11 Caribbean Islands You Need To Visit
How many times can you use the word paradise?
The West Indies is filled with beautiful islands for a variety of holidays. Whether you want parties, dancing or eating and relaxing, there’s an island for everyone.
Here are 11 countries within the Caribbean that we visited recently, that we know you’ll love.
It’s the homeland of Rihanna.
Oh, what, you need more than that?
Alright fine, let’s get into it.
The ever-popular east Caribbean island of Barbados! This perfect piece of paradise is perhaps one of the biggest must-see places in all of the West Indies. Glistening, sandy beaches, embroidered with long and beautiful palm trees, perfect for a laid-back day in the Bajan sun.
If you’re looking for more of a fun time, with music, drinks and a bit of a boogie… then this is the place to be! Barbados’ beach party vibes are some of the best the West Indies have to offer. If you’re lucky enough to hit it up during their carnival, then you’re in for a treat.
One of the most memorable things about this tropical paradise was the food. Offering up traditional Caribbean staples such as jerk chicken, with just the right amount of spice, rice and peas and of course, macaroni cheese. Barbados is legit where it’s at.
Also, Rihanna. Seriously, they gave us Rihanna. We’re not shutting up about this. Come @ us.
You’ve not seen beaches until you’ve hit up Antigua.
This idyllic isle is home to a mind boggling 365 beaches, and locals like to boast that they have one for every day of the year. The sand is as white as snow, and the clear blue oceans sparkle under the sunlight.
Picture every beach James Bond has ever slow walked on… now erase it, because they’re even better than those! (PSA: Those scenes were actually shot in Jamaica, so we’re not so far off).
The beaches of Antigua may be moon white, but the towns are a perfect contrast. Places like St. Johns are home to a rainbow-riot of colourful buildings, that are sure to put you in a permanently good mood for the entire time you’re there. Imagine Balamory in the West Indies (also, how good would that show be?!)
Houses glazed with candy-coloured paint are iconic staples of Curacao, most notably in the island’s capital Willemstad. This vibrant city offers the ambience of a cosmopolitan paradise plucked straight out of a Disney movie.
Over 30 footprint free beaches encompass the island, with calm and clear blue waters, often regarded as one of the best scuba-diving and snorkelling destinations in the world.
If you’re looking to get away from the cold then look no further, as Curacao offers favourably warm weather (minimum 26C) almost all year round. Need a tan in Jan? You now know where to go.
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Kitts and Nevis, may be one of the few dual island countries situated in the Caribbean, but it is actually regarded as the smallest country in the whole of the West Indies, and 8th smallest in the world, both in size and population.
Not unlike many islands on this list, the weather in St. Kitts is very commonly warm, usually between 25C and 28C all year round. Even during the harsh rain, it’s like walking into a sauna.
Whether you’re relaxing on the white sandy beaches, zip-lining 250ft+ above the rainforest, or befriending a troop of monkeys in the safari, you’re sure to have an unforgettable stay! (We did all three of these things and yes, they were epic)
The skyline of this captivating island is a massive high rise. But it isn’t the buildings that scrape the sky here, we’re talking about the mountains, with summits piercing 2000 feet above sea level. The ever-popular Piton mountains are every photographer's dream, with its gorgeous green peaks that look spectacular against the beaming sun and clear blue skies.
At the feet of these mountains, banana plantations give way to syrup-coloured beaches and some of the best coral reefs in the Caribbean. The waters surrounding the island are home to a magical population of wildlife, allowing for an amazing scuba-diving experience.
But don’t worry, if you’re more of a sun-bed and cocktails kind of beach-goer, the famous Rodney Bay is probably more your speed. Send your friends off jet-skiing and banana boating, while you grab a rum and punch, and put your feet up while the sounds of Reggae and Soca fill your surroundings. It’s a mood.
“Aruba, Jamaica, oooh I want to take ya.” There is certainly a reason the Beach Boys referenced the beautiful island of Aruba in their 1988 hit.
Aruba is an exotic paradise and commonly regarded as one of the best holiday destinations of all time (in our books anyways). If you’re a shop-a-holic, it is one of the two islands on this list that you really need to head to, with a full wallet.
