20 Best Caribbean Islands to Visit

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Curacao Ocean and Skyline

Are you searching for the best Caribbean islands to visit for a honeymoon, destination wedding, family vacation, or adventure trip? From movies, songs, and your friend’s Insta pics, the Caribbean is a tropical destination we’ve probably all dreamed about visiting.

Can’t you hear the tune of the Beach Boys and Kokomo harmonies in your head … “Aruba, Jamaica, ooha I wanna take ya … ” Many may prefer Cruise as Maverick, but we’re all into the Jamaica vibes and steel drum bands of 1988’s Cocktail.

The Caribbean region comprises more than 7,000 islands, islets, and cays (only about 100 are inhabited) scattered about the Caribbean Sea (bordering the Atlantic Ocean) between Central and South America, the Gulf of Mexico, and Florida.

Bermuda is usually included in the region even though it’s technically not in the Caribbean Sea. It’s in the North Atlantic Ocean, about 640 miles east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina (and about 900 miles from the Caribbean Sea).

These tranquil islands – with a varied culture of British, Spanish, French, and Dutch heritage – are known for their white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, tropical fish, lush waterfalls, and laid-back lifestyle (and tiki hut bars, of course). You can’t beat the Caribbean if you want a relaxing, tranquil, or adventure-driven escape.

With so many stunning settings, cultures, cuisines, and excursions, how could anyone decide which one to put on their itinerary? Picking the best Caribbean islands to visit was no easy task. We were up to that challenge and chose to accept the mission by diving (pun intended) right in.

Tune into Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) for the best rates and travel alerts to find flights to the best Caribbean islands. You can use our promo code VIA20 for 20% off a premium membership. Now, let’s get going!

Best Caribbean Islands to Visit

1. Jamaica

Bus in Jamaica

The third largest Caribbean island, Jamaica, is one of the region’s most popular and well-known tourist destinations. It’s 146 miles long and 51 miles wide. The island is known for its beautiful beaches, stunning waterfalls, all-inclusive resorts, rich culture, cuisine, British Colonial architecture, and music.

You’re probably familiar with the Marley name, but several other artists hail from the tropical paradise. Do Peter Tosh, Usain Bolt, Shaggy, Sean Paul, Sean Kingston, or Sandra Denton (Pepa of Salt-N-Pepa fame) ring a bell?

Blue Mountain Coffee, Red Stripe Beer, and Myers’s Rum … all from Jamaica. Add in the flavors of ackee and codfish, rundown soup, oxtail, and red beans and rice, and you’ve got a cuisine collection to last the whole trip. Foodies (and drinkies) love checking out every beach bar, restaurant, and roadside food stand on the island.

While on the island (and to take a break from all that eating and drinking), visit the Bob Marley Museum, historical sites in Port Royal, and Park, or take a rainforest tour. You could also relax on the beach at Montego Bay or Seven Mile Beach (Negril Beach). We’re not judging.

Montego Bay, Negril, Kingston, Portmore, Ocho Rios, and Port Antonio are the most well-known regions in Jamaica, with Montego Bay being one of the most popular tourist cities. This area has many high-end hotels, all-inclusive resorts, and rental accommodations. Some of the top-rated hotels on the island include the Half Moon, Round Hill Hotel and Villas, and Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay.

Negril Beach Boats

The stunning white sand and dramatic sunsets of Negril’s Seven-Mile Beach make it the perfect place to try jet skiing, diving, snorkeling, or an adventurous ATV ride along the beach. For a more relaxing experience, opt for a catamaran cruise around Montego Bay.

If you’re looking for a laid-back atmosphere, Negril has that. You can spend your days lounging on the beach or exploring the cliffs. Ocho Rios is home to many of Jamaica’s best attractions, including Dunn’s River Falls, Blue Hole Mineral Spring, and Green Grotto Caves.

See Related: Best All-Inclusive Family Resorts in Jamaica

2. Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos Skyline

This British Overseas Territory of the Turks and Caicos is in the Atlantic. It consists of 40 small coral islands and cays (only eight are inhabited). With a total length of about 37 miles, the chain offers as much seclusion, relaxation, or adventure as you want.

