These stunning Caribbean islands will keep you busy and take your breath away.
The Caribbean has long been known for its azure waters, tropical beaches and incredibly slow pace that makes finding peace and relaxation a breeze. These 30 islands can help you get away from it all with picturesque beaches and lush green foliage — plus the brilliantly blue Caribbean Sea serving as your backdrop.
Antigua offers peace, quiet and 365 gorgeous beaches to boot. All of the island’s beaches, including the popular Dickenson Bay, are open to the public and boast white sand and vibrant blue water ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Add in the island’s hearty mix of all-inclusive and traditional hotels and you’ve got yourself a great vacation.
Isla Mujeres, Mexico
The small island of Isla Mujeres is located across the Bahia de Mujeres, off the coast of Cancun. Stay for a day or book a longer retreat at one of the many hotels and rental condos that dot this laid-back island paradise. While here, visit the white sand beaches, dive to the popular local turtle farm (La Tortuga Granja) or take a sunset cruise on a catamaran.
There are plenty of reasons to visit Aruba, though many travelers come here for its combination of stunning beaches and plentiful nightlife options. Aruba boasts a number of casinos, bars and clubs to keep night owls entertained. Stay on the island’s famous Palm Beach for easy access to the shore and plenty of highly rated hotels.
Head to Curacao for some of the Caribbean’s best snorkeling and diving, explore the colorful restaurants and storefronts in the capital of Willemstad or, if you’re looking for exciting outdoor activities, try kiteboarding. And if you want to hang with the locals and party, head to Mambo Beach for gorgeous sunsets and access to a string of waterfront restaurants and bars.
Anguilla is an upscale, quiet Caribbean island, perfect for honeymooners or anyone who wants to get away from it all. Located right next to St. Maarten, this island is known for its easygoing and friendly locals, plus its exquisite beaches, including the popular Rendezvous Bay and Shoal Bay.
Vieques, Puerto Rico
Vieques island sits just 7 miles off Puerto Rico’s eastern coast, but it might as well be a world away from the busy mainland. Head to this tiny island to explore one of the world’s brightest bioluminescent bays (where microorganisms emit a blue glow from the water), along with undeveloped beaches and unspoiled nature.
Corn Islands, Nicaragua
Nicaragua’s Corn Islands may not be your first pick when you think of planning a Caribbean getaway, but they could be ideal if you’re craving quiet and solitude. Big Corn and Little Corn –the two islands that make up the Corn Islands — offer small, affordable hotels and far fewer cars on the road. While here, partake in do-it-yourself snorkeling trips off the shore, enjoy beautiful Caribbean sunsets or relax in a beachfront hammock.
Roatan in Honduras has become a popular cruise port as well as a hot spot for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. The entire coast of this tiny island paradise is lined with untouched coral reefs teeming with tropical fish. And thanks to the astonishing clarity of the water they call home, you’ll be able to see the local ocean life perfectly.
Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Virgin Gorda is the third largest island in the British Virgin Islands, making it ideal for relaxation seekers who want to enjoy fewer crowds and more peace and quiet than you’ll find on neighboring Tortola. Travelers flock here to stay in upscale resorts, enjoy delicious seafood and hike the island’s many peaks and valleys for spectacular views.
Set off the coast of St. Kitts, Nevis offers a quieter atmosphere with smaller crowds compared to other Caribbean hot spots. This island boasts an array of luxury resorts and fine dining establishments along with unspoiled beaches and natural beauty you come to expect in this part of the world. Nevis is also widely known as the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, whose roots you can explore with a visit to his childhood home.
Tourists head to Ambergris Caye for its incredible diving conditions at spots like Tres Cocos and Tackle Box Canyons. Ambergris Caye also boasts ancient Mayan ruins open for exploration as well as ample adventure activities like zip lining and hiking. When you’re ready for some beach time, head to a quiet shoreline like the secluded Tranquility Bay.
Uvita Island, Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s Uvita Island sits squarely in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of the city of Limón. The island is known for hosting an array of birds and other spectacular wildlife, including the brown booby bird. While here, travelers can engage in popular underwater activities like scuba diving and snorkeling through the island’s reefs.
The historic island of Bimini sits 50 miles off the coast of Florida, making it the closest Bahamian island to the United States. Not only does Bimini have its own gorgeous white sand beaches, but it has historical ties to Ernest Hemingway, who once vacationed here. Snorkelers and divers will also delight in Bimini Road, an underwater path of rocks some say once led to the lost continent of Atlantis.
Cozumel sits off the coast of Mexico’s Riviera Maya, making it just a short boat ride away from nearby Playa del Carmen. This island is a hit with snorkelers and divers thanks its diverse ocean wildlife and stunning reef with its own national marine park. Once you’re ready to party, head to one of Cozumel’s many beach clubs for a day of sunning, swimming, eating and drinking. One of the most popular options, Playa Mia, lets you book your food, drink and fun for one all-inclusive price.
