Quick and easy guide to the best Caribbean Islands

The Caribbean, with more than 700 gorgeous islands, is the perfect spot for a winter vacation. December to April is the best time to visit, and yet, you can go year-round and find beautiful weather too (it’s a little more of a gamble during hurricane season from August to October, but you can still get a sunny and hot week). Scattered across the Caribbean Sea, the islands are close enough to make it the world’s premier holiday spot for cruising, but still so different, that it’s sometimes hard to choose one over another. Here are a few pointers to help you choose between them.

In this ultimate guide, you will find:
– Map of all the Caribbean Islands
– Best Caribbean Islands per Interest
– Eastern, Western and Southern Caribbean Islands
– Other Names Used for the Caribbean Islands
– Best Caribbean Islands for All Types of Travelers
– Caribbean Islands Language Spoken
– Zika Free Caribbean Islands
– Caribbean Islands after Hurricanes Irma and Maria

Scroll down to learn EVERYTHING you need to know to choose the perfect Caribbean Island for you and your family!

Map of all the Caribbean Islands

 

 

Anguilla, one of the best Caribbean Islands

Best Caribbean Islands | The Most Beautiful Beaches

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Anguilla: You can choose between more than 35 gorgeous beaches, but the most popular are Shoal Bay East, Meads Bay, and Maundays Bay.

Aruba: Eagle, Palm, and Manchebo Beaches are amazing stretches of white powder sand beaches with crystal clear water.

Cayman Islands: The Seven Mile Beach is a world-renowned beach that’s in fact 5.5 miles long. And there’s a lot more white sand beaches to discover.

Cuba: Cuba’s Playa Paraiso Beach is one of the top 25 beaches in the world according to Trip Advisor. There’s also the splendid Playa Sirena Beach, with its glistening fine white sand bordering the clear Caribbean Sea.

Dominican Republic: Bavaro Beach, Macao Beach and Cayo Arena are all among the top 25 beaches in the Caribbean according to Trip Advisor. Their golden sand beaches are surrounded by gin-clear water.

Grenada: Besides the divine Grand Anse Beach, Sandy Island is totally irresistible with its snow-white sand beach and its turquoise water.

Guadeloupe: A lot of natural lovely beaches dot the island. Most of the best beaches lie between Gosier and St-François on Grande Terre.

Martinique: The beauty and the incredible diversity of the Martinique beaches are simply amazing: they come in a range of colors from the luminous white sand to the deep black of the volcanic beaches.

St Lucia: Reduit Beach is charming with its fine golden sand and its stunning views across the bay to double humped Pigeon Island. There’s also Pigeon Island, an extremely picturesque little strip of golden sand.

Turks & Caicos: Surrounded by the world’s third-largest coral reef, the Turks and Caicos Islands have some of the finest powdery-sand beaches and most ethereal turquoise seas in the world.

Virgin Islands (US): The pristine sandy beaches and tall palm trees under the bright cobalt sky make this an amazing place to bring your family or travel alone, including some of the best beaches in the world.

 

Antigua, one of the best Caribbean islands

Best Caribbean Islands | The Best Dining

Anguilla: Anguilla is an island whose people are dedicated to great eating. It’s renowned for its 5 Star, super high-end restaurants.

Barbados: Barbados offers an impressive selection of delightful restaurants that rival some of the largest metropolitan areas in the world.

Cayman Islands: Grand Cayman has a reputation for some of the best food in the Caribbean. From charming roadside BBQ to beachfront fish shacks to international superstar chefs, the island has you covered.

Curacao: Curacao’s restaurants run the range from elegant dining to roadside kiosks, with just about everything in between.

Grenada: The restaurants of Grenada offer a wide selection of epicurean adventures. From continental cuisine to ethnic restaurants, to local cafés with full-on Grenadian delights, the flavors of the island are sure to leave you wanting more. Many of the restaurants are situated right on the beach, giving visitors a great view to enjoy while they dine-especially if they’re there at sunset.