The island chain starts west at Providenciales (or Provo) and swings eastward to North, Middle, East, and South Caicos. You’ll then come to the Turks Island Passage, which runs through and separates Grand Turk. Grace Bay Beach, located in Provo, is considered one of the best beaches in the world. It’s a significant draw for honeymooners, families, and groups.

While most visitors visit the islands for the beaches and resorts, plenty of other activities keep you busy. Book a glass-bottom boat tour to explore the underwater world, take a nature hike through thick mangrove forests, or hike along Bird Rock Trail to get up close and personal with native wildlife.

Beach in Turks and Caicos Islands

For those looking for more action in their vacation, the islands offer excellent scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities. More than 200 dive sites are around the islands, making it a paradise for beginner and experienced divers. You can also go deep-sea fishing, stand-up paddleboarding, or even windsurfing.

To taste the local culture, take a day trip to Grand Turk, the capital island of Turks and Caicos. This is where you’ll find the National Museum, which houses artifacts from the Lucayan people who once inhabited the islands. You can also learn about the island’s salt-producing history at the Turks and Caicos National Historical Park.

In addition to its natural beauty, Turks and Caicos is home to some of the best luxury resorts in the Caribbean. If you want to splurge, this is the place to do it. World-famous resort chains like COMO Parrot Cay and Grace Bay Club offer visitors the chance to relax in luxury.

See Related: Best Places to Travel Alone in the World

3. The Bahamas

Port of Nassau Aerial View

The Bahamas is a chain of islands in the Atlantic Ocean east of Florida. These pristine Caribbean islands are a popular destination for tourists and Caribbean cruise ships as they’re easy to get to from Florida shores. Plus, they’ve got a lot of natural beauty going for them.

The island nation is known for white (and sometimes pink) sand beaches, clear turquoise waters, and beachfront resorts. Visitors can enjoy diving and snorkeling along coral reefs, hiking through rainforest habitats, and taking a catamaran ride to see dolphins.

Made up of more than 700 islands, there are plenty of paradises to explore in the Bahamas. The most challenging task is choosing just which island to visit. A couple to consider include Cat Island, Bimini, Harbour Island, Andros Island, the Exumas, Eleuthera, and the Abacos.

On a side note, you can take day trips from one island to another, so that’s one option to the island-choosing conundrum. Nassau, the capital city, is located on New Providence Island. Nassau is known for its colonial architecture, so stroll through the streets and snap photos.

Visit the historic Fort Charlotte, shop for duty-free goods, or visit the perfectly pink Atlantis Resort and its varied activities and attractions on Paradise Island.

Pig in Exuma, Bahamas

Grand Bahama Island is another popular tourist and cruise ship destination. It offers many activities and attractions like golf, fishing, and cave exploration.

For a more remote and natural experience, head to the Exumas. You can explore uninhabited islands, check out the swimming pigs at Big Major Cay, or visit the Thunderball Grotto made famous by the James Bond movie Thunderball.

While on Bimini, take a peek into the underwater world of sea turtles, stingrays, and sharks (if you so choose) with Neal Watson’s Bimini Scuba Center. You’ll head out to the Sapona shipwreck to snorkel among the cute creatures.

Your next stop takes you to a spot where you can get in the water with reef sharks. Swimmers are required to hang onto a line off the back of the boat. This is an excellent way to take a (big) step out of your comfort zone.

We love Eleuthera for its seclusion, stunning scenery, pineapple plantations, and outdoor recreation. The island’s Glass Window Bridge is located where the blue Atlantic water meets the turquoise tones of the Bight of Eleuthera. A 30-foot-wide stretch of land separates them.

See Related: Hidden Gems in the Caribbean Sea

4. St. Lucia

St. Lucia Scenery

Part of the Windward Islands, St. Lucia, is in the eastern Caribbean. The small island is 27 miles long and about four miles wide. It’s home to lush rainforests and towering volcanic mountains extending to gorgeous white sand beaches.

Famous beaches include Reduit Beach, Anse Chastanet Beach, and Sugar Beach. For a more remote and natural experience, hike to one of the many hidden beaches along the coast.