Grand Cayman is the largest of the Cayman Islands. Travelers here flock to visit the famous Seven Mile Beach, which is dotted with upscale hotels and condo complexes. What’s more, the clear water off the island’s coast makes it ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving. Visitors should also opt for a trip to Stingray City — a sandbar that serves as home to dozens of friendly stingrays you can pet and see up close.
Little Cayman is only a mile wide and 10 miles long, making it perfect for vacationers who crave a quaint, quiet getaway far from the crowds that congregate on Grand Cayman. This island is known for its clear water and coral reefs in addition to its nearly empty beaches and slow-paced vibe.
St. Lucia is home to beautiful beaches, mountainous scenery and clusters of accommodation options dotted around the island. Hike or take a boat tour to behold the famous Pitons mountains or lounge on one of the island’s breathtaking beaches, including Reduit Beach or the popular Marigot Bay. It’s important to note that many of the island’s luxury resorts feature their own beaches.
Jost Van Dyke
Jost Van Dyke is another gem that’s part of the British Virgin Islands. This island is all about conch stew, cocktails, luxury accommodations and yacht parties, although its unspoiled beaches are the real star of the show. If you do plan a trip here, make sure to head to the famous Soggy Dollar Bar for a famous painkiller drink and epic beach views.
From the lush, tropical beaches of Negril to the popular tourist haven of Montego Bay, Jamaica is home to an array of hotels and all-inclusive resorts that make booking your vacation a breeze. Head here for true Caribbean hospitality, family-friendly waves and water, reggae music and soul food everyone in the family can enjoy.
New Providence Island, Bahamas
New Providence Island is home to Nassau, the capital city of the Bahamas and home to famous resorts like Atlantis and Baha Mar. Cruisers and beachgoers choose to visit Nassau for its gorgeous white sand beaches, its nightlife, its casinos and its historic heritage sites and gardens.
Tortola is the largest island in the British Virgin Islands, making it a major draw for yachts and land-based vacationers. This island is known for popular beaches like Smuggler’s Cove, its luxury resorts and private villas, and its ample historical sites and museums.
St. John is the smallest of three islands that make up the United States Virgin Islands. A large portion of the island, 60% to be exact, is a designated national park, making the island perfect nature lovers. St. John also boasts a variety of accommodations, from luxury resorts to bed-and-breakfasts and inns.
St. Kitts is another island known for luxury accommodation and upscale dining options in the Caribbean. Book a stay in the luxurious Park Hyatt St. Kitts for epic views of the Nevis Peak, or bed down in a smaller resort and spend your days at popular beaches like Cockleshell Bay or Frigate Bay. Whatever you choose, your stay in St. Kitts should rejuvenate you.
The West Indies hideaway of Barbados is lush, tropical and filled with a mix of luxury properties, family friendly hotels and all-inclusive resorts. The beaches on the island’s Platinum Coast are brimming with soft, white powdery sand and strikingly clear water, which makes for perfect conditions to spot sea turtles, colorful fish and other types of ocean wildlife.
The beautiful Caribbean island of Saba (just south of St. Maarten) is mountainous, green and incredibly scenic. Tourists flock here in droves to explore Saba’s jagged coastline and climb its hilltop peaks, scuba dive in crystal clear water and see wildlife, including tropical birds and fish, dolphins and whales. There’s a reason Saba is referred to as the “Unspoiled Queen of the Caribbean,” but you’ll want to discover its splendor on your own.
Known as a swanky retreat for posh celebrities and their families, St. Barts has no shortage of beach villas and luxury resorts to offer. Plan a trip here to brush elbows with the rich and famous, shop at upscale boutiques and savor some top-notch dining. The stunning beaches are perfect for relaxing in between.
Dominica is frequently referred to as “The Nature Island,” and it’s easy to see why. Head to Dominica for crowdless beaches and days exploring the rainforest and mountains. If you’re up for an adventure, visit Morne Trois National Park to see popular attractions such as Trafalgar Falls. And considering this island is also surrounded by tropical waters, it’s also an ideal place to kayak, snorkel or dive.
Head to Cayman Brac for all the splendor of the Cayman Islands with half the crowds. This island is renowned for its laid-back atmosphere, flora and fauna, and of course the beautiful beaches and clear water the Caribbean is known for.
Sandy Island, Anguilla
Anguilla’s Sandy Island is a tiny paradise perfect for a daytrip. This island doesn’t have any hotels and you can only arrive by boat, but its seclusion makes for a truly relaxing getaway. Pull up a chair on the white sand beach, listen to island music and enjoy a giant grilled lobster as you stare at the azure sea and prepare for your next swim.
If you’re angling for a beach vacation with plenty of adventure, don’t forget about the Caribbean nation of Grenada. Known as the “Spice Island,” Grenada is home to gorgeous beaches, spectacular mountain views, waterfalls, hiking trails and adventures for nature lovers and thrill-seekers alike. Visitors can also book foodie tours, explore local waterfalls or plan a fun visit to a rum distillery.
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