When the weather turns chilly, it’s a good time to take a tropical cruise. For sunshine, sandy beaches and palm trees, nothing beats the Caribbean Islands. To find your ideal destination, learn what makes every Caribbean island special.
If you’re looking for long stretches of pink sand, aquamarine waters and a ‘chill’ attitude, visit The Bahamas, some of the closest islands to Florida.
Turks & Caicos Islands
Southeast of The Bahamas lies Turks & Caicos, a chain of 40 small islands. Of the eight inhabited isles, Grand Turk offers many charms, from old windmills and historic Cockburn Town to resident wild horses and donkeys.
For the best beaches in Turks & Caicos, head to the island of Providenciales, or “Provo” to the locals.
If you’re into snorkeling or scuba diving, consider a cruise to Grand Cayman, the largest of the three Cayman Islands.
When you’re in the mood for shopping and museum-going, make a visit to the capital city of George Town, and take time to unwind on Seven Mile Beach.
A cruise to the Dominican Republic starts with a visit to beautiful Amber Cove. Here, you’ll discover amazing waterfalls, adrenaline inducing ziplining, and wildlife to explore.
Flanked by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and the Caribbean Sea to the south, the Dominican Republic also offers ample beaches.
While the island of Cuba is famous for cigars, there’s much more to this tropical paradise.
In the capital city Havana, you’ll find Spanish-colonial architecture paired with classic automobiles and a vibrant art scene. More sights to see include tobacco plantations, beautiful beaches, wild orchids, and pink flamingos.
The island of Puerto Rico lures visitors with rich history, natural beauty, and balmy weather. The most popular tourist attractions include the El Yunque Rainforest, the beaches, the capital city San Juan, and two old fortresses, El Morro and La Fortaleza.
While you’re here, make sure to sample the delicious local cuisine.
If you really want to let your hair down, visit the Caribbean island of Jamaica.
For more Jamaican adventure, play a round of golf or explore the scenic forests, waterfalls, and coral reefs in the area.
British Virgin Islands
When visiting the British Virgin Islands, start with the largest one, Tortola.
For day-long fun on this scenic isle, head to the beach at Cane Garden Bay or take to the hills at Sage Mountain National Park, or check out the lavish yachts in the harbor at Road Town.
US Virgin Islands
If you’re looking for scenic beauty, discover desert, rainforest, beaches, and coral reefs in the US Virgin Islands.
Enjoy the day with a trip to Magen’s Bay Beach on St. Thomas, or explore the remains of an 18th-century sugar plantation on St. John.
For a taste of Danish culture, visit the charming town of Christiansted on St. Croix.
Explore the ruins of old mills, discover 17th-century forts, zip line over rain forest canopies, bask on white-sand beaches, and purchase just-picked tropical fruits at open-air markets.
If hundreds of white-sand beaches sound appealing, then you’ll be drawn to the tiny island of Antigua.
Here, a relaxed tropical vibe blends with British colonial history, so afternoon tea in the afternoon is common.
Make sure to visit historic the English Harbour and stop by lively Redcliffe Quay in the capital city of St. John’s for shopping and dining.
Because St. Maarten is governed by France and the Netherlands, the Dutch side is known as Sint Maarten.
In addition to its tropical allure, this dual-island offers more attractions including shops, nightclubs, world-class restaurants, and rum distilleries.
Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy sandy beaches, butterfly farms, and nature reserves.
If you enjoy a happy island vibe and British traditions like cricket, you’ll love the eastern Caribbean island of Barbados.
Here, you can find sunny beaches and botanical gardens, limestone caverns, and centuries-old plantation homes. A number of events and festivals offer a reason to celebrate throughout the year.
On Martinique, an island governed by France, you’ll find an ambience that blends French culture with West Indian influences and beaches with white and black sand.
For enjoyable exploits, visit old plantation homes and botanical gardens, and tickle your palate with a taste of colombo, a spicy local dish.
As a leading producer of nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger, Grenada has earned its nickname, The Spice Isle.
When you cruise here, make sure to sample delicious local bites from various street vendors, relax on secluded beaches, and visit Grand Etang National Park to catch sight of monkeys, birds, and other wildlife.
Trinidad & Tobago
Just off the coast of Venezuela, the dual islands of Trinidad & Tobago offer relaxing beaches, Creole culture, calypso music and plenty of fun things to do.
On Trinidad, check out the National Museum and Art Gallery in Port of Spain, or shop at the Central Market.
On Tobago, visit the Scarborough Botanical Garden, or navigate the surrounding waters by sea kayak.
For a day filled with adventure, snorkel coral reefs, sunbathe on a sandy beach, enjoy a warm mud bath, or pick up gifts at the outdoor market in the capital city of Castries.
Once part of the Netherlands Antilles, the island of Bonaire features strong Dutch influences. Spend the day admiring the architecture and museums in the small capital city of Kralendijk, discover an abundance of pink flamingoes and salt beds in Pekelmeer, or scuba dive or snorkel the reefs surrounding the island.
For temperate weather and beautiful blond beaches, cruise to Aruba, a Dutch Caribbean island also off the Venezuelan coast.
From shopping, dining, and nightlife in Oranjestad to snorkeling around Palm Island, there’s never a lack of things to do in this tropical wonderland.
A cruise to the Caribbean island of Curaçao offers more exciting scuba and snorkeling opportunities in Blue Bay.
For more escapades, explore the stunning Hato Caves, check out the colorful colonial buildings in Willemstad, and head to the Punda District on Thursday nights for shopping, live music, and dancing.
With so many wonderful Caribbean islands, enjoyable cruises are easy to find. For a true bucket-list experience, cruise to one or all of these island destinations.