The Pitons, two volcanic mountains, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is one of the best places for nature lovers and adventurers in your travel crew.

Marigot Bay Aerial View

Hike through the rainforest to experience the island’s diverse flora and fauna, or take a zip-line tour for a bird’s-eye view. For a taste of local culture, visit the capital city of Castries.

You can stroll through colorful streets or visit the local market to find fresh produce and handmade goods. Learn about the island’s history at the Saint Lucia National Museum.

See Related: Best Things to Do in Nassau (secrets from a local)

5. Antigua and Barbuda

Sunset in Antigua

Antigua and Barbuda is a twin-island nation located in the Caribbean Sea. The islands are best known for their pristine beaches, secluded resorts, and excellent sailing conditions. Visitors can enjoy diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, and deep-sea fishing in the island’s warm waters.

The island of Antigua is the larger of the two islands and is home to the capital city of St. John’s. Antigua is a popular tourist destination with many beaches, luxury resorts, and historic sites. Visitors can spend their days lounging on the shores of Rendezvous Bay of Half Moon Bay, exploring the rainforest, or visiting one of the many historical sites.

Barbuda is a smaller island located just north of Antigua but is just as beautiful. The island is known for its secluded beaches, lush rainforest, and native bird population. Barbuda is also a popular destination for diving and snorkeling, as coral reefs surround the island.

Antigua and Barbuda Boats and Houses

While staying in Antigua, you can take a day trip tour to explore the beauty of Barbuda for a day before returning to your hotel. For a taste of the local culture, visit St. John’s. The capital city has many historic sites, such as the St. John’s Cathedral and the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda.

You can also stroll through the streets, soak up the atmosphere, or visit the local market to find fresh produce and handmade goods. Be sure to try local dishes, like roti and Johnny cakes, while you’re here!

See Related: Best Romantic Getaways in the USA

6. Barbados

Barbados Skyline

Barbados is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean. It’s the island home of Rihanna, Grand Master Flash, and Doug E. Fresh.

You’ll find soft sand beaches, resorts of all shapes and sizes, and culture. Visitors to this iconic Caribbean island can spend their days lounging on the beach, exploring the rainforest, or visiting one of the many historical sites.

Sandy Lane Beach, Mullins Beach, and Paynes Bay Beach are famous beaches. Crystal-clear water and multi-colored reefs make for some of the best snorkeling and diving in the Caribbean.

Fruit Stand in Bridgetown

You’ll find the stunning Animal Flower Cave and Harrison’s Cave, a limestone cave system dating back to the 1730s. Take a guided tour of the caves and descend into the depths of this natural wonder.

To immerse yourself in the culture and get the complete Barbados experience, visit the capital city of Bridgetown. You can learn about the island’s history at the Barbados Museum or tour the Parliament Building.

See Related: Travel Tips for Long-Term Travel

7. Aruba

Palm Beach Skyline

Surrounded by dazzling coral reefs and soft sand beaches, Aruba has a varied landscape of arid desert cacti, tropical palms, and colorful Dutch architecture. Add bright pink flamingos, ostriches, and mountain-climbing goats, and you’ve just stepped onto one of our list’s most unique Caribbean islands.

This Netherlands-owned tropical paradise is located just north of Venezuela in the Southern Caribbean. It’s known as the “A” of the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao).

Aruba beaches include Baby Beach, Palm Beach, Hadicurari Beach, and Eagle Beach. They are known for their soft sand and clear waters and are a popular nesting spot for Aruba’s iconic flamingos.

Sunset in Eagle Beach Strip, Aruba

The nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts in your crew will enjoy hiking through Arikok National Park, exploring the Aloe Vera Plantation, and meeting giant flightless birds at the Aruba Ostrich Farm. Then, there’s the Donkey Sanctuary, a butterfly farm, and the Bubali Bird Sanctuary.

To taste local culture, visit Oranjestad, Aruba’s capital city. The city is home to historic sites like Fort Zoutman and the Archaeological Museum, where you can get an in-depth look at Aruba’s history and the Dutch influence on the island. Other landmarks include the California Lighthouse and the Aruba Archaeological Museum.

