Need a dose of sunshine and lazy beach days? Plan a getaway to these popular Caribbean islands.
Roatan, the largest of Honduras’s Bay islands, is located near the second largest barrier reef in the world. With its prime location, Roatan is known as one of the world’s best scuba diving spots. Often called the Caribbean’s “best-kept secret,” Roatan’s tourism has increased in recent years, attracting more than just divers. The laid-back culture and uncrowded beaches make Roatan an appealing alternative to other Caribbean islands.
Off the north coast of Venezuela lies Aruba, a popular island getaway with reliably sunny days. Outside of the hurricane belt, this Dutch island promises tourists plenty of beach days with its dry climate. Upscale restaurants and lively nightlife offer visitors plenty of options after a day of soaking up the sunshine.
This cluster of islands may not technically be part of the Caribbean but they sure feel like it. Bermuda is often dubbed the “Jewel of the Atlantic,” and rivals its neighbors in the West Indies as the perfect tropical island getaway. With pink-sand beaches, temperate weather and a unique fusion of British and African heritage, this is a place you’ll want to get lost in.
A diver’s dream destination, the Cayman Islands offer world-class scuba diving and plenty of outdoor adventures for the active traveler. Hike through the 200-year-old Mastic Trail, swim in Stingray City or walk along the stunning Seven Mile Beach.
Looking for a beach hideaway? Look no further than Turks and Caicos. Consisting of 40 islands and cays, 8 of which are inhabited, Turks and Caicos boast some of the most pristine beaches in the world. Lose yourself here in the turquoise waters and secluded white-sand beaches.
Only 31 square miles, St. Thomas is considered the most cosmopolitan of the US Virgin Islands. Escape the island’s bustle and head to Magens Bay, hailed by <i>National Geographic</i> as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
A short 30-minute flight from Miami, the Bahamas’ proximity to mainland US makes it a convenient beach escape. Consisting of 700 islands in the Atlantic, the Bahamas provide much more to explore than just Nassau, the capital city that’s a popular cruise port. If you want to get away from the high-rise hotels and bustling crowds, head to the Bahamas’ Out Islands for secluded beaches and natural wonders.
Offering more than just beautiful beaches, the Dominican Republic’s diverse landscape includes 3 large mountain ranges, including the2-mile-high peak of Antilles. A former Spanish colony, the Dominican Republic has a rich Latin culture as well as strong ties to America’s national pastime, baseball. More major league players hail from the Dominican Republic than any other country.
The coral island of Barbados attracts tourists from around the world with its unique natural beauty. Coral reefs line the coast, offering incredible snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. Visitors should also be sure to catch a meal that includes the national dish -- flying fish.
A US territory, Puerto Rico doesn’t require you pack a passport to visit its shores. With over 270 white-sand beaches, the Caribbean island begs to be explored. You’ll have the beach to yourself in Vieques, Puerto Rico’s “secret island.” This national wildlife refuge is just a 30-minute flight (or a short ferry ride) from San Juan.
Jamaica is known for its strong African history more than any other Caribbean island. The island nation celebrates its vibrant culture through strong reggae beats and memorable jerk dishes. And don’t miss a chance to explore the island’s diverse landscape of mountains and rainforests.