March 28, 2023

Epitomised by tender white sands, evenly lapping waves, and cotton sweet sunsets, a Caribbean trip usually means little greater than switching off and chilling out. But, should you’re like me, you’ll be searching for greater than only a sea-facing resort and swim-up bar when selecting a Caribbean vacation spot.

Fortunately, this beauty-endowed nook of the world provides loads of points of interest past its seashores. Whether or not you’re a pair searching for a luxurious island trip to rejoice your honeymoon, adventurers searching for a multi-day mountaineering vacation, or a solo traveller trying to find each sea and tradition, the Caribbean will fortunately oblige.

Listed here are 5 Caribbean locations to whet your urge for food and supply some inspiration on your subsequent trip, it doesn’t matter what form of traveller you’re.

Quintana Roo, Mexico, for paradisiacal playas and Mayan historical past

Whereas a Caribbean trip normally means heading to an island, that doesn’t must be the case. On Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula – together with the Guianas and Belize – you can too get pleasure from these dreamy Caribbean sunsets and golden sands the area is famend for.

Quintana Roo, one of many three states on the Yucatán Peninsula, is arguably the very best place to move for the commonest Caribbean expertise, particularly alongside the Riviera Maya. This divine stretch of coast spans round 80 miles and is bejewelled with inviting seashores, corresponding to Playa Akumal and Playa Maroma, and backed by tropical jungle.

However it’s not all solar, sea and sand. Barely inland, you can too admire visits to Mayan ruins such because the Tulum Archeological Space and, additional afield, Chichén Itzá. Then, in fact, you may have the nightlife and all that mouth-watering Mexican delicacies.

Whether you’re planning an active Caribbean vacation or a romantic honeymoon, these five Caribbean destinations will cover all bases.
Playa Akumal, Mexico (high) and Rif Ro Werleman, Aruba (beneath)

Nonetheless, should you’re after the whole check-in and chill-out luxurious expertise and little else, that’s very a lot potential. There are numerous luxurious resorts alongside the coast, with the likes of Iberostar’s Riviera Maya all inclusive hotels having seven properties alone, and also you’ll discover a good mixture of both family-friendly or adult-only choices. For those who’d desire a extra conventional island expertise, close by Isla Holbox is price contemplating.

When to go: January to April is mostly thought-about the very best time to go to the Yucatán Peninsula for first rate climate. If you wish to spot whale sharks, it’s greatest to come back later within the yr, round July or August. The hurricane season is from June till November, with September and October normally being the height months for downpours and potential hurricanes.

The Indian River as seen from above with the mountains of Dominica in the background
Take a ship experience up Dominica’s Indian River

Dominica, for an lively journey vacation removed from the crowds

There are some locations you fall in love with the second you arrive, and for me, that was Dominica. Removed from being your traditional Caribbean island – right here days are far more about recognizing endemic birds in a rainforest or mountaineering to waterfalls than lounging on the seaside –  the island of Dominica is a perfect Caribbean vacation spot for adventurers. 

Often called ‘the Pure Island’, this small slice of paradise is unsurprisingly wealthy in pure points of interest. Verify in to a seaside bungalow and revel in your morning espresso on the black sands. Enterprise on a day journey to the Boiling Lake, a fumarole within the UNESCO-listed Morne Trois Pitons National Park. Embark on the multi-day Waitukubuli Nationwide Park Path by means of the rainforest or head to the Kalinago Territory to study in regards to the indigenous individuals of the land. Then, get an adrenaline kick as you expertise canyoning within the Caribbean.

A pool of water with a person in at the bottom of a Canyon in Dominica
Dominica is among the greatest Caribbean locations for canyoning

That’s to not say Dominica needs to be discounted as a romantic vacation spot, as lively {couples} will discover this one of many extra unique honeymoon destinations within the Caribbean. Whether or not you’re recognizing the resident sperm whale inhabitants from a non-public boat constitution or crusing down the Indian River to go to bush bars, memorable moments are aplenty.

Fortunately, Dominica has stayed comparatively untouched because of the lack of entry. The tiny airport means bigger planes can’t land right here, and with connections required by means of a neighbouring island, it’s remained considerably ‘off the overwhelmed path’. Nonetheless, that is altering, as the primary direct USA flight (Miami) just lately launched, cruises are calling extra recurrently,  and bigger – albeit eco-focused resorts – have began opening. 

When to go: June to October is Dominica’s hurricane season, and December till April is when nearly all of cruise ships arrive. If you’d like a ‘distant’ island feeling, goal to go to in November or Might, though the latter is when the humidity begins to rise. For much less humidity and crowds, plan for November or December or arrive in April for sunny days on the tail-end of the season.

A rainbow over the ocean in Portsmouth Dominica

Learn extra:
Dominica journey information

A pristine beach in Aruba
Aruba’s seashores are perfect for water sports activities

Aruba, for a family-friendly – or pals – island escape 

Whereas there won’t be such a factor as a ‘good island,’ I’d argue that Aruba comes fairly shut. Whether or not you’re a household searching for a laid-back trip, a pair searching for a romantic getaway or a gaggle of pals after some good vibes, there are numerous causes to go to Aruba.

