According to a recent USA Today poll, three of the best places in the Caribbean are located in Aruba.
With its striking juxtaposition of desert cacti set upon dramatic cliffs, and the gorgeous turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, Aruba is easily one of the best places in the Caribbean. There’s no doubt about that, especially after the results of a recent USA Today poll were announced online.
The Dutch Caribbean nation took the gold in several “best places” categories– most notably for Best Caribbean Attraction.
That award went to the spectacular Arikok National Park, a nature reserve filled with dramatic cliffs, secret caves, and and seaside natural pools. There’s even some ancient Arawak petroglyphs (check out this article for more info on the Arawaks), and ruins of an old gold mine.
“Amazing place!” said one visitor in his Google review of Arikok National Park. “I highly suggest renting an ATV and exploring the park on your own. Its HUGE. Make sure you have a map and or GPS. It will take you 3-5 hours to see everything.”
USA Today Poll: Best Places in the Caribbean
USA Today’s poll included a variety of other categories as well, including Best Caribbean Beach, Best Caribbean Restaurant, and Best Caribbean Golf Course. The magazine employed the help of regional experts in order to pick the initial nominees. Then the top 10 winners of each category were determined by popular vote.
Read on to find out which other attractions took the top awards for the best places in the Caribbean 2020!
Top 10 Caribbean Attractions
As previously mentioned, Arikok National Park in Aruba (featured in this article’s main photo) won the title of “Best Caribbean Attraction.” The other winners are as follows:
- Arikok National Park – Aruba
- Shete Boka National Park – Curacao
- Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park – St. Kitts
- Nelson’s Dockyard – Antigua
- Dunn’s River Falls – Ocho Rios, Jamaica
- The Baths National Park – Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
- St. Nicholas Abbey – Barbados
- Romney Manor – St. Kitts
- Parotte Ville – Sint Maarten
- Grand Etang National Park – Grenada
The second place winner, Shete Boka National Park in Curacao is an incredible place to hike. It features a variety of trails winding through breathtaking scenery, including impressive cliffs, tiny inlets, and limestone coves. In addition, there are sea turtle nesting grounds on site. Go at the right time of year, and you may be able to see some for yourself!
Top 10 Caribbean beaches
The best Caribbean beach, according to the USA Today 10 Best poll, is Eagle Beach in Aruba. Thanks to its blinding white sand and characteristic fofoti trees, this beautiful site is one of the most well-known beaches in the world.
Located in Oranjestad, Aruba, this delightful sandy haven has been a longtime favorite with locals and travelers alike. It is also known for being home to colorful parakeets and sea turtles.
One visitor, in his Google review, described Eagle Beach as “One of the best beach(es) in the world. Quiet, calm waves, soft sand, and not crowded. Iconic beach of Aruba.”
Another gushed, “It was simply beautiful. Very clean and and peaceful. I found extreme serenity here.”
Honorable mentions for best Caribbean beach go to: Grote Knip in Curacao, Bambarra Beach in Turks and Caicos, Grand Anse Beach in Grenada, Tahiti Beach in the Bahamas, Grace Bay Beach in Turks and Caicos, Fortune Beach and Gold Rock Beach in the Bahamas, and Honeymoon Beach in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.
Grote Knip Beach in Curacao is highly acclaimed for its blue water, which is said to be the bluest in the world. Located a little under an hour’s drive from Willemstad, this beach is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. However, despite its popularity, it’s rarely crowded.
In addition to powder white sand and gorgeous blue water, Knip Beach features a rocky cliff that many swimmers like to use for diving.
Best Caribbean Restaurants
Poll respondents voted Elements Restaurant in Aruba as the region’s best restaurant, giving Aruba yet another win. Oceanfront views and fusion cuisine made from sustainable and locally-grown ingredients have helped Elements earn its glowing reputation.
Creative, flavorful dishes combined with a comforting, romantic atmosphere make a visit to this restaurant a true Caribbean dining experience. Go there for a special occasion, or reserve a table to make any occasion special!
Patrons have left rave reviews about Elements on Google and other review sites. “This restaurant is magnificent!” said one visitor. “Impressive view, absolutely delicious gluten free dishes made of high quality ingredients,professional staff, pleasant and elegant ambient are the reasons why I will visit this place again.I give (it) deserved 5 stars with the highest recommendation.”
Another said, “I rarely give five stars but this place absolutely deserves it. The food was delicious and customer service was absolutely fantastic. They were extremely helpful and helped answer questions.”
Best Restaurants in the Caribbean for 2020
Here is the full list of winners for Best Restaurants in the Caribbean:
- Elements Restaurant – Aruba
- Miss T’s Kitchen – Ocho Rios, Jamaica
- Lime Out – St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
- Pizza Pi – St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
- Marmalade – San Juan, Puerto Rico
- 1919 Restaurant – San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Sheer Rocks – Antigua
- Jade Mountain Club – St. Lucia
- Banana Bay – Freeport, Bahamas
- Graycliff Restaurant – Nassau, Bahamas
Note: Both Lime Out and Pizza Pi are both incredibly unique places to grab a bite to eat– they’re built on boats! Pizza Pi is a floating pizzeria that serves up delicious pies made with locally-sourced ingredients in St. Thomas. Lime Out is a taco bar located in the middle of Hansen Bay in St. John.
Caribbean Journal selected Sheer Rocks in Antigua for the top spot on their list of the 50 best restaurants in the Caribbean. Located on Ffryes Beach, this romantic diner is headed by a local chef who knows how to infuse every meal with the region’s best flavors.
To see USA Today’s complete list of categories and winners for the Best Places in the Caribbean, click here.
Main image via abc-aruba.com.
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