Beaches

21 Hottest Caribbean Escapes: Why We Love the Island Life

Filed Under: Caribbean, Jamaica, Resorts

Nothing says vacation like crystalline blue waters, white-sand beaches and luxurious indulgence. That's why we're counting down the 21 best destinations in the Caribbean, where vacation is a lifestyle.

21. The Caves Resort
Negril, Jamaica
Kicking off the countdown is Jamaica's The Caves Resort. Poised on the limestone cliffs of Negril, The Caves is owned by famed music producer, Chris Blackwell. An oceanfront sanctuary featuring 11 exclusive cliffside accommodations, 2 main dining gazebos, private cave-dining and the sexy Cave Rum and Cigar Bar, The Caves is classic Caribbean luxury and the perfect romantic getaway.

20. Stanford Antigua Sailing Week
Antigua, The West Indies
To pack a little action into your Caribbean vacation, head to the annual Stanford Antigua sailing week. Participants from all over the globe flock to Antigua each year hoping to win what is now considered one of the premier sailing regattas in the world. The excitement of the race combined with the hospitality and beauty of Antigua make for a vacation you'll never forget.

19. Stuart Cove's
Nassau, The Bahamas
Dive underwater to experience the amazing visibility of the Bahamas' pristine waters. Stuart Cove's offers a unique way to experience undersea life. Climb into your personal undersea bubble: a seahorse-shaped submarine that propels you to a depth of up to 15 feet. No snorkeling or scuba experience is required, and you'll love exploring the coral reef in your own personal submarine.

18. Cap Juluca
Anguilla
Cap Juluca is only minutes from St. Maarten by air or boat, yet it feels completely insulated from the outside world. A self-contained enclave along 2 miles of the most pristine beaches in the world, the resort is a romantic paradise featuring 18 Moorish villas, 5-star restaurants and beautifully landscaped tropical gardens. The very definition of luxury, all the villas have direct beach access, and the spa services are guaranteed to melt all your worries away.

17. The Landings
St. Lucia
Open since December 19, 2007, The Landings has quickly become an idyllic vacation destination. The resort offers lavish 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom villas along St. Lucia's most gorgeous bay. The 7,000-square-foot RockResorts Spa, fitness gallery and Beach Club Restaurant all offer first-rate service to the hotel's guests. Elegant touches such as the personal pantry make The Landings stand out among other hotels; let the hotel know ahead of time what favorite groceries you want in your room, and your pantry will be stocked before you even check in.

16. Grace Bay Club
Provo, Turks and Caicos
Located on 11 acres of immaculate beachfront, the Grace Bay Club was Turks and Caicos' first luxury all-suite hotel. The hotel is divided into two sections: the adults-only hotel and a family-friendly villa resort. Each provides private swimming pools and dining experiences to meet your travel desires. New features to the hotel include the Caribbean's longest bar, luxury Anani spa tents, 100 new chic day beds, a kids' tree house and the Anacaona restaurant.

15. Nassau, The Bahamas
Visibility in the water off Nassau in The Bahamas can reach up to 100 feet -- and that's why it's home to the world's best diving. Explore the Blue Hole, a natural hole 100-feet across and 200-feet deep full of large schools of fish. Trinity and Piece of Cake caves both have openings large enough to swim through and are home to some large lobsters. There are also countless shipwrecks that have occurred along the reefs surrounding the islands of the Bahamas that make for some very exciting underwater adventures.

14. The Sandy Lane Resort
Barbados
From the moment it first opened its doors in 1961, The Sandy Lane Resort has been the preferred resort for royalty, celebrities and other members of the elite. A treasured hideaway for the world's most discerning travelers, the resort combines classic elegance with lavish state-of-the art amenities. Famous for its tranquility, the resort also boasts 45 holes of golf spread out over 3 epic courses designed by Jim Fazio.

13. Rick's Cafe
Negril, Jamaica
Located on Negril's beautiful West End Cliffs, Rick's Cafe was the first public bar and restaurant of its kind to offer unrivaled views of the sunset from the naturally formed cliffs. The head chef, Phillip "Sheddy" Williams, has been in the kitchen for more than 15 years serving the first-rate menu. The cafe sits over one of West End Cliff's most incredible coves and many have jumped or dived from platforms as high as 35 feet into the crystalline water below.

