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The 17 Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean in 2024

The 17 Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean in 2024

The Caribbean has probably been on your bucket list, but you’re still not sure about the best places to visit. We’re here to help you! Besides the gorgeous beaches and islands, the Caribbean is awash with European-inspired architecture, hidden lagoons, and hiking trails waiting to be explored.

17 Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean in 2024

If you’re dreaming about a tropical beach to relax on, want to take a rainforest adventure, or can’t wait to dive, windsurf, and eat your fill of fresh seafood, it’s the Caribbean you’re looking for.

This is where you’ll find quiet, secluded beaches fringed with palm trees and forest and luxurious resorts with private white sand shores and every amenity you can imagine. Take part in an endless array of adventurous activities — or opt for long, uninterrupted hours of sunbathing, enjoying Caribbean flavors and cocktails along the way. 

From lush, mountainous St. Lucia to the luxury sophistication of Martinique, this region is packed with amazing destinations that are sun-drenched, tropical, and absolutely perfect for an island getaway done your way. We highlight the best places to visit in the Caribbean below!

1. St. Lucia

Dusk aerial view of one of the island of St. Lucia, one of the best places to visit in the Caribbean


St. Lucia is a picturesque island in the Caribbean that offers a delightful mix of seclusion and island vibes, lots of resort and hotel options, and absolutely stunning beaches, mountains, and tropical scenery. 

The Caribbean region is perfectly summed up in St. Lucia, which boasts rugged volcanic mountains draped in verdant green year-round. Walking paths are lined with gigantic ferns and flowers, the beaches open up to impressive mountain and ocean views, and there’s always the option for an excursion or adventure (if that’s your thing). 

You’ll find posh resorts, quaint inns and cottages, and hotels right on the beach or tucked away in the island’s forested peaks with awesome views. If you’re here to stay busy, horseback riding, zip-lining, and snorkeling or diving trips are perfect daytime outings! 

But if you’d rather relax on the sand with a drink in hand, you’ll find that St. Lucia is an ideal place for that, too. Some of the more popular beaches, like Reduit Beach, can get crowded during the peak season (December to March).

Diving and snorkeling are perfect from Anse Chastanet Beach, where you’ll find a coral reef and sea walls with steep drop-offs just offshore, and you won’t find a prettier beach than Jalousie Beach with its gorgeous mountain views south of Soufriere. 

In Soufriere, you’ll find the one-of-a-kind Sulphur Springs — a “drive-in” volcano with a road that leads you directly into the crater and healing mineral mud baths and springs you can swim in. 

Head to Castries, the island’s capital and hub for dining, shopping, and entertainment, to check out local restaurants and markets. We love watching the boats at Castries Harbour and hanging out at the laid-back Serenity Park. 

2. British Virgin Islands

Nice view of Tortola on the British Virgin Islands, one of the best places to visit in the Caribbean


The British Virgin Islands are a true gem of the Caribbean, made up of 4 main islands (Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda, and Jost Van Dyke) and 50+ smaller islets and cays. It’s a diving hotspot with coral reefs encircling the beaches and bustling towns where you’ll find amazing food, beach bars, and cool markets to browse. 

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) are lush and green, bursting with tropical flowers and surrounded by colorful marine life. The islands are known for postcard-worthy beaches, diving and snorkeling, and a huge variety of water sports and adventurous excursions. 

Most people head to Tortola, the biggest of the 4 main islands, because it offers the most amenities for tourists. The action centers around Road Town, the island’s capital, where you’ll find the best nightlife — though it’s no Ibiza — in the BVI and tons of eateries. 

Dive on shipwrecks and colorful coral reefs, rent a boat to island-hop, take the ferry over to nearby St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands), or put on some comfy shoes to hike Tortola’s Sage Mountain National Park trails through the jungle-like forests. 

You’ll find the Baths, a cool shallow ride pool and grotto-dotted, bouldered beach, along with mountain hiking trails and a lookout tower up on the summit of Gorda Peak on laid-back Virgin Gorda.  

Anegada, the only coral island among the BVI’s volcanic counterparts, has supremely secluded beaches and a few upscale restaurants. The flat island is teeming with colorful birds and iguanas, and just offshore, there are shipwrecks and reefs to dive. 

Jost Van Dyke, the least busy of the main BVI, has the bustling Great Harbour and sees more daytime visitors than people staying overnight. Take a fizzy dip in the Bubbly Pool formed by foamed-up seawater and enjoy a low-key meal at a waterfront restaurant. 

Pro Tip: The best way to explore the British Virgin Islands is by boat or a yacht due to its islands’ remote and secluded nature.

