Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean
A trip to the Caribbean may be just what you need if you're in search of some sun, sand and relaxation. Based on user votes and expert insights, plus factors like accessibility to beaches, tourist attractions and comfortable accommodations, U.S. News compiled a list of the best places to visit in the Caribbean for a getaway. Help us evaluate next year's top places by voting for your favorite destinations. And if you're heading to these ports of call by way of a cruise, visit our ranking of the Best Cruise Lines in the Caribbean or check out these Caribbean cruise deals. (Note: Some of the below destinations may be affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Check with the CDC and the U.S. Department of State before traveling.)
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Visit St. Lucia for its sprawling chalk-colored beaches, towering volcanic peaks and upscale resorts. You can start your day with a hiking adventure through the Piton Mountains, soak up some midday sun along Reduit Beach and watch the sun set over the Caribbean Sea. You'll want to also save time for a visit to Sulphur Springs, the world's only drive-in volcano. St. Lucia's plethora of romantic luxury hotels, most of which offer incredible views, makes this Caribbean escape especially popular with couples.
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"Posh" is the best word to describe the British Virgin Islands. The shoreline at Cane Garden Bay is particularly picturesque, the white sand beaches on Anegada island are stunning and the boulders and sea pools at The Baths National Park are mystifying. One of the best ways to see these scenic islands is by yacht or on a boat tour from the nearby U.S. Virgin Islands. You can also choose to relax in one of the islands' upscale hotels, but keep in mind that some resorts are still recovering after sustaining damage from hurricanes in 2017.
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Spring is the time to travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands, particularly in late April when the boisterous Carnival season in St. Thomas gets underway. Spend the day enjoying the unspoiled beauty of one of the many beaches along St. John's shoreline, or visit a St. Croix fort for a bit of history while on vacation. The best part? Americans don't need a passport to visit these Caribbean islands.
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Travel to the Turks and Caicos Islands to see some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, including Grace Bay. Home to one of the largest barrier reef systems in the world, this collection of coral islands also offers unforgettable experiences for snorkelers and scuba divers. Whether you choose to spend the bulk of your time on land or underwater, these islands make a wonderful retreat for those seeking maximum comfort in a tropical setting, though hotel prices can be higher here than in other Caribbean locales, especially during the peak winter season.
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Comprising 32 islands, St. Vincent and the Grenadines has something to offer every traveler. Enjoy time on the biggest island of St. Vincent in its capital and port city, Kingstown, where you'll find a lush botanical garden and fresh fish and produce markets. Then, hop on a boat and sail between the many other remote land masses for diving, snorkeling, golfing, sunbathing and photo opportunities. No matter how you choose to pass the time, a trip to this destination will be one for the books.
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Antigua is home to a wealth of diverse beaches – 365, to be exact. So whether you're interested in surfing and water sports activities at Galley Bay Beach or seeking a more secluded, romantic vacation at Half Moon Bay, you likely won't be disappointed. Antigua also boasts historical attractions like Nelson's Dockyard and Betty's Hope, should you want to learn more about the island's colonial past. Plus, Antigua is where you'll find some of the best resorts in the Caribbean.
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While you'll certainly find the standard Caribbean staples – sandy beaches, verdant golf courses, duty-free shops and palatial resorts – you'll also discover that Barbados offers a distinctly unique flair. Travel here to sample bittersweet Mount Gay Rum, explore limestone caverns, attend a horse race and dance to calypso tunes. Don't forget to save time for exploring the island's historical plantation houses and exotic tropical gardens.
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One of the most scenic spots in the Caribbean, the Cayman Islands is home to premier dive sites, including Eden Rock and Devil's Grotto, and plenty of crescent-shaped shorelines. For travelers only willing to go knee-deep, there's Stingray City, which offers clear water, a shallow sandbar and opportunities to swim with stingrays. This archipelago features some great hotel deals and affordable vacation rentals compared to other Caribbean islands, so you can enjoy the white sand beaches and serene sea without ruining your vacation budget.
