When summertime comes around, there’s nothing quite like taking off on a great holiday to a sunny and relaxing island paradise surrounded by crystal clear ocean. The Caribbean is known and loved for exactly this, with over 700 islands to choose from. Choosing even the top 8 Caribbean islands to visit is going to be difficult, but with such great holidays on offer, you’ll surely be visiting again soon enough.
From the favourites like Barbados, The Bahamas, and Puerto Rico, to smaller islands bustling with beauty like Antigua and Barbuda, the Caribbean Islands are all well worth the visit for a myriad of different reasons. We highly recommend taking a trip to several of these islands to get even a taste of the beauty of the Caribbean.
Admittedly, narrowing down over 700 islands to just 8 is an impossible task. Instead of ‘where should I go?’, the biggest question for those looking to travel to the Caribbean soon should be, ‘where should I start?’
1. Puerto Rico
With a beautiful blend of Spanish and American culture, plus the vibrant life and atmosphere of Puerto Rico itself, there’s no doubt Puerto Rico is one of the first Caribbean Islands to visit if you intend to explore. Whether you’re looking to take another trip to the Caribbean in the future or you want a one-stop relaxation trip, we highly recommend it.
Puerto Rico is a great adventure spot, with mountains and friendly culture. It is also fantastic for a classic island getaway, with soft, clear beaches such as the Luquillo beaches and great comfort foods.
It is also home to breathtaking historical sites. From the UNESCO site in San Juan, with towering Baroque churches and El Castillo Fort, to the colonial forts on the coast and vibrant culture that hasn’t faded. To find out more about the perfect spots for you, we recommend checking out the official Discover Puerto Rico page.
From its own maintained character to the easy relaxation that comes from visiting the island of Grenada, there are plenty of splendours to enjoy on this island alone. If you want a taste of some of the beauty of the Caribbean, Grenada is easily one of the top 8 Caribbean islands to visit first.
The capital of Grenada, St Georges, is a perfect hub on this island. It holds its own authentic character while being a convenient and vibrant centre for your holiday to take place in. From the restaurants where you can get a taste of the classic Grenada spice, to the harbour, national museum, and colourful church.
From the centre, you’re close to some stunning natural attractions too. If you’re looking for a relaxing or romantic adventure, the quiet beaches like Grand Anse or the Concord Falls are your spot. If you’re looking to get your heart pumping, there are some fantastic hikes through Etang National Park, and you can even spot some Armadillos and Mona Monkeys. Ocean lovers will be dazzled too with some great diving experiences such as the underwater sculptures and Levera Beach, a remote nesting spot for leatherback turtles.
If you’re looking for a destination that’s mostly untouched and characterised by its own charm, culture, and history, then Cuba is easily one of the top Caribbean islands for you.
Far from the influence of tourism culture, Cuba is filled with colourful architecture and style, holding many influences and inspirations, from the French neoclassical to art deco. Old Havana and Trinidad specifically show off a lot of the eclectic and beautiful aesthetic of Cuba. In these spots, little slices of history are left behind after American import was cut off from Cuba in the 60s.
If the atmosphere isn’t quite enough, Cuba is filled with music and salsa. From the bars to just in the streets, there is an entire character that you will feel in Cuba just walking around and taking in the island.
4. The Dominican Republic
Outside of its great fame for the all-inclusive beach resorts that fill Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic might just be at the top of your top 8 Caribbean islands if you’re looking for active adventure and fun for all the family.
The Dominican Republic is a huge mix of different adventures you can have. Whether you want to lounge by the beach and take the kids to the Ocean World adventure park, you want to explore the lively city of Santo Domingo, see museums and festivals, or maybe you want to go for a thrilling adventure on a jungle trek.
Of course, we can’t forget the array of perfect spots for various water sports and whale watching. Plus, there’s no better way to guarantee a rain-free golfing holiday than to take your sport down to the Dominican Republic for sunny skies all holiday.
5. Antigua and Barbuda
Can you hear the island paradise calling? There’s possibly no place quite like Antigua and Barbuda, a pair of perfect islands with a friendly culture, ocean adventures, and sandy beaches to spare. Antigua and Barbuda may be a small nation, but they are easily two of the top Caribbean islands to visit.
We could easily go on about Antigua and Barbuda all on its own (and actually, we have, if you want to check out our Antigua and Barbuda article of 2021, you can find it on our Travel Advice page). Antigua and Barbuda give you just the relaxing, laid-back holiday that you need. With some beautiful beach-side resorts, calm waters that you can sail and explore, and some great places to eat and drink.
Antigua and Barbuda are the summer chill-out that you’ve been waiting for, the atmosphere is spectacular, and the sun is shining. These islands may be small, but they are bustling with life and culture and friendly faces.
If you’re looking for a slice of classic Caribbean islands holiday adventure, then you won’t want to look any further than Anguilla (but there are so many beautiful islands, maybe just make this one your first stop).
Bright, white beaches, deep teal waters with plenty of shallows to paddle, beach bars decorated in palm trees with rum-filled coconut shells, this is the essential Caribbean getaway that you’re all daydreaming about in the middle of a rainy day.
Rendezvous Bay and Shoal Bay truly set the bar for the idea of Caribbean paradise. We can’t miss out on other great activities, like the chance to dive and visit shipwrecks offshore, and adventures in the water available by the bucketful when you visit Anguilla. If you want to go for a classic, then this is the island you’ll need to visit first.
7. The Bahamas
One of the biggest collections of Caribbean islands, the Bahamas cover all the top spots. From the beaches and crystal clear waters to great land adventures and even greater ocean adventures, The Bahamas aren’t one of the most well-known nations in the Caribbean for no reason.
Island hopping is an adventure that is could easily take up your entire holiday and beyond in The Bahamas. With hundreds of islands to explore, you won’t only get a flavour of the atmosphere, flavour, and beauty of each one you visit, but you can relax in the lull of the waves as you sail from one island to the next and soak up the Caribbean sunshine.
And if you want to take a boat out and go to some top scuba diving spots? Of course, The Bahamas has that too. Not only is it home to one of the world’s biggest barrier reefs, Andros Barrier Reef, but it has one of the largest underwater cave systems in the world too. You’ll be going back for more in no time after you visit once.
And last on this prequel list, but certainly far from least, Barbados is perhaps the most loved and famed Caribbean island on this list, and easily worth a mention for its myriad of splendours to offer.
From the classic white beaches to the lively nightlife, delicious comfort foods, and great adventures all around the island. Hawksbill and Leatherback turtles are one of the many enticing reasons to visit this beautiful island, making it one of their rare nesting spots, this isn’t a sight you’ll see outside the Caribbean.
Of course, we couldn’t just skip the delicious food and rum that is a classic in the Caribbean. If you want to truly indulge when you’re in Barbados, you won’t forget to get a taste of some of the best foods and drinks that the island has on offer. It’s not just delicious rum on this island, but that certainly is a highlight.
So, if you’re looking forward to your next holiday, don’t wait, book now with a travel business registered with PTS for 100% financial protection through trust. Or, if you’d like assistance choosing one of the lovely PTS members to book with, you can contact PTS directly at 0207 190 9988.
And if you’d like to learn more about your financial protection with PTS or how the Package Travel Regulations protect your holiday booking, check out our pages and Travel Advice.