6 Hidden Gems in the Caribbean Sea (You Can’t Miss)

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Hidden Gems in the Caribbean

The Caribbean Sea has so many beautiful islands, making it a popular tourist destination year after year. Moreover, some true hidden gems in the Caribbean await to welcome you with open arms.

While some Caribbean islands have fallen prey to over-tourism, some fairly secret Caribbean islands remain. There are still many options remaining that have been left unspoiled and unscathed by over-development. They can still serve quiet white sand beaches, uncrowded natural habitats, and empty crystal clear waters.

In this article, we’ll divert away from the more well-known hot spots of the Caribbean islands. Instead, we’ll cover some of the most underrated Caribbean islands that can promise a quieter and more authentic visit.

TL;DR

Island Best Suited Traveler Best of
Dominica Nature Enthusiast Scenic hikes and untouched landscapes
Grenada Spice and Food Lover Aromatic spice plantations and local cuisine
Saba Adventure Seeker Challenging diving spots and stunning vistas
Anguilla Beach Lover Pristine white sandy beaches and turquoise waters
Montserrat Volcano Enthusiast Exploring an active volcano and lush landscapes


Best Hidden Gems in the Caribbean to Visit

1. Jost Van Dyke – British Virgin Islands

Virgin Gorda of British Virgin Islands

This small but lovely island is one of the most underrated secrets of the Caribbean and the perfect spot to go on a family vacation. But with such friendly locals to interact with, it’s also a great shout for solo travelers.

As there are less than 400 inhabitants on the island, there won’t be a lot of distractions here. It is a perfect place to walk around, swim in a warm-water sea for snorkeling, or enjoy fresh seafood in local restaurants.

Jost Van Dyke provides ultimate peace with no loud music or traffic, just you and the Caribbean. But if you did want to do something other than relax, drink good rum, and eat great seafood, the island does offer plenty more. There are catamaran tours on its calm ocean waters or plenty of well-marked hiking.

Ocean View Villas provides a private beachfront home away from home in this wonderful tropical paradise. Enjoy the views of the closest beach, a mere 700 meters away, or the surrounding mountains. Of course, it comes with home comforts like Wi-Fi and a fully equipped kitchen, so it is a great option for families.

Aerial View of Black Rocks and Sea cliffs

How to get here

You might have never heard about this archipelago before, so you might wonder how to reach this small but fascinating paradise. Well, the only way to get here is by water.

Your first option is to make your way to St. Thomas Airport, which is the closest terminal to Jost Van Dyke. Once in St. Thomas, you must take a taxi to Red Hook, about 25 minutes from the airport.

When you get there, boats to Jost will lead you to start your dream vacation. The journey by boat between Red Hook and Jost takes around 30 minutes.

Another way to get to Jost is by ferry from Great Harbour in Tortola, the capital of the British Virgin Islands. Ferries cross around Jost daily.

See Related: Best Beaches in St. Thomas for Snorkeling

2. Saint Kitts – Saint Kitts and Nevis

Panoramic View of St. Kitts

Such an underrated island, Saint Kitts is another hidden gem for tourists in the Caribbean. This island is just right there waiting for you to discover it. Saint Kitts’ marvelous beaches make it one of a kind, so pack your bag and see it for yourself.

Just over 40,000 people call St. Kitts home, and their kind welcome and hospitality will make you feel right at home. Moreover, the island offers many diverse activities for you to try out. Zipline through the canopies for an adrenaline rush, hire a private catamaran for top-tier snorkeling or venture further inland on a railway adventure.

The Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a notable attraction on the island. This well-conserved Fortress is one of the largest fortifications in the Americas continent, so, naturally, it’s a popular tourist hot spot on the island of St. Kitts.

It’s also worth looking further at the neighboring island, Nevis. It’s a 45-minute boat ride away, but a great idea for a day trip from St Kitts. There are many options for things to do on a visit to Nevis, but for a fleeting day trip, a highlights tour is a great idea to get a solid impression of the island.

Sunset Reef St. Kitts is a sustainable, 5-star beachfront accommodation resort in St. Kitts that offers the ultimate getaway. Enjoy ocean views from the outdoor swimming pool and the clear night sky from the hot tub. It’s a short walk from Central Forest Reserve National Park and a great starting point for energetic hiking trips.

