Insider’s Guide to the Top 10 Islands in The Caribbean
Tourists from all parts of the world head to the Caribbean as it has some of the most pristine vacation spots in the world.
The problem for the discerning traveler remains as to how to choose where to go, simply because each and every territory and island nation is stunningly beautiful in its own right. Silvery sand beaches, crystal clear waters and secluded shallow coves make these unspoilt island destinations some of the best in the world.
With a chain of a staggering 7 000 plus islands, it’s natural that only a few of them will be able to meet your demands and fulfil all of your fantasies. This is why some of the popular and also some lesser-known islands are detailed here –which may not offer a totally crowd-free Caribbean getaway, but will definitely take you to a piece of paradise.
You can spend your time island hopping, or lounging on remote beaches and explore the hidden bays with your family and loved ones in some of the most inspiring island destinations in the world, known as the Caribbean.
Apart from the justified famous beaches, the island of Barbados has it all to cater to the need of every type of taste and budget. Not surprisingly, tourism is the main backbone of the economy here, contributing to roughly 50%of the country’s foreign exchange reserves. As a prime tourist hot spot that caters to visitors all year round, what Barbados lacks in size, it easily makes up for in its charm.
The locals are renowned for their friendliness, and are considered to be the best asset of this tiny island nation of roughly 166 square miles. Barbados, in terms of sightseeing is a tourist mecca, and as far as the nightlife is concerned, it is unmissable to say the least.
The largely unspoilt island of Saba is unlike any other destination in the Caribbean. Known as the “Queen of the Caribbean”, the small island has surprisingly been left untouched by the modern world around it. Unlike it’s more famous counterparts, the nightlife in Saba is limited to small restaurants and bars, while accommodation is varied. Even though just a handful of hotels and cottages are available, they are enough to cater to all the demands of the visitor.
Till today, life in Saba is easy going and laid back, where the friendliness of the people reflect the honour and pride they feel for the visitors and their island. So if you are looking for a vacation with a different twist, look no further than Saba.
British Virgin Islands
They say that no matter which part of the British Virgin Islands you happen to be, you will be overwhelmed not only by the friendly locals, but the outdoor activities and stunning beaches that will far exceed your expectations. Each of the four main islands and the 50 or more smaller isles have their own unique character.
Natural splendours like Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Tortola all offer their own special dose of local magic, despite where you decide to drop anchor. For families, thrill seekers, adventure lovers and the cultural minded, the British Virgin Islands beckon visitors like no other.
This French overseas territory is part of an island group in the Caribbean sea, with a shape like a butterfly. Guadeloupe is actually a formation of two islands separated by the River Salee. While Grande Terre on the eastern side has resorts and beaches, the western island Basse Terre is vividly different. With waterfalls, a rain forest and a dormant volcano, it is also the capital city of Guadeloupe.
Moving around the islands has been made rather easy, mainly because of the excellent network of roads available. It’s easy to move around in a car, accessing the many hiking and nature trails that are there to allow visitors to discover the true insights of the Caribbean.
The eternally sunny isle of Aruba is said to be the best Caribbean island for many reasons. First of all this 19.6 mile piece of land is just 15 miles from the Venezuela coast. Secondly the resorts, hotels and vacation rentals here are in a class of their own. Having the most sunny days of any island in the Caribbean, Aruba is also home to the famous Eagle Beach, considered to be one of the ten best in the world.
In addition to providing the best beach vacation, Aruba is the top wreck diving destination of the Caribbean. If that is not enough, the cuisine on offer here is a blend of 90 different nationalities. Aruba is also home to the Arikok National Park, which again happens to be the largest in the Caribbean.
Antigua, meaning ‘ancient’, in Spanish, was a former British colony situated in the eastern Caribbean. The island boasts some of the most ravishingly beautiful beaches that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. The colorful capital St. John is a premier cruise ship destination, with museums, shopping and historical buildings being the top draw.
In Antigua they say that life’s a beach, with one set aside for everyday of the year. In spite of the ever present English flair, Antigua is quintessentially Caribbean, filled with colorful villages where bright eyed natives are always there to great you with a wide smile.
Also called the spice isle, the hilly island of Grenada has numerous nutmeg plantations from where it got its other name. The amalgamation of untouched beauty, friendly people and the simple way of life, makes a Grenada vacation a pure and authentic experience.
In a place largely undiscovered by the tourists, this enchanting island boasts of beautiful landscapes and long stretches of white sandy beaches where visitors hunt for sunken treasures amidst colorful corals. So if you want an unforgettable journey, head to Grenada, Petite Martinique and Carriacou.
Located in the northern region of the West Indies, Nevis lies adjacent to St. Kitts, a quick 10 minute water taxi drive away. Despite its scenic beauty, the Government, till today, has preferred to keep this tiny piece of paradise off the radar of mass tourism. The locals love their island and prefer to keep it that way, in spite of the opening of a few good hotels which have now just about put Nevis on the tourist map.
The sublime beauty of Nevis is encircled in a mere 36 square miles of area, with the conical volcano of Nevis Peak visible from all parts of the island. The mile long nature forest trail aptly showcases how the residents value their flora.
Considered by some as the most perfect island in the Caribbean, this hilly and verdant place is home to one of the best protected harbors, and is the most beautiful in the whole of Windies. The capital Port Elizabeth is a village like collection of colorful wooden buildings. The Belmont Walkway is a pretty road along the waterside, running past a host of restaurants and bars.
The Princess Margaret beach, a secluded but glorious 500m stretch of golden sands surrounded by almond and cedar trees and just a single bar. Excursions by boat to a nearby deserted island offer opportunities for top class snorkeling and full day picnics.
This largest of the Cayman Islands, the Grand Cayman has everything a traveler may yearn for. Situated roughly 90 miles off the Cuban coast, the island is the most visited and popular of the whole area. Georgetown, the capital, is an important cruise ship destination, attracting visitors especially for the excellent scuba diving spots on offer.
This British overseas territory has long since been seen as a safe banking haven, apart from the stunning natural beauty which is present in every possible area of the island. The underground caverns system known as Crystal Caves is an intriguing piece of geography on the lesser developed northern coast.
The Bahamas are located northeast of Florida in the North Atlantic Ocean, but are still considered as being part of the Caribbean. This mostly uninhabited collection of nearly 700 coral reef islands are referred to in Spanish as “shallow water”. Though the Bahamas constitute of hundreds of islands, tourists are only attracted to a handful.
The capital, Nassau, is home to the world famous Atlantis resort, while the Grand Bahama is well known for its amazing underground water cave system. The year round 80 degree temperature is just perfect for island hopping and enjoying sips of local rum on the beach. For the discerning visitor, there are art galleries, museums, casinos and much more.
All of the Caribbean islands are bursting at the seams with activity, though some may be more active than others. This massive archipelago of the Caribbean Sea consists of 13 sovereign states and 17 dependent territories. The islands described here have their own advantage over others, mostly based on their accessibility, activities on offer and cost of accommodation.
Travel tip shared by Jo