Not solely is that this compact isle full of idyllic seashores – mangrove-shrouded Mangel Halto is my favorite – however there are additionally quite a few different methods to maintain your self and the children entertained.

Water sports activities fans are notably effectively catered for. Kayaking, SUP, and jet skis can all be simply employed, and Aruba’s famend commerce winds make this a high windsurfing vacation spot. Quite a few scuba diving websites, starting from wrecks to drifts, additionally make it a well-liked place to study scuba diving. 

Traditional and colourful carnival outfit worn during a dance along the street in San Nicolas
Expertise Carnival in Aruba

Away from the shore, you’ll discover rugged and adventure-friendly landscapes in Arikok Nationwide Park. With a cactus-coated terrain ripe for quad-biking and craggy caves adorned with historic Arawak drawings, it’s a far cry from the high-rise resorts on the opposite aspect of the island. Throw into the combo the road artwork of San Nicolas, quite a few luxurious spas, and the pastel-hued Dutch-style structure of Oranjestad, the island’s capital, and also you’ve obtained a crowd-pleasing Caribbean vacation spot.

Certainly, the island’s tourism board payments Aruba as ‘one joyful island’, and it’s truthful to say that my smile had develop into everlasting after per week on this absolute paradise. 

When to go: Aruba is blessed because it sits exterior the hurricane belt, making it a extra year-round pleasant Caribbean vacation spot. There may be nonetheless a wet season between October and January; nevertheless, showers are sometimes brief bursts reasonably than extended rainfalls. Aruba’s Carnival is in January and February.

Sunset Cruise Aruba

Learn extra:
One week in Aruba

A beach in Jamaica backed by greenery
Jamaica’s seashores are simply the beginning of this island’s treasures

Jamaica, for travellers searching for tradition, coast and delicacies 

Jamaica has lengthy been referred to as one of many world’s greatest islands to go to, each for its idyllic seashores and its genre-defining music tradition. But, having spent a month exploring each nook of the nation, I believe it’s truthful to say I massively underestimated how a lot the island has to supply.

Not solely is that this some of the established Caribbean locations for an all-inclusive resort keep, however there’s additionally an abundance of tradition, historical past and heritage to understand too. Thus, Jamaica is a perfect Caribbean trip for individuals who need the very best of each worlds. 

Street art in Kingston, Jamaica
Road artwork in Kingston, Jamaica

To dive deeper into the nation’s previous, you’ll additionally wish to go to a few of Jamaica’s heritage sites and cultural establishments. Whereas the Bob Marley and Tradition Yard museums are the obvious for reggae followers, the road artwork murals created by Kingston Inventive, and the Nationwide Gallery, provide lots extra cultural perception. It’s additionally effectively price planning a go to to Maroon City to study in regards to the freedom-fighting Maroons, 

Different locations price visiting embody the Blue Mountains or Cockpit County for verdant hikes, waterfalls corresponding to Dunn River and Attain Falls, and a nighttime boat experience on the Luminous Lagoon to identify bioluminescent plankton.

When to go: Jamaica’s hurricane season runs from June till November, with the rainiest months being early within the season. The riskiest months for hurricanes are normally August and September. You’ll usually discover first rate climate and offers should you go to pre-Christmas (November till mid-December). Jamaica’s Carnival is in April.

Sunset at Shirley Heights, an iconic Antigua location
Sundown at Shirley Heights, an iconic Antigua location

Antigua and Barbuda, for laid-back and loved-up resort days

Consisting of three islands – there’s additionally the uninhabited Redonda – the principle draw of Antigua and Barbuda is the seashores. Reportedly, the island has 365 of them, one for every day of the yr, though I solely had an opportunity to discover a handful throughout my go to.

With rather less to discover and expertise than another Caribbean locations, I discovered Antigua the right place to change off and chill out within the resort. So, should you’re searching for an idyllic island with out too many ‘distractions’ from doing nothing, contemplate setting your sights on this heavenly escape.

A private beach at the Verandah Resort in Antigua
A personal seaside on the Verandah Resort in Antigua

But, that’s to not say there aren’t some cultural and heritage points of interest price a go to when you’ll be able to tear your self away from the golden sands. The capital metropolis of St John’s provides loads of probabilities to attempt native dishes and study extra on the island’s Museum, tour Nelson’s Dockyard to study extra about naval historical past, and for maybe Antigua’s greatest panorama, head to the energetic events at Shirley Heights. 

Antigua is also referred to as the ‘crusing capital of the Caribbean’, making it a perfect vacation spot for a crusing journey – or at the very least a romantic sundown yacht journey – to get out on the waters. 

When to go: As with most Caribbean islands, Antigua’s hurricane season is from June till November, though the chance is decrease right here than on another isles. Contemplate planning your trip from December till April for the very best climate. You’ll be able to usually discover some first rate offers in January after the Christmas holidays.

Private beach in Anitgua of the Verandah Resort with water-sports on the ocean

Learn extra:
Antigua and Barbuda journey information

Whether you’re planning an active Caribbean vacation or a romantic honeymoon, these five Caribbean destinations will cover all bases.
Pin it: Caribbean locations for any form of traveller