbados; in fact, you may even be hard-pressed to find a fellow American here.
But that’s the key to Grenada’s charm.
Best Hotels in Grenada
Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel
Spice Island Beach Resort
Best Things to Do in Grenada
Grand Anse Beach
Grand Etang National Park & Forest Reserve
Best Islands of the Carribean
For many travelers, the Caribbean represents the ultimate escape.
Over 7,000 islands await exploration, surrounded by turquoise waters and home to pristine white beaches.
On land, visitors can hike through vivid emerald wilderness, spot sunshine-yellow parrots and glimpse fiery-red orchids, and fish of every color dart through corals in shades of purple and orange under the crystal-clear waters.
Bold and colorful in every sense of the word, the Caribbean beckons with its splendid scenery, delectable foods, friendly people and boundless opportunities for exploration, adventure and relaxation.
Due to the close proximity of many Caribbean islands to their neighbors, many travelers today “island hop” around the region, going from shore to shore to experience a variety of scenery and culture in one trip.
The first “island hoppers” were actually the Arawaks, Amerindians who ventured west and north throughout the region, from Cuba to the Bahamas.
Little else is known about the Arawaks, who lacked a written language, but one Arawak invention can be seen on the beaches of the Caribbean to this day – the hammock.