Basseterre of St. Kitts and Nevis at Night

How to Get Here

St Kitts is incredibly accessible and easy to get to. You can get to St Kitts by direct flights from the United States, Canada, and the European continent. Non-stop flights go to the Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw International Airport daily. So, you don’t have any excuse not to visit this hidden gem in the Caribbean.

See Related: Cheapest Islands To Visit For Vacation

3. Bonaire

Aerial View of the Caribbean Bonaire

Bonaire is one of the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao) located just 80 km off the coast of Venezuela. However, Bonaire is by far the least popular of the three. Aruba and Curacao attract more visitors yearly because they are larger islands with more varieties for tourism.

Nonetheless, many people don’t know that Bonaire also provides nice alternatives. If you plan a trip to the Caribbean, this could be your opportunity to explore such a fascinating island.

Here, you can explore the coral reefs on the seashore and try scuba diving and snorkeling. This country is well-known for having 86 dive sites, making Bonaire a shore diving heaven.

But if you are considering diving in Bonaire, consider the pay monthly budget-friendly SafetyWing travel insurance. It covers scuba diving so you can confidently enjoy your time under the waves.

For adults-only peace, Sonrisa Boutique Hotel is just a short walk to the closest beach and offers 4-star comfort. This boutique hotel offers a unique sleep, drive, and dive package for the best possible visit you could hope for. Make the most of their privately owned rental cars to explore the island or enjoy other activities like diving with their on-site rental equipment.

Sunset in Bonaire

How to get here

The island is accessible by air to the Flamingo International Airport. You can arrive here from all Latin American countries, Canada, the United States, and Europe.

See Related: Best Scuba Travel Insurance Options for Divers

4) La Tortuga Island – Venezuela

Clear Ocean Water on La Tortuga Island, Venezuela
Paolo / Adobe Stock

Isolated and waiting for visitors, La Tortuga Island is another underrated Caribbean Island. This archipelago does not get the acclaim it deserves, while other nearby islands like Aruba generally get much more attention. But because of this lack of public claim, La Tortuga Island remains one of the least crowded Caribbean Islands because of its lack of publicity.

Just a few kilometers off the coast of Venezuela, La Tortuga will make you fall in love immediately. This is the best spot to find your inner calm with its clean, crystalline water and few people.

You may think this is a dangerous place because it is so close to mainland Venezuela, and if you are aware of what’s going on, you probably know this country has one of the highest crime rates on earth. But there is nothing to fear as the island is still a great vacation destination and far away from the problems on the mainland.

You won’t find any hotels on La Tortuga, but you’ll be pleased to know if you have your heart set on visiting, you do have camping as a backup option. Campamento Alastour offers a great three-day ecotour to camp out on the beach and indulge in a true Caribbean jewel.

There are so many opportunities in the Caribbean, but La Tortuga has a chance to be one of the best

How to get there

The fastest way to get to La Tortuga is by lightweight aircraft from Caracas Airport. However, most people decide to go there by boat from Higuerote Port, nearby Caracas, because it is cheaper and you will also potentially have the chance to spot some dolphins.

The journey from Higuerote Port to La Tortuga lasted about 4 hours. And when you finally arrive, you won’t want to quit this place again.

See Related: Where to Stay in Aruba

5. Culebra, Puerto Rico

Culebra Island in Culebra, Puerto Rico
ArenaCreative / Adobe Stock

Culebra Island lies 30 km east of Puerto Rico and is fairly small at only 10 square miles. Its got a small population of around 2,000 individuals, and tourism is a main earner for the locals.

It’s a great spot to enjoy nature, boasting amazing bird-watching opportunities, especially at the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge, which protects around 85 species of birds. There’s also the chance to see sea turtles lay their eggs on its quiet sandy shores or see them out at sea while snorkeling.

The island is a popular weekend spot for those traveling from Puerto Rico, but it’s worth sticking around and staying on the island for a truly peaceful getaway.

For a dream tropical getaway, consider a stay at Club Seabourne Hotel. The hotel offers stunning gardens and ocean-view rooms. A stay at Club Seabourne will allow you to enjoy all the island’s fun through the hotel’s watersports facilities.

