From high mountain peaks to shimmering reefs, spicy salsa rhythms to deep rolling reggae, pirate hideouts to sugar-sand beaches, the Caribbean is dizzyingly diverse.
Combining adventure with relaxation, hundreds of years of colonial history with enthralling Arawak culture, West Indian spices with European gastronomic flair, honeymooners with hill walkers, budget backpacker haunts with some of the most exclusive hotels on the planet, it’s got something for every type of traveler.
It’s got everything from Cuban cigarillos to magma-spouting mountains, not to mention countless airbrushed beaches of pristine sand and shimmering turquoise sea. See you in the rum bars!
Let’s have a look at our list of the best Caribbean islands to visit:
Start on the Jamaican north shore, where powdery white sands run their way along the coast from the ivory stretches of iconic Seven Mile Beach, past the sheer-cut Negril Cliffs, through the luxury uber-resorts of Montego Bay, around the gushing Dunn’s River Falls, and out to where famous James Bond Beach gives way to the jungles of Ocho Rios in plumes of swaying coconut palms, juniper bushes, mangrove and tamarind.
Further in the east and the mighty Blue Mountains rise in verdant swathes of jungle, Jamaican boas swinging from the vines and the scents of coffee beans wafting along the undergrowth.
Then, on the inland hills, visitors can seek out the birthplace of legendary Bob Marley at Nine Mile, or simply opt to flit between the rum bars of Kingston listening to the master and his steel-drum, Rasta off-beats.
Mo’Bay, meanwhile, pulses with nightlife and the smells of jerk chicken, while honeymooners kick back on beachside decks and sip Red Stripe to the sunset.
2. Turks and Caicos