Often overlooked in favor of more popular Caribbean islands like Jamaica or the Dominican Republic, these stunning countries are hidden jewels waiting to be discovered by adventurous travelers. Filled with mysterious coves, luscious rain forests, and secluded beaches, these are the most underrated islands in the Caribbean:
1. Turks & Caicos
Grace Bay Beach is a sight to behold, and one you’ll never be able to forget. However, that’s not the only reason why Turks & Caicos is on our list of the most underrated islands in the Caribbean. It’s also a great place to embark on a whale-watching cruise, or to simply sail around and explore some of the mysterious uninhabited islands nearby. In fact, there are at least 40 of these tiny islands in the waters surrounding the island of Turks.
Turks & Caicos is also the perfect place to take a wellness retreat. The tranquil, laid-back atmosphere might be just what you need to recover from a long, hard year working in the office. In addition, spas, yoga trainers, and even Reiki treatments are plentiful and easy to book.
2. St. Lucia
How can you resist this magnificent landscape? The Pitons in St. Lucia offer some of the most beautiful views in the entire world, not to mention the Caribbean. Go for a swim at Anse Chastanet beach in order to relax in the shadow of these breathtaking peaks. You’ll feel like you’ve traveled halfway around the world to the South Pacific, when in fact you’re actually in the Caribbean, and it only took a few hours to get there.
If you go to St. Lucia in May, you can jive to the delightful sounds of the jazz festival. The live music performances, given by both St. Lucian and other Caribbean artists, also include calypso, soca, and R&B, among others.
3. Ambergris Caye, Belize
Sometimes referred to as San Pedro or San Pedro island, Ambergris Caye is the largest island off the coast of Belize. Once called “la isla bonita” by Madonna in her famous song of the same name, Ambergris Caye is one of the most unique and fascinating Caribbean islands you’ll ever come across.
This small island packs a big punch: there’s so much to do! You can explore amazing ancient mayan ruins, book a catamaran tour of the famous Belize Barrier Reef, or find eclectic souvenirs at the Belizean Arts Gallery.
If you’re not too familiar with Belize, you’re not alone. Most people can’t give you many details about this mysterious Spanish-speaking country. In addition, it’s one of the lesser-visited Caribbean countries. At the same time, it’s extremely underrated, due to the fact that it’s filled with gorgeous rental villas and exciting tourist attractions. Furthermore, it’s currently one of the most affordable Caribbean countries that you can visit.
Let’s give little Bonaire a little love! This small but lovely island may not be one of the most well-known islands in the Caribbean, but it’s certainly one of the most under crowded and unique.
However, its main claim to fame is Bonaire National Marine Park, a world-famous 6,700 acre coral reef reserve. The park stretches around the entire island of Bonaire, and is easily accessible for divers and snorkelers. The coral reef is thriving with life, and the mangroves and seagrass beds are well preserved and protected. Bonaire is so dedicated to wildlife conservation that you could call this nation a truly “unspoiled paradise”.
Saba is one of the smallest islands in the entire Caribbean. But that doesn’t mean it’s not filled with exciting adventures! A special municipality of the Netherlands, this tiny country is home to only around 2,000 people.
Nevertheless, Saba is a diamond in the rough, due to its unspoiled cliffs and hills. Most of the island is engulfed by a potentially active volcano.
Saba National Park boasts over 150 species of fish that scuba divers and snorkelers can easily view in the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean sea. Nicknamed “the unspoiled queen of the Caribbean”, Saba is a hot-spot for ecotourism. It is a prime nesting place for over 60 species of birds, and has been designated an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International.
Guadeloupe is a French overseas territory, famous for its hot springs, active volcanoes, and ravishing beaches. It’s actually made up of two main islands, Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre, which are very close together, and several smaller islands. The two larger islands are connected by bridges, while the other ones are reachable via short ferry rides.
Guadeloupe features sublime white-sand beaches, which are rarely crowded. There are also spectacular hiking trails that lead to magnificent waterfalls near Anse Duquéry Beach, a unique black sand beach.
Guadeloupe’s National Park is yet another reason why this country deserves a place among the most underrated islands in the Caribbean. With more than 74,100 acres of rainforest, this park on Basse-Terre has trails that lead to several cascades, hidden freshwater pools, and an active volcano.
Although more people have probably heard of Antigua than, say, Saba, this small Caribbean country definitely belongs on our list of the most underrated islands in the Caribbean. That’s because it has an astounding number of top-notch beaches.
Antigua is the largest island in Antigua & Barbuda, a country made up of several islands. It is a member of the British Commonwealth, although it is self-governing. Saint Mary, a parish on the island of Antigua, features coral reefs, historic landmarks (in the city of St. John’s), and fantastic beaches like Darkwood Beach and Ffryes Beach.
Come see these underrated islands in the Caribbean for yourself! Let KeyCaribe unlock the Caribbean for you and give you an experience you’ll never forget.
Main image source: Costa Cruises