Best Caribbean Holiday Destinations

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Which are the best Caribbean holiday destinations?  To help you decide, we’ve produced a quick list of the most popular Caribbean islands, along with details about what you can expect to find on each island, plus details on some of the top resorts.  So then you’ll know which is the best Caribbean holiday destination for you.

Which island and resort do you choose?

St. Lucia

Saint Lucia is the perfect Caribbean destination for romance, relaxation or even adventure.

It’s a paradise island of breathtaking beauty with lush vegetation and a pair of dramatic mountains, known as the Pitons, on its west coast which emerge out of the sea.

Best Caribbean Holiday Destinations - St Lucia

St. Lucia is known for authentic culture, friendly locals, trekking trails, natural waterfalls, large interior rain forest , luxury resorts and small fishing villages.

Terrain – rugged with mountain-ranges

Currency – Eastern Caribbean Dollar

Name of capital city – Castries (a popular cruise port)

Unspoiled / Nature lovers paradise / beautiful resorts / Honeymoon destination / Great for adventure junkies / Glitzy nightclubs / All-inclusive resorts / Romantic  / Reef-diving / Adventure – climb the Pitons

Activities

Scuba Diving and snorkelling / Biking & Hiking – extensive trails / Surfing and kite surfing

Events

Springtime St. Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival

Evening – Gros Islet – Friday night is party night!

Gros Islet is a traditional fishing village to the North of the island with a mix of rum shops and fishing shacks.  Every Friday night, the longest running street party in St. Lucia kicks off.  Known locally as ‘the jump up’, it’s a vibrant mix of street food, late opening bars and dancing to the rhythmic Caribbean music provided by the DJ’s and local performing artists.

Best resorts

Jade Mountain Resort, St. Lucia / Adults Only / All-Inclusive / on the beach

Located on St. Lucia’s south-western Caribbean coastline, Jade Mountain is a mesmerising luxury resort, elevated on a hillside overlooking the Piton Mountains.

The guest rooms are ‘sanctuaries’ created in levels that project out into nature (with the fourth wall entirely absent).  The bedrooms, living areas and infinity pools, create the feeling of floating platforms that connect directly with the view of the mountains and mesmerising Caribbean sea.

East Winds Inn, Gros Islet, Saint Lucia

East Winds Inn, in brief comprises of elegant and tranquil guest rooms located in cottages dotted throughout an extensive tropical garden paradise centred around an open air lounge and pool.

BodyHoliday, Cap Estate, Saint Lucia, Caribbean

For those seeking a rejuvenating holiday experience combining complimentary body treatments and an incredible choice of sports set among some of the finest scenery imaginable.   The hotel, with 155 Luxury rooms, overlooks the beach

Puerto Rico

Christopher Columbus, having discovered Puerto Rico, claimed it for Spain and named the whole island San Juan.  This was in honor of the Christian Saint – John The Baptist

Old San Juan is the oldest colonial sector of the city of San Juan.  It buzzes with the excitement of a bygone colonial era.

Terrain – rugged with mountain-ranges

The capital is – San Juan – known for its invigorating night life!

Currency – USD

Culture – Hispanic

Large impressive beach resorts / Casinos / Fantastic opportunities to explore the culture and history / Fantastic waves for surfers / Historic Architecture / Value – all year affordable

El Morro as one of Puerto Rico’s most iconic structures, is an imposing 16the Century Spanish built castle located at the entrance of the Bay of San Juan.  Put this on your list of places to visit for a stroll back in time or for many of the events and concerts held on the vast lawn area in front of the castle.

Calle del Cristo is where you go to experience the culture, the art and the food. Calle del Cristo is old San Juan’s shopping district but it’s more than just shopping, it’s a fusion of pastel coloured colonial architecture, restaurants for alfresco dining, bars and art galleries.

El Yunque is a tropical rainforest in North East of Puerto Rico. Nature lovers will relish the El Portal Rain Forest Centre for the insight it gives into the evolution of the rain forest. A walkway 60 feet above the ground gives you an incredible tree top view of the forest, whilst another walkway twists through the forest floor.  There are also many exhibits covering the wildlife, plants of the rainforest and the conservation works.

