The Caribbean has long been an ideal vacation spot for those looking for crystal blue waters, white sandy beaches, and laid-back vibes. With easy access by plane from most major airports in the United States, the Caribbean boasts countless all-inclusive resorts across its islands. There’s also plenty of islands ready for adventure travelers, solo travelers, and anyone looking to go “off the grid” for a little while. In this article, I’m covering the best Caribbean beaches and vacation spots for all types of travelers, including families and those looking for all-inclusive vacations.
According to Wikipedia, “The Caribbean is a region of the Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands and the surrounding coasts. The region is southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America, and north of South America.”
The Caribbean is an incredibly diverse area of the world with over 7,000 individual islands spread across the region of approximately 1 million square miles. Overall, there are 13 sovereign island nations and 12 dependent territories, closely tied politically to the United States and Europe. Be sure to bring your passport because as a US citizen, for some islands you won’t need your passport (like Puerto Rico); however, for most of the region, you’ll need to provide documentation.
Best Caribbean Beaches All Inclusive
Sometimes you just like to be a little pampered. Especially if you have just a few days off from work, escaping to an island in the Caribbean is a great way to relax and let someone else take care of the work. Here are some of the Best All Inclusive Caribbean Beaches where everything is included.
1 COMO Parrot Cay (Turks & Caicos)
Located on its own island in the Turks & Caicos with a mile-long beach, this luxury hotel features an infinity-edge pool, full-service spa, and yoga classes. The resort’s restaurants offer everything you could want from Caribbean fare to Southeast Asian and Mediterranean cuisine.
Photo Como Hotels
2 Baoase Luxury Resort (Curacao)
Located at a tranquil beachfront location on the southwestern coast of Curacao less than a 9-mile drive from the island’s airport, this luxury resort provides an attractive all-inclusive option. It’s a boutique resort with just 23 accommodation options, including suites or villas with a private plunge pool. Baoase Luxury Resort was also named one of the best hotels in Curacao by U.S. News.
3 Ladera Resort (St. Lucia)
Ladera Resort provides a once-in-a-lifetime travel opportunity to spend the night on a UNESCO World Heritage Site, once part of St. Lucia’s oldest cocoa plantations. The resort is removed from the shoreline and located on a ridgeline 1,000 above sea level, providing breathtaking views of the island. It’s an adults-only resort that caters to those looking for eco-friendly suites with private plunge pools and an on-call concierge service. Visitors can easily hop on a shuttle down to Sugar Beach when ready to dip their toes in the sand.
Best Caribbean Vacation Islands
When you’re looking for a relaxing vacation or just a weekend getaway, you can choose from literally thousands Caribbean islands. Whether you like to relax on the beach with a cocktail in hand, or you’re the type who looks for a bit of adventure, I’ve compiled the best Caribbean vacation islands here below.
1 Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico provides one of the most diverse Caribbean islands one can find. You can be on famous Condado Beach one minute and in the El Yunque rainforest just an hour’s drive later. Watch a world-renowned surfing competition on the west side of the island in Rincon or hop a boat to Vieques to walk along the black sand beaches with wild horses to the east. Puerto Rico is rich in culture with no shortage of beaches to enjoy the sun.
Head to Old San Juan and get lost strolling the coble stone streets and colorful houses. Visit La Perla to take a picture on the rocky shore which “Despacito” music video helped make famous. If you’re into salsa dancing, look no further than La Factoria (a top 50 bar in the world) where you can find live salsa music most nights of the week.
2 St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
St. Croix is in the heart of a revitalization happening with US Virgin Islands tourism. It’s a fascinating island with walkable cities, incredible beaches, and a growing culinary scene. There are also plenty of boutique hotels popping up on St. Croix that allow you to relax and enjoy the island life. It’s a perfect Caribbean vacation destination for honeymooners, scuba divers, island-lovers, and families, too.
Antigua is a captivating island known for its numerous sandy beaches and ample coral reefs. It’s a great place for all types of travelers with plenty of historic sites for history buffs, delicious cuisine for the foodies, and shallow, safe waters for families. After you’ve spent a morning walking the beaches at famous Dickenson Bay, head to Nelson’s Dockyard to learn about Antigua’s naval history or Betty’s Hope in St. Peter parish to tour an old sugar cane plantation.
4 St. Maarten
Part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, St. Maarten is located toward the southern part of a Caribbean island that’s shared with Saint Martin (a French overseas collectivity). St. Maarten is the island to visit to experience culture, incredible beaches, endless food options, and annual festivals. The island also boasts the world’s steepest zip line if you’re looking for an adventure.
It’s known as the “Friendly Island” and for good reason as its people invite tourists to experience the beautiful island with open arms. St. Maarten also made an impressive recovery from the 2017 Hurricane Irma which devastated the area. The island is rebuilding and officially open for business with hotels, restaurants, and shops reopened and ready for visitors.
