The Caribbean is blessed with warm waters, sunny weather, and a tropical climate, and each of the many islands has something to offer visitors. From the ancient forts and city of Santo Domingo to the world-class resorts in Aruba to the volcanic craters and hiking trails of the island of Dominica, the Caribbean has something to offer everyone. Hours/availability may have changed.
BEST TIME TO VISIT CARIBBEAN:
The Caribbean islands enjoy a hot, tropical climate all year round with average highs of about 28°C (82°F). Although there are variations across the region, the best time to visit the Caribbean is during its driest months which are usually from February to May, while July to November is the wettest period.
However, when the rain comes, it’s usually in brief, heavy showers and the average hours of sunshine are fairly consistent throughout the year. June to November is the official hurricane season, and there can also be tropical storms at this time of year.
BEST DESTINATIONS TO EXPLORE CARIBBEAN:
1. British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands are hands-down one of the best places to visit in the Caribbean. For starters, there are 60 islands that make up the BVI, so there is no shortage of places to explore, reefs to dive, and white-sand beaches to sink your toes into while on vacation.
The British Virgin Islands has a mix of tourists and enough activities and lodging to accommodate high-end luxury, all-inclusive preferences, and more rustic experiences.
2. U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands are top places to visit in the Caribbean because travel to them is easy, especially from the United States. The U.S. Virgin islands consist of St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix. It is easy to island-hop between the three for day trips.
St. Croix is the largest of the islands and attracts honeymooners and scuba divers to its waters. The island is only 22 miles long, with two cities and a nice cultural scene with artisans and architecture.
3. St. Lucia
The tropical paradise of St. Lucia is one of the top honeymoon destinations in the Caribbean, and it is easy to see why. It has many posh resorts and is equally as relaxing as it is fuel for adrenaline junkies. The clean beaches are where most vacationers spend a majority of their time. Anse Des Sables Beach and Plantation Beach are two of the popular ones.
4. Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is the second-largest Caribbean country and one of the most popular for vacationers and honeymooners. It is easy to get to the Dominican Republic, which is one of the reasons it is one of the best places to visit in the Caribbean. It is a two-hour flight from Miami and an eight-hour trip from most cities in Europe.
If the beach is your focus, you have 250 miles of beautiful beaches to choose from on the island.
5. The Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands are top islands to visit for those looking for epic diving experiences in the Caribbean. The island chain is made up of Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac. Grand Cayman is the most popular island for vacationers, and it has a number of popular dive sites, like the Kittiwake Shipwreck and artificial reef.
MUST SEE ATTRACTIONS OF CARIBBEAN:
Necrópolis Cristóbal Colón
Havana’s main cemetery (a national monument), one of the largest in the Americas, is renowned for its striking religious iconography and elaborate marble statues. Far from being eerie, a walk through these 57 hallowed hectares can be an educational and emotional stroll through the annals of Cuban history. A map (CUC$1) showing the graves of assorted artists, sportspeople, politicians, writers, scientists and revolutionaries is for sale at the entrance.
Cabezas de San Juan Reserva Natural
A nodule of land on Puerto Rico’s northeast tip, this Para La Naturaleza–run reserve protects the Laguna Grande bioluminescent bay, rare flora and fauna, mangroves, and lush rainforest, and is home to an important scientific research center. At the time of research, the reserve was closed due to post-hurricane repairs and maintenance, with no reopening date scheduled. There are no tours of the reserve or its lighthouse, but you can volunteer to help with tree nursery maintenance.
The incomparable Capitolio Nacional is Havana’s most ambitious and grandiose building, constructed after the post-WWI boom (‘Dance of the Millions’) gifted the Cuban government a seemingly bottomless vault of sugar money. Similar to the Capitol in Washington, DC, but actually modeled on the Panthéon in Paris, the building was initiated by Cuba’s US-backed dictator Gerardo Machado in 1926 and took 5000 workers three years, two months, and 20 days to construct, at a cost of US$17 million.
Where does art go after Antoni Gaudí? For a hint, head west from central Havana to the seemingly low-key district of Jaimanitas, where artist José Fuster has turned his home neighborhood into a masterpiece of intricate tilework and kaleidoscopic colors – a street-art wonderland that makes Barcelona’s Park Güell look positively sedate. Imagine maximal-impact Gaudí relocated to a tropical setting.
Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca del Morro
A Unesco World Heritage site since 1997, the San Pedro fort sits impregnably atop a 60m-high promontory at the entrance to Santiago harbor, 10km southwest of the city. The stupendous views from the upper terrace take in the wild western ribbon of Santiago’s coastline backed by the velvety Sierra Maestra.