If you’re longing for a Caribbean vacation, there are plenty of idyllic, sun-filled isles to pick from. And fortunately, many hurricane-battered isles have quickly recovered and are ready to welcome tourists. Whether you’re looking for a culinary-focused, adventure-packed or relaxing beach retreat with striking natural surroundings, there’s a still-undiscovered Caribbean vacation destination to pique your interest. So, if you want to travel to off-the-beaten-track isles this year, we’ve pinpointed six lesser-known Caribbean destinations that merit a visit in 2018.
[Read: 12 Top Caribbean Beach Bars.]
Curaçao, a Caribbean island with Dutch roots, boasts powdery white-sand beaches, stunning topography, dynamic and inviting hotels and plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. The island’s rich culture, colonial architecture and untrammeled landscapes are just a few draws. You won’t want to skip visiting the downtown capital city of Willemstad, which features locals selling their wares, brightly colored Curaçao Baroque-style architecture and a floating fish market. After checking out Willemsted’s authentic shops, museums, restaurants and architecture, venture to one of the isle’s beautiful beaches, such as Cas Abao Beach and Playa Kalki, or enjoy diving in crystal-clear waters and admiring dolphins, stingrays and coral gardens. If you’re traveling with kids, also consider staying at the Sunscape Curaçao Resort, Spa & Casino, which offers all-inclusive pricing, age-appropriate programming and an on-site PADI-certified dive center.
Barbados is another Caribbean island that is ripe for rediscovery. Known for its superlative cuisine, striking landscapes and unique Bajan culture, Barbados offers more than sugary sands with its calypso music, cricket matches and rum distilleries. During your visit, you won’t want to miss sampling the island’s famous Mount Gay Rum or local delicacies like macaroni pie. And if you’re looking to relax in the sun, Barbados also has gorgeous white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters that are ideal for snorkeling and an array of family-friendly and luxury hotels that offer upscale atmospheres and amenities. Stay at the Colony Club by Elegant Hotels for a prime spot on the island’s Platinum Coast.
Anguilla is another underrated destination that has reopened for business after the hurricane season and is primed to be better than ever. Known for its top-notch cuisine, Anguilla offers a wide range of fine dining restaurants with amazing wines and fresh local seafood. What’s more, the island is commonly known as having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with Shoal Bay East Beach drawing sun-seekers of all kinds. Go to Anguilla for the upscale feel, the amazing beaches, the water and the delicious dining experiences. For a memorable stay, retreat to Zemi Beach House, Resort & Spa for superlative Shoal Bay views and excellent cuisine.
Nevis is often overshadowed by its sister island, St. Kitts, but it offers its own island allure and distinctive culture that cannot be replicated. The island offers plenty of natural wonders, from its hot springs to the towering Nevis Peak that sits dead center in the island. And with white-sand beaches, superlative hotels and plenty of local eateries to choose from, Nevis is top destination for families and couples looking to get away from it all. Stay at the the Hermitage Plantation Inn for privacy and arresting water views.
Grenada brims with local spices and ingredients. As a major exporter of cocoa, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and cinnamon, the island has its own cultural flair that’s centered around food and fun. The island itself boasts beautiful beaches, amazing restaurants, stunning views and many upscale, family-friendly hotels. Of course, the island is also renowned for its many waterfalls and supreme diving and snorkeling spots. So during your stay, you can count on outdoor adventure, beautiful beaches and excellent cuisine. Stay at Mount Cinnamon Resort for access to Grand Anse Beach, gorgeous rooms and outdoor activities galore.
This lovely island nation features idyllic, tucked-away beaches surrounded by cliffs and hills, greenery and high-end hotels and resorts. Antigua is also known as a prime diving and snorkeling destination. Come to Antigua to pet stingrays at Stingray City or snorkel over famous Cade’s Reef before retreating to a luxurious hotel, such as Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort or Hermitage Bay.
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6 Underrated Caribbean Destinations Worth Visiting in 2018 originally appeared on usnews.com