Visit during January and February for Carnival, an annual event celebrating the island’s Afro-Caribbean culture with music, food, and dancing. Aruba has many 5-star resorts and private villas, such as the Ritz-Carlton Aruba and the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino.

See Related: Best Places to Get Married in the World

8. Bermuda

Horseshoe Bay Skyline

This stunning Caribbean (well, not precisely) island has had a historically bad reputation for centuries due to the number of shipwrecks and missing planes near the island (this situation bothers me, Bermuda Triangle!). However, it’s still a popular tropical destination for honeymoons, weddings, and family vacations. We think the Triangle legend adds to its appeal.

Home to beautiful beaches and secluded coves, Bermuda is located in the Atlantic, several hundred miles off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, in the Outer Banks. It offers the charm of traditional British ambiance combined with the tropical decor of a Caribbean island.

This picturesque British Overseas Territory is known for its pink sand, clear turquoise waters, and gorgeously rugged coastline. Elbow Beach, Horseshoe Bay Beach, and Warwick Long Bay are just a few famous beaches on the island.

Bermuda Aerial View

Spend the day exploring Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve, taking a sunset cocktail cruise from South Hampton, visiting the Unfinished Church, or discovering Bermuda’s underwater beauty on a glass-bottom boat tour. The wide array of shipwrecks around the island (those reefs are dangerous) makes for terrific diving and snorkeling.

The historic capital city of Hamilton is filled with museums and attractions such as Fort Hamilton, the Bermuda National Gallery, and the Bermuda Maritime Museum.

Hamilton is also a great place to do an authentic Bermuda food-tasting experience where you can indulge in local cuisines like fish chowder, codfish and potatoes, fish sandwiches, spiny lobster, and Bermuda rum cake. Don’t forget a rum swizzle or dark-n-stormy.

Visit the Royal Naval Dockyard for shopping, dining, attractions, and art galleries. Other places to visit include Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse, Crystal and Fantasy Caves, the Lili Bermuda Perfumery, and the historic town of St. George’s, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Bermuda is about 24 miles long and only two miles wide at the widest. Navigating your way around on a scooter, bicycle, or moped is pretty straightforward.

Looking for a hotel in Bermuda? Check out the Hamilton Princess Hotel and Beach Club, The St. Regis Bermuda Resort, The Reefs Resort & Club, or Grotto Bay Beach Resort.

See Related: Best Ski Resorts in the U.S. to Visit

9. Cayman Islands

Boats in Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands are three islands spread over 102 square miles across the West Caribbean. They are Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac. Located south of Cuba and west of Jamaica, this trio of Caribbean islands is famous for luxury resorts, clear waters, world-class diving, and much more.

Grand Cayman is the largest of the three islands and home to the capital city of George Town, which is well-known for duty-free shopping.

Seven Mile Beach is the most popular beach on Grand Cayman for its crystal-clear waters and powdery white sand. Visitors can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, stand-up paddle boarding, and more.

Seven Mile Beach Skyline

Some of the best scuba diving in the world can be found along the reefs and shipwrecks off the coast of Grand Cayman. If you want to explore the underwater world, check out the North Wall, Stingray City, and Eden Rock. You could also book a snorkeling experience or scuba diving tour.

The island’s resorts include golf courses, spas, and restaurants. Many resorts offer all-inclusive packages so you can relax and enjoy your time on the island. One of the best is the Westin Grand Cayman Seven-Mile Beach Resort.

See Related: Friend Vacation Ideas

10. Dominica

Dominica Island Pier

Officially named the Commonwealth of Dominica (not to be confused with the nearby Dominican Republic and Punta Cana), Dominica is located in the Eastern Caribbean just north of Martinique.

Dominica is known for its lush rainforests, waterfalls, hot springs, and volcanic beaches. This unspoiled island is the perfect destination for those looking to escape it all and enjoy some time in nature.

To check out those waterfalls and hot springs, head to Morne Trois Pitons National Park. The Boiling Lake is one of the most popular attractions in the park (as well as the world’s second-largest hot spring.

