The Top 10 Caribbean Islands and Reasons to See Them All

Millions of people visit the Caribbean islands every year, each person, for their reasons. Islands like Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands offer Americans gorgeous beaches without needing a passport and other locales like Turks and Caicos and the Cayman Islands have attractive snorkeling and diving opportunities.

Still, others relocate to the Caribbean permanently, attracted to the affordable real estate and relaxed lifestyle the Caribbean’s many islands offer.

If you’re heading to the Caribbean, the top Caribbean islands below are great locations for whatever reason the Caribbean is pulling at you to stop by.

Visiting the Caribbean

While it’s true that every Caribbean island offers amazing experiences and culture, some are better suited for certain activities than others. Here are the most popular reasons tourists visit the Caribbean, and the best islands to give a try.

For a place to be alone with the one you love

Best Romantic Island Getaways

Sailrock Resort, South Caicos

There is something for those who want to escape it all in luxury and for the couples who prefer losing themselves together in the local culture. One thing is sure, when your vacation is about romance, the Caribbean offers the best romantic island getaways in the world.

Turks and Caicos is known for its relaxing beach vacations, but when you head away from the crowds and book a room at one of the secluded resorts on South Caicos or even a private island, couples will find luxury on an entirely new level.

St. Lucia is for love birds who can’t help but want a little bit of it all. It’s a great place to take a hike, view spectacular scenery atop a volcanic peak or kick back and be away from the world. There’s even the popular Jade Mountain Resort, an adult-only destination where you won’t have to lift a finger if you don’t want to.

Top 10 Caribbean islands for couples:

  1. Turks and Caicos
  2. St. Lucia
  3. Jamaica
  4. The Bahamas
  5. St. Barts
  6. Grenada
  7. Dominican Republic
  8. Aruba
  9. Antigua
  10. Barbados

For beauty unlike anything you’ve seen

Most Beautiful Caribbean Islands

Sailrock Peninsula, South Caicos

From St. Lucia’s iconic pitons to the Cayman Islands’ magnificent Seven Mile Beach, trying to figure out the most beautiful Caribbean island is the best kind of problem.

Everyone knows that Turks and Caicos has some of the most extraordinary turquoise water on the earth. Combine that with the brilliant, white sand beaches that stretch for miles and it’s easy to see why its beauty continually captures the world.

Jamaica, usually an entryway to the Caribbean for most, has unreal lush natural beauty, boasting misty mountain hiking trails, waterfalls, and hidden lagoons to view.

Aruba’s hidden gem is Arikok National Park, a landscape worth exploring after leaving the beautiful beaches behind.

In Puerto Rico, San Juan has some of the best-preserved Spanish Colonial architecture, but the islands of Culebra and Vieques offer less densely packed stretches of fantastic water and land.

Top 10 Caribbean islands for natural beauty:

  1. Turks and Caicos
  2. Jamaica
  3. St. Lucia
  4. Anguilla
  5. The British Virgin Islands
  6. Puerto Rico
  7. Saba
  8. Aruba
  9. Cuba
  10. Cayman Islands

For underwater adventure

Types of Caribbean Fish

Fish in South Caicos

A vacation to the Caribbean isn’t a true vacation until you dive into the Caribbean Sea’s beautiful sapphire waters, teeming with life. People from all over the world come to get wet and discover the underwater world.

Belize is famous for its scuba diving, visit the Blue Hole if you are truly courageous, but no matter where you are in the water, you will get plenty of time with rays and sharks. You’ll be surprised at how friendly they are!

In Turks and Caicos, for up close and personal encounters, unspoiled by tourists, head to South Caicos. Here you can get affordable luxury beachfront villas and resorts right on the best shores for snorkeling. Snorkelers will see common types of Caribbean fish like eagle rays, angelfish, and even gray reef sharks.

Bonaire, a small Dutch Caribbean island, has limitless water adventures, from word-class snorkeling and diving to windsurfing.

Top 10 Caribbean islands for water activities:

  1. Roatan
  2. Turks and Caicos
  3. Belize
  4. Cayman Islands
  5. Jamaica
  6. Dominica
  7. Dominican Republic
  8. Aruba
  9. Puerto Rico
  10. Bonaire

For amazing cuisine that will delight the senses

Best Caribbean Food

Cove Restaurant and Beach Bar, Sailrock Resort

At this point, it’s fair to say that everyone is a foodie! Well, there’s no better place to discover delicious food than in a region known for its ever-evolving culinary culture.

