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The islands in the Caribbean Sea are rich in culture and natural beauty. As a popular destination for tourists and other travelers, you may be considering a tropical trip to these islands for your next vacation. With over 700 islands, reefs, cays and other lands, there’s plenty to explore. Every destination offers unique benefits to ensure you have a dream vacation. Check out these top twelve best Caribbean islands to find the perfect fit for your travels.
1. U.S. Virgin Islands
Enjoy pristine natural beauty on any of the U.S. Virgin Islands — St. John’s, St. Thomas and St. Croix. You can visit in the spring to experience the famous and fabulous Carnival season, relax along the beaches or explore old forts to learn about the region’s history. Since these islands are part of the U.S., American citizens don’t need a passport to visit this tropical paradise!
The easternmost of the Caribbean islands, Barbados has something for everyone. You can take in the beautiful coastlines you’ve come to expect at every Caribbean destination before exploring Barbados’ unique offerings, like limestone caverns and botanical gardens. Barbados is also famous for its rum — visit the Mount Gay Rum Distillery for the full experience.
3. Turks and Caicos
The Turks and Caicos are among the most popular destinations in the Caribbean. Known for luxurious resorts and A-list tourists, you can enjoy the sandy beaches and beautiful blue sea at some of the finest resorts in the region.
With the largest barrier reef system in the world, these islands are a favorite spot for scuba divers and snorkelers. Grab your gear and get ready to discover the gorgeous underwater world of the Caribbean at the Turks and Caicos.
4. St. Lucia
One of the Caribbean’s 13 independent countries, St. Lucia is one of the most beautiful locales in the world. Whether you want to relax on the beach during your honeymoon or hike through scenic mountains, this island has everything you’re looking for. Explore local nature trails and explore the Pitons, a pair of volcanic spires that provide unparalleled views of the ocean.
5. British Virgin Islands
If you love sailing the high seas, the British Virgin Islands might be the perfect destination for you. This British territory is known the world over for its sailing, marinas, yacht clubs and other nautical amenities.
When you visit the BVI, you can also expect to enjoy the unparalleled beauty of warm beaches and lush wildlife. Check out the Baths National Park for an otherworldly trip to a beach with giant granite boulders and bright blue waters.
Reggae, festivals, coffee and rum — it’s clear what makes Jamaica a top destination for travelers from all over the world. Find your own rhythm when you visit Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, or dive into snorkeling and scuba diving in the town of Negril. Book a stay at one of the country’s many all-inclusive resorts to enjoy every minute of your time by the water.
7. St. Barts
If you want to explore French Caribbean culture in style, Saint Barthelemy — commonly known as St. Barts — is the place to be. This high-end destination is popular among the rich and famous. It’s full of designer shops, harbors full of mega-yachts and upscale restaurants. Take in the festive atmosphere and enjoy living in luxury with a vacation to St. Barts.
8. Cayman Islands
Known for clear water and excellent diving opportunities, the Cayman Islands are a great place to splurge on your next vacation. Swim with stingrays at the aptly named Stingray City or dive deeper at Devil’s Grotto or Eden Rock. You’ll find breathtaking views above and below the water when you visit the Cayman Islands.
While the Bahamas are technically above the Caribbean Sea, situated a few miles off the coast of Florida, they’re widely considered part of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Explore the major islands or a few of the hundreds of smaller inlets. Make sure you pack everything you need to take in the sunshine and stunning white-sand beaches as you jet from isle to isle.
Aruba was one of the first Caribbean islands to capitalize on the potential of tourism way back in the 1950s, which means they’ve had decades to refine their offerings and amenities. You can spend time hiking, relaxing on the beach or partaking in watersports along the coast — or enjoy the nightlife and try your luck at one of the country’s casinos.
Aruba is one of the ABC islands — alongside Bonaire and Curaçao, part of the Leeward Antilles. Another benefit of visiting this island chain? It lies outside of the Caribbean hurricane belt, so you can visit all year round.
11. Trinidad and Tobago
The furthest south of all the Caribbean islands, Trinidad and Tobago are a pair of islands off the coast of Venezuela — also outside the hurricane belt. Trinidad is the larger of the islands, home to vibrant Carnival celebrations, diverse cultures and the capital city, Port of Spain.
Tobago is a short flight or ferry trip away. You can enjoy life at a slower pace on this island, taking in the diverse wildlife and authentic local food.
While Grenada is just as gorgeous as any of the other Caribbean islands on this list, it isn’t as much of a tourist hotspot — which makes it perfect for travelers seeking more authentic experiences. Explore the colorful capital city of St. George’s before taking a stroll on one of the country’s numerous beaches.
With fewer tourists, you’ll feel right at home. Make sure to get your fill of the local cuisine — you’re sure to find something that appeals to your appetite, from rich chocolate to coconut stews. Grenada is a hidden gem for travelers who want to discover the Caribbean in their own way.
Explore the Best Caribbean Islands
Whether you like to kick back on the beach and soak up the sunshine or you plan your trips around hiking trails, scuba-diving excursions and ziplining parks, you’re sure to find a dream destination in a place as diverse as the Caribbean. Find the best Caribbean island for your next trip and start planning today!
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