So you’ve decided it’s time for a holiday, and you’ve even got as far as knowing you want to go to the Caribbean… but which is the best Caribbean island for you? The answer is more complex than you may think and can depend on who you might be travelling with, your budget, and the type of holiday you are looking for.
In no way is each island completely stereotypical as all cater for a wide range of holidaymakers, but as a bit of a generalisation to narrow things down a little, here are some good questions to ask yourself…
Who are you travelling with?
Whether it’s your honeymoon, anniversary, or other special occasion; a diving trip with friends; a beach escape with the kids; or you need to keep the teenagers entertained; with over 7,000 islands across 28 nations, there will definitely be at least one that suits you perfectly.
What do you want to experience on your holiday?
Is it all about the beach, with its palm tree lined shores and sun lounges; or are you at home on the water, sailing, fishing, diving, or jet skiing; did you want to walk through rain forests and up volcanic peaks; or experience exotic markets and eateries where enticing smells draw you in?
How much would you like to do… and how much do you want done for you?
With hotels and resorts offering everything from self catering accommodations to bed & breakfast rates, all-inclusive, ultra all-inclusive, unlimited luxury, and even villas including chefs and butler service, it may come down to how much of the kid’s inheritance you want to leave them.
Here are just a few of my recommendations for the ultimate Caribbean holiday!
Covered in lush green rain forests with jagged volcanic peaks jutting into the sky, St Lucia is the perfect Caribbean island for those looking to explore nature. With hikes over the infamous Pitons, zip lines through the canopies, cocoa plantations where you can make your own chocolate bar, and resorts filled with included water activities, this tropical paradise is perfect for those looking for adventurous exploration, especially the wild teenagers.
It’s not all action and excitement though, with St Lucia being one of the most romantic islands in the Caribbean. You don’t have to look far to see weddings and honeymooners relaxing in luxury resorts with stunning vistas and private and secluded pools and lounges. The Body Holiday is a firm favourite for those looking for a relaxing spa break!
Being a volcanic island though, don’t expect pristine white sand beaches as they range from golden in the north to silver-grey in the south. Still beautiful but outshone by the island’s other natural assets.
Best for: Adventurous, Teenage Families, and Romance and Honeymoons
Rising in popularity due to the increase of high end resorts in the Punta Cana region, world class golf courses, and fantastic mix of culture and beach, the Dominican Republic is widely regarded as a great value option for an all-inclusive holiday in the Caribbean. With wide expanses of long, sandy beaches at your disposal, it is a favourite amongst sun seekers.
Away from the picturesque blue waters, the island also boasts a treasure trove of historical highlights around the capital Santa Domingo, the fist colonial city of the New World, which is filled with UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Popular with couples, young and older, that like to mix exploring and relaxing, it is also a popular destination for groups of friends making the most of the all-inclusive activities that the resorts provide.
Best for: Value, History & Culture, Friends holidays
A blend of the exotic and the familiar awaits visitors at Barbados with cricket pitches in villages juxtaposed with pure white sand beaches. It’s also an island where accommodations range dramatically, with ultra luxury available for those wanting to rub shoulders with celebrities around the prestigious Sandy Lane. This glitz and glamour can also have an affect on the nightlife of the island with bars and clubs often busy all night.
Holidays to Barbados are centred around the crystal clear waters with water sports appealing to many, while others make the most of the relaxed atmosphere to simply enjoy the sun and sand. The often calm waters of the west coast are perfect for young children to splash and play in, and in-resort facilities for children are abundant, making this a great place for young families.
The simple truth is, if you have seen a photo of a beach in the Caribbean, there’s a very good chance it’s from Barbados!
Best for: Beach holidays, Water Sports, Families with Young Children
Often overlooked and underrated, the island of Grenada is a fantastic blend of almost all the best features of the other Caribbean islands. With soft, light golden sandy beaches lined with swaying palm trees that lead back into lush rain forest, mountainous terrain, and remarkable waterfalls, the resorts remain unobtrusive on their natural surroundings in this less touristy destination.
Also known as the Spice Island, rich smells permeate from the markets in the capital St George where the friendly sellers are more than happy to show the wares that have made the island’s cuisine famous.
The resort area on the south west coast has some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, including those at Sandals LaSource, but looking further afield along the inlets of the south coast will reward those that enjoy sailing. Popular amongst divers, the island boasts a wide range of reefs and wrecks to explore, as well as an underwater sculpture park as a curiosity.
Best for: Diving Enthusiasts, Culture & Food, Beach holidays
With this just being a few of the islands that are on offer, and islands such as Cuba now opening up further to tourism, the Caribbean is never far from holidaymakers minds. With other popular options such as Jamaica, Antigua, and Trinidad and Tobago still firm British favourites, there will always be a holiday to suit your style in this amazing corner of the world.