The cushiony beaches, however, pleasantly remind you that you’re still in the West Indies. One of the best and most popular would have to be Palm Beach, a seaside resort, home to some epic beach parties and some of the best daiquiris you may ever taste! Pro tip: locals recommend visiting on a Sunday, as their beach parties on that day are incomparable.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Tired of beaches yet? Yeah, us neither. St. Vincent is another one with beaches you do not want to miss! The Princess Margaret beach is a glorious 500-yard stretch of golden sand, fringed by cedar and almond trees. The beach is a piece of the Caribbean that’s seemingly untouched by man, aside from a singular, tiny and adorable beach bar, cheers!
One of its most popular locations is Bequia, which loosely translates to “island of the clouds” in the ancient Arawak language. Whether it’s from the fluffy, white sandy beaches, or the generally peaceful atmosphere exuding from the town, you can certainly see where it gets its name.
Haven’t convinced you yet? How about the fact that Captain Jack Sparrow visited this place for three straight films? That’s right. It literally puts the Caribbean, in “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Facts.
Grenada never fails to bring the heat to the table, hence its name “The Spice Island”. Wherever you go, the fragrant scent of ginger, almond, and nutmeg follows you. You can even see cinnamon, cocoa beans and every tropical fruit imaginable growing here. So foodies unite, as the level of seasoning the meals here have is unparalleled.
One town in particular that you should see, would be the port town of St George, capital of Grenada. It’s one of the Caribbean’s most attractive harbours, with its pastel-coloured buildings, cobbled streets and if you’re lucky, you may even encounter the odd lipstick-red London phone box.
Grenada is the island you need for a relaxing getaway. Towns like St. George can be quite loud, and do resemble the hustle and bustle you would find in cities like London, but none of this takes away from the fact that the Caribbean ambience engulfs the entire island.
Two flags rule over this tiny isle – the French and the Dutch. The Dutch capital, Philipsburg, is the place to head for a serious shopping splurge. It is filled with casinos, high end shopping centres, and a vibrant, tourist-friendly nightlife… in other words, come with a full purse!
Resorts like Simpson Bay and Little Bay are home to incredibly peaceful beaches; then add to the mix dreamy Caribbean coves, kaleidoscopic reefs and lashings of sunshine, and you’ve got all the ingredients for tropical bliss.
It’s very much a mix between a ‘put your feet up and sip a rum-punch’ kind of island, and a ‘shop till you drop, either from carrying too many bags, or general heat exhaustion’ kind of island. Or if you’re really clever, you can just buy one outfit and then head straight to the beach for a very strong rum-punch and a glorious tan. Best of both worlds. (Hannah Montana reference, totes noted).
Tortola (British Virgin Island)
Alright, now we’re hitting the really low-key islands. Completely juxtaposing St. Maarten and Aruba’s city-esque feel, Tortola is an island that really likes to keep it old-school, and nature is its main attraction.
Ancient rainforests hog the limelight, and opal-white beaches like Long Bay Beef island,really steal the show. It’s an oasis of tropical vines, trees and plants, populated with exotic wildlife roaming in every direction.
It may not be the best island for partying it up with the lads, but it’s perfect if you want beautiful views and a calming unwind. Once you remove the very limited manmade structures, you’ll be left with a wild green wonderland. Grab your Mai-Tais, pull up a hammock, and get ready to relax like never before.
Another one that’s on the smaller side is Bonaire, an island in the Leeward Antilles of the West Indies. Together with Aruba and Curacao, they make up what’s known as the ABC islands.
If you’re in any doubt concerning what Bonaire’s all about, just look at an island number plate, above every registration number you’ll find the words ‘Divers Paradise’. Although it’s not one of the first countries you think of when you hear Caribbean, this island is consistently rated as one of the best dive and snorkelling spots in the world. Shipwrecks, tropical fish, and seahorses are ripe in the waters that surround the island.
Over on land, it very much lives up to the reputation of Dutch architecture in the ABC islands. Much like Curacao, the buildings in Bonaire are rife with pastel colours across the major towns such as Kralendijk.
One of the islands biggest sights has to be their flamingos. The long-necked beauties are drawn to the island’s lagoons as they are filled with sea life for them to feed upon. It is one of the only four nesting grounds of the Caribbean Flamingo. Photographers, get those cameras ready, this is one shot you’re not gonna want to miss.
By Tyrell Charles