Diving

The Caribbean is a diver’s dream. The wide variety of dive sites are easily accessible with excellent local dive operators, and many resorts cater just to divers.

Bloody Bay Wall Little Cayman has fine wall diving, with sheer cliff drops to make you gasp.

Saba Marine Park The collection of pinnacles, which peak at about 80ft (24m) below, offer deep and spectacular dives.

Bonaire National Marine Park The island’s perimeter is a protected marine park, with 90 marked dive sites, most accessible from shore.

Grenada Wrecks galore, vibrant reefs and an incredible underwater sculpture park, all within a short boat ride of the capital.

Sint Eustatius Cavort with reef sharks and sea turtles at one of Statia’s shipwrecks-turned-artificial reefs.

White-Sand Beaches

After the color of the water, white-sand beaches may be the second-biggest cliché of the Caribbean. But what a cliché! Almost every island has at least one perfect stretch of powdery sand.

Anse de Gouverneur Wide and blissfully secluded, St-Barthélemy’s beautiful beach lines a U-shaped bay with high cliffs at both ends.

Grace Bay Beach A world-famous long stretch of sand in the Turks and Caicos: you can easily find your own patch of paradise.

White Bay Bask on the dazzling white sand, sip a cocktail and watch people coming in off yachts in the British Virgin Islands.

Barbuda There is no such thing as a bad beach on this island.

Shoal Bay Palm-shaded beach bars in Aguilla fringe this quintessential Caribbean strand's sparkling white sand.

Family Fun

Taking the kids on their first-ever boat ride. Digging on a sandy beach. Wandering rainforest trails. Meeting local children. It’s simple adventures like these that make the Caribbean such a great region for travel with kids.

Aruba Large resorts have lots of kids programs and the island offers activities geared towards children.

Dominican Republic Resorts at Bávaro and Punta Cana have scads of activities for kids of all ages

US Virgin Islands Tropical family fun with a North American accent.

St-Barthélemy Water sports galore and gourmet children's menus.

The Bahamas Paradise Island: the name says it all; kids love waterslides, walk-through shark tanks and more at Atlantis resort.

Beautiful Scenery

The Caribbean has a lot more than beaches. Green volcanic peaks rise out of the ocean, valleys are cleaved by waterfalls, and palm trees and flowers are everywhere you look.

Dominica A lake that boils, the aptly named Valley of Desolation and waterfalls splashing down everywhere.

Mt Scenery, Saba Rising dramatically out of the ocean, tiny Saba’s volcanic peak has an ethereal beauty.

Cascada El Limón, Dominican Republic This 170ft-high waterfall is rough, rugged and surrounded by forest-covered peaks.

Northern Range, Trinidad & Tobago This chain of small coastal mountains hosts rich rainforests and stunning beaches.

Les Saintes, Guadeloupe This mountainous chain of tiny islands is almost impossibly scenic in Guadeloupe.

Music

Reggae, calypso, salsa, soca and more – the music of the Caribbean is as ingrained in perceptions of the region as beaches and fruity drinks. Vibrant and ever changing, the Caribbean’s beat is its soul and reason alone to make the trip.

Jamaica The island that comes with a soundtrack, Jamaica is unbeatable for reggae and dancehall parties.

Trinidad & Tobago Electrifying, mesmerizing and embodying the creativity of Trinidad and Tobago, steel-pan music here is infectious.

Santiago de Cuba Cuba’s most Caribbean city grinds to its own rhythm in sweaty bars and open-air trova and rumba clubs.

Dominican Republic Test out your merengue moves with seriously talented dancers at one of Santo Domingo’s nightclubs.

Puerto Rico Music and dance are part of daily life from the smallest village to the streets of San Juan.

Romantic Getaways

With 7000 islands, the Caribbean has no shortage of places to get away to and shut out the world. People have been flocking here for steamy, sultry times for decades and everybody’s in on it.

Golden Rock Inn, Nevis Fall asleep to a tree frog serenade amid the tropical gardens on the edge of the rainforest.

Dominica Cuddle and cocoon in an off-grid eco-lodge surrounded by the untamed rainforest of this fairy-tale island.

Petite Anse, Grenada Has an isolated beach, fragrant with the natural perfumes the island is known for.

The Grenadines Pick a tiny island like Bequia, Mustique or Canouan and let love blossom.

