If you’re dreaming about palm trees swaying under a blue sky, crystal clear water lapping at your feet, and a cool drink in your hand, it’s time to start planning your next Caribbean vacation. And lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of the best Caribbean islands to visit in 2019-2020. From the well-known hotspots to hidden gems, these islands offer something for every type of traveler.
First up, the U.S. News & World Report’s top pick for best Caribbean island vacation: St. Lucia. Known for its lush rainforests, stunning beaches, and towering peaks, St. Lucia is a nature lover’s paradise. Dive into the warm waters for some of the best snorkeling and diving opportunities in the Caribbean, or take a hike up Gros Piton for a breathtaking view of the island. And be sure to catch a glimpse of the famous Pitons, two volcanic spires that dominate the island’s skyline.
Next on the list is Jamaica, a perennial favorite. With its laid-back vibe, reggae music, and unparalleled beach scene, Jamaica has been drawing visitors for decades. But beyond the beaches, the island offers plenty of adventure opportunities, from hiking up the Blue Mountains to exploring the Dunn’s River Falls. And don’t forget to indulge in some authentic Jamaican cuisine, like jerk chicken or ackee and saltfish.
Moving on to one of the lesser-known destinations on our list, Dominica is a true hidden gem. It may not have the white sand beaches of some of its neighbors, but this island boasts some of the most pristine natural beauty in the Caribbean. With 365 rivers (one for every day of the year), lush rainforests, and the world’s second-largest boiling lake, Dominica is the perfect escape for nature lovers and adventurous travelers. And with a strong focus on eco-tourism, this island is a great choice for those looking to travel sustainably.
For those seeking a taste of French culture in the Caribbean, Martinique is the place to be. This island is a department of France, and as such, it has a distinctly Gallic flavor. From the cuisine (think fresh baguettes and croissants) to the architecture to the language, Martinique offers a unique blend of French and Caribbean culture. And of course, the beaches here are top-notch as well.
If you’re looking for a place to completely unplug and get away from it all, head to Grenada. Known as the “Spice Isle,” Grenada has a lush, hilly landscape dotted with nutmeg plantations and spice markets. But the real draw here is the peace and quiet. With little in the way of nightlife or shopping, Grenada is the perfect place to disconnect and enjoy the natural beauty of the island. And with some of the friendliest locals in the Caribbean, you’re sure to feel right at home here.
And speaking of friendly locals, one of the most welcoming destinations in the Caribbean is undoubtedly the Dominican Republic. With its miles of beaches, vibrant nightlife, and affordable prices, the DR has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, hit the clubs in Punta Cana, or explore the historic capital of Santo Domingo, this island won’t disappoint.
For a taste of Caribbean glamour, head to St. Barts. This tiny island is a playground for the rich and famous, with luxury resorts, high-end shopping, and gourmet dining options. But don’t be intimidated by the glitz and glamour – St. Barts is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, and with a strong European influence, it offers a unique blend of cultures.
Another destination that’s often associated with luxury travel is the Turks and Caicos Islands. This archipelago is made up of over 40 islands and cays, and boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. But beyond the sand and sun, there’s plenty to do here, from world-class diving to exploring the island’s rich history and culture. And with a relatively small number of visitors compared to some of the more crowded destinations in the Caribbean, you’re sure to find some peace and quiet here.
If you’re looking for a more off-the-beaten-path destination, consider the island of Saba. This tiny Dutch Caribbean island is just five square miles, and is home to fewer than 2,000 people. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in natural beauty. With steep cliffs, lush rainforests, and some of the best diving and snorkeling in the Caribbean, Saba is the perfect choice for adventurous travelers and nature lovers.
Last but not least on our list is Aruba, known for its warm, sunny weather and beautiful beaches. And with its Dutch heritage, Aruba offers a unique blend of European and Caribbean culture. But beyond the sand and sea, there’s plenty to explore on this island, from the colorful capital of Oranjestad to the eerie abandoned gold mines at Bushiribana.
No matter which Caribbean island you choose, you’re guaranteed to find some of the most beautiful scenery, friendliest people, and most delicious cuisine in the world. So start planning your next Caribbean escape today!
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