With amazing culture, beaches, activities and weather – not to mention the rum – the Caribbean is a joyous riot of islands offering the ultimate escape.
One Region, 7000 Islands
Rocked by music, rolled by change, lapped by turquoise water, blown by hurricanes – the Caribbean is not a place anyone could call static. It’s a lively and intoxicating profusion of people and places spread over 7000 islands (fewer than 10% are inhabited). But, for all they share, there’s also much that makes them different. Forming a huge swath around the Caribbean Sea, the namesake islands contradict in ways big and small. Can there be a greater contrast than between socialist Cuba and its neighbor, the bank-packed Cayman Islands? Or between booming British-oriented St Kitts and its sleepy, Dutch-affiliated neighbor Sint Eustatius, just across a narrow channel?
Travel long enough in this region and you’ll soon discover there is no typical Caribbean.
Every Color Everywhere
Azure seas, white beaches, green forests so vivid they actually hurt the eyes – there is nothing subtle about the bold colors of the Caribbean. Swim below the waters for a color chart of darting fish and corals. Wander along the sand and stop at the paint-factory explosion that is a beach bar, from the garish decor to the rum punch in your glass. Hike into emerald wilderness and spot the accents of red orchids and yellow parrots.
Even the food is colorful, with rainbows of produce brightening up the local markets. You’ll also see every color but dull at intense, costume-filled festivities like Carnival, celebrated throughout the region.
And all this color is infectious. Like birds shedding dull adolescent plumage, visitors leave their wardrobes of gray and black behind when they step off the plane and don the Caribbean palette.
Your Kind of Trip
No matter what you’re looking for in an island adventure, you’ll find it here. Zero in on one perfect place or mix and match from a banquet of islands.
With so many islands, beaches, cultures, flavors and waves to choose from you are bound to have a fabulous time. Doing nothing on the sand, partying at a resort, exploring a new port of call, hopping between islands, discovering wonders under the water or catching a perfect wave above, reveling in a centuries-old culture, and finding your inner pirate are all possible.
Go on, take the plunge.
Best places to stay on the Caribbean Islands
Ten of the world's best off-season adventures
Avoid the crowds and bag a bargain by travelling to the world’s best bits when everyone else isn’t. Here are 10 reasons to resist travel during high season, straight from Lonely Planet's 1000 Ultimate Adventures. 'Green season' safari, Botswana Hippos in Botswana by Mazzali / CC BY-SA 2.
Family fun in the Caribbean Islands
Best diving in the Caribbean
Caribbean destination guides
Cuba is a continuing education.
Festivals of the world: where to go in August
This is an excerpt from Lonely Planet's A Year of Festivals. Festivals are a living, dancing museum of cultures and traditions in an increasingly globalised world.
Best beaches of the Caribbean Islands
Best of Cuba
From Cuba's historical streets of Havana to the pristine shores of the Caribbean, stroll through World Heritage cities, relive a fascinating colonial history and experience the rich heritage of music and dance that Cuba is renowned for.
The melody of horns floating through the air, classic cars parked in colonial squares, revolutionary statues—get over the resort wall and discover the real Cuba! Travel east to Santiago de Cuba and Baracoa and encounter the birthplace of Cuban rhythms and revolutionary fervour. Soak in Spanish heritage while exploring churches, forts and cobblestoned streets.
Where to find the world's most imaginative ice cream
Ice cream. Quite simply, it’s a holiday essential.
Sights in Caribbean
Activities in Caribbean
Tours in Caribbean
Restaurants in Caribbean
Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
World-class Caribbean diving, great coffee and a unique African culture.