There’s nothing like a tropical getaway to escape the cold. If you have your sights set on the Caribbean, there’s plenty of stunning islands to choose from. Determining which one is the right fit for you can be tough, so we’ve broken down the best Caribbean islands for each type of traveler, whether you’re looking for incredible food, a thrilling adventure, or activities for the kids.
Best for a romantic getaway: St. Lucia
St. Lucia is a popular honeymoon destination in the Caribbean, as it’s packed with secluded resorts, like Jade Mountain and Ladera Resort, where guest rooms include private plunge pools and stunning views. Home to several rain forests, waterfall trails, botanical gardens, and hot springs, there’s plenty here for you and your loved one to explore together.
Best for families: Bahamas
Easily accessible from the US, the Bahamas have a variety of all-inclusive resorts, where both parents and children will enjoy their trip. One of the best known is the Atlantis, which has its own water park, aquarium, movie theater, kids’ club, and game room.
Best for divers: Curacao
With 40 different diving areas that cover 65 individual sites, Curacao is a premiere destination for divers and snorkelers. Divers can explore incredible underwater wrecks like the Tugboat and Superior Producer, explore the Curacao Underwater Marine Park, or take a peek at the famous Mushroom Forest, made of coral formations that resemble mushrooms.
Best for foodies: Anguilla
Whether you enjoy indulging at gourmet restaurants, learning the tricks of the trade, or munching on incredible street food, you can do it all in Anguilla. The island is home to the CuisinArt resort, which not only includes gourmet restaurants, but also offers cooking classes and wine tastings. Top-notch restaurants like De Cuisine serve food made with fresh, local ingredients, while laid-back barbecue joints like Smokey’s on the Cove cook up mouthwatering burgers.
Best for luxury: Saint-Barthélemy
Saint-Barthélemy — aka St. Barts or St. Barths — is a French-speaking Caribbean island that’s popular among the rich and famous, thanks to its stunning beaches, designer boutiques, and gourmet restaurants. Celebrities can often be seen mooring their yachts, while beach clubs like Nikki Beach host parties that last well into the night. Accommodations here include private villas and rooms that come with private butlers.
Best for health fanatics: Turks and Caicos
In Turks and Caicos, you’ll find world-class health and wellness retreats like Parrot Cay and COMO Shambhala Retreat and Gansevoort Turks and Caicos, which hosts the Exhale Spa. Guests can enjoy everything from Thai massages and sunset yoga to Japanese soaking tubs and Pilates.
Best for boating: British Virgin Islands
Travelers often explore the various islands of the British Virgin Islands by boat. Sailing is common here, and it’s one of the best ways to see the hidden cays and beaches around the islands. Combine this with the area’s consistent trade winds and you have a sailor’s paradise.
Best for shopping: St. Martin/Sint Maarten
Thanks to the island’s duty-free policies, shopping is a popular way to spend the day here. Whether you’re looking for cosmetics, jewelry, liquors, cigars, electronics, or high-end clothing, you’ll find it somewhere on St. Martin. Admire the diamond and rubies on Front Street, or check out the St. Rose Shopping Mall in Philipsburg.
Best for budget travelers: Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is home to many all-inclusive resorts that regularly offer great packages for trips. Many of these resorts can be found in Punta Cana and Puerto Plata, where everything from water sports and evening shows to food and drinks are already included in the price.
Best for singles: Puerto Rico
San Juan has a bustling nightlife, focused in the large hotels and in the many bars and restaurants that line Calle San Sebastián. Indulge in the salsa and Latin jazz spots here, or head to a club like Club Brava, where you can dance to DJs spinning techno, hip-hop, and Latin beats.
Best for music: Jamaica
As the birthplace of Bob Marley and reggae, Jamaica has a lively music scene that ranges from traditional beats to artists taking a new spin on reggae and Dancehall music. Whether you head to the dance halls of Kingston or hear the sounds of music as you wander the beach, you’re sure to enjoy your time here.
Best for outdoorsy types: Dominica
Thanks to its volcanic terrain, Dominica has many hot sulfur springs, black-sand beaches, and geothermal waters to explore. Its terrain also includes rain forests, waterfalls, and diving sites, earning it the nickname “Nature Island.”
Best for beach bums: Aruba
The beaches of Aruba are famous for their powder-fine white sands and turquoise waters. With wide-shaded expanses and quiet retreats, the island’s beaches are perfection for relaxing. Many of them are also lined with resorts, restaurants, and beach bars so you never have to stray too far from the water. Plus, steady trade winds make kitesurfing a popular beach activity here.
Best for history buffs: US Virgin Islands
The US Virgin Islands, a prominent shipping port and slave-trading post in the 1600s, are home to historic sites that include the St. Thomas Reformed Church and St. Thomas Synagogue, as well as forts like Fort Christiansvaern. You can also visit the ruins of sugar and rum plantations, or head to spots like Drake’s Seat, named after Sir Francis Drake, who was said to have used the bay as an anchorage point for his ships.
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