Guadeloupe: Guadeloupe restaurants offer possibly the best gourmet dining in the Caribbean. With a fine blend of French raffinement and the hearty, spicy tropical flavors of the Caribbean, Guadeloupe food is a highlight of any trip to the French Indies.

St Martin: Although most people come to St. Maarten/St. Martin for sun and fun, they leave praising the amazing cuisine. On an island that covers only 37 square miles, there are more than 400 restaurants from which to choose. And according to one of our readers who are now living there, Kate, St. Martin has so much more to offer, like “the natural pools on the French side that you can take about an hour hike around the mountains to get to, out of Guana Bay“.

Barbados, one of the best Caribbean Islands

Best Caribbean Islands | The Best Snorkeling

Cayman Islands: The Cayman Islands has some of the best snorkeling in the world thanks to the calm seas, clear water and beautiful coral reefs close to shore.

Grenadines: Its clear turquoise water is perfect for snorkeling and you will see many different species of fish, corals, and sponges.

St Lucia: When it comes to Caribbean snorkeling, St. Lucia is one of the region’s often overlooked gems: it offers pristine coral reefs teeming with sea life, and many of these are right off the coastline.

Turks and Caicos: The Turks and Caicos islands have lots to offer if you’re up for checking out the undersea life in some of the world’s most crystal clear turquoise waters.

Virgin Islands (British): Snorkelling in the BVI is one of the most stunning pleasures that residents and visitors have to enjoy. The sights of the world beneath the water transport snorkelers to a seemingly unexplored universe full of wonder and mystery with strange and exotic creatures.

Virgin Islands (US): St John is one of the top Caribbean destinations for snorkeling. With arguably the best shallow water snorkeling in all of the Virgin Islands – you’re sure to have an awesome experience.

Here is the list of all the Caribbean Islands where you can enjoy snorkeling:
Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands

Bonaire, among the best Caribbean Islands

Best Caribbean Islands | The Best Scuba Diving

Bahamas: The Bahamas offer an array of dive experiences like no other destination in the world. You’ll find sunken Spanish galleons, inland blue holes, underwater caves and forest-like coral reefs teeming with vibrant marine life.

Bonaire: Bonaire’s pristine reefs and amazing diverse marine life are unique to the Caribbean. Because the waters around Bonaire are designated as an official marine park, diving Bonaire is like diving the Caribbean the way it used to be – untouched and unspoiled.

Cayman Islands: The Cayman Islands have three world-class dive destinations that have attracted scuba divers since scuba diving was invented. Known for amazing wall dives, beautiful coral reefs and visibility that often seems infinite, the Cayman Islands offer some of the best scuba diving in the Caribbean.

Dominica: This Caribbean island is a dive travel paradise, with take-your-breath-away topside and underwater sights.

St Lucia: St. Lucia boasts a number of stunning dive sites that pull divers into a tranquil world filled with secret nooks waiting to be explored. With some of the most captivating deep sea wildlife in the Caribbean, you can experience an underwater carnival as you swim amongst schools of brilliantly colored exotic fish.

Tobago: Prepare yourself for a wild ride when you dive the reefs of Tobago. Divers find in Tobago top-notch reefs and marine life, ranging from tiny tropical fish to massive manta rays, and drift diving with the Guyana is spectacular.

Turks & Caicos: The Turks and Caicos Islands are surrounded by one of the most extensive coral reef systems worldwide, and are consistently ranked as one of the premier diving destination.

Virgin Islands (British): There is such a variety of dive sites in the BVI that every day you are able to explore yet another aspect of the BVI’s unique topography.

Here is the list of all the Caribbean Islands where you can enjoy scuba diving:
Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands, some of the best Caribbean Islands

Best Caribbean Islands | The Best Golf

Barbados: Barbados is indeed a golfer’s paradise with several exquisite existing golf courses and several more being developed.