Best Caribbean Vacation Spots
If you’re looking for time away to relax in the sun and sand, these top Caribbean vacation spots are sure to inspire your travel bucket list. There are so many islands to explore, some more tourist-friendly than others. Whether you like the convenience of a hotel right on the beach or are up for more of an adventure with water and outdoor sports, read on for some of the best Caribbean vacation spots.
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1 Trinidad & Tobago
There’s perhaps not a better contrast of lively tourism energy and relaxed off-the-beaten-path vibes than the neighboring islands, Trinidad & Tobago. Trinidad is the larger of the two islands with more of a Creole culture and bustling activities. Tobago to the north is an island with white-sand beaches and a sleepier feel to it.
If you’re into parties, visit Trinidad in late February where the island turns into a big festival celebrating Carnival. My preference is to head to the quieter Tobago during off season and visit one of its many beautiful beaches. One of the best beaches to visit in Tobago includes Pigeon Point where you can experience the pristine turquoise waters and white sandy beaches that makes the Caribbean famous.
2 Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands has been a long-time coveted vacation spot with its three islands that sit 150 miles south of Cuba. It’s full of all-inclusive options for a vacation getaway where all you have to do is nothing but relax and soak up the sun.
The Cayman Islands are also a diver’s dream with plenty of coral reefs and shipwrecks to explore. If you’re a nature-lover that’s up for an adventure, hike through the 200-year-old Mastic Trail which is a major hiking trail in the Cayman Islands for seasoned hikers.
Grenada is often a forgotten island for Caribbean vacations, but it’s an amazing place to visit if you like to get away from the more touristy destinations. Grenada is comprised of a main island with several smaller surrounding islands that you can explore. It’s also known as the “Spice Isle” which is home to many nutmeg plantations. On the island of Grenada, you’ll find the capital of St. George with lots of colorful homes and Grand Anse Beach to the south with resorts and bars.
It’s not quite as easy to get to Grenada as its Caribbean counterparts, but that’s part of the charm. It keeps the throngs of tourists away with many areas of the island still unspoiled by commercialism. After you’ve hit Grand Anse Beach for an afternoon of sun, take a Spice Plantation Tour or a walk through Market Square to take in the sights and smells of native island spices. Then, visit Grand Etang National Park & Forest Reserve to see all kinds of wildlife like armadillos, mona monkeys, and tropical mockingbirds.
Further off the beaten path is Bonaire, an island that’s been put on the map primarily for its incredible diving experiences. However, the island has continued to grow into a vacation destination with restaurants, hotels, and bars beginning to open. Beyond just diving, the island is known for its impressive salt pyramids, secluded 1,000 Steps Beach, and beautiful pink flamingos!
Best Caribbean Vacation with Family
Sometimes Disney World and the local water park just don’t cut it for a fun-filled family vacation. With easy flights from most major airports in the United States, the Caribbean is a perfect destination for a family vacation. Whether you like to go the all-inclusive route or prefer to plan your own itinerary, the list below will get your planning juices flowing for a Caribbean vacation with family.
It goes without saying that Jamaica has become one of the most popular Caribbean islands to visit for a family vacation. You can’t go wrong with its pristine beaches, all-inclusive resorts, and plethora of water sports. The island is sure to please every member of your family from mom to dad and kids alike.
One of the best hotels to stay in Jamaica for a family vacation is the historic Rose Hall Resort & Plantation in Montego Bay. It’s part of the Hilton franchise and provides families with a private beach, several pools, full-service space, and the Cinnamon hill Golf Course. It also has a water park and lazy river where you can drop the kids off while you grab some alone time. 😊
2 Dominican Republic
Vying for the top spot as the best Caribbean vacation for a family is Punta Cana located in Dominican Republic. The Club Med is an all-inclusive resort for families who are ready to hand over the planning and dive headfirst into relaxation. The resort is just minutes from the airport and provides a jampacked menu of entertainment options from live shows to water sports, snorkeling, and playgrounds for the kids.
3 St. Martin
St. Martin is an excellent option for families ready to get away on a Caribbean vacation. St. Martin has been recovering from major hurricane damage in 2017 and is fully open for business.
One of the best choices for a family vacation to St. Martin includes Divi Little Beach Resort providing all-inclusive packages. There is access to an exclusive beach (with complimentary beach chairs and umbrellas), water sports like kayaking, kids’ activities, and snorkeling. Once you’re ready to get out and explore a bit, the resort’s concierge will be happy to book a car rental for you right at the hotel.
Where’s Your Best Caribbean Vacation?
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway, a trip packed with adventure, or a secluded romantic trip with your special someone, the Caribbean Islands make a perfect travel destination.
The Caribbean Islands are full of culture, incredible food, and most famously its turquoise waters and pristine white sandy beaches. What more could you ask for? What’s your favorite Caribbean Island getaway?