You may think sun, sand, tropical drinks – the Caribbean is all the same right? Wrong! There are countless unique islands, different cultures, food, and activities on offer in the Caribbean, from the legendary Mayan ruins to the flashy lights of Nassau’s Atlantis.
Let’s examine a few of these stunning and sunny locales, so you can better determine which is the best fit for you!
Affectionately coined One Happy Island, Aruba is a great vacation option for the entire family. With the least amount of rainfall out of all 700 Caribbean islands, and its position outside of the hurricane belt, Aruba all-but-guarantees you beautiful weather year-round.
Pairing that with exciting diving, Flamingo Island, a donkey sanctuary, and 40 beaches to choose from, Aruba is an easy pick for visitors. Four languages are spoken on the island of Aruba, Papiamento, Dutch, English, and Spanish, making it welcoming and easy to navigate for travelers. Recommended for: Families, Honeymooners, Solo travel, LGBTQ travel
Mexico’s Quintana Roo region is considered part of the Caribbean, and after catching a glimpse of the turquoise water you’ll understand why. From the remote ruins of Tulum to the crazy clubs of Cancun, this region in Mexico is packed with resorts, hotels, attractions, but somehow manages to have plenty of remote and magical corners to escape to.
While Cancun’s Zona Hotelera can err on the side of crowded, venturing further south (closer to Playa Del Carmen and beyond) offers spacious resorts and boutique hotels, peaceful stretches of beach, and fascinating ruins with an interesting history. Recommended for: Families, Honeymooners, LGBTQ travel
Covering over 100,000 square miles with some of the best beaches in the world, the 16 islands of the Bahamas offer visitors everything from the bright lights of Nassau to the rugged beauty of Eleuthera. Swim with pigs on Exuma, snack on a fish fry at Arawak Cay, or dive the barrier reef surrounding Andros.
Foodies will love munching on Conch, the national food of the Bahamas, and a true specialty. Similar to Calamari, Conch meat can be eaten several ways – but Conch fritters are a must-try!
If you’re looking for entertainment all day and night, Atlantis has you covered. Five unique hotels encompass this mega-resort, along with a dolphin habitat and marine park, 141-acre waterpark, casino, marina, golf course, beaches, theatre, and shopping mall.
Bordering Mexico to the north, Belize continues to impress travelers with its beaches, unparalleled diving, and friendly locals. Zipline through lush jungle, hike the famous Victoria Peak or explore underwater. Belize is home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world, and divers, snorkelers, and biologists flock year-round to its waters to spot countless marine life, witness a diverse eco-system, and explore the many UNESCO world heritage sites found throughout the island.
From caving to kayaking, Belize wows visitors with its rugged beauty. Visit the Coca trail, meet a Mayan family, or explore the countless sleepy fishing villages that dot the coast. Unlike its neighbor to the north, Belize is a little less polished than the Mexican Mayan Riviera. This means fewer mega-resorts or five-star accommodation, and more boutique and eco-focused properties.
Boasting a population of roughly 2.9 million people, Jamaica is the third-largest Anglophone country in the Americas, coming in right after the United States and Canada. You’ll feel the rhythm of Jamaica through the reggae music, the taste of smoky jerk chicken, and the gentle buzz from your rum punch.
If you’re looking for a colorful party, look no further. Carnival is an explosion of color, music, dance, and food, and runs from December to April. Things ramp up after Easter, with street parties, concerts, and finally – a parade.
Offering everything from all-inclusive resorts and hotels to budget accommodation, Jamaica caters to many types of travelers. Bustling Kingston is the capital and chief port of Jamaica and is home to the largest botanical gardens in the Caribbean.
The peaceful island of Port Antonio offers lush jungles, secluded coves, and beautiful beaches – and is rumored to be a favorite getaway among A-listers.
Just two hours south of Miami lies the Dominican Republic, home to national parks, rivers, beaches, and ancient relics.
While many travelers flock to the idyllic beaches and resorts of Punta Cana or Puerto Plata, there’s more to the Dominican Republic than simply a week at an all-inclusive resort.
Samana Bay plays host to thousands of humpback whales during the winter mating season. Santo Domingo is the capital of the Dominican Republic, and one of the Caribbean’s oldest cities, boasting a walled historic core known as the Zona Colonial, with buildings dating back to the 1500s. Barahona is known as ‘the Caribbean’s Bride’, and many believe the most beautiful beaches and landscapes can be found here, along with an array of outdoor adventures, thanks to its diverse ecosystem.
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Caribbean, and I’d love to chat more about your dream tropical vacation! Feel free to reach out to me here.