Dominican Republic: With 26 golf courses to choose from, the Dominican Republic is rapidly becoming the premier golf destination in the Caribbean.

Grenadines: The Grenadines Estate Golf Club stretches over 150 acres of seaside landscape with half of the golf course lying on flat coastal plain and the other carved out of the cliffs above the bay.

Jamaica: With more championship golf courses than any other Caribbean island, no matter your level of ability, it will not be difficult to find a course suited for you. Give in to the seductive pull of Jamaica golf courses with their lush, tropical scenery and top-notch facilities.

Kitts & Nevis: St. Kitts & Nevis’ three golf courses include a gorgeous 18-hole championship course on Nevis, plus a splendid 18-hole championship course and a 9-hole course on St. Kitts.

Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico has a wide range of courses, both stunning and not so lovely.

Here’s a list of all the Caribbean Islands where you can golf in gorgeous settings:
Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Grenada, Jamaica, Martinique, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands

Grand Cayman, among the best Caribbean Islands

Best Caribbean Islands | The Best All-inclusive Resorts

Antigua: Antigua offers a lot of luxury all-inclusive resorts scattered all along the gorgeous coastline.

Bahamas: Out of all the Caribbean islands, the Bahamas have one of the widest ranges of hotel and resorts; there is something to satisfy everyone here.

Dominican Republic: The Dominican Republic is one of the best Caribbean destination for the perfect all-inclusive resorts: luxurious, amazing beaches and service like no other.

Jamaica: Located mainly on the north shore, Jamaican offers world-class resorts: romance, luxury, and incredibly good dining.

St Lucia: Most all-inclusive resorts on St. Lucia are clustered in the north, starting in Castries and spilling into nearby Rodney Bay. If you’re after great dining and nightlife, consider staying in this area. Looking for total relaxation? Check out the resorts along the western shoreline.

Puerto Rico, one of the best Caribbean Islands

Best Caribbean Islands | The Best Nightlife

Aruba: The nightlife of Aruba is dazzling and diverse: you can enjoy live music on the many terraces of bars and restaurants in Aruba; you can dive into a pub. But you can also taste the typical Aruban atmosphere in a local bar, a ‘rum shop, jump on the dance floor in the nightclubs and discos, or try your luck at the casinos in Aruba or endless salsa dancing.

Bahamas: When the moon lights up the night sky, the entertainment world awakens in The Bahamas. Throughout the islands, you can find quaint bars serving up our traditional Goombay, Junkanoo or Rake & Scrape music, as well as New York-style nightclubs and everything in between. Enjoy a tropical Bahamian cocktail while you try your hand in a casino, or enjoy the sounds of live music in a bar or club. And, on some islands, you can sit on a beach and watch a bonfire under the full moon.

Cayman Islands: Cayman Islands nightlife is largely centered around the Georgetown and Seven Mile Beach areas on Grand Cayman. Seven Mile Beach begins just north of Georgetown, so it’s easy to travel between the two destinations if you want to get a taste of the nightlife on both sides.

Dominican Republic: The Dominican Republic offers fabulous nightlife experiences for all tastes: from beach parties and bars with live music where you can dance all night, to cozy spots where you can relax and maybe enjoy the country’s most famous beer, Presidente.

Jamaica: When the sun goes down, Jamaica comes alive. With reggae beats, live music and dancing on the beach ‘til dawn, join in swaying to the rhythm.

Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico is the nightlife capital of the Caribbean; Puerto Ricans were born to party. In Old San Juan the Salsa vibes last into the wee hours. For a less hectic atmosphere, the Santurce area and the Condado-Isla Verde strips are ideal.

St Maarten: Sint Maarten is the Caribbean’s nightlife island with 14 casinos and countless bars and discos.

Trinidad: Trinidadians take their entertainment very seriously. As Trinidad’s cosmopolitan population has grown more affluent, nightlife and entertainment choices have grown to meet the growing demand, with a range of settings and activities to keep you entertained all night long.

