Many of the islands in the Caribbean come with the stereotypical sandy beach landscape with the oceanic breeze and crystal clear waters. With that being said, you shouldn’t just randomly pick any island at random as your next vacation destination. Each comes with its own unique perks, and your research should involve some digging into what each island offers in terms of resorts, lodging, commuting, historical landmarks and available activities.
So what are the top Caribbean destinations? Of course, any list naming the top resorts are subjective though the following islands often receive more than their fair share of rave reviews from past travelers who returned home with some very positive experiences.
There is something for every traveler in Cuba. There are endless luxury hotels and coastline resorts for the beach lover. For those that actually want to experience the city and get a realistic glimpse of life for the average citizen, Old Havana offers breathtaking views of traditional Spanish architecture and old cobbled street paths used by horse-drawn carriages. One notable landmark is the Cathedral Square, home to the town’s main Roman Catholic Church. Also within the city limits lie Plaza de Armas where many outdoor vendors cater to tourists by selling handmade items ranging bracelets to Che Guevara memorabilia.
With its combination of sand, tropical rainforests and rich history, Puerto Rico provides the perfect blend of relaxation and cultural discovery. Tourists can check out UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the forts of San Juan or take a private tour of the trails of the El Yunque rainforest. In addition, tourists can opt for accommodations at American-owned hotels, such as Marriott and Radisson, though for a more personal experience they may elect to stay at a parador. These are privately owned and reasonably priced inns usually located within distance from a historic plantation or scenic setting frequented by visitors.
The Bahamas is paradise for sea-faring adventurers who enjoy yachting, fishing, jet skiing and snorkeling. Those who prefer to stick to land can find plenty of suitable alternatives that include shopping, golfing, hiking and sun bathing. Since the Bahamas is a unit consisting of over 700 little islands, there are way too many beaches to choose from though some of the popular choices include Paradise Island where visitors can traverse the white sands of Cabbage Beach or explore Grand Bahama Island, home to the world’s largest known underground water cave system.
Though not as well-known as some of the other destinations, St. Lucia still provides plenty of fun activities that include deep-sea fishing and windsurfing. For the historical adventurist, there are plenty of cocoa houses, sugar mills and botanical gardens that make up a significant part of the island’s history. St. Lucia is perhaps best known for Reduit Beach, which stretches five miles long and perfect for long, barefoot strolls as the sun begins to set. Another popular choice is Pigeon Island National Park, a great site for those looking for a quieter scene without the raucous crowd and noise associated with the bigger name resorts.
Barbados is often considered an island for the wealthy due to its pricey resorts. However, there is also plenty to see and do for those vacationing on a more modest budget. There are plenty of guided tours to rum distilleries and sugar plantations as well as guided hikes along paved walking trails. The beaches are also something to boast about with temperatures that never stray far from the 80s and over 3,000 annual hours of warm sunlight. With a total of 60 beaches accessible to the public, there is always plentiful of activities to partake in for making your trip worthwhile.
There are 28 established island nations and approximately 7,000 individual islands in the Caribbean. Some have developed into popular resorts while others remain largely uninhabited with only occasional visitors dropping by for some peace and quiet. Whether you opt for guided tours of Cuba or a scuba diving adventure off the coast of one of the Bahamas’ many islands, the Caribbean is the household name when it comes to island resorts that make up a vacationer’s dream paradise.