3. Cayman Islands

Street view of George Town in the Cayman Islands, one of the best places to visit in the Caribbean

Daniel Friend/Shutterstock

The Cayman Islands are an unforgettable destination when you’re looking for an uncomplicated beach trip with plenty of sand, sun, and fun. The islands are actually the tops of a submarine mountain range popping out of the water and extending miles deep into the Caribbean Sea. 

The Caymans are made up of Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac. Grand Cayman is the largest and most developed and home to the islands’ capital, George Town. This is where most travelers head because it offers the most in the way of hotels and resorts, restaurants, and activities. 

Grand Cayman is known for its bustling, luxe resorts and diving, Little Cayman is known as the smallest and wildest island with tons of wildlife, and Cayman Brac is the middle point, a gateway for boat trips and fishing excursions out in deeper waters. 

Explore the Bodden Town Pirates Caves or the Cayman Crystal Caves, set up camp on the pristine, white sand of Seven Mile Beach, head out to secluded Smith Cove lined with palm and almond trees, or move east to Spotts Beach if you want to see sea turtles and snorkel. 

Diving is choice on Grand Cayman, attracting divers from around the world to interesting sites like the Kittiwake Shipwreck and Trinity Caves. 

Grand Cayman’s George Town is the true hub of the Caymans, offering a huge selection of restaurants from upscale to unassuming seafood shacks. On a rainy day, you can check out the Cayman Islands National Museum or visit the historic Mission House

Visit the Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Gardens to see an amazing array of tropical plants and flowers, check out the Cayman Parrot Sanctuary to interact with the colorful birds, and make time to head to the natural blowholes on southeastern Grand Cayman’s Sea View Road. 

You’ll find farms and plantations to tour, class options from Caribbean cooking to thatching with palm fronds, and an awesome fish market on the waterfront where you’ll find fresh options that are begging to be tonight’s dinner. 

While Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are much smaller and less developed, they can be the perfect option for a laid-back day trip if you book an inter-island flight on Cayman Airways. 

4. Barbados

Promenade at marina of Bridgetown, Barbados for a piece on the best places to visit in the Caribbean


Known for having some of the Caribbean’s best beaches and friendly locals, Barbados is a tropical paradise that knows its rum and boasts a tight-knit local community where something fun and interesting is always going on. 

Barbados is packed with colorful homes and rum huts, rolling hills, beautiful beaches, and lush greenery. People come here for a relaxing getaway and a chance to unwind on some of the most idyllic shores the Caribbean has to offer. 

It’s a small island that you can circle in around 2-3 hours by car, so you really can’t go wrong when you’re finding a place to stay. Everything’s nearby! 

You’ll always be close to the beach, but our favorite spots are the shallow, snorkel-friendly beaches in Holetown, Bathsheba Beach, and Carlisle Bay. Long Bay Beach is a perfectly secluded spot if you’re hoping for a carefree day without crowds. 

Bridgetown, the largest city and the capital, is always lively and full of great restaurants (Champers and Tapas are favorites) and markets to browse. With local fare like roti wraps and flying fish on every menu, you’ll savor the Bajan flavors! 

Spreightstown, the second-largest city and more of a hidden gem with local flair, are excellent spots to explore, eat, and shop. Check out Orange Street Grocer for lunch or visit Little Bristol bar on Friday nights for a good time. 

Nightlife is a big part of Barbados, but you’ll have to seek it to find it. Rum tours are always great fun up on Mount Gay Distillery Tours in St. Lucy or at St. Nicholas Abbey Rum Distillery in St. Peter (it’s worth getting a taxi afterward — this is good rum).

St. Lawrence Gap (“The Gap”) has tons of bars and late-night spots with live music, as does Harbour Lights near Bridgetown with all-you-can-drink nights. Head to the southern coast between Oistins — a great spot with a Friday fish fry that’s insanely popular — and Bridgetown to find great stretches of quiet beaches with calm waters for swimming. 

Don’t miss other fun spots to explore around Barbados, like Animal Flower Cave, the Barbados Wildlife Reserve, Harrison’s Cave, and the Steam Railway. The Grenade Hall Forest & Signal Station offers a cool, historical visit on the northern end of the island near St. Lucy.

5. U.S. Virgin Islands

Aerial image of Trunk Bay in the US Virgin Islands, one of the best places to visit in the Caribbean

BlueOrange Studio/Shutterstock

The U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) has 4 main islands: St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John, and Water Island, along with over 50 smaller cays and islets in the archipelago. Since you won’t need a passport to travel here as a U.S. citizen, it’s a favorite Caribbean spot to visit! 

The hardest part about visiting the USVI? Figuring out which island should be your home base for the trip. Each one is similar but offers something unique and different, so learning the differences is essential to plan the best trip.

