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9 Top Experiences to Consider for Your Next Caribbean Vacation

Don't skip these can't-miss attractions and activities on your next trip.

U.S. News & World Report

9 Top Experiences to Consider for Your Next Caribbean Vacation

Caribbean Adventure Composite
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(Getty Images/Claire Volkman)

Discover striking landscapes, natural splendors and captivating cultures on a trip to remember.

Decorated with lush rainforests, rugged volcano peaks and miles of unspoiled beaches, the Caribbean offers plenty of natural allures. More than just idyllic natural beauty, the Caribbean's extraordinary islands fuse together some of the world's most fascinating and ever-evolving cultures. While the warm waters of the Caribbean bond these people and their islands together, each place couldn't be more different – from Cuba's complicated streets to the Bahamas' technicolor beaches. Whether you've been to an island before or are visiting this region for the first time, these distinct experiences offer the chance to soak up the diverse and magnificent splendors and cultures of the Caribbean.
Swimming pigs of Exumas
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(Getty Images)

Swim with pigs in Exuma.

A social media phenomenon, the famous swimming pigs on Grand Exuma in the Bahamas blend two amazing activities into one: swimming in warm waters and mingling with local wildlife. However cute, the pigs are wild, so always keep a safe distance when snorkeling and swimming alongside them. As for accommodations, book a stay at the Grand Isle Resort & Spa in Emerald Bay, home to 78 seaside villas and an all-inclusive package that includes swimming with pigs.
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Discover striking landscapes, natural splendors and captivating cultures on a trip to remember.

Decorated with lush rainforests, rugged volcano peaks and miles of unspoiled beaches, the Caribbean offers plenty of natural allures. More than just idyllic natural beauty, the Caribbean's extraordinary islands fuse together some of the world's most fascinating and ever-evolving cultures. While the warm waters of the Caribbean bond these people and their islands together, each place couldn't be more different – from Cuba's complicated streets to the Bahamas' technicolor beaches. Whether you've been to an island before or are visiting this region for the first time, these distinct experiences offer the chance to soak up the diverse and magnificent splendors and cultures of the Caribbean.

Swim with pigs in Exuma.

A social media phenomenon, the famous swimming pigs on Grand Exuma in the Bahamas blend two amazing activities into one: swimming in warm waters and mingling with local wildlife. However cute, the pigs are wild, so always keep a safe distance when snorkeling and swimming alongside them. As for accommodations, book a stay at the Grand Isle Resort & Spa in Emerald Bay, home to 78 seaside villas and an all-inclusive package that includes swimming with pigs.

Charter a million-dollar sailboat in St. Maarten.

Have you always wondered what it's like to sail through the mint-hued waters of the Caribbean on a private yacht? If you sail with Princess Cruises to the Caribbean, this dream can become a reality. The cruise line offers an excursion from St. Maarten that lets you race the America's Cup yachts across the Caribbean. You'll compete against other crews in one of the top sporting events in the world. Whether you win or lose, you'll be rewarded with a victory ceremony and a post-race rum punch.

Visit the El Yunque National Rainforest in Puerto Rico.

Soaring high above Puerto Rico's colonial towns is the enchanting El Yunque National Rainforest. To reach the cloud forest and lush collection of trees, you'll have to drive to the top of the road and then hike into the haze and fog. Though difficult, the Dwarf Forest hike affords incredible views – from the cascading waterfalls plummeting off the rugged mountains to the crescent-shaped bay from atop the mountain. Plus, the walk gets you close to rare wildlife and plants in the area.

Sail through St. Lucia's Pitons.

St. Lucia's majestic Pitons are by far the most famous landmark on the island. Although many hotels, like Jade Mountain Resort, overlook the dramatic Gros Piton and Petit Piton (a UNESCO World Heritage site), one of the best ways to explore these unique land formations composed of volcanic material is by boat. Watch the mountains change colors during a sunset catamaran cruise, which takes you in between the staggering Gros and Petit peaks.

Hike Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica.

Dunn's River Falls is a captivating waterfall and park located in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The main attraction is the 600-foot waterfall, which many tourists climb from the beach entrance of the park. The smooth rocks, which are constantly regenerating from deposits of travertine rock, are a result of the precipitation of calcium carbonate from the river as it pours over the falls. In order to climb up the falls, you'll need to pay a small admission fee and rent or bring water shoes so you don't slip as you climb.

Take a car ride through Old Havana, Cuba.

Steeped in history and recently opened to U.S. tourists, Old Havana's picture-perfect façade conceals its resilience after a challenging and oppressive reign. A tour through Havana's pastel-colored buildings is a must, especially in the back of a vintage car. Albeit a little kitschy, the tours still offer visitors the chance to enjoy a glimpse into what it's like to actually live, and work, in Cuba with born-and-bred Cubans.

Soak up the rays on Bávaro Beach in the Dominican Republic.

You'd be remiss if you visited the Dominican Republic and didn't spent at least one day lounging on its palm-flanked beaches. Consistently rated as one of the top beaches in the world, Bávaro Beach on Punta Cana's picturesque shoreline is the perfect place to sink your toes into the sugary sands and catch crystal blue waves. Plus, you'll find plenty of golf courses nearby, not to mention wildlife and a wealth of all-inclusives.

Uncover the cave systems of Barbados.

A picturesque cluster of stalactites and stalagmites, Harrison's Cave in Barbados is one of the most popular attractions on the island. Formed over thousands of years, these breathtaking rock formations are even more beautiful against the thundering waterfalls and emerald-colored lagoons below. The caves are open daily, and the central location (about 5 miles from Bathsheba Beach along Barbados' east coast), offer a memorable experience for Barbados visitors.

Snorkel with stingrays in Grand Cayman.

The Cayman Islands have long been regaled for their kaleidoscope of marine and coral life, making it one of the top places in the Caribbean to strap on a snorkel mask. Stingray City, a collection of shallow sandbars in Grand Cayman's North Sound area, is especially iconic. Here, you can wade, snorkel or swim alongside graceful stingrays. Plus, the tame rays will even allow you to feed them, coming to you for a snack as you swim.
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