Anguilla Many of Anguilla's luxurious villas have amenities such as private butlers and direct beach access.

Snorkeling

Many of the top dive spots in the region are also rewarding for snorkelers, and there are some sites that are best enjoyed sporting only a mask and fin.

Buck Island Its 29 sq miles (76 sq km) of coral reef system is so impressive it’s a National Monument.

Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park With more than 175 sq miles(453 sq km) of protected land and sea, you won’t know which shallows to explore first.

Curaçao Snorkel with sea turtles at Playa Grandi or explore the unique double reef at Playa Porto Mari.

Lower Town Beach In Sint Eustatius you can snorkel among the ruins of Oranjestad's Lower Town.

Réserve Cousteau A marine reserve with big fish schools and shallow reefs that are perfect for snorkeling.

Old Colonial Towns

French, British and Spanish ships carrying explorers and colonizers once prowled the Caribbean waters. They established some of the hemisphere’s oldest and enduringly charming towns.

Havana A vast and crumbling metropolitan time capsule, the Cuban capital can steal days of your life.

Willemstad Little changed in a century, this 300 year old Dutch city in Curçao is being beautifully restored.

Sint Eustatius Once the busiest seaport in the world, it's littered with archaeological sites and ruins.

Cockburn Town The real old Caribbean, Turks and Caicos' Cockburn Town is undeveloped and absolutely charming.

Old San Juan Half of Puerto Rico's Old San Juan is in a collapsing shambles – but that only adds to the appeal.

Santo Domingo The Dominican Republic's capital is home to the Caribbean's biggest and oldest colonial district.

Outdoor Adventure

The biggest problem with getting outside for an adventure in the Caribbean is choosing a location: you can surf the waves, hike a volcano, mountain bike the trails and more.

Zipline, Puerto Rico Swoop high above the precipitous forests of Puerto Rico’s Central Mountains on the world’s longest zip line.

Windsurfing, Barbados The southern surf isn’t too rough, the wind blows well and one of the world’s great windsurf shops is here.

Hiking, Martinique Hike along the base of the still-smoldering Mont Pelée, a volcano that wiped out Martinique’s former capital in 1902.

Cycling, St Lucia The purpose-built cycling tracks are some of the best you’ll find anywhere.

Hiking, US Virgin Islands Feral donkeys watch as you hike along St John’s trails to petroglyphs, sugar-mill ruins and beaches.

Nightlife

Sipping a glass of wine on a beach with someone special while yachts gently clank offshore, making a hundred new friends at a raucous strip of bars, losing yourself in intoxicating island culture: all ways you’ll relish the hours after dark.

Havana A music and culture scene unmatched in the Caribbean – cabarets, rumba, jazz, cutting-edge ballet and more.

Frigate Bay South, St Kitts Compare the potency of the rum punches poured at the string of funky beach bars making up the ‘Strip’.

Fortaleza, San Jua The heart of nightlife in Old San Juan – a lively mix of tourists and locals out for their evening stroll.

Kingston, Jamaica Check out an all-night dancehall street party or the coolest reggae and dub vibes on the planet.

Port-au-Prince, Haiti Few Caribbean nights are as memorable as seeing the Vodou rock-and-roots band RAM at iconic Hotel Oloffson.

Pirates, Forts & Ruins

It could be a movie set. Wait, it was! Old forts and other crumbling ruins date from the days when buccaneers owned the waters.

Brimstone Hill Fortress, St Kitts This rambling hilltop citadel is an outstandingly well preserved example of 18th-century British military architecture.

Citadelle Henry, Haiti A vast mountaintop fortress built to repel French invasions; one of the most inspiring sights in the Caribbean.

Wallilabou, St Vincent The lush bay here was used as a backdrop for a couple of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

Port Royal, Jamaica Wander the fascinating historic sites of what was once the pirate capital of the Caribbean.

St-Pierre, Martinique The island's former capital has many ruins from the 1902 eruption of Mt Pelée.

Relaxing at a Resort

The very idea of a Caribbean resort – beautiful beach, warm water, lots of activities, pools, buffets, romantic dining, room service, sunset drinks and more – has people counting down to their holiday all year.

Aruba The island’s sweetest all-inclusive retreats are the sophisticated `low-rise resorts’ on stunning Manchebo Beach.

Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands A very laid-back place with dreamy resorts, especially around North Sound.

