The Caribbean is a paradise boasting unsurpassable natural beauty, visited by over 25 million annually. The land of crystal clear seas, towering palm trees, verdant mountains and picturesque white sandy beaches, has been hailed as a little piece of heaven on earth, and the five islands on our list explain why.
Comprising over 700 islands, islets and cays in the Atlantic Ocean , the Bahamas is home to stunning beaches, world-class golf courses, coral reefs, historical attractions and kid-friendly attractions. Popular destinations here include Nassau, Freeport, Great Exuma, Paradise Island, Harbour Island and Eleuthera.
The Lucayan National Park is filled with mangroves, and has one of the world’s longest underwater limestone caves. The Marine Habitat at Atlantis boasts 14 lagoons, over 50,000 marine creatures, and innumerable caves. Christ Church Cathedral is an awe-inspiring architectural landmark close to the port, hotels and shopping. Though Bahamas has emerged as a popular destination for wealthy jet-setters, its hideaways and eco-tourism also attracts divers and explorers by the drove.
Made up of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, the Cayman Islands offers three distinctive island experiences. Grand Cayman has a cosmopolitan vibe with a number of resorts and clubs mainly concentrated around the beautiful coral-sand Seven Mile Beach, which is regarded as the Caribbean’s best beach. The island’s underwater sea walls and coral reefs make it a popular snorkeling and scuba-diving hotspot.
Cayman Brac is well-known for its excellent diving sites and serene trails. It is a magnet for spelunkers seeking to observe underground formations at the numerous caves around the island. Fishing (especially big game fish), rock-climbing, and hiking are other popular island activities. Little Cayman has less than 200 inhabitants, tranquil beaches and a laid-back atmosphere. A major draw is Bloody Bay, the Cayman Island’s best wall diving site.
The fourth-largest island in the Caribbean is thronged by active travelers looking for action and adventure in natural and urban landscapes. From bird-watching and hiking to snorkeling, climbing and camping, there’s never a dull moment here. Popular attractions include the Blue Mountains National Park, Dunn’s River Falls & Park, Boston Beach (surfers’ delight and ideal for foodies wanting to sample authentic Jamaican cuisine), Blue Lagoon (stunning cobalt colored waters that appears to take on different shades of blue as the sun’s angles change on the water surface), and Doctor’s Cave Beach (quite crowded but teeming with various watersport activities).
The island is also home to championship golf courses, including the 18-hole White Witch Golf Course offering scenic countryside, mountain and ocean views. You will also want to indulge in some drinking (Jamaica doesn’t have a minimum drinking age) and eating, especially ‘jerk’ steamed rice and peas, curry goat and ackee and saltfish.
If you’re looking for an island destination off the beaten track, head to Curacao, whose pastel-colored Colonial buildings, coral reefs, historic harbor and isolated beaches promise a unique experience. Though water sports is the predominant tourist activity here, you can also hike the trails of Christoffelpark, a protected nature area, which includes former plantations, a mine complex, and biodiversity that’s hard to beat elsewhere on the island. Tourists often join organized park tours that include a history tour, pick-up safari and a deer-spotting sunset tour.
Make some time for the Kurá Hulanda Museum showcasing 18th century artifacts and exhibits documenting trans-Atlantic slave trade; it is a sobering journey into the island’s harrowing past, and a great educational experience for people of all ages. Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge is a great place to watch ships entering and leaving the bay as you sip on coffee or enjoy a delicious meal.
The Dominican Republic is blessed by a diverse landscape of mountains, desert terrain, beaches and colonial buildings. Your outdoor exploration can include any of the following, and these are just a few: ziplining through rainforest canopy, safari tour, dune buggy driving, catamaran ride, hiking down waterfalls, horseback riding, and all kinds of outback adventures. Popular water sports include cruising, sailing along the Bavaro-Punta Cana coastline and snorkeling in Catalina Island. Popular beaches for swimming and watersport activities are the white-sand Bavaro Beach and Damajaqua Cascades; for some quiet relaxation, head to Macao Beach.
The island-country is teeming with colonial-era history, and important historical sites include Alcazar de Colon, Parque Colon, Convento de los Dominicos and National Pantheon. The south coast and inland areas are home to breathtaking landscapes, so make sure you do sufficient research to include at least a few special spots.
Author: Josh Hayett
Josh is a retired comic book artist who never made it to the big leagues (to be fair- he never really tried) so now he’s here writing stuff about what other people are doing with their talents.
Always with an opinion about TV shows, Movies and especially why Marvel is the best ever,