12. Pink Sands Resort
Harbour Island, The Bahamas
A 20-acre haven set on the famous 3-mile pink sand beach, the Pink Sands Resort offers 25 cottages scattered throughout lush tropical grounds. The romantic resort offers a freshwater swimming pool, 3 tennis courts, an exercise studio and in-room massages.

11. La Concha Resort
San Juan, Puerto Rico
For a Caribbean escape that doesn't require a passport, head to La Concha Resort in San Juan. Originally built in 1958, the resort recently underwent a $100-million facelift. By day, it's all about the beach and the multilevel infinity pools; by night there are 5 restaurants and bars to fit your every mood.

10. High Seas Private Excursions
The Bahamas
If you're looking to create your own oceanic adventure vacation, then look no further than High Seas, Bahamas. You and your friends can choose what boat you'd like to be on, where you'd like to explore and how long you want to be at sea. Private beaches and exclusive snorkeling sites are part of the company's promise to show you the real Bahamas.

9. Silver Sands Resort
Christ Church, Barbados
Silver Sands Resort may sit on 12 beautifully landscaped placid acres, but its status as the windsurfing capital of Barbados is the real draw. The Club Mistral windsurfing station is open between November and June, but novices need not apply; a skill rating between 5 and 6 is required to windsurf and kitesurf the waters off Silver Sands.

8. Raffles Resort
Canouan Island, The Grenadines
Canouan Island is located in the heart of The Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean. Raffles Resort occupies 300 acres of tropical paradise boasting 3 secluded white-sand beaches. The horseshoe-shaped resort surrounds the bay and each of the 156 1- and 2-story villas offer gorgeous views. Trump Club Privee, a European-style casino, La Varenne restaurant and the Trump International Golf Course are just a few of the amenities Raffles offers vacationing guests.

7. Trinidad and Tobago
The islands of Trinidad and Tobago are the birthplace of steelpan and home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The islands are rich in biodiversity with more than 430 bird species, 108 mammals and 55 reptiles. Many who visit Trinidad head for Riviere Beach, the premier site for nesting turtles. Leatherback turtles nest between March and September and the beach's popularity is due to local conservation efforts. Riviere Beach is a great place to inject a little education into your island vacation.

6. The Four Seasons
Nevis, West Indies
Nevis, located in the tropical Leeward Islands, offers visitors near-perfect weather and beaches. The Four Seasons resort offers exclusive villas and estate homes, an award-winning spa and some of the world's most scenic golf courses. The canopy cover of palm trees stands uninterrupted, as the local government does not allow buildings taller than two stories.

5. Peter Island Resort
Peter Island, British Virgin Islands
Peter Island Resort is a private island paradise exuding relaxation and tranquility. The resort has more staff members than guests, offering an unparalleled level of service. Whether your heart's desire is to swing in a hammock, sail, scuba dive or hike, Peter Island promises you an island experience unlike any other in the Caribbean.

4. The Underwater Sculpture Garden
Grenada
For a truly one-of-a-kind vacation experience, visit the Underwater Sculpture Garden off the coast of Grenada in Moilinere Bay. The bay is now home to 65 sculptures, which are not only stunning to view, but create artificial reefs for marine life. The sculptures lie in clear shallow waters easily visible to snorkelers and glass-bottomed boats.

3. Tom Beach Hotel
St. Barts
Located on St. Jean Beach on St. Barts, the Tom Beach Hotel is the perfect combination of intimacy and luxury. The small hotel offers only 12 rooms, decorated in Caribbean colors with private terraces or patios. Two suites feature a terrace directly on the beach. On an island synonymous with celebrity getaways, the Tom Beach Hotel is the perfect place for chic relaxation.

2. CLOSED: Nikki Beach Hotel
Provo, Turks and Caicos

Nikki Beach Hotel closed in 2009.

1. Jade Mountain
St. Lucia
Jade Mountain is an eco-luxury resort facing St. Lucia's Twin Piton Mountains. The resort sits on over 400 acres full of biking and hiking trails, not to mention the scuba-diving available at the marine park. Guests here are at one with nature -- because there are only 3 walls to every room at the resort. There are no phones, televisions or radios in any of the rooms. It truly is a sanctuary rather than a hotel.

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