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.
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17 Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean in 2022
Here’s a detailed overview of the best places to visit in the Caribbean, their top attractions, and factors you should consider. We’re travel nuts, so you can bet we’ve made the best guide available.
St. Lucia offers a little of everything. From posh resorts to iconic volcanic peaks and stunning landscapes, St. Lucia sure does make a great vacation destination for first-time visitors.
Whether you’re an outdoors fanatic, love basking in the sun, zip-lining, or rock climbing, there’s so much to explore in St. Lucia. A day’s trip wouldn’t be enough to explore what it offers.
For the adrenaline junkies, a hike in Piton Mountains or zip-lining through the rainforest makes a great start.
You may also stop at Sulphur Springs, the only drive-in volcano in the world. If you’re not feeling too adventurous, soak up along one of the popular beaches on the Caribbean’s coast.
They are also great places to go snorkeling and diving trips. The day ends with slow jazz music playing at the famous St. Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival while watching the sun go down.
This is another great place to visit when vacationing in the Caribbean. Most of its islands were hit hard during the 2017 Hurricane Irma, but the government has done a formidable job in rebuilding them.
Most of its 60 islands are underdeveloped, but you’re bound to discover some great places. Tortola is one popular stop, thanks to the stunning landscape.
Here you’ll find chalk-white beaches, mountainous cliffs, and lush green forests. Tourists visiting Tortola are spoilt for choice owing to the many activities available. There’s plenty to do, from kayaking to water skiing and hiking here.
It attracts huge crowds going for day trips, but you may head to Anegada if looking for a more serene environment. It’s quieter, and the terrain is flatter than any other beach on the British Virgin Islands.
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.
Are you looking for an epic diving experience? The Cayman Islands is the place to be. With more than 365 dive sites across its three islands, it’s a must-visit for those who love water activities.
Whether you want to go snorkeling, deep-sea diving, or fishing, there’s so much to explore here. Three islands make up the Cayman Islands — the Little Cayman, Grand Cayman, and Cayman Brac.
Grand Cayman is home to the most popular dive sites, including the Kittiwake Shipwreck and Stingray City, a famous snorkeling spot known for its clear water. Tourists come here to see giant sea creatures snatching food right out of their plates.
Little Cayman is ten miles away from Grand Cayman and is a great spot for honeymooners looking for a more relaxed environment. Cayman Brac, on the other hand, provides the most spectacular views of cliffs and the ocean floor.
Besides its laid-back vibe, Barbados has the most beautiful beaches on the east coast of the Caribbean. The tropical climate makes it a great destination year-round, with tourists going to the west coast to explore the warm, calm seawater and the east to surf and see the wild beaches.
The rugged, wide, and Virgin Island of Bathsheba stands out for its spectacular scenery. Surfers and photographers come here to catch a glimpse of the huge boulders and the best waves.
It’s not the best place to swim, but you’re sure to get a stunning backdrop for your pictures. A visit here isn’t complete without trying out the wonderful culinary offerings and the age-old rum.
These two features are the very essence of Barbados’ culture. In fact, there’s an annual festival (Barbados Food and Rum Festival) to showcase Barbados’ culinary scene. It’s an excellent opportunity to savor Barbados’ favorite Bajan cuisine and cocktails.
With more than 50 islets, the U.S. Virgin Islands is another top destination in the Caribbean. It’s just three hours from Miami, and tourists can travel passport-free.
St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John islands stand out of the 50 thanks to their stunning landscapes and rich culture. St. Croix, the largest, is a great spot for scuba divers and those on their honeymoon.
It stretches over 22 miles and has a rich cultural scene characterized by unique architecture and artistry.
St. Thomas is a cultural center that attracts a diverse audience, while St. John, the smallest of the three, is awash with natural beauty. In fact, two-thirds of the island consists of national park land.
Are you looking for a Caribbean city with authentic Spanish culture and an American twist? Head to Puerto Rico. It has a chain of American restaurants and other comforts associated with the USA’s mainland.
Further afield is San Juan’s historic charm characterized by old forts and colonial architecture. There are small villages, quaint towns, caves, and areas with a rugged mountainous interior.
With over 500 years, San Juan is the second oldest city in the Americas. The landscape in Puerto Rico is stunning too.
Nature lovers will love exploring the tropical rainforest and the night-time wonders of Bioluminescent Bay. The 25-foot waves at Tres Palmas beach are also worth exploring.
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Antigua isn’t your average vacation destination. Located where the Caribbean and the Atlantic meet, Antigua is one of the best places to visit in the Caribbean.
It’s dotted with rainforests, reef-lined beaches, resorts, and more than 365 beaches, there’s so much to explore here. Sailing is a favorite pastime for locals and tourists alike, and if visiting Antigua during Sailing Week, you’re in luck.
The event is one of the best-known regattas globally and is fun-packed. Participants get to party, race, and participate in other activities during the seven-day event. If not visiting during Sailing Week, you can sign up for a sailing excursion or charter a sailboat.