Parque Nacional de las Cavernas del Río Camuy is an extensive cave system in the north west of Puerto Rico. Carved out by the Camuy River (the world’s third largest underground river), what you’ll find here is the largest and most dramatic limestone cave systems in the Western Hemisphere

Santurce neighbourhood – is a friendly Puerto Rican neighbourhood, rich in local culture that ‘as yet’, hasn’t been overrun by tourists

Trinidad & Tobago

Trinidad & Tobago are two closely linked islands that are vastly different.

The birthplace of ‘steelpan’ (steel drums)

Terrain – rugged with mountain-ranges

Culture – Creole

Trinidad, is a sophisticated cosmopolitan island bustling with life and diversity.  One of the richest islands in the Caribbean.

A ‘full on’ Caribbean island / Several beaches – lots of buzz and excitement! / A celebration of Creole culture / Birthplace of the steel drum / Top location for nesting turtles

Tobago – The smaller island of Tobago is known for the variety and beauty of its impeccable white-sand beaches and its more relaxed pace of life (apart from carnival time)

Creole cuisine and culture / Some of the best, most beautiful beaches in the world! / Relaxing beach holidays / Lush flora and fauna / Orange flamingos live here / Water sports / Diving

Events

Massive Carnival celebration to rival Rio – towards the end of February, the island transforms to host one of the best Carnival parties in the Caribbean

Cuba – Havana

Cuba is an interesting communist country that’s well worth a visit.  It’s capital, Havana is like a ‘time capsule’ with 1950’s American cars, pastel coloured Spanish colonial architecture (in the 16th century Old Havana) and a vibe like nowhere else!

The countryside is lush and full of tobacco field, where they grow the raw material for their legendary cigars.

Terrain – rugged with mountain-ranges

Lively atmosphere / Pastel coloured buildings / Fantastic colonial architecture / Centuries-old plazas (in Old Havana) / Vintage American Cars operating as taxis / Fantastic dance performances / World famous Cigars / Salsa music / White sand beaches

Events

Cabaret Tropicana – Don’t go to Cuba without booking an evening at Cabaret Tropicana in Havana.  It’s Cuba’s oldest and most famous Cabaret, featuring over 200 singers, dancers and musicians – It’s a glittering spectacular not to me missed.

Barbados

A Caribbean paradise on the edge of the Atlantic, Barbados is a pristine mid-sized island.  An ex British colonial island where people still take afternoon tea and often dress for dinner.  You can expect a warm welcome from friendly locals.

Terrain – Generally flatter (non volcanic)

Great beaches – many ideal for surfers / Luxury island resorts / glitzy nightclubs / honeymoon destination / all-inclusive resorts / relaxed pace of life / The birthplace of rum! / non-stop services from London in high season / Suite all budgets / Activities in and out of the water / passionate about their cricket and horse racing / Dress for dinner / breathtaking architecture / party loving attitude / reefs on the south side of the island

surf mainly on the eastern edge (regarded as one of the best surfing spots in the world).

70 miles of white sand beaches

Most popular beaches

Bathsheba Beach – Annual international surfing competitions take place here

Silver Sands – World class beach for windsurfing

Dover Beach – popular for a wide range of water sports

Cattlewash beach – beautiful wide sandy beach over a mile long, perfect for sunbathing and relaxing

Best resorts

Turtle Beach, Dover, Christ Church, Barbados

Set on Dover Beach on the south coast of Barbados, Turtle Beach is an elegant ‘premium’ all-inclusive hotel.  The suites enjoy views of the immaculate gardens and breathtaking ocean.

With a wide selection of water sports are included

The hotel is also just 15 minutes ‘by foot’ from the lively St Lawrence Gap, where all the bars are located

Sandals Barbados, Christ Church, Barbados

On another part of Dover Beach, is Sandals Barbados. A beautiful hotel set amongst natural vegetation with, waterfalls and poolside fire pits to keep you warm in the evening.

Dover Beach is a long stretch of white sandy beach on the south coast of Barbados.  Three hotels share separate parts of the beach without crowding each other

Grenada

What’s Grenada like?  Grenada is hard to beat for a Caribbean holiday with stunning white sand beaches, mountainous terrain and a lush rain forest in the middle.

In many ways, the charm is the lack of the ‘sprawling all inclusives’ because instead, you’ll find an island less developed and with a strong vibrant sense of West Indian community and culture.

In Grenada, you can sit and watch the world go by, whilst you absorb the culture, the music and the social interactions of the locals.

