Since several of the Caribbean Islands were severely damaged from hurricanes in 2017, some are still re-building and not quite ready for a multitude of visitors. However, Cuba, Aruba, Barbados, and the Grand Caymans were all spared. Considering their locations, gorgeous resorts, beaches, boating, fine dining, and exciting nightlife, these are the best islands to visit.
Did you know it’s the largest island in the Caribbean? Havana is Cuba’s largest city and is also the capital. Havana is one of the most dynamic Spanish colonial cities and is easily accessible by plane. The José Martí International airport is about nine miles southwest of Havana. Your hotel can send someone to meet you or hire your own private limo. You’ll want to visit Old Havana, since that’s where the city comes alive. It’s filled with luxury and boutique hotels, fine restaurants, cocktail bars, and unique shops. Some of the most interesting places to visit are:
- Cigar factory
- Rum factory
- Museum of the Revolution
- Capitol Building
- Plaza de Armas
The cigar factory offers tours in English and is where you’ll find the finest Cuban cigars. Cuba’s rum factory is where you’ll find Havana Club, one of the most well-known rums in the country. The Museum of the Revolution is what used to be the Presidential Palace and is filled with relics, statues, and history. The Capitol Building housed the Cuban government until 1959, and is now the Cuban Academy of Sciences. Plaza de Armasis an elegant square with a monument honoring the Founding Father.
Aruba is one of the prettiest islands in the Caribbean that offers some of the most lavish hotels and resorts you’ll find anywhere. Many of them are along Aruba’s fantastic beaches with their crystal blue-green waters and pristine white sand. Scuba diving, snorkeling, and sailing are all very popular. It’s a small island, but it packs a big punch! Restaurants offer delicious local cuisine, along with Italian, Dutch, Caribbean, Colombian, and American.
The people of Aruba are friendly and hospitable. You’ll find many upscale shops and unique boutiques in downtown Oranjestad. The island has a reputation of being very safe and is located south of the hurricane belt. Don’t miss these things to do:
- Sunset dinner cruise
- Butterfly farm
- Eagle Beach
- Donkey sanctuary
Aruba is the island with more sunny days than any other Caribbean island, and with a steady cool breeze, it’s always very comfortable. Once you visit Aruba, you’ll understand why many call it the “One Happy Island.”
The island of Barbados is rich in history and was formed from coral. It was once home to large sugar cane plantations. Bridgetown is the capital and largest city, and is where the rich and famous come to play. Located on the island’s southwestern end on Carlisle Bay, Bridgetown is on the Caribbean side of the island.
Walking near the harbor, you’ll likely see a cruise ship or two with luxurious yachts and sailboats. You may want to charter a fishing vessel as Barbados has some great fishing spots! Stay in one of the luxury villas or an all-inclusive extravagant resort that specializes in pampering their guests from their head to their toes. There are some lively clubs and bars in Bridgetown. Did you know that Rihanna was discovered here? Bridgetown also hosts energetic festivals throughout the year. Some of the sites you may want to visit are:
- Harrison’s Cave
- St. Nicholas Abbey
- West Indies rum distillery
- Atlantis Submarine Adventure
Harrison’s Cave is an underground cave with streams and fabulous waterfalls. St. Nicholas Abbey is a working sugar plantation where you can see it first-hand. The West Indies rum distillery is a brewery with the famous Corkspur and Malibu rum. The Atlantis Submarine Adventure is a safe way to see some of the corals and brightly colored fish.
Barbados has some beautiful beaches, if you’d rather relax in your own cabana. You’ll fall in love with this stress-free island!
It’s the largest of the three Cayman Islands and the capital city, George Town. The International airport is just outside of George Town and very easy to get around the island. There are almost 600 banks and trust companies in Grand Cayman. Besides the banking industry, tourism is also a large part of the economy. There are three golf courses on Grand Cayman, all on Seven Mile Beach.
Seven Mile Beach is the island’s most famous beach and where you’ll find the most exclusive and luxurious villas, resorts, and private mansions. Seven Mile Beach is a coral-sand beach and recently won the award for “The Caribbean’s Best Beach” by Caribbean Travel and Life Magazine. There are some small reefs just off the beach for those who enjoy snorkeling. Some things you must see or do while you’re here on the island:
- Stingray City
- Snorkeling with bioluminescence
- Private boat charter
- Helicopter tour
Stingray City is a fun time spent feeding and swimming with stingrays. Snorkeling with bioluminescence is done at night in the bay and is an amazing experience! Book your own private boat and see the island from the sea, or take a helicopter tour where you’ll get a different perspective of the island from the air. You’ll love spending your time on this well-developed and beautiful island. It’s definitely an island to visit for its beautiful beaches and laid-back lifestyle.
Visit one island or visit all four. They each have their own classic beauty and unique places to see. Which one is your favorite?