Boat exploring the Culebra Island
Alisha / Adobe Stock

How to get here

Ferries are available twice daily from nearby Fajardo, Puerto Rico. Otherwise, you can access Culebra via flights into its small domestic airport from San Juan. Look for Air Culebra Airlines to book your flights from Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport, San Juan.

See Related: Best Resorts in Puerto Rico

6. Barbuda

Plage de Coco Point in Barbuda Island
Jean-Marie MAILLET / Adobe Stock

The island of Barbuda is the final addition to this list of often unexplored Caribbean treasures. Often referred to as Antigua’s sister island, Barbuda makes up a three-island state with Antigua and Redonda. There’s only one small village on the island, and it remains mostly untouched by tourism.

Barbuda is an ideal island for bird watching and actually has the largest colony of frigate birds in the western hemisphere (the snazzy-looking birds that puff up their brightly colored red chests). For nature lovers, the Codrington Lagoon National Park is a must-see and is a haven for about 2,500 frigate birds, as well as other species like pelicans and tropical mockingbirds.

Barbuda has wild, rugged beaches rich with driftwood and seashells on one side and pink sandy beaches ideal for lounging around on the other. The island is a great place for winding down and living in a bubble from the rest of the world; it’s not a party island but a chance for rejuvenation and relaxation.

Opt to stay in a wonderfully placed self-contained beachhouse with unspoiled sea views to wake up to each morning. Drink your coffee on your private deck with un-broken silence save the gently crashing waves just a few steps away.

Princess Diana Beach in Barbuda Island
Tamara / Adobe Stock

How to get here

To get to Barbuda, first make your way to nearby Antigua. From Antigua, you can take the Barbuda Express Ferry for the 90-minute ferry journey between the two islands.

See Related: Best Islands to Visit Around the World

FAQs

What is the least crowded island in the Caribbean?

Montserrat is not only one of the least visited Caribbean Islands, it’s one of the least visited destinations in the world. This small volcanic island suffered some damage in the ’90s from volcanic eruptions, leading to most of the island having to relocate or leave the island altogether. Since then, it’s been re-born and is, for now, one of the least crowded Caribbean islands.

Another quiet Caribbean island is Culebra, lying 30km from Puerto Rico. Culebra only has a small population of just over 1,000 people.

This paradise island has perfect white sand beaches with natural beauty and a quiet tourism scene. Most of the island is a natural refuge, and locals have managed to save this tiny island from overdevelopment.

Where is the safest Caribbean vacation?

St. Barths is a top option for those looking for the safest Caribbean vacation. It boasts a below-average crime rate and a zero-percent murder rate. St. Barths is not only undeniably beautiful, but it is one of the safest spots in the world to choose for your next vacation.

Where are the most secluded Caribbean resorts?

Head to Oil Nut Bay in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands, for one of the best Caribbean island resorts that provide a little slice of luxurious seclusion. This resort is only accessible via boat or helicopter.

It offers numerous water sports activities as well as a butler service for optimal comfort. What’s more, you have the most luxurious villas to retreat to at the end of it all to recharge.

Of course, many other great options exist for a secluded Caribbean vacation. For more inspiration, Turn your attention to other great resorts, like Yemaya Reefs in Nicaragua or Hotel Le Toiny in St. Barths.

Related Resources

Lisa Ward
WRITTEN BY

Lisa Ward

Lisa Ward is a travel writer based in Jersey. She loves hiking and adventure travel and has hiked to Everest Base Camp and Machu Picchu, as well as through Patagonia and up several volcanoes across the world. Lisa cycled down Death Road in Bolivia, went canyoneering in Costa Rica, climbed canopies in Honduras. That school trip to Honduras sparked Lisa’s interest in the underwater world. She has since undergone basic training in biological research concerning marine conservation, most notably that of coral reefs. She is a PADI qualified Rescue Diver with a specialty in underwater photography. So far, she has dived in Jersey, Honduras, Indonesia, and the Great Barrier Reef.

After gaining her law degree and falling into the world of finance, Lisa gained a qualification in digital marketing before deciding to take the leap into writing full time. Lisa is also a trained English Language tutor with a TEFL qualification and specialty qualifications in teaching online and 1-1. Other interests include playing the clarinet, which Lisa played in orchestras from the age of 10 to 19, martial arts (black belt in karate), and quite literally anything outdoors.

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