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Caribbean Islands Travel Guide: Travel Tips for Visiting

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One of the most visited locations in the world is the Caribbean Islands. The island hopping ability to pursue white sand beaches and different locations makes this ideal for couples and families.

Before planning your trip to the islands, make sure you have a travel guide to the Caribbean available to help you know where to visit and what to do to maximize your experience.

Places to Visit in Caribbean Islands

1. Nassau

Crystal clear water in Nassau, Bahamas
Robert / Adobe Stock

Nassau is the capital and largest city in the Bahamas. It is located on the island of New Providence and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean. The city is known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and colonial-era buildings.

Nassau has many attractions, including the world-famous Atlantis resort on Paradise Island, the Straw Market, and Fort Charlotte. The city is a great destination for those looking for a relaxing beach getaway, as well as those looking for an exciting nightlife scene.

2. Montego Bay

Beach in Jamaica, Montego Bay
Lucky-photographer / Shutterstock

Montego Bay is a beautiful destination located on the north coast of Jamaica. The city is known for its stunning white sand beaches, crystal-clear water, and vibrant nightlife.

There are plenty of activities in Montego Bay, from lounging on the beach to exploring the local culture and cuisine. For those looking for a little adventure, there are plenty of opportunities for scuba diving, snorkeling, and sailing.

And, of course, no visit to Montego Bay would be complete without sampling some of its famous jerk chicken. With its stunning scenery and laid-back atmosphere, Montego Bay is the perfect place to relax and recharge. Whether you’re looking for a fun-filled vacation or a peaceful getaway, Montego Bay has something to offer everyone.

See Related: Best Honeymoon Destinations in the World

3. British Virgin Islands

Tropical white sand beach with beach chairs. Jost Van dyke, British Virgin Islands.
napa74 / Adobe Stock

With over 50 islands in the British Virgin Islands, there are many places to visit when you come to this part of the many Caribbean islands. There are many private beaches and resorts on these islands, some of which you pass out on a boat and may be privately owned.

Lots of large gray boulders fill these different spots in the Virgin Islands and are great for those looking for a quick adventure. Some of the biggest areas on these islands include Tortola and Anegada Island.

The Bubbly Pool is another tourist hotspot when visiting the British Virgin Islands with crystal clear waters. This is a great spot, even in the off-season.

The beaches in the Virgin Islands consist of white sand and are ideal for those looking for remoteness and seclusion.

Take advantage of the different watersports, such as yachts and sailing out in these waters. If you want to take a ferry to the different islands, some islands are great for these day trips and make for a full vacation.

Rhone National Marine Park and Sage Mountain National Park are some of the most visited National Park areas for sightseeing and hiking in the Virgin Islands. Ample shopping is also available, especially at small markets like the Sunny Caribbee Spice Shop & Art Gallery.

You can find several resorts or villas while navigating these Caribbean Sea waters on your vacation. They also seem to be pretty safe and secure during hurricane season.

See Related: Things to Do in St. Thomas

4. Cayman Islands

Aerial panorama view of the Cayman islands
andy morehouse / Shutterstock

If you want the most pristine beaches in the Caribbean, full of thick white sand, then the Cayman Islands may be the right place to visit. You can visit the Cayman Islands daily: Little Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Grand Cayman. The latter is the largest of the islands, where you will find all the traveling resort fun you are looking for on your vacation.

The beaches outside these three locations are ideal for snorkeling and swimming with dolphins if that is your idea of a good time. There are several art galleries and museums on Grand Cayman that complement your trip, giving you a history of the area. You can take a ferry to the different islands.

If you are looking for luxury services and experiences to match the beaches, then Grand Cayman’s cafe options will keep your palette excited on your trip. Enjoy different tastes of the Caribbean at one of these locations for lunch or dinner with fresh fish and produce on the table.

If you want to spend your day exploring the islands during your Caribbean travel, Cayman Brac has a shipyard that tells a mystery and gives some real excitement for those interested in natural history.