St. John is our top pick for a USVI visit. It’s the smallest of the islands, has a rural, sleepy feel, and comes across as the most authentically Caribbean. Over 50% of the island is preserved as part of Virgin Islands National Park, leaving huge stretches of its beaches totally natural and unspoiled. 

St. John offers the best snorkeling and diving, completely idyllic beaches like Platform Beach, Hull Bay, and Neltjeberg, some truly phenomenal food (and at better prices), and a quieter, more secluded feel than the other islands. It’s lush, green, and safe. Sites like Peace Hill, Annaburg Ruins, and the Reef Trail for hiking are musts. 

St. Thomas is the busy main island, offering great beaches, waterfront restaurants, hotels, and places to snorkel. It can feel unsafe and rough in areas, but the tourist zones are clean. Charlotte Amalie, the capital, is a great place to eat, check out historic spots like Blackbeard’s Castle and Fort Christian, and enjoy food and drinks at the huge number of bars and laid-back restaurants. 

While St. Croix is the largest USVI, it’s more remote and expensive to reach (and stay on). The island feels relaxed and rural in parts, but some parts are rougher. Food and accommodations are expensive. You’ll find options like Cruzan Rum and Mutiny Vodka tours, St. George Village Botanical Gardens, and the fascinating Annaly Bay tide pools to explore. Rent a car as everything’s spread out. 

From St. Thomas, you can take a ferry over to St. John multiple times a day, or to St. Croix (fewer ferries spaced further apart). That means you can pack more of the USVI into a single trip while enjoying the best of each one! 

6. Puerto Rico

San Juan cliffside fort pictured in the evening for a piece on the best places to visit in the Caribbean

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Sitting east of the Dominican Republic and west of the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico is a phenomenal Caribbean destination that packs cultural flair, delicious food, historic architecture, rainforests, deserts, and sunny, sprawling beaches into its island footprint for an awesome vacation. 

Spanish, African, and indigenous influences create the melting pot of Puerto Rican culture, which you’ll see, taste, and hear in the island’s colors, art, food, music, and dance. This American territory doesn’t require a passport for U.S. citizens who visit, making it a great option for a last-minute, hassle-free trip. 

Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan, won’t offer the kind of Caribbean getaway you’d experience on other islands in the region, but it does offer some cool architecture and nightlife on the Isla Verde strip.

Better is walkable Old San Juan, the historic city center with cobblestone roads, Spanish colonial architecture, and old forts lining the sea. You’ll find plenty of nightlife, food, and shops in Old San Juan. 

But if you’re looking for a Caribbean vacation with tropical beaches and lush greenery, you’ll want to head to the islands of Culebra or Vieques just off the eastern coast. These offer crystal-clear waters, palm trees, wide beaches (Vieques has a bioluminescent bay), and waterfront restaurants and bars. 

Check out Luquillo if you want a laid-back place to stay that feels authentically Puerto Rican and puts you close to El Yunque, the only tropical rainforest “in the United States.” It’s close to the airport, offers nice beaches, and is convenient for doing rainforest hikes and adventure tours. 

Rincon is another spot to consider over on the western coast. It boasts cool caves you can tour and explore, an assortment of bars and restaurant options, amazing food at roadside stands, and plenty of vacation rentals at affordable rates with great sea views. 

While Puerto Rico is decidedly different from some of its Caribbean neighbors, it’s packed with flavor, authenticity, and endless opportunities for adventure. 

Read Next: Best Time to Visit Puerto Rico

7. Antigua & Barbuda

Bold view of the main street in Antigua, one of the best places to visit in the Caribbean, with a volcano in the background


If you want a laid-back island trip in the Caribbean where colorful, historic buildings, steamy rainforests, and green mountain peaks add to the requisite palm trees and white-sand beach scenery, Antigua — one of half of the iconic Antigua & Barbuda duo — is one of the best places to visit. 

This is the larger of two sister islands in the Caribbean Sea, offering a great number of accommodations, dining, and entertainment options in comparison to its wilder, smaller sister, Barbuda.  

Antigua offers a balanced mix of tourist amenities and developed areas along with great beaches and natural areas that are unspoiled and still offer the true Antiguan experience. That’s why it’s one of our favorite Caribbean islands to visit! 

While Saint John’s, the capital of the island nation, is where you’ll find the bustling main port and several shops, a few museums, and churches, you’ll probably only find it entertaining enough for a few hours.

Head to English Harbor in the south instead, which is a more upscale and interesting place tucked into the natural beauty of the island. It boasts plenty of restaurants to choose from, the historic Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, and an amazing overlook from Shirley Heights where you’ll see sailboats dotting the water on a windy day. 

