In a time where everything and everywhere is so easily accessible, there are certain places in the world that are becoming absolute must visits. With each passing day, destinations that were once unthinkable to see, are now so reachable you can almost feel the sweet sand at your feet! However, the future is a two sided coin. In recent years, the Caribbean Islands have been such a hot vacation spot it can at times feel overcrowded and touristy. So if you’re in a hurry to see paradise before it’s too late, here’s 12 Caribbean Islands to Experience Now!
Cuba has always been a popular vacation spot for the rest of the world, but a recent restoration of diplomatic relations between the country and United States will certainly change things! With the doors opened to 300+ million new possible visitors, now is a better time than ever to experience the beautiful island of Cuba. Explore the colorful streets of Havana, have a mojito on Varadero Beach, and enjoy all the wonderful music and food that this amazing country has to offer!
11. Dominican Republic
While the cruise ships have been pulling into La Romana for decades, the bliss and tranquility can actually be found far from the popular resorts. The Dominican Republic has an abundance of gorgeous white sandy beaches surrounded by lush green mountains, and a unique culture unlike anywhere else in the Caribbean.
10. St. Marteen-St. Martin
Another popular cruise destination, St. Marteen-St. Martin has a distinct feature from the rest of the destinations on this list. This Caribbean island is actually split into two sides, one French and one Dutch. This means two sets of languages, two kinds of food, and a diverse population you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the world!
9. Virgin Gorda, BVI
Our first stop into the British Virgin Islands is none other than the incredible Virgin Gorda! Only about eight square miles wide, this tiny Caribbean island is best known for its hidden caves, amazing snorkeling, and rock climbing. Uncovered as a tourist destination in the 1960’s, it still holds a simple charm you won’t find on U.S. Virgin islands like St. John and St. Thomas. So don’t wait, it’s time to experience Virgin Gorda now!
When exploring the French Caribbean, Martinique has quickly become a must see destination for travelers! Standing at 4,600 feet tall, Mount Pelee towers majestically over the island. Back in 1902, the volcano actually erupted, killing 30,000 local inhabitants of St. Pierre. The lively capital, Fort de France, also serves as the split line between the countries very different eco-systems. The North offers black sand beaches and dense rain forest, while the South is filled with the more traditional white sandy paradises you are used to.
Just off the Northeast coast of Venezuela, lies a little slice of heaven called Grenada. Also known as the “Island of Spice” due to its high production of mace and nutmeg, a trip to this beautiful Caribbean island is just what the doctor ordered! Besides your usual plethora of water sports, Grenada offers a one of a kind experience to explore underwater sculptures! Acting as artificial reefs, these stunning works of art do a wonderful job representing the culture of Grenada, even from deep on the ocean floor.
6. Culebra, Puerto Rico
If you didn’t already know, the best beaches in Puerto Rico can’t be found on the mainland. Just seventeen miles east of Puerto Rico, sits one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Not only is it home to some unbelievable beaches, but also some of the best camping! Perfect for nature lovers, Culebra gives you the perfect chance to ditch that expensive inclusive resort, and get the down to earth experience you’ve been craving. However, if you’re planning on going, you might wanna get in line. The ferry from the mainland is typically a two hour wait, so can you imagine what it will be like in five years?
5. Tortuga, Haiti
The term “off the beaten path” doesn’t even begin to describe this little Caribbean island to the north of Haiti. Tortuga, infamous for its history of pirates and crime, has managed to long avoid the grip of the tourist industry. What it lacks in transportation and hospitality (there is little to none), this island gem makes up in pristine, out of this world beaches. And the best part? You’ll most likely have them all to yourself! So grab a hotel in nearby Port-de-Paix, and make the day trip. You won’t regret it!
Up next on our list of Caribbean destinations, enjoy a more rustic experience on the beautiful island of Guadeloupe. Actually a collection of five fascinating Caribbean islands, the unique mix of European and native Creole customs are sure to spice up your vacation! Everyday here is exciting and fresh, because on top of the amazing beaches, Guadeloupe also offers a multitude of hikes, waterfalls, and other cool outdoor activities. And with Norwegian Airlines now testing flights from New York and Boston, now is the best time to experience this island paradise!
Just a quick ferry ride away from Guadeloupe, our #3 island to experience is definitely one for the adventure traveler! Referred to as the “Nature Capital of the Caribbean,” Dominica has an assortment of outdoor activities that will leave other islands in the dust. Aside from its natural beauty, the culture and art of Dominica is intriguing enough in itself! So when you add in its world class beaches and shockingly impressive landscape, you’re sure to find an experience like none other.
2. Roatan, Honduras
Largely still undiscovered, this diving and snorkeling utopia was almost impossible to keep out of the number one spot! Featuring the second largest reef in the world and some of the clearest blue water you’ve ever seen, Roatan is the must see island of Central America! Right now it carries more of a backpacker vibe, but with cruise ships starting to make stops in the West Bay, it’s only a matter of time before we see drastic changes.
1. Tortola, BVI
Tortola, the pride of the British Virgin Islands takes the top spot on our list! Compared to its busy neighbors, this Caribbean island is still very unexplored, and has a vast array of stunning and mostly EMPTY beaches for you to enjoy. From the gorgeous sands of Smugglers Cove, to the lush green hillsides Cane Garden Bay, this absurdly beautiful island is sure not to disappoint! So make sure you rent a car and hit ALL the beaches, because before you know it, you will be getting a completely different experience on this Caribbean island.