Dominica Trafalgar Falls

Dominica is also a great place to go birdwatching. It’s home to many different species of birds, including the Sisserou parrot, the red-necked parrot, and the imperial Amazon. If you want to spot some of them for your Insta feed, visit the Syndicate Parrot Reserve or the Caroni Bird Sanctuary.

The Caribbean island of Dominica is well-known for its black sand beaches. They create a beautiful and secluded relaxing spot created by volcanic activity. Some of the best are at Scotts Head, Batibou Beach, and Mero Beach.

See Related: Things to Do in Dominica Island

11. Grenada

St George's Aerial View

In the West Indies, Grenada is an island country comprising several smaller islands, including the main island, also known as Grenada. The island is best known for its spice plantations(its nickname is Spice Isle), beaches, rainforests, and waterfalls.

One of the most popular things on the island is visiting a spice plantation. Grenada is best known for its nutmeg production, and many spice plantations offer tours where you can learn about the history of nutmeg production on the island. You can also purchase fresh spices to take home with you.

Grand Anse Beach, Morne Rouge Beach, and Levera Beach are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, and more. Divers will love the Underwater Sculpture Park.

Grenada Overview

Grenada is a great place to go hiking for those interested in adventure. There are various trails of varying difficulty levels to find one perfect.

If you’re looking for more of a challenge, you can try climbing Grenada’s tallest mountain, Mount Saint Catherine. Grand Etang National Park & Forest Reserve’s hiking trails are highly recommended.

See Related: Best Hiking Trails in America

12. Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe Cliffs and Ocean Scenery

In the Southern Caribbean, Guadeloupe is a French territory in the Lesser Antilles region. It’s best known for its beaches, hiking trails, and waterfalls.

Scuba divers will be happy to know that Guadeloupe is one of many world-class dive sites. There are numerous shipwrecks, coral reefs, and underwater caves to explore.

If you’re lucky, you might even spot some turtles. Grand Anse Beach, Plage de la Caravelle, and Anse des Cayes are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing.

Hiking is one of the most popular things on this Caribbean island. Trails range from easy hikes that are perfect for families to more challenging trails for experienced hikers. If you’re looking for a real challenge, you can try climbing Pic des Trois-Rivières, the highest point in Guadeloupe.

Guadeloupe Overview

When it comes to hotels, Guadeloupe has something for every travel style. Check out the Hotel Bakoua Les Trois Ilets and the Marco Polo Resort for luxury options. There are also plenty of budget-minded options like guesthouses and apartments.

See Related: Most Beautiful Places in the World

13. Martinique

Martinique Beach Palm Trees

Another French Caribbean island, Martinique, is located in the Lesser Antilles region of the Caribbean. It is best known for rainforests, volcanoes, and the postcard-perfect beaches of Grande Anse des Salines, Les Trois-Îlets, and Sainte-Luce.

It’s rumored that Martinique got its name from Christopher Columbus, who saw the island on his journey to the Americas and thought it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. He is said to have named Madinina, meaning “island of flowers,” or Matinino, “island of women.”

One of the best things to do in Martinique is to explore the island’s mountainous interior. The island has an active volcano, Mount Pelée, and various hiking trails.

Martinique Jungle Scenery

Don’t forget to try the food while on the Caribbean islands. Martinique is known for its Creole cuisine, a French and African flavors blend. Resorts like the Hôtel Frégate Bleue and the Hotel Bakoua Martinique are popular choices for those looking for a luxurious and relaxing vacation in Martinique.

See Related: Best Island to Visit in Hawaii: What’s Best for You?

14. Saint Barthélemy

Saint Barthelemy Ocean Scenery

Saint Barthélemy (also called Saint Barths or St. Barts) is a small French island in the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles region. It’s only about eight square miles.

Saint Barthélemy is often referred to as the playground of the rich and famous because of its popularity among the rich and famous. It’s a destination for couples looking for a romantic vacation or a luxury getaway with a secluded ambiance.

St Barths Resort Pool and Skyline

Places to visit and things to do include the 17th-century Fort Karl, the yacht-filled harbor of Gustavia, Fort Gustave, the Wall House Museum, the village of Lorient, and the beautiful stretches of sand along Saline Beach, Flamands Beach, and Corossal Beach.

