It’s tough to pick the very best Caribbean destinations when the region is brimming with so much magnificence and beauty.
The loveliness of the Caribbean is unmatched by any other region in the world. Azure skies above turquoise-blue waters, bordered by the whitest sand you’ve ever seen–this is the Caribbean. Historic plantations, fascinating museums, and acres of corn, sugar cane, and salt mines give visitors a glimpse of the Old Caribbean. And in this new era, the region’s inhabitants are proud to live and work in some of the most beautiful places on earth.
Top Caribbean Destinations 2019
According to U.S. News & World Report, the top ten Caribbean destinations for 2019-20 are as follows:
1. British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands, with their stunning white beaches and gorgeous national parks, are oozing with natural beauty. Voted the top Caribbean destination of 2019, BVI will make you want to intentionally miss your flight back home.
There are plenty of upscale resorts and vacation rentals to choose from on the country’s various islands. In addition, it’s just a short 6 hours from New York City, and visa-free for most Europeans and North Americans.
Some of the best beaches to visit are located on Virgin Gorda, where huge gray boulders create mysterious caves and hideaways and which to swim and relax.
2. St. Lucia
The Pitons of St. Lucia may remind you of the pointy peaks of faraway Bali. However, this Caribbean island is much closer if you live in the Western Hemisphere, and much more accessible. Relax on romantic Jalousie beach or Anse Chastanet beach in the shadow of these magnificent mountains, or enjoy fabulous snorkeling on Pigeon Island.
There’s something for everyone in St. Lucia. Volcanic beaches contain spectacular shimmering black sand. The interior rainforests feature flowing waterfalls like the 15 meter Toraille cascade. The country is home to both quiet fishing villages and bustling resorts. In addition, with its plethora of spas and wellness centers, St. Lucia is the perfect place for a wellness retreat.
3. U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands are highly accessible for U.S. citizens– not even a passport is needed for entry! All that’s necessary is a valid government-issued ID card, such as a driver’s license.
Often called “America’s Caribbean Paradise”, these islands are brimming with excitement and beauty. There’s the wild dancing at the Carnival parade, contrasted with the quiet solitude of the national parks. Each island has something different to offer. St. Thomas is known for luxury accomodations and shopping, while St. John boasts incredible beaches and acres of untouched forest. St. Croix is famous for its historic plantations that offer a glimpse into the past.
4. Turks & Caicos
What more is there to say after you’ve seen photos of Turks & Caicos beaches? If a picture is worth 1,000 words, you’ll understand exactly why you should visit this incredible multi-island country as soon as you see the photo above. It’s a picture of Grace Bay Beach on Providenciales, the country’s largest island. Grace Bay is the #1 beach in the Caribbean, and was voted the #1 beach in the world by TripAdvisor users in 2016. So what more are you waiting for?
5. St. Vincent and the Grenadines
St. Vincent and the Grenadines, located in the southern region of the Caribbean Sea, consists of one main island (St. Vincent) and a chain of 32 smaller ones, known as the Grenadines. Some of these are uninhabited.
The country is known for sailing, luxury yachts and accomodations, scuba diving, and good ol’ Caribbean standby: snow-white beaches. Its rugged topography includes unspoiled national parks and rainforests and volcanic peaks.
6. Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands are famous for the long, shimmering Seven Mile Beach (actually 5.5 miles, but who’s counting?) and Stingray City, a sandbar that lends itself to swimming with sea creatures.
Other must-see attractions are the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park with its lovely rainforest trails, and the Cayman Crystal Caves with their impressive crystal structures.
Antigua is one of the best Caribbean destinations to go to for incredible soft, white sand, gentle waves, and clear water that yields plenty of opportunities for snorkeling. In addition, there’s scenic hiking trails that culminate in spectacular views, like this one at Shirley Heights, pictured below:
Indulge in the peace and serenity of a private villa at Tamarind Hills, and enjoy the famous Darkwood Beach, just minutes away.
Perhaps Anguilla is low on your radar, but it’s definitely one of the most underrated, less traveled Caribbean islands. In fact, The Anguilla Tourist Board reported that the island has taken first place in Travel & Leisure’s ranking of the best Caribbean islands. Its 33 pristine beaches make it more than worthy of the title.
9. St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Kitts and Nevis is filled with old British forts and scenic mountain views. Since its economy has historically depended on sugar cane rather than tourism for centuries, it is much more unspoiled than many other Caribbean islands. However, this doesn’t mean it isn’t ready to receive tourists. From luxury villas to unique converted plantation inns, there are plenty of places to stay.
Barbados is a wonderful mixture of culture, history, nightlife, and nature. Known as “the party island”, it hosts the Crop Over festival each year in June. But if you’re not into the party scene, there are plenty of gorgeous beaches to enjoy, and spas to offer ultimate relaxation. In fact, Barbados is one of the best Caribbean islands for wellness retreats.
Take a walk through the jungle at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve to see tropical wildlife like tortoises, monkeys, peacocks, and deer. Heywoods Beach is known for turtle hatchings and pink-hued sand.
Main image source: SmarterTravel