Towering peaks, lush green rainforests, mysterious lagoons, and hidden coves– there’s much more to the Caribbean besides high-rise hotels and sandy beaches (although those are nice, too!)
Take a photographic journey through some of the most spectacular places in the Caribbean region. One look at these scenes, and you’ll want to hop on the earliest flight possible and jet off to the Caribbean!
1. The Pitons, St. Lucia
This group of lush volcanic peaks towers high above the Caribbean Sea, on the island of St. Lucia. The tallest peak, Gros Piton, stands 2,530 feet above sea level. Adventurous travelers can hike various trails to gaze upon these exquisite views. In addition, Jalousie beach and Anse Chastanet beach are nearby. They are two of the most beautiful beaches in St. Lucia, due to their proximity to the Piton peaks.
2. Cueva Ventana, Puerto Rico
Cueva Ventana, meaning “Window Cave” in Spanish, is situated high in the mountains of Arecibo, Puerto Rico. The cave is reachable by a brisk hike up a mountain trail. The hike itself reportedly features only a few steep places, and isn’t too difficult. However, you’ll need to book a tour and go with a group to reach it. Cueva Ventana is a fantastic option for those who are into ecotourism or Caribbean hiking destinations.
3. Shirley Heights, Antigua
Located in English Harbour, Antigua, Shirley Heights is a world famous lookout point. Once you climb to the top, you’ll be able to see the entire bay below, as well as the island of Montserrat in the distance.
If you go at sunset, you’ll be treated to one of the most spectacular sights in the entire Caribbean. In addition, steel bands play on Sundays, and vendors stand by to offer food and drink after your hike.
4. Altun Ha Ruins, Belize
Perhaps you didn’t know that the Caribbean is home to many Mayan ruins. Altun Ha in Belize is one of the most famous restored Mayan ruin sites. Visitors are even permitted to climb some of the staircases of these ancient structures. A morning spent at this interesting historic site may be a welcome change from the salt water and sand of your favorite beach in Belize.
5. Cargill Salt Pans, Bonaire
Bonaire has been producing salt for centuries. Today, Bonaire salt manufacturers ship their products to the Caribbean, North America, Europe, and Africa.
The photograph above features the Caribbean sea on the left, and the Cargill salt pans on the right. Bonaire is renowned worldwide for its vast coral reefs and excellent snorkeling and diving conditions.
6. The Baths, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
The Baths is a beautiful grotto formed by giant boulders on Virgin Gorda, which belongs to the British Virgin Islands. Visitors can swim and climb through the caves and rocky hideaways, many of which are filled with alluring turquoise “aqua pura”. It’s the perfect place to float peacefully in the tranquil pools created by these smooth, majestic stones. And, it’s the perfect place to forget all your troubles and just relax!
7. The Great Blue Hole, Belize
Belize’s Great Blue Hole is the largest sea hole in the entire world. It’s a completely natural sinkhole, possibly formed during the Quaternary glaciation thousands of years ago.
Filled with stalactites, the great blue hole is a popular dive site. It is located off the coast of Belize in Lighthouse Reef, which forms part of the Belize Barrier Reef. Jacques Cousteau, who explored the hole in 1971, considered it one of the top 5 diving sites in the entire world. In addition, UNESCO designated the Great Blue Hole as a World Heritage Site.
8. Gustavia, St. Barthelemy
This one isn’t just one place in particular, but an entire city. Gustavia is one of the most beautifully-designed Caribbean towns that you’ll ever set eyes on, thanks to its eclectic European architecture and striking red roofs.
St. Barths is a luxurious paradise destination. In fact, it’s so posh that plenty of celebrities have made it their choice vacation spot. Featuring countless high-end shops like Dior and Louis Vuitton, Gustavia is the perfect combination of nature and luxury.
Once you’ve finished your duty-free shopping, you can head to beaches like Shell Beach to quench your thirst for sand and sun.
9. Willemstad, Curacao
Traditional Dutch-style houses line the waterfront in Willemstad, Curacao. Perhaps you’ve heard little about Curacao, but we can assure you it’s paradise on earth! This tiny Caribbean island boasts some enormous attractions: appealing beaches, quaint, colorful architecture, and European charm.
Willemstad is the place to be if you’re into high-end shopping, since it has duty-free shopping zones filled with boutiques, fashion shops, and souvenir stores. At night, you can enjoy dining and dancing in the city’s popular restaurants and clubs. Or, if you’d rather catch a movie or challenge your pals to a couple of rounds of bowling, head to Tropical Bowling Club 3000 or one of Willemstad’s many movie theaters.
10. Harrison’s Cave, Bridgetown, Barbados
Caribbean caves? That’s right– the Caribbean has it all! You can actually take a tour through Harrison’s Cave in Barbados and experience what it’s like to explore “the depths of the earth”. Discovered in the 1700s, these limestone caverns feature twists and turns that stretch for at least a mile. In addition, there’s a beautiful underground waterfall that splashes into a mysterious pool.
Ready to take a trip to see the most incredible places in the Caribbean for yourself? Let KeyCaribe unlock the treasures of the Caribbean for you!
Main image credit: Natalia Barsukova, Shutterstock