It’s close to the secluded Rendezvous Bay in the south, which has great views of the surrounding hills and St. Martin. Much of the beach is shaded by trees, making it a great spot to set up for the entire day. It backs up to a 50-acre nature reserve

Other great beaches to check out on Antigua are Coco (or Little Ffryes) Beach, Ffryes Beach, and Darkwood Beach. Each one offers clear waters, great conditions for swimming, snorkeling, and fishing, and beautiful surroundings with lush greenery and hills. 

The best part of visiting Antigua for the beaches? They’re all public, even the beaches in front of resorts. That means no stretch of sand is off-limits for you, and some resorts will even allow day use of their umbrellas and loungers for a fee! 

8. Aruba

Flamingo walking on a white sand beach on a sunny day in Aruba, one of the Caribbean's best places to visit


Windy, arid Aruba is a cross between desert and beach, offering a flat, relaxing destination for a Caribbean trip if you’re only here for the beaches and aren’t looking for an island with tons of tropical greenery and mountainous geography. 

Aruba experiences high winds year-round thanks to its location on the Caribbean Sea and the trade winds that constantly blow across it. While you’ll want to secure your stuff when you’re lounging on the sand, it does make it exceptionally nice on hot days when you’re being cooled by ocean breezes! 

The island sees fewer visitors than many of the more popular Caribbean islands, but that will only add to the charm if you like a quiet, secluded getaway. One of the coolest parts of visiting Aruba is the neat Dutch architecture, usually in bright and pastel colors. 

The capital, Oranjestad, has tons of shops and restaurants along with some amazing landmarks and forts for sightseeing. Fort Zoutman, an old lighthouse-turned-history museum, and an archaeology museum filled with artifacts from indigenous peoples are incredibly interesting. 

Palm Beach, on Aruba’s northwestern coast, is the island’s party hotspot and where you’ll find lots of nightlife once the sun goes down and a number of eateries at all price points (many upscale). Calm waters make it great for swimming and snorkeling. See the Bubali Bird Sanctuary and its observation tower, a Butterfly Farm, and a cool old Dutch windmill in the area. 

For a more laid-back experience, Eagle Beach in Oranjestad offers a huge, roomy shore where it never seems to get crowded. This beach puts you in close proximity to the capital’s dining and entertainment for the ultimate convenience, and it’s truly beautiful. 

Diving can be an awesome adventure in Aruba. There are plane wrecks, like the intentionally-sunk Sonesta plane wrecks just off the western coast of the island, that now house corals and shelter colorful marine life. 

Shipwrecks (like the SS Antilla, which is the largest shipwreck anywhere in the Caribbean and located just off the northern coast) are other great dive sites around Aruba. It’s amazing to see how marine life has taken over these sunken vessels! 

Read Next: Best Time to Visit Puerto Rico

9. Willemstad, Curacao

Dock view of Willemstad, Curacao, one of the best places to visit in the Caribbean, pictured on a summer day


While Curacao is part of the ABC islands — Aruba and Bonaire included — it tends to see fewer visitors and stands out as one of the more relaxing, laid-back Caribbean islands to visit if you’re looking for more than just beaches. 

Willemstad is the capital of Curacao, and its colorful Dutch Caribbean and Portuguese architecture instantly make it look a bit different from some of the other Caribbean islands. It’s delightful to stroll through Willemstad, taking in the sights and history as you go. 

Like Aruba, trade winds make Curacao quite windy year-round, which means a constant ocean breeze is blowing across the island and making it feel more comfortable and cool to stroll through the city, even on hot days. 

You’ll find the city center the most intriguing part of the city, containing much of the island’s Dutch and indigenous history with amazing sights around every corner. Look for the Rif Fort, in place since the 18oos and now home to dozens of local shops.

Wandering through the area, you’ll come across lots of restaurants and cafes that serve unique dishes spiced with Caribbean flavors and local ingredients, containing Dutch twists and additions that make it stand out. 

Starting from the Punda neighborhood, you can cross the floating bridge named after Queen Emma into the Otrobanda neighborhood. Here, you’ll find more colorful buildings, ships lining the harbor, and plenty of sidewalk cafes with outdoor seating. 

Be sure to stop by the Kura Hulanda Museum while you’re in the neighborhood to learn about the Afro-Caribbean influences and how this town and island were connected to the dark slavery past. The Curacao Museum tells the story of Colonialism in the area and features lots of artwork and furnishings. 

There are a few beaches around Willemstad that are well worth checking out with crystal-clear waters and sparkling white sand: Jan Thiel Beach (rocky and small) and Mambo Beach (sandy and shady). Better beaches can be found on the northwest coast, like Grote Knip or Playa Piskado. 

10. Punta Cana

Playa Bavaro in the Dominican in Punta Cana, a top pick for the best places to visit in the Caribbean


Punta Cana is the vacation hotspot in the Dominican Republic, home to an amazing array of all-inclusive resorts that bundle everything you could need or want for your trip into one, all-in price. 

