What Makes Every Caribbean Island Special?

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.

The Bahamas

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.

For fun, snorkel off the island of Eleuthera, soak up the sun at Half Moon Cay, and climb the centuries-old Queen’s Staircase in the capital city of Nassau.

aerial view of an island in the bahamas during a bright sunny day

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.

Cayman Islands

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.

aerial view of an island in the bahamas during a bright sunny day

Dominican Republic

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.

 Cuba

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.

antique car driving along the streets of havana cuba with carnival paradise in the background

Puerto Rico

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.

Jamaica

If you really want to let your hair down, visit the Caribbean island of Jamaica.

Find the best bars, restaurants and reggae beats in the city of Montego Bay and the finest luxury shops and resorts in Ocho Rios.

For more Jamaican adventure, play a round of golf or explore the scenic forests, waterfalls, and coral reefs in the area.

crystal clear waters of a beach in ocho rios jamaica

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.

aerial view of a beautiful beach in st thomas, us virgin islands

St. Kitts

When it comes to variety, a cruise to St. Kitts offers plenty of shore excursions.

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.

Antigua

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.

clear waters and white sand beach in antigua

St. Maarten

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.

Barbados

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.

view of the rock formation along the coast of barbados

Martinique

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.

Grenada

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.

woman floating along the beach in grenada during a clear sunny day

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.

St. Lucia

With twin mountain peaks, majestic waterfalls, and colorful bougainvillea, the Eastern Caribbean island of St. Lucia delivers dramatic natural scenery.

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.

calm waters along the beach in st lucia with an amazing view of the mountains

Bonaire

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. 

Aruba

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.

view of the beautiful calm beach in aruba during the sunset

Curaçao

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.