We all dream of an exotic escape to the Caribbean, but how do you know which Caribbean island to choose that’s right for you? Obviously they all boast incredible beaches with swaying palm trees and gentle waves lapping against soft, white sands. But each island has its own individual charm too, which might make it more appealing to you than one of the others. Here’s my breakdown of the best Caribbean islands; helping you to decide which one you’ll be jetting off to.
Best for history – Cuba
The incredible island of Cuba holds such a rich history, just waiting to be experienced by you on your next holiday. Why not split your time so you can have the best of both worlds; spending a few days in one of the fascinating historical cities, such as Havana or Holguin, before spending the rest of it soaking up the sun on the beaches of a luxurious seafront hotel, like Varadero or Cayo Coco? Havana is an amazing place to visit, where you can learn all about the country’s history; from its cigar factories and Cuban rum to its old-fashioned architecture and all the American Old Timers on the roads.
Best for culture – Jamaica
A holiday to Jamaica allows you to fully immerse yourself in the Caribbean culture; experiencing all the mouth-watering food and drink, the world-famous music scene, the laid-back vibe and the friendly locals. Being the home of the legendary Bob Marley, there are plenty of opportunities to learn all about his legacy and even visit his place of birth. Visit the beautiful Dunn’s River Falls or stroll along Seven Mile Beach before heading to Rick’s Café and tucking into jerk chicken as you watch the spectacular sunset, this is said to be one of the best spots to see it on the island.
Best for scenery – St. Lucia
If you’re into good walks, hiking and exploring, or you just love to have mind-blowing scenery as the backdrop to your tropical beach holiday, then St. Lucia is just the place for you. One of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean, it’s home to the impressive Les Pitons; two lush, mountainous volcanoes, which form the main attraction of the country. Trek to the top of them and take in the incredible views from the peaks, or stay closer to sea level and explore the magical rainforests, national parks and flowing waterfalls.
Best for traditions – Tobago
Charming and unspoilt, Tobago may be one of the smaller Caribbean islands, but it’s just as unforgettable as the rest. The beaches here are quiet and stunning, with the likes of Pigeon Point being a particularly peaceful beauty spot. Depending on what time of you year you choose to visit, you could experience the colourful sights and sounds of the island’s heritage festival (in July/August), featuring traditional music and stories about the island’s history, or the totally wacky but hugely popular goat racing that takes place each Easter. That’s right. I said goat racing.
Best for a home from home – Barbados
If you want to experience a taste of the Caribbean, but still like to enjoy your home comforts too, then perhaps you should consider paying Barbados a visit. It’s got a distinctively British feel and you’ll more than likely witness lots of cricket and indulge in an afternoon tea or two while you’re there. Spend your time getting lost in a good book on the immaculate Palm Beach, spot turtles swimming in the water on a catamaran trip or take in the sights of the picturesque British colonial buildings in historic Bridgetown.
Best for luxury – Antigua
Antigua has got to be one of the most idyllic of the Caribbean islands, with beaches you thought you’d only ever see on a screensaver. It’s perfect for a romantic getaway or a special family holiday together. For one of the most spectacular views on the island, make your way up to the Shirley Height’s Lookout, where you’ll get unrivalled panoramic views of English Harbour below. Head there on a Sunday night and you can join in the party that takes place at the lookout each week, where there’s plenty of live music and entertainment for you to enjoy.
Best for relaxing – Dominican Republic
If you’re looking for somewhere to truly unwind on holiday, but still like to keep yourself entertained, then the Dominican Republic will tick all of your boxes. It’s got some fantastic sandy beaches to while away your time on, such as the popular Playa Dorada, close to Puerto Plata. The lively resort of Punta Cana is where you can go to enjoy a refreshing cocktail or two, or perhaps even a bit of a dance if you fancy it, as it’s got a great nightlife too. Or maybe you’d prefer to spend your time teeing-off on one of the many world-class golf courses you’ll find around you. The choice is yours.
Which is your favourite Caribbean island? Or which one would you most like to visit? Let me know in the comments below.