And you won’t have to look far to find an amazing beach that puts you squarely into a tropical paradise in Punta Cana: They’re everywhere! Some of the most popular beaches are the giant Bavaro Beach, Arena Gorda Beach, and Juanillo Beach.

Each one has palm trees, clear, blue water, and opportunities to rent water sports equipment or set off on a Caribbean Sea excursion. 

Punta Cana is just as popular for lounging and relaxing as it is for enjoying drinks and live music, getting out of your comfort zone with fun and adventurous activities like windsurfing, and taking snorkeling and diving trips to get acquainted with the underwater world. 

A big part of the charm of visiting Punta Cana is staying at an all-inclusive resort. There are no worries! Just arrive at your resort and enjoy the private beach, amenities, entertainment, meals, bottomless drinks, and activities laid out for you.

You don’t have to plan dozens of activities, book excursions through different providers, hop from hotel to hotel, search for a nice stretch of beach, or worry about finding a great restaurant for every meal of the day. Now that’s what we call an ideal vacation! 

While there can be potential safety issues outside of the resort areas in the DR, staying within your all-inclusive can insulate you from petty crimes like pickpocketing and taxi scams.

If you’re coming for the beaches, staying “on the rails” with your resort and the facilities, food, excursions, and activities they offer is the perfect way to experience Punta Cana. Your resort might have multiple pools, snorkeling equipment rentals, a spa, private beach, and more. 

Read Next: Best Places to Visit in the Dominican Republic

11. Guadeloupe

Lookout Terre-de-Haut in one of the Caribbean's best places to visit, Guadeloupe

Jakob Fischer/Shutterstock

Guadeloupe is a Caribbean archipelago of 12 islands with a strongly French-influenced culture (it’s a French territory). Two of Guadeloupe’s islands are the main destinations for tourists: western Basse-Terre and eastern Grande-Terre, barely divided by a thin river.

Both are excellent options if you’re looking for a classic Caribbean getaway with a special je ne sais quoi. But choosing the right part of Guadeloupe for you requires a little background and understanding of what each side has to offer. 

Basse-Terre is the hiking and natural beauty destination, filled with large stretches of farmland, banana and sugarcane plantations, and forests. It boasts the hulking Vulcano la Sourfrierre within the Guadeloupe National Park, which creates a unique climate for this side with a little more rainfall than Grande-Terre.

Its northern end is home to the most popular town for tourists: Deshaies. Deshaies is a little drier than the mountainous south, features a spectacular beach, and great waves due to its location. If you’re here for hiking, rent a car and stay in the south (like Trois Rivieres). 

Grande-Terre is more developed, a bit more touristy, and (especially in the south) more crowded than Basse-Terre. Rent a car to drive around the island and see the amazing rock formations, cliffs, and ocean views. You can also see the volcano on the sister island! 

There are some nice beaches on Grande-Terre, and you’ll find most of the hotels and resorts clustered on the pristine shoreline for easy access to the water. St. Anne, Gosier, and St. Francois are all good options for staying on Grande-Terre with markets, restaurants, and resorts being abundant in the area. 

If you’re coming for an adventure and want to hike, visit secluded beaches, tour plantations, and stay in a less-developed, touristy area, Basse-Terre will be your pick. For a more upscale Caribbean vacation with more amenities and busy beaches, head to Grande-Terre. 

Day trips to the smaller islands in the archipelago are popular activities from both islands, with locations like Marie Galante and Les Saintes being the best options for a quick, relaxing getaway off the main islands. Ferries are available for each. 

12. Old Havana

Old car in front of pastel colored buildings in one of the best places to visit in the Caribbean, Old Havana


Old Havana in Cuba is one of the most intriguing and fulfilling parts of the Caribbean to visit (if you’re able to go there with the current travel restrictions in place).

Old Havana, or Habana Vieja, hearkens to a time long past, with 50s-model cars filling the streets and beautiful Baroque and Neoclassical architecture everywhere you look. 

This is the historic city center of Cuba’s capital, Havana, and it’s a truly magical place to experience. It forms the core of the city and features the original Havana city walls, colorful colonnaded buildings and arcades, and heavy, wrought-iron gates. 

The entire city center and its walls are a UNESCO World Heritage Site today. This is a piece of living history that’s still walked and driven through by millions of people on a daily basis, adding to the charm of this preserved chapter in the books of time. 

There are 4 public squares or plazas within the old city, but the one you can’t miss is Plaza Vieja. Its restaurants, stained glass windows and arches, shops, and detailed Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture make it a picture-perfect place to stroll. 