Little Cayman is more secluded and has more of a forest feel, with natural botanical gardens throughout the 10-mile stretch. They have been protected over the years during hurricane season.

5. Aruba

Sunset view on Aruba's Palm Beach
Jo Ann Snover / Adobe Stock

One of the hottest ports for cruise ships, Aruba is another destination you should consider if you are planning to travel to the Caribbean soon and want to visit. Most visitors and even Aruba residents spend their time in the water, scuba diving into the ocean as far as they can.

Some are out treasure hunting, while others are studying marine life, gaining research, and enjoying the experience of a laid-back lifestyle. When you visit Aruba as a tourist, you get to adopt this approach to life.

You will find many Aruba visitors at either Eagle Beach or Palm Beach when they want to enjoy relaxation on the beach and swim in the turquoise water. Many will be on a dive just off the coast. After traveling to the area, you may want to take some time and relax.

In the evenings, there are several casinos to enjoy and bars that will keep you busy well into the evening. Wi-Fi is available for those who need to check in with family. Even guests staying at other hotels can enjoy the casinos.

During the day, take an excursion to the Aruba Ostrich Farm or the Butterfly Farm, or go parasailing at Hadicarari Beach, where the strong winds give you an unmatched experience that other beaches and hotels cannot provide.

Aruba also has a National Park with lots of local wildlife you can see and experience. There are lots of options to dive and explore the animals or shipwrecks right off of the island. Take a ferry to explore the island, as well.

See Related: Best Places to Get Married in the World

6. Barbados

Paradise beach on the Caribbean island of Barbados
Simon Dannhauer / Adobe Stock

Between the bright blue water, beautiful rock formations, and sandy beaches, Barbados is another must-visit location if you plan to visit the Caribbean beach. Most of the beaches on this island have not been developed, so they are more natural than some of the other Caribbean Islands, which have some dated hotels.

Many who enjoy hitting the green on the beach find Barbados delightful because several golf courses are available.

Surfers also take to the island because of the natural wind and waves found daily at the beaches. It is safe to say that Barbados is an active island, and if you visit, you should plan to be busy throughout the day at the beach.

While all the free surfing in Barbados makes it a great destination, the history found throughout this island is astounding. Hunte’s Gardens offers some of the most lucrative botanical gardens in the entire Caribbean.

You can even go underground to Harrison’s Cave and explore one of the world’s natural wonders for several hours. The historical buildings and townships give the island a living history and can keep you busy for your trip.

7. Take in all of Jamaican Culture

View of a resort on the tropical beach of Runaway Bay in Jamaica
Giongi63 / Shutterstock.com

Probably one of the most famous locations in the Caribbean is Jamaica and the different attractions it offers visitors coming to the area. Jamaica is both family-friendly and couple-friendly, with lots of things to do throughout the day and giving visitors that resort experience.

In the capital of Jamaica, Kingston, there are mountains, gardens, and beaches that have a number of activities to enjoy. Dunn’s River Falls and Park is probably one of the most visited areas in the country throughout the year.

There are tours available for the whole day or half day, and you can even choose your transportation. Buses, off-road vehicles, and boats allow guests to travel around the island and enjoy the natural beauty offered.

Water sports like river rapids, snorkeling, and riding horses in the ocean are some of the most sought-after experiences on the island.

See Related: Best All-Inclusive Family Resorts in Jamaica

8. Trinidad and Tobago

Mount Irvine Beach and Skyline

Trinidad and Tobago is ideal for those who enjoy walking and biking throughout the trip. Many habitats are found throughout this island, filled with exotic birds native to the area.

Just a few minutes of walking through one of these habitats, you will see over a dozen birds to enjoy. At Fort George in Trinidad, there are lots of monuments and memorials to enjoy reflecting on the colonial history of the island.

