Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean
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 Caribbean getaways. 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 »
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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 Baths National Park is 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, especially since some resorts are still recovering after sustaining damage from Hurricane Irma in 2017.
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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 makes it especially popular with couples.
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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 the third-largest barrier reef system 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, exploring 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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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, so you can enjoy the white sand beaches and serene sea without ruining your vacation budget.
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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 at Galley Bay Beach or seeking a more secluded, romantic vacation at Half Moon Bay, you likely won't be disappointed. Antigua even features historical attractions like Nelson's Dockyard and Betty's Hope, should you want to learn more about the island's colonial past. Plus, the island boasts some of the best resorts in the Caribbean.
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Powdery white sand, striking turquoise water and a variety of lodging options 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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St. Kitts garners its popularity in part from the soft sands and buzzing nightlife of Frigate Bay. Plus, 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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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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As one of the ABC islands (along with Aruba and Bonaire), Curacao sits outside the hurricane belt, meaning you'll find sunny, pleasant temperatures year-round. The dependable weather, along with the island's notable coral reefs, makes 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 like a sand-floored synagogue from the 17th century.
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St. Barts is known for its scenic beaches and unique French Caribbean culture, evident in its cuisine and lively annual festivals. St. Barts is also synonymous with luxury, so you'll find many high-end hotels (some of which are still undergoing renovations post-Hurricane Irma) and harbors that house mega-yachts. To save some coin, grab food at a local deli before heading to the beach for a picnic.
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Aruba appeals to all types of travelers: Gamblers can enjoy the casinos, nature lovers can check out Arikok National Park or hike through the Ayo and Casibari rock formations, scuba divers can explore the sea and beach bums can laze along the shoreline. 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 the summer months.
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Compared to its neighbors, this island 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, 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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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 45 beaches to choose from, including the popular 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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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 of Point Blanche. 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.
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