Anguilla has some of the most delicious cuisines, often being crowned as the Caribbean’s culinary capital. It has some of the most exciting emerging chefs who focus on fresh local seafood. Martinique is known for its French Creole dishes that seamlessly blend Haute and provincial dining; the curry stew is a can’t miss item.

This list rounds out with the U.S. Virgin Islands, offering innovative dining concepts, like sea-to-plate, and tout an interesting array of American and international dishes. St. Croix is especially worth visiting for the St. Croix Food and Wine Experience, one of the best Caribbean food festivals, which takes place annually.

Top 10 Caribbean islands for foodies:

  1. Barbados
  2. Jamaica
  3. St. Barts
  4. Anguilla
  5. Turks and Caicos
  6. Martinique
  7. U.S. Virgin Islands
  8. St. Maarten
  9. St. Lucia
  10. U.S. Virgin Islands

For the best rum cocktails in the world

Best Caribbean Rum Drinks

Rum Drinks at Sailrock Beachfront Villa

The spirit of choice in the Caribbean is rum. In fact, just about every island has a distinct style when it comes to making rum, which explains why rum can sometimes give people a different experience than they expect.

The Bahamas has given the world the Bahama Mama, a rum cocktail thought to have been introduced during Prohibition. Puerto Rico and Cuba are great islands to experience some of the best Pina Coladas, and Cuba, of course, makes the Mojito and Daiquiri.

Heavy hitters like Barbados and Jamaica have perfected rum punch and its variations, but Turks and Caicos has a rum punch that looks great and is served at one of the best beach bars in the region, Da Conch Shak.

To experience the best Caribbean rum drinks, you’ll have to try each island’s unique concoctions right there along with the locals.

Top 10 Caribbean islands for rum drinkers:

  1. Barbados
  2. The Bahamas
  3. Jamaica
  4. Puerto Rico
  5. The British Virgin Islands
  6. Bermuda
  7. Martinique
  8. Cuba
  9. Turks and Caicos
  10. U.S. Virgin Islands

Calling the Caribbean home to live your best life

Best Caribbean Islands

Secluded South Caicos Beach

After traveling around the world, many people decide to put roots down in the Caribbean. Admittedly, stunning natural beauty, affordable Caribbean real estate, laid-back culture, and lower cost of living are pretty great reasons to relocate.

Settling down somewhere new requires something different for everyone, but when looking for the best Caribbean island to live, these islands can make the transition into island life much easier.

Grand Cayman is for those who want interesting culture, tons of activities, and lots of opportunities. Turks and Caicos has an established community of ex-pats in Providenciales, meaning it is easy to make friends fast. South Caicos, 40 square miles southeast of Providenciales, gives you the chance to have amazing real estate while being close to bustling nightlife.

For an active lifestyle full of modern amenities, Aruba is the place to go. It has an energetic art scene and a growing tech sector, being described as a Dutch twist on California. Dominica is known for its integration of nature into their lifestyles and healthy living, with a remarkable number of citizens reaching their 100th birthday.

Top 10 Caribbean islands to live and work:

  1. Cayman Islands
  2. Turks and Caicos
  3. Aruba
  4. Dominica
  5. St. Barts
  6. U.S. Virgin Islands
  7. Curacao
  8. Bonaire
  9. Antigua
  10. Barbados

Calling the Caribbean home to start a family

Safest Island in the Caribbean

Cockburn Harbour, South Caicos

The Caribbean islands are generally very safe for ex-pats and tourists, but high-profile incidents and recent world changes can leave travelers wondering how safe they are, especially when you want to make a new place home with children. Luckily, the safest islands in the Caribbean also happen to be some of the most gorgeous.

Barbados has some of the friendliest people and it’s generally considered one of the best islands for families due to its family-oriented activities and a large amount of tourism. Playgrounds for the rich and famous like the Cayman Islands and St. Barts have very low rates of crime and make for good choices to ease into Caribbean life with no anxiety.