Some of the most popular lodging options on the island include the Hotel Christopher St. Barth and Le Barthelemy Hotel & Spa.

15. Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Kitts Island Aerial View

Officially named Saint Christopher Island, Saint Kitts and Nevis is located in the West Indies and is best known for its tropical atmosphere and the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton. The island was one of the first to be colonized by Europeans. Christopher Columbus supposedly named it after his patron saint, Saint Christopher.

There are many different things to do and places to visit while on Saint Kitts and Nevis. One of the most popular activities is a tour of the island’s natural wonders, such as the Romney Manor and the Emerald Pool.

Jetskiing, diving, a sail and snorkel tour, and kayaking are just a few of the watersports you can experience while visiting one of the many sandy beaches on St Kitts.

Beach in Saint Kitts and Nevis

St. Kitts is also well known for its rum. St. Kitts is home to the oldest rum distillery in the world. Visitors can tour the distillery and learn about the history of rum on the island.

Set aside some time to explore the capital of St. Kitts and Nevis, Basseterre, where you can find the National Museum, the Circus, and the Treasury Building.

St. Kitts accommodations range from deluxe resorts to budget-friendly hotels and guest rooms. The Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour and St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino are popular choices for visitors to St. Kitts.

16. Trinidad and Tobago

Maracas Beach Aerial View

Trinidad and Tobago are the southernmost islands in the Caribbean. They consist of the two main islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and many other smaller islands. Interestingly, tourism is not the primary industry in Trinidad and Tobago. The islands are best known for their oil and gas reserves.

They thrive with untouched natural beauty because they don’t see as many visitors as other Caribbean islands. If you’re looking to relax on a quieter island, this is your Caribbean destination.

Bucco Reef, a natural coral reef on Tobago, is a popular spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. You can also explore the island’s rainforest, hike to one of its many waterfalls, or tour the Asa Wright Nature Centre.

Mount Irvine Beach and Skyline

While in Trinidad, visiting the capital city, Port of Spain, is a must. You’ll find a melting pot of cultures and a fun nightlife scene with many restaurants and cafes. This is a great place to take a food tour!

The Fort George Historic Site, the Temple in the Sea, and the Tobago Museum are great places to learn more about the island’s rich history and cultural heritage. Divali, the Hindu festival of lights, is celebrated every October on the island of Trinidad.

Many options are available for finding somewhere to stay in Trinidad and Tobago. The Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre, the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, and the Kapok Hotel are popular choices.

17. U.S. Virgin Islands

Trunk Bay Aerial View

For those looking for a tropical Caribbean vacation with no passport required, the U.S. Virgin Islands are the perfect destination. This group of islands, which includes St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas, is a U.S. territory, which means that American citizens don’t need a passport to visit.

The U.S. Virgin Islands are best known for their sandy beaches, swaying palm trees, crystal clear waters, pristine white sands, and nature preserves. St. John is home to the Virgin Islands National Park, where you can hike to beaches, snorkel the reefs, and explore the island’s many caves and coves.

Many consider Trunk Bay the most beautiful and most popular beach destination in the Caribbean islands. Maho Bay Beach, Cinnamon Bay Beach, and Hawksnest Bay Beach are other excellent choices.

St Thomas Beach

In St. Croix, visit the Cruzan Rum Factory, the only rum distillery in the U.S. Virgin Islands, or take a tour of the island and the 18th Century Fort Christiansvaern. Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts, and St. George Village Botanical Gardens are other great places to visit in St. Croix.

While on St. Thomas, visit the capital city of Charlotte Amalie, Blackbeard’s Castle, Coral World Ocean Park, or the Phantasea Tropical Botanical Garden. You could also go parasailing across the Caribbean Sea. The Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas, Marriott’s Frenchman’s Cove, and Bolongo Bay Beach Resort are just a few of the many hotels available on St. Thomas.