If you are looking for that textbook Caribbean experience of coconut trees, white sand, and endless beach, then Pigeon Point is a great place to spend one of your afternoons relaxing. Buccoo Reef is nearby and a great spot for snorkeling.

Another great reason to visit Trinidad and Tobago is that it is budget-friendly, allowing visitors to get more experience for their money compared to other islands.

9. St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Mayreau beach in St-Vincent and the Grenadines  Aerial view
Erwin Barbé/ Adobe Stock

One of the lesser-known locations in the Caribbean Islands is St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It is more south than some popular islands and right in the center of the hurricane belt, but it is a pretty great spot during peak season.

If you are traveling to Saint Vincent, you are in for a treat, as these islands are a little different than the others because they are volcanic islands that have created some beautiful beaches for visitors to enjoy.

There isn’t quite as much to do in St. Vincent and the Grenadines as in the other islands, as many visitors take advantage of the laid-back approach and become beach bums for most of their stay. It offers some of the most remote beaches and caves to explore.

10. Saint Lucia Island

Beautiful white beach in Saint Lucia, Caribbean Islands
Solarisys / Shutterstock

If you are considering adding Saint Lucia Island to your list of places to visit, remember that this location is often considered a honeymoon destination in the Lesser Antilles Islands with laid-back vibes.

While kids are allowed on the island, the atmosphere is geared more towards adults and that lavish lifestyle of relaxation, having drinks at your disposal, and many unique food options.

Several luxury resorts on the island are all-inclusive and have features such as full spa treatments, casinos, and golf courses that make for great Caribbean travel.

The island’s ability to offer these different features to visitors makes it one of the best places to visit in the Caribbean. Wineries, breweries, and small tour excursions are available daily throughout the island and can easily be booked through the resort.

The nightlife in Saint Lucia is also one of the most active, which is reason enough to mark it as one of your stops while traveling to the area.

11. Saint Kitts

Saint Kitts Island Aerial View

If you want mountains to balance out your beaches while visiting, St Kitts may be the right spot. There are two islands in this country, and the sugar plantations that once filled this island during its colonial period have been renovated and repurposed as the inns where visitors stay when they come to their island.

Numerous hiking trails on the island through the mountains keep guests busy throughout the day when they are looking for adventure.

See Related: Most Popular Tourist Destinations

12. Antigua

Yacht basin in Antigua from hills
dbvirago / Adobe Stock

Antigua is home to Nelson’s Dockyard, frigate birds, and lots of sailing. This slice of heaven has white sandy beaches and swaying palms as far as the eye can see. It is located along English Harbour and has a long history with visitors who see the dockyard and the military fort, Shirley Heights.

Antigua is also home to one of the most famous white sand beaches in the Caribbean, Half Moon Bay, which has some of the best sunset views and is located perfectly as a destination. It has a nice balance between remoteness and being close to the capital.

Antigua is also one of the more budget-friendly locations that are great for those looking for a quick getaway or a family vacation where they can enjoy activities, views, and lots of great memories.

13. Tour all of the Bahamas

Aerial of Beautiful Bahamas Island
FotosForTheFuture / Shutterstock

Definitely a location with some of the best beaches for a Caribbean vacation, the Bahamas offers the balance of remote islands and the excitement of the large city.

The Bahamas is one of the popular Caribbean destinations that attract visitors by plane who stay for a while and others from cruise ships who visit the Bahamas for a day. Visit the Out Islands and head to Pig Beach to experience a once-in-a-lifetime Caribbean opportunity.

Among the many Caribbean islands, the Bahamas is probably the most visited and featured as a top destination in any Caribbean travel guide. Most regular flights into the Caribbean islands will come through the airport in the Bahamas.

The Bahamas offers family-friendly options, with lots of water sports and activities available at all the different resorts on the island. This Caribbean island also has lots of dining and shopping options available when you want days to relax and enjoy the local specialties. Compared to other Caribbean destinations, the Bahamas offers more options for fun and entertainment.