Supremely popular with families, Turks and Caicos has fewer hurricanes, lower amounts of rainfall, and year-round warm climate. For delightful family life full of safety, Middle and South Caicos are wonderful locations, with South Caicos offering life with lots of space and only about 1,000 residents.

Top 10 Safest Caribbean Islands:

  1. Montserrat
  2. Barbados
  3. Turks and Caicos
  4. Bonaire
  5. Aruba
  6. St. Barts
  7. Martinique
  8. Cayman Islands
  9. Antigua
  10. The British Virgin Islands

Retiring to the Caribbean

Best Caribbean Island to Retire

Lunch at the Cove Restaurant and Beach Bar

Once you get over the well-worn belief that the Caribbean’s white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters are only for the young and uber-wealthy, you quickly realize the best Caribbean island to retire on is waiting for you in the Caribbean, where you can live a peaceful, sun-soaked life.

In Puerto Rico, retirees are exempt from taxes on interest, dividends, and capital gains and, if you speak Spanish or have always wanted to learn, you’ll feel right at home. Turks and Caicos is a surprise if you’re looking at the main island of Provo, but retirees can enjoy North, Middle, and South Caicos undisturbed with incredible views and lots of Turks and Caicos real estate opportunities with no property taxes.

The Dutch island of Bonaire appeals to retirees because of its top-notch healthcare and Curacao, another Dutch island, draws retirees in for the variety of lifestyles it offers.

Top 10 Caribbean islands for retirees:

  1. Puerto Rico
  2. Turks and Caicos
  3. The Bahamas
  4. Curacao
  5. Nevis
  6. Grenada
  7. Belize
  8. Bonaire
  9. Anguilla
  10. Dominican Republic

Having a dream home in the Caribbean

Best Caribbean Villas

Sailrock Living Peninsula Villa

With a huge selection of beach homes, there’s nothing like having a Caribbean villa. The best Caribbean villas have modern conveniences that you are accustomed to having in your home right now. You can decide to be completely self-sufficient or enjoy being pampered by a private chef, but either way, it’s a hard lifestyle to ever leave.

Grace Bay Beach in Turks and Caicos has amazing villas with stunning views, but for a quieter existence, Sailrock villas in South Caicos offer the best value for your money, with its recent development, upscale luxury, eco-friendly living, and investment opportunities.

Barbados and Jamaica have huge selections of villas in all shapes and sizes, with some tucked away in mansions as well as smaller boutique accommodations. St. Martin’s laid-back French side has terrific villas to live in with a range of prices that suit many different kinds of residents.

Top 10 Caribbean islands for affordable luxury:

  1. Turks and Caicos
  2. Cayman Islands
  3. St. Barts
  4. Barbados
  5. Aruba
  6. Jamaica
  7. Dominican Republic
  8. St. Martin
  9. St. John
  10. Anguilla

Moving to the Caribbean to live like royalty

Buying a Private Island

Sailrock Peninsula, South Caicos

What can be better than living life on your dream Caribbean island in a villa? Living on a remote private island where everything is designed to make your life easier. If you want more isolation, then you need to look for real estate on private islands for sale.

Belize has a vast amount of private islands where you can rent a property or buy the entire island and start developing the home you’ve always wanted. The same is true of the British Virgin Islands and especially the Bahamas where you can buy vacant islands or one that is completely developed.

Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos offers incredible villas and Sailrock, in South Caicos, offers some of the finest Caribbean living on a private peninsula. St. Vincent and the Grenadines offers stellar private island living that is still pretty much undiscovered, as of now.

Top 10 Caribbean islands to have it all:

  1. Belize
  2. The Bahamas
  3. Turks and Caicos
  4. The Grenadines
  5. The British Virgin Islands
  6. Grenada
  7. Antigua
  8. U.S. Virgin Islands
  9. Antigua
  10. Aruba

Top 10 Caribbean Islands

South Caicos

South Caicos

Whether it’s a quick vacation to recharge or you want to call a Caribbean island “home”, these are the best islands in the Caribbean to do either.

  1. Turks and Caicos
  2. Antigua
  3. The Bahamas
  4. Barbados
  5. Cayman Islands
  6. Jamaica
  7. The British Virgin Islands
  8. Curacao
  9. Anguilla
  10. St. Lucia

Conclusion

With so many ways to accommodate travelers of all kinds, the top 10 Caribbean islands are waiting for you.

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