Then there’s the impressive Castillo de la Real Fuerza, a bastion fort by the harbor originally built to defend Havana from pirates. You’ll see the beautifully domed Capitolio, or Capitol, and the Calle Obispo street is lined with cool shops and cafes. 

You’ll want to spend a couple of hours enjoying the lovely gardens, palm tree groves, stonework and statues, and walking paths with green spaces perfect for picnics and games in the Parque Central (Central Park). 

The park is surrounded by architectural and cultural points of interest like the Great Theatre of Havana Alicia Alonso, the Central Park Hotel, and the National Museum of Fine Arts

With so much history and a certain elegance that many cities have lost to time visible right here in Old Havana, it’s easily one of the coolest places you can visit in the Caribbean. 

13. Grenada

Annandale Falls with teal water and stunning rocks on one of our top picks for the best places to visit in the Caribbean, Grenada


Grenada is a natural paradise, less developed than some of its Caribbean neighbors and offering an incredible chance to dive into clear waters, swim in gentle lagoons, hike shaded trails, tour vast plantations, and witness the green-draped hills surrounding you as you sunbathe on the beaches. 

St. George’s, the capital city, stands proudly on a hilltop and overlooks the island’s beaches, villages, and the sea. It’s dotted with intensely colored homes and buildings in the Georgian architectural style, lending a unique appearance to the city along with its historic military fort, Fort George. 

Grand Anse Beach is the most popular spot for swimming and sunbathing here, and while it can get a little crowded in the peak season, it boasts lots of beachfront eateries and bars that make it so convenient to stay near. 

For a more secluded beach, check out Morne Rouge Beach just minutes from Grande Anse with very few tourists and a few locals scattered around the shore. It’s a full half mile of white, pristine sand on the gentle Morne Rouge Bay. Grab fish tacos at Plywood Beach Bar here!

If you’re up for a little adventure, you’ll find it here. In central Grenada, there’s the beautiful Annandale Waterfall and Forest Park to explore, while Seven Sisters Waterfall is a little further east. There’s an underwater sculpture park on the central west coast, too. 

St. Margaret’s Falls, Mt. Carmel Falls, and Concord Falls are other options you can take day trips to see. For a challenging but rewarding hike, head to Grand Etang and Mt. Qua Qua, just northwest of Seven Sisters. 

You’ll find some incredible dive sites around Grenada, and snorkeling can be amazing just about anywhere on the island. For a fun outing, take a drive north of St. George’s to see thousands of nutmeg trees (earning the island the nickname of the “Spice Isle”). 

While you’re here, eat like the locals and enjoy Caribbean roti wraps and Oil Down, the national dish of coconut milk, meat, veggies, and dumplings in a seasoned broth. It is spectacular! For drinks and happy hours, you can’t miss Esther’s Bar, West Indies Beer Company, and Friday Happy Hour at Dodgy Dock’s.

14. Saint Martin

Cannon on a hilltop in Marigot, Saint Martin, one of the best places to visit in the Caribbean

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Saint Martin has earned the nickname “The Friendly Island,” so if you’re looking for a welcoming Caribbean destination that feels like home away from home, this is your spot.

Saint Martin is in the Leeward Islands and is divided in two: southern Sint Maartin (Dutch side) and northern Saint Martin (French side). As you’d expect, you’ll find a lot of fusion going on here — Caribbean meets Dutch meets French cuisine, music, fashion, architecture, and customs.

Saint Martin’s capital city, Marigot, is the hub of activity with the most nightlife, shops, restaurants, and bars to check out. You’ll find Galisbay Beach and the historic Fort Louis here to explore, or head up to Pic Paradis for panoramic views over the island. 

It’s a picturesque place with abundant white sand beaches, beautiful mountains and green hills, and a lively nightlife scene that makes it the perfect place to chill all day, then party all night.

There are lots of luxury beach resorts on the island, providing ample accommodations if you’re looking to be pampered and stay in impressive digs with views over the water and of the surrounding mountains. 

You’ll find gorgeous beaches wherever you go on the island, but our favorites are on the far north, like Anse Marcel and its crescent-shaped shoreline ringed by lush hills. There are also clothing-optional beaches, like Orient Beach, Baie Rouge, Happy Bay (close to Friar’s Bay).

Shopping is also an unexpected treat on the island, where duty-free shops make it easy to load up on local goods and specialty items, including liquor and jewelry. You’ll come home with more treasures than you thought! 

15. The Bahamas

Aerial image of Exuma, Bahamas, one of our picks for the must-visit places in the Caribbean

Tony Pullar/Shutterstock

While not technically in the Caribbean Sea, the Bahamas are seemingly synonymous with the region and, along with Turks and Caicos, are regularly lumped into what’s considered the Caribbean. We don’t mind, because it’s one of our favorite places to visit! 