Stunning beaches / friendly locals / sense of safety / smell of spices in the air / breathtaking scenery / waterfalls / history in abundance / Cheap to eat fresh and healthy food! / Spice Plantations

Terrain – rugged with mountain-ranges

The Capital, St George’s, is gorgeous and has one of the most beautiful harbours in the Caribbean

Must see

The Underwater Sculpture Garden – Just off the coast in the Moilinere Bay.  It’s the home of over 60 underwater sculptures.  Easily viewable from the surface, the sculptures lie in shallow, crystal clear waters.  A must for snorkelers and for excursions in glass bottom boats.

Grand Etang Lake – Grand Etang is a Crater Lake formed by volcanic activity.

Best resorts in Grenada

Laluna, Grenada – A romantic 16-cottage boutique hotel which is Small and intimate – perfect for honeymooners.  Located on a hillside directly above a white sand beach

Mount Cinnamon – Top all inclusive
A family owned eco/luxury hideaway seeped in British Heritage. Mount Cinnamon is elevated on the hillside above Grand Anse Beach.  Here you’ll find 21 luxury villas and suites, each with its own veranda with panoramic views of natural – unspoiled beauty.

Sandals LaSource, Grenada – An adults only ‘idyllic retreat’ located on the glorious Pink Gin beach, with lush tropical gardens and panoramic views along the beach towards St George’s (the capital).

Spice Island Beach Resort, St George’s, Grenada – Located on the stunning sands of Grand Anse Beach and surrounded by beautiful tropical gardens,  Spice Island Beach Resort provide total relaxation and levels of luxury you’ll find hard to imagine!

Le Phare Bleu, Grenada
Considered one of the top boutique hotels in Grenada Le Phare Bleu is a small beachfront hotel that caters to travellers who want to get off the beaten track and forget the stress of daily life.
Guests stay in rustic villas and apartments dotted throughout the beautiful tropical gardens

Antigua (Antigua and Barbuda) – The West Indies

Antigua is known for its white sand beaches, aquamarine sea, along with tasty cuisine and a lively cultural atmosphere. Antigua also has a long tradition of sailing and hosts the Annual Stanford Antigua Sailing Week.


English Harbour on the south-eastern coast and its neighbour, the village of Falmouth are popular yachting destinations

Antigua’s sister island Barbuda

Barbuda is the smaller than Antigua, less developed, less touristy and sleepier but it’s beaches are arguably, even more impressive.

Terrain – Generally flatter (non volcanic)

The capital is St. John’s – located the north-west

An ex colonial island where people often dress for dinner

Beach parties / Honeymoon Destination / Diving / Medium sized Island / large and small resorts / English Harbour / Historic sites to visit / Rich in colonial heritage / 365 beautiful beaches

If you like history and architecture, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine is one of Antigua’s hidden charms

Events

The Annual Stanford Antigua Sailing Week (at the end of April and beginning of May) is one of the world’s premier sailing regattas.

Yachts and sailors arrive from all over the world to compete in this  beautiful location and enjoy the famous Antiguan hospitality.  Why not join the excitement for this world-class regatta!

All-Inclusives (Adults Only)

Galley Bay Resort & Spa, Antigua – Galley Bay Resort & Spa is an intimate, Caribbean hideaway overlooking Galley Bay on the Caribbean coast.  Guests experience a refined, yet unpretentious atmosphere whilst enjoying guest accommodation set amongst 40 acres of beautiful tropical gardens.

Hermitage Bay, Antigua
Hermitage Bay is a 5 star ‘boutique hotel’ comprising of just 30 individual suites nestling on the beach and hillside.  You’ll find yourself in a tropical paradise and the perfect retreat from a stressful world.  The guest cottages, designed using tropical hardwoods feature plunge pools and veranda with incredible views. The food is mostly locally grown, organic and of course – delicious.

Curtain Bluff Resort, Antigua – Curtain Bluff, to the south of Antigua, is an ‘all inclusive’ luxury hotel surrounded by two beautiful beaches and a tropical rainforest.  The rooms are luxurious/contemporary and enjoy stunning sea views.  The hotel features an extensive water sports centre providing a wide range of water sports activities.  Top cuisine and first class service.