Half-day excursions are more than enough to experience some sea splashing. Further north of Antigua is the famous Dickenson Bay, rated among the best beaches in the Caribbean.
It has a lot of activities, including windsurfing at the windsurfing hub and swimming, among other water sports. The area is also dotted with all-inclusive resorts for guests to enjoy gourmet food, unlimited drinks, and water-related sports.
Aruba isn’t as popular as other Caribbean Islands, but it sure makes an excellent place to explore the best of the island without large crowds. Located a few miles off Venezuela’s coast, Aruba boasts year-round sunny weather, picture-perfect beaches, and tasty international cuisines.
Its decision to legalize gambling is a major draw for avid gamblers as they can hit the casinos without worrying about getting arrested. The clear water surrounding the island makes Aruba a great place for wreck diving and snorkeling.
Diving is all the rage in the area, and if you’re a novice, you can always take a diving lesson at the resort. There are non-beach activities too for families. You can visit the Aruba Ostrich Farm or Arikok National Park.
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9. Willemstad, Curacao
Curacao is often dwarfed by its sister islands- Aruba and Bonaire- but still has plenty to offer. Its main port city, Willemstad, is a major draw thanks to the pastel and blue-colored Dutch and Portuguese-inspired architecture.
After leaving Willemstad, the landscape shifts to a desert scene characterized by spiny aloe vera plants sprouting from limestone cliffs.
Further afield is a vast beach area dotted with coves and picturesque bays with turquoise water flowing towards the chalk-white sand. The best scenery is the semi-arid island that hasn’t been affected by the disastrous Atlantic hurricane.
Gentle winds blow against this part of Curacao, keeping the temperatures in the mid-80s; perfect for outdoor activities year-round.
Located in the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana has become a favorite spot hosting nearly two million tourists every year. There’s so much to explore here from its warm weather year-round to the magnificent network of beaches and vast lodging options.
Playa Bavaro beach stands out from the others. It has 30 miles of white sand and the calmest turquoise water, perfect for swimming and snorkeling. What’s more, it’s surrounded by the most service centers and water parks.
Punta Cana’s culinary scene stands out too. Most dishes are 100% Creole with a bit of Western twist, but if you want to try local dishes, be sure to try out the Mofongo and La Bandera.
The water sports activities are a major draw too.
Punta Cana provides a range of water sports activities, including windsurfing, fishing, and wakeboarding. You can also indulge in non-water activities like golfing, volleyball, tennis, and basketball on the beach.
Thanks to its rich French culture, the island is a favorite for French tourists. In fact, an aerial view of the island shows the archipelago is an extension of France. The food, culture, and language also reflect the strong ties between Guadeloupe and France.
Guadeloupe’s mainland consists of two islands — Basse-Terre on the west and Grande –Terre on the east to form a landmass that resembles a butterfly. Both islands stand out from other Caribbean islands due to their unspoiled natural beauty and rustic charms.
A few miles south are quaint villages dotted with century-old distilleries not to mention the white and black sandy beaches extending into the calm waters.
Palm-fringed beaches surround their coastlines with lush interior with dense mountainous vegetation, hot springs, waterfalls, and an active volcano.
Old Havana is a must-visit for history buffs. This capital city of Cuba was founded as early as 1519 and retained a characteristic historic charm that many tourists come to explore.
It has transformed into a sprawling metropolis of more than two million inhabitants over the years. However, you’ll still find an interesting mix of neoclassical and Baroque monuments, old pastel buildings, and private houses with wrought-iron gates and arcade balconies.
Most of the city’s architecture dates back to the 1950s, with the Old Havana hosting Castillo del Morro and other museums and cultural centers.
Forget the glitz, glamor, and resort-laden islands in Barbados and other lavish islands in the Caribbean. Head to Grenada for one in a lifetime experience of its natural beauty, spice plantations, and stunning landscape.
Also referred to as the Spice Isle, Grenada, is dotted with large nutmeg plantations that offer visitors a refreshing experience.
The sandy beaches are great for beachcombing seashells, and nature lovers will certainly enjoy winding through the Grand Etang National Park and La Sagesse Nature Center.
A visit to Grenada isn’t complete without visiting the famous St. George’s Harbor. It’s often mistaken for an Italian coastal town, thanks to the brightly colored churches and houses lined along the streets.
14. Saint Martin
This is one of the many islands affected by the 2017 Hurricane Irma. Although the recovery phase is ongoing, Saint Martin is open for business.
The island comprises two countries, the French in the North and the Dutch in the South, but EU regulations allow easy passage between them.
Saint Martin is famous for its secluded coves where tourists come to swim, snorkel, sunbathe and relax. Other beautiful places to explore include Mulley Bay, Orient Bay, and Cupecoy Beach, among others.
The Bahamas is a popular travel destination mainly due to the vast range of islands here. It has 700 islands lined with white sandy shores, scuba diving excursions, duty-free shops, and luxurious accommodations.