Virgin Islands (British): The BVI offers a wide variety of entertainment, especially live music.

Here is the list of all the Caribbean islands where you can enjoy amazing nightlife:
Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands

St. Lucia, among the best Caribbean Islands

Best Caribbean Islands | The Most Relaxing Islands

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Anguilla: On Anguilla, the sounds of the gentle turquoise sea and the soft winds through the palms provide natural relaxation and reprieve. The island is a breath of fresh air and a place to feel natural, beautiful and relaxed.

Aruba: Many visitors say that Aruba is the most relaxing place they’ve ever been. There’s something about the warm, dry air and cooling trade winds that help people unwind.

Barbados: The natural environment of white sandy beaches, clear blue seas, cool breezes and swaying palm trees forces you to unwind and relax.

Grenada: Quieter than many of its island neighbors, Grenada takes this approach one step further and is even regarded as having a relaxed pace of life by the residents of neighboring Caribbean countries.

Guadeloupe: The Guadeloupe beaches are many, so finding one to suit your taste and preference won’t be hard. Some of the beaches in Guadeloupe feature little more than sand and palm trees and are perfect for relaxing.

Turks & Caicos: The Turks & Caicos Islands offer a variety of great resorts where relaxation is the primary focus.

Virgin Islands (British): The British Virgin Islands host numerous superb remote beaches, or “bays.” Standouts include Brewer’s Bay and Long Bay on Tortola, and Mahoe Bay and Savannah Bay on Virgin Gorda. But the truth is, just about any BVI stretch of sand will bolster the “get-away-from-it-all” mentality.

Here is the list of all the Caribbean Islands where you can enjoy Spas and Wellness centers:
Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands

Turks and Caicos, some of the best Caribbean Islands

Best Caribbean Islands | The Best Hiking

Dominica: In Dominica, every trail across the island leads you to discover nature’s pristine environment with a touch of adventure, through gorges and valleys, into dense mountain rainforest, from rushing streams and rivers to natural springs and bubbling mud baths, to a myriad of cascading waterfalls, and a vast array of flora and fauna.

Dominican Republic: Walking or hiking trips through the various national parks in the Dominican Republic can include anything from seeing protected desert areas, to mangrove swamps and forests, to cave networks that display Taino Indian art (done hundreds and thousands of years ago), to nature preserves with hundreds of different species of birds, reptiles and other tropical fauna.

Grenada: The most popular area in Grenada for hiking and trekking is undoubtedly the rainforest around the Grand Etang Forest Reserve, high up in the mountains of the island’s interior. The trek is excellent!

Guadeloupe: The Caribbean called Guadeloupe “Karukera,” island of beautiful waters, and considering all the hot water springs and tall tumbling falls, it was aptly named.

Jamaica: The Blue Mountains in Jamaica is a hiker’s paradise. You have to see it to believe it… the flowers and flora, the birds and animals.

Martinique: Land of hiking, Martinique welcomes the lovers of nature over 130 kilometers of marked out paths. Long strolls along the Atlantic and Caribbean coasts, Mont-Pelée ‘s ascent, diving in the exuberant nature of the inland hills, waterfalls… more than thirty itineraries are waiting for the amateur or skilled hiker.

Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico’s mountainous interior offers ample opportunity for hiking and climbing, with many trails presenting magnificent panoramas at the least expected moments. There are also awesome beachfront and coastal trails around the island.

St Kitts & Nevis: On a paradise island in the Caribbean, there lies a tricky peak that makes for a grueling climb.

St Lucia: St. Lucia’s dramatic terrain provides many hiking trails through the island’s rainforest reserve.

St Vincent & the Grenadines: Whether you feel like a short, easy stroll or want the challenge of a more strenuous trek, St.Vincent has something for you. Rewarding destinations include picturesque rivers and superb waterfalls such as Dark View Falls and Trinity Falls, as well as forest hikes such as the Vermont Nature Trail and the Cumberland Nature Trail.