This archipelago of 700+ coral islands (not volcanic, like many Caribbean islands) has about 30 inhabited islands, and of those, tourists most often come to visit 3 main islands: New Providence, Grand Bahama, and Abaco. 

New Providence is where you’ll find Nassau, the capital, where 60% or more of tourists arrive to stay in hotels or via cruise ship. About 70% of the Bahamian population lives here, and while it’s a really convenient spot for tourists to come with accommodations, beaches, and restaurants galore, it’s not our favorite spot. 

Grand Bahama sits in the far north of the Bahamas and has better beaches, excellent diving spots with abundant coral reefs secluded in coves, and tons of high-end resorts with private beaches and luxury amenities.

Freeport is the largest city here and tourists flock to beaches like Xanadu and Gold Rock Beach. Lucayan National Park is on the island, providing shaded trails through forests with caves and wooden walking paths leading you through the most beautiful wilderness. 

But Abaco is where you’ll really be able to experience the wonder and beauty of the Bahamas. It’s part of the outlying Family Islands and is much more secluded, remote, and laid-back than the other popular destinations in the island chain. 

Abaco is safer and its beaches are more natural, less developed, and absolutely perfect for spending time swimming, snorkeling, and diving a coral reef just 50 feet offshore

Look for the candy-cane striped lighthouse at Elbow Cay, pristine beaches to sprawl out on, like Tahiti Beach and Treasure Cay Beach, and take a cruise over to the smaller islets and cays with an all-day excursion through the Abaco Islands. 

Read Next: Best Time to Visit the Bahamas

16. St. Thomas

View of St Thomas from the top of a hill for a piece on the best places to visit in the Caribbean


St. Thomas is the main island in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) and it’s the island group’s tourism hub with abundant hotels and resorts that offer sweeping views of the ocean and surrounding hills and mountains. Adventure is never far when you’re on St. Thomas! 

While it’s nowhere near as wild and natural as nearby St. John, you’ll still find plenty of chances to get up-close and personal with wildlife and the beauty surrounding St. Thomas. Coral World Ocean Park can get you close to playful dolphins and sea lions, while Coki Beach next door provides an awesome spot to lounge, swim, and snorkel. 

Other great spots to swim where the water’s calm include Secret Harbor Beach (there’s a nice restaurant here with a tiki bar). Magen’s Bay on the northern side of the island can be great for people watching and swimming, but tends to get crowded as cruise ships arrive. 

If you want to enjoy some live local bands, check out Sapphire Beach (about 20 minutes from the capital, Charlotte Amalie) for live music on weekend nights.  There are countless beach bars that feature local musicians throughout the week and weekend during the busy season. 

Taking off-island trips is one of the best ways to extend and fill out your St. Thomas vacation, so don’t shy away from Water Island and St. John nearby. Ferries can bring you to either island for a low price. On Water Island, you’ll discover the secluded and unspoiled Honeymoon Beach. 

You won’t go hungry on St. Thomas, that’s for sure! There are restaurants lining the beaches and throughout the little towns on the island. Some of the best for grub after a long day of swimming are Greenhouse Cafe, Pizza Amore, Hook’d, and Tickles Dockside Pub. 

Hit the Main Street Market to find the souvenirs and trinkets you didn’t know you needed (and meet lots of locals), then consider booking yourself a “tropical treasure hunt,” or scavenger hunt across the island, to get to know the lay of the land. 

17. Martinique

Martinique Anse d'Arlet dock leading to the main town square for a piece on the best places to visit in the Caribbean

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The French island of Martinique is magnifique, offering idyllic shores to sunbathe and swim in the shadow of verdant hills and valleys. The island is dotted with small hotels and a few resorts, winding streets that call Paris to mind, and lush, tropical gardens. 

Big on natural beauty that’s balanced with amenities and development, Martinique is easily one of the best places to visit in the Caribbean as a whole. It suits nature lovers bent on hiking, water skiing, and diving just as much as someone seeking lazy beach days or sophisticated poolside luxury. 

Fort-de-France is the capital and largest city, offering clusters of shops and restaurants serving Caribbean fare with French twists. It sits on Martinique’s west coast on Fort-de-France Bay. Wander through the city’s La Savane garden and the monuments along its pathways, but don’t stay here — it gets crowded and deals with lots of traffic. 

If you’re looking for the most natural side of Martinique with abundant tropical beauty, head south. The southern coast is home to the island’s best beaches, like Le Diamant and the Diamond Rock islet, Anse Trabaud, and the clear waters of Grande Anse d’Arlet. 

It’s also where you’ll find the island’s best dive sites, from the steep drop-off at Obian’s Caye to the shipwreck dives off Les Anses d’Arlets (there are around 19 sites here alone). 

