Planning to visit Caribbean islands?

Eeny Meeny Miny Moe… where in the Caribbean should you go?
Part 1 – Caribbean destinations A to B

Written by Travel Writer Linda Jackson

There’s a problem when planning to visit Caribbean islands for a vacation. With so many islands choosing one for your Caribbean vacation won’t be easy… especially if it’s your first visit. But trust us – odds on it won’t be your last.

So why visit Caribbean islands, which one? Find out our thoughts on which Caribbean islands to visit, below, on Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bonaire, and the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

To read more about all the Caribbean destinations we cover, explore the Active Caribbean Destination Guides section where you can check if the country of your choice matches the adventurer in you (or not!).

Visit Caribbean islands – which country, and why

Why visit ANGUILLA: If luxury is important, you’ll find accommodation in Anguilla is top of the range. There are fabulous five star hotels, and also mega luxury villas to rent in Anguilla. Restaurants in Anguilla range from roadside shacks to sophisticated fine dining establishments. Eating out is unbelievably good. In addition, Anguilla is a bit of an ‘arty’ island and the white sand beaches are gorgeous.

Why visit ANTIGUA & BARBUDA: The beaches are undoubtedly a big attraction of Antigua. Hundreds of beaches, coupled with the rich colonial heritage and one of the most picturesque harbours in the world, makes Antigua an ultimate Caribbean escape. Visit Nelson’s Dockyard – the restored 18th century British naval base – it’s the most popular tourist attraction on Antigua. Also, go see picturesque Falmouth Harbour. Then up to Shirley Heights with its fort ruins (18th century) and spectacular views. Snorkelling with stingrays is quite an experience and the Antigua Sailing Week a major spectacle. In addition, if you visit or stay in Barbuda (which is isolated and has the most AMAZING pink sand), you must take a boat trip across Codrington Lagoon to see the renowned Frigate Bird Sanctuary. It’s a huge nesting site for the majestic birds.

Island hopping is a great way to visit Caribbean islands

Why visit ARUBA: Ranking in the world’s top five windsurfing destinations, Aruba boasts challenging wave conditions and constant trade winds, as well as flat water locations and extensive shallows… perfect windsurfing requirements. The island’s strong winds also lure kite surfers to the island, and an abundance of game fish makes deep sea fishing around Aruba a popular pastime. Aruba is also a favourite Caribbean diving destination. Qualified divers will enjoy the fabulous Caribbean diving sites around Aruba. There is an Antillean shipwreck, 400ft long and dating from World War II, plus wall as well as wrecks and night diving. Of course there is a wonderful array of corals and fish.

In addition, there are plenty of daytime activities for everyone on this Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba. Once the sun has set you’ll also discover a vibrant Aruba nightlife that caters for a variety of tastes. As well as nightspots with dancing and entertainment and colourful shows, there are bustling bars and welcoming cocktail lounges. In addition, there are lively casinos. Most hotels have their own casinos and special themed nights too.

Visit Caribbean islands in a cluster

Why visit the BAHAMAS: You’ll find plenty to do in the English-speaking very-American Bahamas. There are sophisticated restaurants as well as luxurious hotels and yachts. Furthermore, there’s glitzy gambling, superb diving, pretty pink houses and turquoise waters. For children – they will love the dolphin and sealion encounters on Blue Lagoon Island three miles from Nassau. In Nassau duty free shopping is a must as is bone fishing further afield in the shallows. If you’ve got time, take a boat trip to the quiet Out Islands of the Bahamas, the Exumas.

Why visit BARBADOS: Barbados is a sophisticated and bustling Caribbean island which offers a huge choice of fantastic restaurants. These range from very casual fish fry evenings at Oistins village, to chic restaurants in stunning settings overlooking the sea on the West Coast of Barbados. Food-wise you’ll be spoiled for choice in Barbados, some of the settings are stunning as well as romantic. A tour to the wild East side of the island is a must. Botanical gardens are a delight to wander through and there are historic houses to visit.

Don’t forget Belize’s islands when you are planning to visit Caribbean islands

Why visit BELIZE: Belize is not a mass tourism market. It is blessed with outstanding Maya temples and palaces. It is an ideal Caribbean country for nature-lovers, bird watchers, archaeology enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Cuisine is a melting pot of Mexican, Spanish and Caribbean with a Mayan twist. Seafood is plentiful and tropical fruits abundant too. You just have to discover the best Maya temples and ruins. Visit Altun Ha or Lamanai in Northern Belize or Caracol, El Pilar, and Xunantunich in the Cayo District and Western Belize. Do explore the mountains, tropical rainforests and the numerous coastal and off-shore mangrove systems. Belize is also a great Caribbean country for fishing holidays.

Why visit BONAIRE: Bonaire offers spectacular diving as the island is ringed with off-shore reefs. There are plenty of easy places to eat out by the sea too. You’ll find fish bars, barbecue eateries, beach bars, cafes, bars and grills as well as bakeries and fast food outlets. Try kayaking through the pristine mangrove system, drive north (up the west coast) to see the flamingo viewing lake – Goto Mere. Visit Washington-Slagbaai National Park to discover flora and fauna over a 13,000 acre area. At Boca Omina you’ll discover caves containing Arawak Indian paintings.

Sail around the Virgin Islands

Why visit the BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS (BVI): The constant trade winds and perfect sailing conditions are what attract the majority of visitors to the British Virgin Islands. Being able to island hop without too much trouble is a bonus. Each of the islands has its own character so staying on two or three different ones is a big attraction. Hike to the summit of Sage Mountain on the island of Tortola or up into the hills on Virgin Gorda. There are fabulous views of the islands. Sail to a deserted soft sand beach to chill out during the day. Live it up all night at famous Foxy’s bar on Jost Van Dyke, Foxy’s rum drinks are wicked. If you like soft sand head for Anegada, the northernmost island – the white sand beaches are gorgeous.

Planning to visit Caribbean Islands?
Eeny Meeny Miny Moe… where in the Caribbean should you go?

  • C-G: Part 2 of Planning to visit Caribbean islands?
  • H-P: Part 3 of Planning to visit Caribbean islands?
  • S-U: Part 4 of Planning to visit Caribbean islands?

♥ the Caribbean

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