Tobago: Tobago’s landscape ranges from beaches to rainforest, with a variety of levels of difficulty to its hiking trails. From the unspoiled Main Ridge Forest Reserve to trails along swamps and rivers, Tobago’s terrain provides excellent hiking.

Virgin Islands (US): St. John USVI will delight both the serious hiker and the casual walker. The Virgin Islands National Park maintains several exciting trails including the famous Reef Bay Trail. There are also gut walks, scrambles, and short trails to interesting and out of the way places.

Here is the list of all the Caribbean Islands where you can hike stunning scenery:
Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands

US Virgin Islands, among the best Caribbean Islands

Now I thought of listing for you ALL the Caribbean islands meeting some specific criteria.

Best Caribbean Islands for Biking

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands

Best Caribbean Islands for Bird Watching

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands

Best Caribbean Islands for Body Surfing

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, Trinidad and Tobago

Best Caribbean Islands for Camping

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Eustatius, Trinidad and Tobago, U.S. Virgin Islands

Best Caribbean Islands for Carnivals

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands

Best Caribbean Islands for Casino Playing (or Winning!)

Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Curaçao, Haiti, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands

Best Caribbean Islands for Cave Exploration

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos

Best Caribbean Islands for Deep Sea Fishing

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands

Best Caribbean Islands for Duty-Free Shopping

Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands

Best Caribbean Islands for Helicopter Tours

Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, Trinidad and Tobago, U.S. Virgin Islands

Best Caribbean Islands for Historical Tours

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands

Best Caribbean Islands for Horseback Riding

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Martinique, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands

Best Caribbean Islands for Kayaking

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands

Best Caribbean Islands for Music Festivals

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Martinique, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, SSt. Kitts, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, U.S. Virgin Islands

Best Caribbean Islands for Parasailing

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands

Best Caribbean Islands for Pleasure Boat Tours

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Grenada, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands

Best Caribbean Islands for Rainforest Tours

Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, U.S. Virgin Islands

Best Caribbean Islands for River Rafting

Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago

Best Caribbean Islands for Rock Climbing

Anguilla, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago

Best Caribbean Islands for Sailing

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands

Best Caribbean Islands for Submarine Tours

Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands

Best Caribbean Islands for Tennis and Squash

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands

Best Caribbean Islands for Tubing

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos

Best Caribbean Islands for Turtle Watching

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, U.S. Virgin Islands

Best Caribbean Islands for Volcano Excursions

Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Martinique, Montserrat, St. Lucia, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Best Caribbean Islands for Waterskiing

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands

Best Caribbean Islands for Weddings and Honeymoons

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands

Best Caribbean Islands for Whale or Dolphin Watching

Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands

Best Caribbean Islands for Windsurfing or Kitesurfing

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands

Best Caribbean Islands for Zip-Line or Treetop Touring

The Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, Trinidad and Tobago, U.S. Virgin Islands

The Eastern, Western and Southern Caribbean Islands

The eastern, western and southern aren’t exclusively named after their coordinates, but rather reflect common cruise itineraries.

Eastern Caribbean Islands

The Eastern Caribbean islands include Puerto Rico, Anguilla, St. Martin/Maarten, St. Barts, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados.

Western Caribbean Islands

The Western Caribbean includes all of the Caribbean islands west of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, as well as the Caribbean coastal countries of Mexico and Central America. That includes the islands of Cuba, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands, and the coastal regions of Cozumel (Mexico), Belize, and Roatan (Honduras).

Southern Caribbean Islands

The Southern Caribbean islands are Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao — all of which are located just off the coast of South America.

Other Names Used for the Caribbean Islands

The Greater Antilles

The Greater Antilles region refers to the six countries located on the five larger islands of the northern Caribbean, including the Cayman Islands, Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica. The name comes from an old Spanish word, Antillia, which was used to refer to a mysterious island located in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Lesser Antilles

The half-moon chain of islands that practically define the eastern edge of the Caribbean Sea is known as the Lesser Antilles, and it includes Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, Bonaire, Curacao, Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Montserrat, Saba, St. Barts, St. Maarten/Martin, Statia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as several islands belonging to Venezuela.