See Related: Family-Friendly Spring Break Ideas

18. Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Beach Scenery

The fourth largest Caribbean island, Puerto Rico, is a popular destination for visitors from the U.S., as it’s also a U.S. territory. This means that, unlike other Caribbean islands (except the U.S. Virgin Islands), no passport is required for American citizens. The island is 100 miles long and 35 miles wide.

Puerto Rico is best known for its stunning beaches and excellent surfing conditions, but there’s much more to this island than just its sandy shores.

El Yunque National Forest is the only tropical forest in the U.S. National Forest system in Puerto Rico. It’s a must-visit for nature lovers as you can hike through wooded trails, swim in waterfalls, and even take a kayaking tour through the forest.

San Juan Colored Houses

San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital city, is worth a visit. Old San Juan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with colorful Spanish colonial architecture. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops to explore.

Other attractions include the Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Castillo San Cristobal, and the bioluminescent bay on Vieques, just off Puerto Rico’s eastern coast.

Are you looking for a hotel or resort in Puerto Rico? The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort and the Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort are all popular choices.

See Related: Ultimate Vacation Packing List

19. British Virgin Islands

Port with Tortola Bay in British Virgin Islands
Gerwin Schadl / Adobe Stock

Whether you’re into sailboats, power boats, kayaks, or catamarans, the British Virgin Islands are one of the best Caribbean destinations for boaters of all breeds. Of course, even if you’re not a boater, you’ll fall in love with the idyllic beaches, funky beach bars, and friendly folks on these Caribbean islands.

Situated east of Puerto Rico, and northeast of St. Thomas and St. John (U.S. Virgin Islands), the BVIs comprise Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, Anegada, and Virgin Gorda. The chain has several small and private islands (including Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island).

The small British Virgin Islands are close enough for day trips to other islands. For example, if you decide to stay on Tortola, you can book a snorkeling excursion to Jost Van Dyke, a trip to the Baths on Virgin Gorda, or a shopping trip to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. It’s just a short boat ride away.

Ships at White Bay Beach in British Virgin Islands
napa74 / Adobe Stock

While on Tortola, check out Cane Garden Bay, the Callwood Rum Distillery, and Sage Mountain National Park. Jost Van Dyke is where to go for snorkeling at Sandy Cay or hanging out at world-famous beach bars like Foxy’s and the Soggy Dollar Bar.

Anegada is where you’ll want to go for diving, snorkeling, and swimming among limestone formations, underwater caves, reefs, and shipwrecks. While on Virgin Gorda, visit Devil’s Bay National Park, hike up to Gorda Peak, or go shopping, dining, and sightseeing in Spanish Town.

20. Cuba

Mayari Beach Skyline

The largest island in the Caribbean, Cuba, is about 750 miles long from east to west. It sits south of the U.S. state of Florida (about 90 miles from Key West) and west of Haiti.

Visitors can learn about the country’s tumultuous past by taking a walking tour of Havana and Trinidad’s UNESCO World Heritage cities, visiting the Museum of the Revolution, exploring the Castillo de San Pedro del Morro, or touring the Ernesto “Che” Guevara Mausoleum.

Are you looking to enjoy some time on the beach? Head to Varadero Beach, located on the Hicacos Peninsula, and is one of the most popular beaches on the island. Other popular beach destinations include Cayo Santa Maria, Guardalavaca, and Trinidad.

Havana Streets

Cuba is home to some of the best cigars in the world. Cuban cigars are hand-rolled using tobacco leaves grown in the country’s Vuelta Abajo region. Visitors can take a cigar-rolling workshop, tour a tobacco plantation, or visit one of the many cigar factories on the island.

Popular resorts on the island include The Melia Cayo Coco, The Melia Varadero, and The Iberostar Ensenachos. Budget-friendly accommodation can be found at Casa Particulares, privately owned homes that rent out rooms to travelers. This is a beautiful way to learn about the country’s culture from locals.

PRO TIP: If you are traveling from the U.S. to Cuba, follow the U.S. Treasury Department’s guidance on travel to Cuba.

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Tiana Thompson
WRITTEN BY

Tiana Thompson

Tiana Thompson is a prolific travel writer based on Paris specializing in long-form articles, offering in-depth explorations on domestic United States and international travel.

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