Where to stay in the Caribbean Islands

The Coral Hotel at Atlantis Resort aerial view with Nassau downtown at the background on Paradise Island, Bahamas
Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock

While there are many hotels, villas, and resorts listed throughout the Caribbean Islands, you need to ensure you are staying in a location that is safe for international travelers and provides accommodations for visitors coming from North America.

These locations match the health standards for food and lodging and maintain a high level of security on the property when you visit the Caribbean, which can be found in most Caribbean travel guide options.

How to Get Around

Nassau downtown and Nassau Port
Wangkun Jia / Adobe Stock

Before you make it to the Caribbean Islands, you must know how you will travel. Many of the larger islands in the Caribbean have public transportation like buses, but there are also options for renting cars of your choice so that you can drive at your leisure.

It is important to note that you cannot take these cars off the island. You also have the option of taking boats and ferries for transportation between different islands while you are traveling.

If you want to take one of the small planes from one island hop to the next, you can do so with a short flight at one of the small airports. Pilots in the larger cities are ready to offer rides so that you can get to your destinations on time and before sunset. You can also take direct flights to the Caribbean from different locations.

See Related: Best Dutch Caribbean Islands to Visit

Travel Tips for Visiting the Caribbean Islands

There is no other place in the world like the Caribbean Islands, so you must keep a few things in mind before visiting the islands of your choice.

1. Secure Travel Insurance

Travel insurance form and travel tickets
REDPIXEL / Adobe Stock

As beautiful as all the different Caribbean islands are, all of these islands fall directly in the hurricane belt. This means that from June to November, there is a chance of a terrible storm happening that could damage an island and stop your trip before it ever gets started. Use VisitorsCoverage to find the best possible policy to fit your needs for the best price.

With travel insurance, you can get the funds invested into the Caribbean trip back so that you are not out thousands of dollars when disaster strikes the area. You can also secure health insurance on your travel insurance policy, which is great if you or a loved one gets sick while traveling.

This insurance policy will help cover any medical expenses so you do not have to worry about finances or other concerns. Travel insurance is budget-friendly and should be purchased with all trips, no matter where you are traveling or who is coming.

2. Prepare for the Wind

Panoramic view of tropical shoreline in British Virgin Island (BVI), Caribbean
Guido Amrein Switzerland / Shutterstock

When you see those swaying palms in videos and pictures of the beach in the Caribbean travel guide, this foreshadows that the wind will be waiting for you when you arrive on the islands.

Some days, the wind can be rough and even give you burns on your body from being in it for too long. With Columbia’s wind shell jackets, you can have a light option that keeps the wind off your body while keeping you cool. This is essential for those hiking in the forests and going up high elevations.

3. Secure Your Money

Travel savings jar with cash and travel accessories
Kittiphan / Adobe Stock

When traveling, especially while on excursions into unknown areas, you must secure your money in different places on your person. While you can have some cash in your purse or bag, having one or more cards tucked away securely under your clothes or in your shoes is important.

If you lose your bag on your excursion or it is taken, you have emergency funds to carry you until you can cancel any cards taken, and you will not be without money.

It is also a good idea to make sure some of the money you bring is in cash. Not all places accept credit cards, and the transaction fees can make it pretty expensive to make purchases. Having cash on hand is great, especially when you are visiting small villages that only trade in physical money.

See Related: Travel Hacking 101: How to Get Free Flights and Save Money

4. Keep a Lot of Water Nearby

Two colorful reusable water bottles
Kim Magaraci / ViaTravelers

Because it is always warm in the Caribbean, you can expect to sweat and experience summer weather at all times. This means you must have lots of drinking water on hand, keeping bottled water in your room and with you at all times.

Not all the islands use the same filtration process for their water on the island, so bottled water is always a safe option when deciding what to drink. Whether you are hiking or just spending an afternoon on the beach, you need to have water accessible, giving yourself at least three bottles per person while you are outdoors in the Caribbean.

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