Many families come here to discover and explore the vast range of mega-resorts, Paradise Island, and the exhilarating diversions of Atlantis.
Nature enthusiasts have an opportunity to explore protected areas like Lucayan National Park, Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve, or the private islands. There’s a lot for history buffs to discover, too, thanks to the artifacts and ruins from the colonial era on some parts of the island.
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16. Saint Thomas
The island is the most cosmopolitan of the three Virgin Islands. This is pretty evident in its capital city, Charlotte Amalie, which is dotted with shopping centers, resorts, and an ecstatic nightlife.
The 99-step climb above Charlotte Amalie is particularly fascinating as it provides a spectacular view of St. Thomas Island and the Caribbean Sea. What’s more, there’s a Skyride 700 offering a much better view of the island.
And if you’re a history lover, check out Fort Christian, which was built in the 17th century by Norwegian and Danish settlers. Outdoor enthusiasts will love exploring the hiking trails on the island, ziplining, and bicycle tours.
Be sure to stop at Coral World, especially if visiting Saint Thomas with kids. The center offers many marine adventures and water sports like scuba diving, snorkeling, and scooter tours.
The island is part of an overseas territory that belongs to France. Its unique location doesn’t prevent it from providing the best of the Caribbean.
On the east is the vast Atlantic Ocean and on the west is the Caribbean Sea lined with picture-perfect palm trees and sandy beaches. Visitors indulge in a range of water activities, including kite surfing and kayaking, not to mention the French-inspired cuisines.
The nightlife is also pretty vibrant, thanks to the numerous festivals, music concerts, and events held on the island.
Things to Consider When Visiting the Caribbean
The Caribbean makes an excellent vacation destination during the winter season as the weather here is friendly. When coupled with the ease of traveling to the Caribbean Islands, we can understand why it’s a favorite destination for many tourists.
You simply need to hop on a plane, look for the best places to visit in the Caribbean, check into an all-inclusive resort, and you’re ready to enjoy all the pleasantries it has to offer.
However, as with other foreign destinations, a few factors come into play when visiting the Caribbean. Here are some of them:
Admittedly, the Caribbean has friendly weather year-round. However, some months have better weather than others. December through to April have cooler nights and drier days hence the best time to visit.
In fact, these are the peak seasons for most Caribbean islands as many people escape the freezing winter weather in other parts of the world. Summer and autumn seasons also make great travel months, but the days are warmer and wetter. You may also experience heavy downpours.
It’s easy to assume that everyone speaks English like in your native land, but it isn’t so. Most Caribbean islands were French, Dutch, Spanish, and English colonies.
As such, natives are likely to speak other dialects. Natives living in St. Martin, Guadeloupe, and Haiti, for example, speak French, while those in Cuba and the Dominican Republic talk in Spanish.
You could be on vacation and are ready to splurge, but you still need to check the rates. Food and accommodation rates are highest during the peak season (mid-December-mid or late April), sometimes going as high as 20-50% higher than regular rates.
Unlike other cities, people in the Caribbean drive on the left side of the road. If going on a self-drive, be sure to master left-side driving. And since most islands don’t have stoplights, you need to learn how to navigate the roundabouts.
If checking into an all-inclusive resort, it’s easy to restrict your movements around the hotel and the nearby beach. But as you’ve probably seen, there’s a lot more to explore in the Caribbean.
Larger islands like Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico have thriving cities and so much more to offer. Be sure to venture out and explore other islands before going back to the resort.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do all Caribbean countries take us dollars?
It’s important to check the country’s local currency ahead of time because some don’t take U.S. dollars. Typically there are 13 different currencies in the Caribbean. French islands, for example, use euros; the Eastern Islands have their dollars while Dutch islands use guilders.
Is the peak season the only time to visit the Caribbean?
The peak season is an excellent time to visit due to the friendly weather. However, you can still schedule your vacation in off-peak months like May. The weather is just as good as in peak months, and the accommodation rates are much lower.
Do Caribbean countries accept digital payments?
You want to avoid making credit card and online payments and get cash. Large hotels and resorts may accept cards but carry cash if visiting secluded beach areas.
Do all islands experience hurricanes?
The Caribbean is wrought with hurricanes and storms, but not all islands experience extreme weather. Islands like Curacao, Tobago, Grenada, Aruba, and Bonaire hardly experience hurricanes.
Can I find an internet connection on the island?
Most hotels and resorts in the Dominican Republic, Cayman Islands, and the Virgin Islands have a Wi-Fi connection. However, if you visit mountainous islands away from population centers, you may be off the grid until you return home.
Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean: A Summary
The Caribbean is a sure bet for anyone looking for a vacation destination for the long holidays. Its vast range of islands dotted with stunning landscapes, parks, and numerous water activities should keep you relaxed and entertained.
There’s plenty for everyone to explore, whether you’re traveling as a family, a couple, or on a solo trip.
Be sure to schedule the trip during the peak season as most restaurants, resorts, shops, and hotels are in business. If it’s not possible, May is another great month to visit the Caribbean.