Caribbean holidays

A lush tropical region with a rhythmic heartbeat and easy-going charm, there’s nowhere on the planet quite like the Caribbean. As well as having some of the most breathtaking tropical landscapes in the world, it has a contagious energy that lives on in its visitors long after they leave. From the lingering scent of rum in air to the pleasant sound of drumming in the distance, the Caribbean offers a slice of paradise.

Things to do

From sampling the Dominican Republic’s local rum to trekking to Jamaica’s breathtaking Dunn’s River waterfall, there’s enough to experience in the Caribbean to send your senses into a frenzy. Cuba’s picture-perfect beaches are the ideal location for a moment of quiet reflection, while St. Lucia is renowned for its world-class snorkelling and scuba-diving spots. Take a dive into Caribbean culture with a freshly prepared taco from one of Mexico’s many street stands. The rich salsa flavours will satisfy your hunger just enough to prepare you for a night of heavy partying in one of Cancun’s legendary nightclubs. 

Places to stay

Whether you’re searching for a postcard-perfect setting to fall in love with, or the best music spot to perfect your dancing skills, the Caribbean has a place to cater to your needs. Cuba’s pristine beaches and vivid marine life will impress even the most experienced traveller, while the Dominican Republic’s vibrant Latin culture is guaranteed to get you on your feet. For nightlife unlike anything you’ve ever experienced, head north west to Mexico’s party capital, Cancun, where you'll be treated to performances from DJs and artists from around the world. 

What should I pack?

The Caribbean has a hot, humid climate and even in winter the weather can be unseasonably warm. If you’re heading here in dry season, don’t forget to pack plenty of high-factor suncream and after sun, your swimwear, a sun hat, and sunglasses. Bringing something to cover up with at the beach or by the pool is also a good idea, as is a light jacket or jumper for cooler evenings.

Anybody visiting the Caribbean between January and April will find the weather a little cooler and wetter. You’ll need a light raincoat and some comfortable, closed shoes for rainy days.

Remember to bring your camera and a travel adaptor for charging your devices too.

More Travel Guides

We also have travel guides available for destinations including: Cuba | Dominican Republic | Jamaica | Mexico | Tobago

Map of Caribbean

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30 ℃

Spring for slightly cooler temperatures.

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9-11 hours

Jose Marti International Airport (HAV) is 9 miles west of Havana in Cuba; Cancún International Airport (CUN) is 14 miles southwest of Cancún in Mexico;  Punta Cana International airport (PUN) is 21 miles east of the country.

Caribbean is best for...

Honeymooners: Discover the Caribbean’s crystal clear waters and secluded coves on a romantic boat ride. 

Party people: Whether you’re dancing merengue in the Dominican Republic or to the sounds of salsa in Cuba, don’t leave without trying a local dance yourself.

Underwater adventurers: Explore the Caribbean’s magnificent coral reefs and underwater treasures in a glass-bottom boat or on a snorkelling trip. 

Fast facts for Caribbean

Language: The languages spoken in the Caribbean are English and Spanish

Currency: The currencies used in the Caribbean are the Dollar ($) and Peso (₱)

Local time: The Caribbean is 4–6 hours behind GMT/UK time

Fly to: Hewanorra International Airport or George F.L. Charles Airport

Flight time from UK: The flight time to the Caribbean varies from 8–11 hours

Tourist Information: Further Caribbean tourist information can be found at www.caribbeantravel.com

Getting around Caribbean

By Taxi: The best way to get around Cuba is in its state-run taxis. A short trip will only cost a few dollars. A fun alternative are the state-run cocotaxis, which are three-seater scooters. 

By Bus: Local buses are the most comfortable and cost-effective way to get around Mexico and the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic’s local hop-on buses are smaller in size and don’t include toilet facilities, but make more stops along the route.

By Metro: The Santo Domingo metro is a fast way to reach up to nine cities in the Dominican Republic. 

Events in Caribbean

Santo Domingo Carnival: The end of February marks the biggest event on the Dominican Republic calendar: The Santo Domingo Carnival. If you’re lucky enough to be there, expect dancing, fabulous floats and enough delicious street food to send your taste buds into a wild frenzy.

Celebration of Classic Cars: Motor enthusiasts won't want to miss Cuba’s annual Classic Car Celebration in March. This week-long festival celebrates the country’s fleet of vintage cars with a series of lectures, workshops and parades throughout Havana.  

Cancun Jazz Festival: Head down to Mexico’s legendary Parque de las Palapas at the end of May to witness the Cancun Jazz Festival in full swing. This event attracts some of the best jazz musicians from around the world so plan your trip early to avoid disappointment. 

Caribbean safety and security

For up to date advice on travelling to the Caribbean, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/cuba/safety-and-security for Cuba, https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/dominican-republic/safety-and-security for the Dominican Republic, and https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/mexico/safety-and-security for Mexico.

Passport and Visas

Do I need a passport?

You will need a valid passport to visit the Caribbean, which must be valid for a minimum of six months from your date of entry.

For more information on Caribbean passport requirements and details of the country’s entry regulations, head to https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/antigua-and-barbuda/entry-requirements.

Do I need a visa?

British citizens visiting the Caribbean on holiday do not need a visa. You will be given a specific period of stay upon arrival in the country. If you wish to remain in the Caribbean for longer, you will need to apply and pay for an extension through the Antigua and Barbuda Immigration Department.

For more Caribbean visa information as well as details of entry requirements to the country, head to https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/antigua-and-barbuda/entry-requirements.

Should I get travel health insurance?

Setting off on a Caribbean cruise or an All Inclusive holiday with the family? It pays to have comprehensive travel and health insurance in place, in case you become ill or are injured on your trip. Insurance could pay for emergency medical treatment or even cover the cost of flying you home. You should always check your policy documents before your holiday, so you know what is and what isn’t covered. It’s also a good idea to check that any activities you’re planning on taking part in will be covered by your insurance.

Any other tips?

  • The currency here is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar. However US dollars are widely accepted and it’s recommended to take some with you for your first few days, as you’ll find better exchange rates upon arrival in the Caribbean.

Caribbean weather

Temperature: Average temperatures range from late 20s (°C) to early 30s (°C).

When’s the best time to go?

Whether you’re visiting laid-back Jamaica, lively St Lucia or upmarket Barbados, the Caribbean has something to suit all tastes. Delicious Caribbean food, some of the world’s best beaches and stunning scenery lie around every corner, and sunshine is practically guaranteed. With our Caribbean travel advice, you’ll be ready for the holiday of a lifetime.

The Caribbean’s tropical climate means the weather is hot and humid all year round, with distinct wet and dry seasons. Peak season (also the dry season) runs from December to April, with cooler temperatures making sightseeing and activities pleasant. Rainy season for most of the Caribbean islands runs from the middle of June until mid-November. It’s worth noting that hurricane season is from September to October, so check the weather forecast before your trip, although storms rarely make landfall.

The wettest weather for most islands occurs between August to November. Downpours are not uncommon, but luckily these are generally short and sharp, with plenty of sunshine for the rest of the day. If you’re planning a beach break, come to the Caribbean between June and September, when temperatures average 28°C.

The Caribbean is a popular destination for a winter sun break, but you will find prices are higher and the islands are at their busiest from December to April. If you don’t mind the crowds and want dry, sunny weather guaranteed, a winter break to the Caribbean is your best bet.

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