Also known as the West Indies, the Caribbean consists of over 7,000 islands less than 2% of which are inhabited. For anyone looking to escape the daily grind there is almost no place better to go. With incredibly diverse cultures, picturesque scenery, and a perfect climate all year round, these are the 25 most breathtaking Caribbean getaways.
This island is so small that it only has one road, aptly called “The Road”, and with barely 1,800 residents, Saba’s population only reaches 2,000 when classes are in session at SABA University School of Medicine. Of note, it is often listed as one of the 10 best scuba diving locations in the world.
Christopher Columbus named the island after the day on which he first spotted it (Dominica means Sunday in Latin). Since then, however, it has been nicknamed the “nature island of the Caribbean”, due to its unspoiled beauty. Although in the past the volcanic and mountainous nature of the island discouraged tourism to some extent, modern docking facilities in the capital have led to an increase in tourists coming from cruise ships.
Home to what St. Lucians claim is the world’s only drive-through volcano, the island is mountainous even by Caribbean standards. Although most tourists coming to island stay near their cruise ships in Castries, the capital, it is well worth it to go do some exploring.
Composed of over 3,000 islands the Bahamas has one of the higher GDP’s in the America’s (behind the United States, Canada, and several other islands) and it is supported almost entirely by the cruise industry.
Occupying one of only two Caribbean islands that are shared by more than one country, the Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean nation after Cuba with around 10 million people. Combining a vibrant culture with diverse geography, ecotourism has been on the rise in recent years.
Being the third most populous english speaking country in the America’s after the United States and Canada, Jamaica has left its mark on the world with its record breaking athletes and influential music culture. In spite of a high crime rate, the islands popularity has led to tourism still being a significant part of the economy.
As one of the eastern most islands in the Caribbean, Barbados is located outside of the typical hurricane strike zone and only gets hit on average once every 26 years. Although tourism is a huge part of its economy, Barbados has the third largest stock exchange in the Caribbean and its finance sector is well developed.
As one of the smallest islands in the world that is divided by two nations, St. Martin is half French – half Dutch. English, however, remains the lingua franca of the region. The Dutch side is known for its festive night life and casinos while the French side is notorious for its beaches and shopping.
This popular tax haven (it has no form of direct taxation) is a British overseas territory lying just east of Puerto Rico. It is widely known for its cuisine and jazz festivals with many hotels requiring reservations months in advance. They say the only thing that could ruin your stay here would be a hurricane. Plan your trips accordingly.
One of several twin island nations on our list, Antigua and Barbuda has been nicknamed the “land of 365 beaches” for obvious reasons. Tourism accounts for over half of its GDP with banking and finance composing a good portion of the rest.
Known as a popular destination for sailing enthusiasts, the British Virgin Islands are (who would have guessed) a British overseas territory. Although in the past there have been some problems with drug traffickers using the islands as a gateway into the United States, it is still an amazing place to visit, especially the Baths of Virgin Gorda.
This volcanic chain of islands has an economy that depends solely on one crop – bananas. With an unemployment rate hovering around 20% the government is trying to establish tourism as a more dominant industry by building more infrastructure which would include an international airport. The efforts seem to be working, especially with the recent filming of Pirates of the Caribbean on the islands.
As an unincorporated territory of the United States there has always been some debate concerning the future of Puerto Rico. With politics aside, however, it has one of the strongest economies in the Caribbean and a fairly large tourism industry based primarily around cruises.
Often considered one of the largest offshore financial centers in the world, the Cayman Islands has more registered businesses than people and it should be no surprise that it has one of the highest standards of living on Earth. It also has numerous tourist attractions including several shipwrecks and the popular Seven Mile Beach.
With a combined land area roughly the size of Washington D.C., the US Virgin Islands are small. They have very popular beaches, however, and are often the destination of choice for cruise ships. Here’s a small piece of trivia for you – each island has its own nickname given to it by the locals. St. Croix is “Twin City”, St. Thomas is “Rock City”, and St. John is “Love City”.