The Netherlands Antilles

The Netherlands Antilles aren’t defined by their geographic position, but by their former political status of being part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Netherlands Antilles includes Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, St. Maarten, Saba, and St. Eustatius.

The Windward Islands

The Windward Islands are named that way because the trade winds touch here first, placing these islands upwind from the Leeward Islands. The Windward Islands include Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada.

The Leeward Islands

The Leeward Islands are so named because they are downwind from the Windward Islands. The Leeward Islands include Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, St. Martin, Sint Maarten, St. Barts, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, and Dominica.

The French West Indies

The French West Indies includes the two overseas departments, or states, of France: Guadeloupe and Martinique, as well as St. Martin and St. Barts. French Guyana also is considered part of the French West Indies.

The British West Indies

The British West Indies includes Anguilla, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos, and Montserrat.

 

The Best Caribbean Islands for All Types of Travelers

The Best Caribbean Islands for Couples 

For a romantic getaway, couples who would like to get away from it all should choose the U.S. Virgin Islands or the Grenadines, a scattering of tiny islands between St. Vincent and Grenada.

If you have tons of energy and want to do it all, then Sint Maarten and St. Martin, and Jamaica have everything to please both of you.

Are you an adventurous couple? Then Puerto Rico has great outdoor adventures for you, and the Turks and Caicos Islands offer some of the world’s best snorkeling/diving sites.

If you are looking for over-the-top romance, then Anguilla, St. Lucia, and Barbados will satisfy you completely.

The Best Caribbean Islands for Young Families

If you are traveling with young children, look for an island that you can reach with a direct flight so you can travel at a convenient time and avoid the hassle of having to switch planes. Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and the U.S. Virgin Islands all have hundreds of direct flights from North America weekly.

These popular islands also offer amazing hotels and dining choices. Large resorts with kids’ clubs and kid-friendly dining options will keep everyone happy.

The Best Caribbean Islands for Families with Teenagers

The Bahamas are always a great idea when it comes to fun family Caribbean vacations: the Atlantis on Paradise Island and Our Lucaya on Grand Bahama Island are two of the most perfect resorts in the region.

Aruba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are also excellent family destinations that offer many adventures and fun beach activities.

Families looking to go off the beaten path should consider St. Kitts and Nevis, which has old forts, a vintage railroad to explore and fascinating plantations.

The Best Caribbean Islands for Solo Travelers

Traveling solo means that you will want a Caribbean destination that is safe, has plenty of fun activities and also offers opportunities to interact with others solo travelers.

Curacao and Grand Cayman are known to be safe for female solo travelers.

Providenciales, of the Turks and Caicos Islands, has a nice selection of beach bars and sports bars. You can also find a good party scene in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Why not visit more than one Caribbean Island and go on a cruise? Cruise lines like Holland America cater to single travelers.

Caribbean Islands Language Spoken

English Speaking Caribbean Islands

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos and the U.S. Virgin Islands

French Speaking Caribbean Islands

Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthelemy and St. Martin

Spanish Speaking Caribbean Islands

Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico

Dutch Speaking Caribbean Islands

Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Sint Maarten

Zika Free Caribbean Islands

If you are pregnant or want to conceive within the next year, click here to know which Caribbean Islands are still Zika free.

Caribbean Islands after Hurricanes Irma and Maria

Click here to get a full review of which Caribbean Islands are open to business and still gorgeous for you to visit after the Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

 

So whatever your choice among those wonderful Caribbean Islands, there’s no way you can go wrong! Each of them has so much to offer and will without a doubt exceed your expectations. Because when we have the sun, the beach, and the Caribbean Sea, we are happy 😉

Shop My Caribbean Islands Travel Essentials!

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