The Bahamas It has almost as many resorts as islands, with something for almost every taste and budget.

St Lucia There are dozens of lovely resorts on the beach around Rodney Bay.

Puerto Rico The resort-lined beaches march down San Juan's coast like sets of breakers.

Shopping

Ports of call filled with stores selling luxury items and souvenirs at duty-free prices, local crafts and artwork, and wonderful specialty items are all part of the region’s shopping scene.

The Bahamas Nassau’s Bay St is lined with some of the best duty-free stores in the Caribbean.

Puerto Rico Old San Juan has great arts and crafts; head to San Francisco and Fortaleza.

St Lucia There are silk-screen paintings, batik and clothing in Castries, plus excellent duty-free shopping.

US Virgin Islands Charlotte Amalie has plenty of the jewelry and electronics shops that cruisers love.

Cuba Two legendary items to seek out when in Havana: rum and cigars.

Sailing

The Caribbean is one of the world’s prime yachting locales, offering diversity, warm weather and fine scenery. The many small islands and relatively calm sailing waters make this region great to explore by sea.

The Grenadines The cays here have long been a yachters’ haven; Bequia is a fab port island.

Tortola By some distance, the yachting and charter capital of the Caribbean.

The Abacos Yachties love this glittering 120-mile crescent of islands and cays.

Martinique This slice of France in the Caribbean is home to a big international sailing scene.

Antigua Famous for its regattas, Antigua is the perfect base to sail the Leeward Islands.

Pampered Luxury

In the Caribbean you can find places to simply surrender yourself to total pampering. Resorts that are among the world’s best sit back from beautiful beaches and offer every service imaginable.

West Coast, Barbados The gentle shores of the 'Platinum Coast' welcome old and new money alike at cloistered old resorts.

Anguilla The preferred retreat for those needing an escape from the spotlight.

Mustique The exclusive Grenadines island where rock stars weary from being rolling stones come to get re-energized.

Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos The bastion of the wealthy, the famous and the infamous.

Dorado, Puerto Rico The Ritz-Carlton Reserve is a resort to blow your retirement fund on the opulent hacienda.

Caneel Bay, St John Celebrity lovebirds come to this resort when they need a total escape.

Watching Wildlife

We don’t mean the folks partying one bar over. When it comes to watching wildlife, divers don’t have all the fun. There’s plenty of wildlife to spot above the water in some of the remote corners of the Caribbean.

Frigate Bird Sanctuary, Barbuda Observe magnificent birds up close in one of the world’s largest frigate bird colonies.

Parque Nacional Alejandro de Humboldt, Cuba Home to the world’s smallest frog and largest surviving tract of Caribbean rainforest.

Turks & Caicos Salt Cay is one of the best places on earth to see whales during the annual humpback migration.

Bonaire Take a break from the underwater thrills to spot pink flamingos across the island.

Parque Nacional Los Haitises, Dominican Republic Watch birds and manatees from a boat cruising through mangrove forest.

Secluded Coves

Finding a pristine natural masterpiece in an extremely remote corner of some beautiful green dot amid the blue waters is a fantasy that draws scores to the islands.

Happy Bay, St-Martin Follow a dirt path that twists over a bumpy headland to where the sand and the sunbathers are bare.

Rendezvous Bay, Antigua It takes a rugged 4WD or a long hike through the rainforest to get to this beach.

Bahía de Las Águilas, Dominican Republic Enjoy 10km of slowly arcing, nearly deserted beach.

Isaac Bay, US Virgin Islands You'll have to hike along St Croix's eastern tip to this gorgeous beach that's also a sea-turtle preserve.

Shete Boka National Park, Curaçao Named for the seven beautiful coves that form its coastline, this park is wild and spectacular.

Partying

The Caribbean is home to some legendary bars, neighborhoods and towns where you can cut loose and just simply party your holiday away.

Oistins Fish Fry, Barbados There’s barbecued fish and plenty of rum drinking at this legendary weekly town festival.

Nipper's Beach Bar, The Bahamas Sunday afternoon's pig-roast at this famous bar is as big a party as it gets.

Runway beach bars, St-Martin/Sint Maarten Sit at a runway bar get blown away by the jet propulsion of arriving planes.

Carnival, Trinidad One of the world’s biggest and best celebrations sees two days of festival fabulousness.

Negril, Jamaica Party till the sun comes up and goes back down again.