The Bahamas

The Bahamas is a area of the Caribbean comprising of 700 different islands.  There’s literally something for everyone with islands featuring high-end mega resorts to remote hideaways.  Home to some of world’s best diving, the visibility in the water off Nassau can reach up to 100 feet.

Terrain – Generally flatter (non volcanic)

The capital of the Bahamas is Nassau (on the island of New Providence)

World’s best diving waters / Underwater adventures

Dominican Republic

World-class resorts, loads of colonial history, dramatic terrain and beautiful beaches

Hispanic culture

Best all Inclusives

Sanctuary Cap Cana – an ‘Adults Only’ All Inclusive 5 Star resort.  Set on a beautiful pure white sand beach with turquoise waters, Cap Cana is one of the world’s most beautiful vacation spots.  Guests have a choice of suits in 3 different architectural styles… Caribbean Villas, Spanish Colonial  and The Castle Suites.  When you’ve had your fill of relaxation, there are plenty of exciting water sports and outdoor activities to enjoy

Jamaica

Jamaica moves to a pulsating rhythm. Has a wide range of resorts.

Spicy food / Great music / Party atmosphere

Terrain – rugged with mountain-ranges

All-Inclusives (Adults Only)

Secrets Wild Orchid. Montego Bay, Jamaica – Set on a peninsula with over a mile of private beach leading into the waters of Montego Bay, Secrets is a  vibrant AAA Four Diamond resort and island retreat

Sandals Royal Plantation, Ocho Rios, Jamaica – Couples Only – Set on a private white sand beach which overlooks the Caribbean Sea, this is a top all-inclusive resort renowned for unmatched attention to detail.  If you’re looking for an all inclusive resort at the ‘higher end’ of the spectrum, Sandals Royal Plantation is it.  You wake up every morning with fantastic sea views as the suits all face the ocean.  The dining experience is pure elegance and the service is top notch.  There’s even a butler service!  Watersports / Spa / evening entertainment / 2.4 km from historic Prospect Plantation / 2.6 km from Green Grotto Caves

Couples Swept Away, Negril, Jamaica – Swept Away is an ‘all inclusive’ resort hotel set on Negril’s white sand ‘Seven Mile Beach’ and is surrounded by 27 acres of tropical gardens.  All guest suits, which have either tropical garden or sea views, are of colonial style with private balconies or patios.  Watersports / Swim Bar / Evening Entertainment / Crystal clear water

Dominica

Dominica is where you go to escape the Caribbean ‘all inclusives’ and get back to nature.  It’s a trekkers and climbers paradise with peaks, valleys, waterfalls and a huge rain forest.

Unspoilt / Perfect for nature lovers / Trekking / Climbing / Adventure

Terrain – rugged with mountain-ranges

Where to stay

Le Blanc Spa Resort, Cancun – adults-only – At Le Blanc Spa Resort overlooks Cancun’s most spectacular beach and offers all-inclusive luxury, stately guestrooms, pristine infinity pools and haute cuisine morning, noon and night.

Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita, Puerto Morelos – Zoëtry Paraiso de la Bonita is a luxury, secluded retreat situated along Cancun’s famed Riviera Maya.  This AAA Five Diamond resort offers magnificent ocean views, graciously appointed suites, gourmet dining, private chauffeured airport transfers and more.

Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso, Playa Del Carmen – Adults only – The IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraiso is set directly on the beach of Playa del Carmen.  Perfect for a relaxing or romantic stay, Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso is an upscale, adults-only, all-inclusive resort inspired by culture and traditions.  The resort featuring over 15 restaurants offering local gastronomic delights and fine cuisine from around the world.

Aruba

Aruba is a tiny Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela known for its dry, sunny weather, white sand beaches and gentle surf.  Aruba is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, so the citizens are  Dutch nationals.

The island has miles of glorious white-sand beaches, plenty of all-inclusive resorts, and the lovely capital, Oranjestad

Near the marina, is an 18th century Fort (Fort Zoutman) and the Willem III Tower (an ex lighthouse), which are now used as a Museum to chronicle the island’s rich history.

Crystal-clear waters / Fantastic diving adventures (sea bustling with sea life and shipwrecks) / Perfect conditions for windsurfing and  Kitesurfing

Terrain – Generally flatter (non volcanic)

The capital city – Oranjestad

Culture – Dutch colonial

The best Caribbean holiday destinations guide was produced by Springwood Gatwick

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