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As one of the ABC islands (along with Aruba and Bonaire), Curacao sits outside of the hurricane belt, meaning you'll find sunny, pleasant temperatures year-round and little threat from swirling storms that can wreak havoc in the Caribbean. The dependable weather and notable coral reefs make Curacao a top destination for divers, snorkelers and beach bums. Plus, this Dutch Caribbean locale boasts a lively capital filled with pastel-colored architecture and culturally significant sights, such as a sand-floored synagogue from the 17th century.
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St. Kitts garners its popularity in part from the soft sands and buzzing nightlife of Frigate Bay. While many choose to vacation here to relax at a resort on the beach and enjoy delicious cuisine (think: tasty seafood and fresh fruit), this destination offers plenty in the way of culture as well. It hosts excellent festivals like the St. Kitts & Nevis National Carnival and the St. Kitts Music Festival. When you need a break from the action, hop on a ferry for a daytrip to the quieter island of Nevis, where you'll find Oualie and Pinney's beaches.
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Compared to its neighbors, this group of islands has flown under the radar for years but is worth a visit. In this French Caribbean archipelago, you'll discover beaches with white, golden or black sand. Plus, more than 70% of Guadeloupe's territory is protected nature reserves, making it perfect for ecotourists and scuba divers, as well as those looking to avoid the crowded resorts of more popular Caribbean destinations.
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St. Barts is known for its scenic beaches (from beautiful Grande Saline Beach to sprawling Flamands Beach) and unique French Caribbean culture, which is evident in its cuisine and lively annual festivals. St. Barts is also synonymous with luxury, so you'll find many high-end hotels and upscale resorts here, plus harbors that house mega-yachts. To save some coin, grab food at a local supermarket before heading to the beach for a picnic.
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The bright colors of St. George's harbor in Grenada offer a view well worth enjoying. But don't stay in one spot for too long – Grenada has more than 45 beaches to choose from, including 2-mile-long Grand Anse Beach. Regardless of which shoreline you choose, you'll find clear water and white sand surrounded by lush greenery. If you need a break from the sand, head to Belmont Estate for a spice tour or stretch your legs on Grand Etang National Park & Forest Reserve's hiking trails.
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Aruba appeals to all types of travelers: Gamblers can hit the casinos, nature enthusiasts can check out Arikok National Park or hike through the Ayo and Casibari rock formations, and water lovers can explore the sea or hop on a boat tour. Meanwhile, beach bums can soak up some sun along the shoreline on a lounge chair, typically without overheating thanks to the constant breeze Aruba enjoys. What's more, this island lies outside the hurricane belt, so it's an ideal place to visit year-round, though room rates are generally lowest during summer.
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Powdery white sand, striking turquoise water and a variety of lodging options (from bed-and-breakfast accommodations to boutique properties to luxe hotels) make Anguilla an extremely popular Caribbean vacation destination. The island enjoys warm weather year-round, and even though it's just 16 miles long, Anguilla is home to dozens of pristine beaches. Visit Meads Bay and Rendezvous Bay if you're looking to escape the crowds found at Shoal Bay East.
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You'll find first-rate beaches and plenty of activities on St. Martin-St. Maarten, as well as an assortment of hotel options and vacation rentals for all budgets. Experienced and first-time scuba divers can explore the reefs, shipwrecks, sea life and rock formations that surround the island. Meanwhile, foodies can savor fresh seafood dishes (think: conch and dumplings, codfish fritters and whelk soup) and French-Creole specialties, such as callaloo (kale and spinach soup) and barbecue spare ribs, at one of the open-air lolos located along the shore.
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Home to towering mountains, dense rainforests, colorful coral reefs and stunning beaches, Jamaica's diverse scenery attracts a variety of visitors. Adventurous travelers can hike, rock climb or dive while beach bums lounge on Seven Mile Beach's soft white sand or swim in its clear water. For an authentic dose of local culture, head to Kingston (the island's capital) to attend a lively festival, listen to reggae tunes and try local specialties like Blue Mountain Rum and jerk chicken. Those looking for fun and relaxation should stay at one of the island's top all-inclusive resorts.
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