Don’t miss your chance to sip local rum, or “rhum agricole.” It’s distilled from sugar cane instead of molasses and you’ll be hard pressed to find it off the island. Visit one of the 14 distilleries on the island for a tour and free tasting! 

Things to Consider When Visiting the Caribbean

Highway with gorgeous teal water on the other side of palm trees on one of the best places to visit in the Caribbean

Jess Kraft/Shutterstock

There’s no doubt that the Caribbean is full of amazing destinations, but you’re sure to get more out of your visit when you keep the following travel tips in mind. 

  • Safety first. Most Caribbean islands are safe to visit, but some see heightened travel advisories from time to time due to increased crime or safety risks for travelers. Always check current travel advisories from your government, avoiding travel when indicated, and take normal safety precautions no matter where you travel. 
  • Be adventurous. There’s something to be said for using your entire Caribbean vacation to laze on the sand or poolside, soaking up the sun (and plenty of rum). But there’s so much to see and do at the best places to visit in the Caribbean, so don’t waste your whole trip relaxing! Horseback riding, rainforest and mountain trail hikes, scuba diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, zip-lining, and even taking a dip in mineral springs or mud baths can all round out your trip with a little excitement. 
  • Do your research. Don’t just book the cheapest room possible (if you’ve got a little wiggle room in your budget). Look for the best parts of the island to stay on for your trip goals. You might look for the best spot for swimming, the area with the most bars and restaurants clustered nearby, or one that’s walkable to multiple beaches and shops to broaden the scope of your visit without renting a car. 
  • Find the right time to go. The Caribbean islands are generally warm year-round, but there are rainy seasons to contend with that make it important to choose the right time of year to go. In general, June through November is the rainy hurricane season in the Caribbean and comes with the biggest risk of downpours, tropical storms, and damaging hurricanes. December through April is the best period to visit. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman snorkeling in a giant rock formation on Virgin Gorda, one of the best places to visit in the Caribbean

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Spending your time at the best places to visit in the Caribbean will ensure you don’t miss out on special experiences and gorgeous locales when you make the trip. Learn more by looking over some of the most frequently asked questions! 

What is considered the best Caribbean island to visit?

St. Lucia stands out as the best Caribbean island to visit with its gorgeous, palm-fringed beaches, dense forests, green mountains and hills, and small-town vibes (even in the capital, Castries). Markets, Caribbean seafood restaurants, and hitting local beachfront bars after a sunny day at the beach or diving offshore is the perfect way to spend your trip.

What is the best country to visit in the Caribbean?

Barbados may be the best country to visit in the Caribbean overall, offering coloful Colonial architecture, pristine beaches and coves, excellent diving and snorkeling, and plenty of budget-friendly to luxe hotels and resorts right on the water.

What is the safest destination in the Caribbean?

Anguilla, St. Barts, Martinique, The Cayman Islands, Abaco in the Bahamas, Aruba, and St. Lucia are the safest destinations in the Caribbean with low crime rates, good police presence, and friendly locals. Tourist areas are typically only bothered with petty crimes, and even then, basic precautions can lower your risk.

Where is the prettiest place in the Caribbean?

Grenada could be considered the prettiest place in the Caribbean, owing to its lush, natural beauty that’s largely unspoiled. Gentle lagoons, pristine beaches, dense forests, and rugged mountains all make it one of the most visually spectacular islands in the Caribbean.

What is the least safe Caribbean island?

Haiti is the least safe Caribbean island, situated on the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. Haiti is currently under a level 4 travel advisory from the U.S. State Department, urging would-be travelers to avoid visiting with high crime, civil unrest, and elevated terrorism risks.

Save Big on Your Caribbean Trip

Budget-savvy travelers (like you) are always looking for ways to save big on the trip of a lifetime. When it comes to the Caribbean, we’ve found that there are a few tried and true ways to cut your costs considerably:

  • Look at resort websites and social media pages for special offers
  • Browse package deals (flight + resort + rental car) on and Expedia to compare
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  • Use for complete trip packages 

Right now, there are tons of incredible deals available for some of the locations we’ve listed as the best places to visit in the Caribbean. Start searching now to find an amazing price for your dream trip! 

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So, What Are the Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean?

The best places to visit in the Caribbean might start to blend together after reading through a list of 17 destinations, but trust us: They’re all delightfully unique and worthy of consideration. 

From lush and laid-back St. Lucia to chic Martinique, there’s a Caribbean island or destination that will perfectly suit your goals for the trip.

You might be planning on plopping down on a beach and not moving for the next 10 days or setting out on exciting excursions and trips each day of the week. That’s the beauty of the Caribbean: It becomes what you want it to be and it always turns out to be just what you need.