The Authentically Diverse Caribbean
The Caribbean Islands are NOT all the same.. and here is why!
As a Travel Blogger, Travel Agent and Caribbean Lover it drives me NUTS when I hear people say that the Caribbean Islands are all the same! While the mainstays of great weather and beautiful beaches are a constant on every island, each of them offer their own unique characteristics, their own authentic music, dances and dishes and they are definitely not all the same.. Big or small, urban or secluded, how does one go about choosing the best island for them? Lucky for you, I’ve got the lowdown on the main islands. Read on to learn more!
If You Love to Scuba Dive and Snorkel
If you’re all about the adventure below, then certain islands are more appealing than others. Bonaire is known for being the best diving destination in the world! Saba, Cayman Islands, St. Lucia and Turks & Caicos are also highly known for their diving. An overlooked destination for diving would be Dominica and St. Eustatius. In St. Eustatius, you’ll even find some pretty spectacular wreck diving, as well as in British Virgin Islands. If diving isn’t your speed, you may want to consider snorkeling. Bonaire, Turks & Caicos and the Grenadines are great for snorkelers and divers. Virgin Gorda and St. John are perfect just for snorkeling. Although , Belize isn’t a Caribbean Island it is still apart of the Caribbean and the snorkeling and diving there is some of the absolute best in the world.
What to Avoid: Antigua, Barbados and Anguilla aren’t great for serious divers. The north coasts of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republican have no barrier reefs or brightly colored fish, so snorkeling should be avoided as well. Parts of Puerto Rico closer to Culebra are much better for snorkeling especially if you’re after Sea Turtles! I’ve also snorkeled Jamaica and it was not the best.. (but it’s amazing for so many other things!)
If You Love to Party
There are some islands that are just a wee bit more chill than others. The ones in this list definitely ain’t it! For those that want to dance and drink and dance and drink, then Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Aruba are all excellent options! In addition to their great party atmosphere, they’ve also got great casinos, if that’s your thing. Jamaica isn’t known for its casinos, however it’s got a great nightlife, especially in Montego Bay and Negril. Other nightlife contenders to consider would be Trinidad, Dominican Republic and the Grand Caymans.
What to Avoid: While almost every island has something to do once the sun sets, some nightlife is just way more lively than others. True night owls may want to avoid St. Kitts, St. Vincent, Saba and Montserrat.
If You Love All-Inclusive Resorts
Sometimes you just want to be treated to a VIP experience, or you don’t want the hassle of island hopping, just so you can experience multiple things at once. If you prefer that everything be in one package, then the top three recommendations would be Dominican Republic, Mexico and Jamaica. You can experience the adventure of snorkeling, the relaxation of their great beaches, while noshing on their fine dining. After you’ve experienced daytime fun, then you can transition into their nightlife, which is fabulous! Runners up would be St. Lucia and Antigua!
What to Avoid: The reality is, is that many islands simply don’t have all-inclusive resorts and that would including the following: Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Bonaire and St. Barthelemy.
Distinct Scenic Spots – Just to Name a Few of my favs
Besides beautiful beaches the Caribbean Islands all have distinct scenic spots that definitely set them apart from each other. Here are 5 Islands I’ve visited and some of the best scenic spots both on land and at sea.
Aruba – Diving/Snorkeling The Antilla, which is the largest wreck in the South Caribbean and is one of the most popular dive sites on Aruba. Aruba also offers many incredible natural attractions such as Natural Pool, National Park Arikok and Natural Bridge.
Puerto Rico – El Yunque Rain Forest is the only tropical rain forest in the US National Forest system. There are also 3 bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico (“La Parguera”, “Mosquito Bay”, and “La Laguna Grande”).
Bermuda – Horseshoe Bay Beach has PINK sand. (Fun Fact: Bermuda is also out of Hurricane Belt!) Bermuda has more shipwrecks to dive and snorkel than you could imagine!
Jamaica – Dunn’s River Falls are breathtaking waterfalls that visitors can actually climb up! Jamaica is also home to the stunning Blue Lagoon, which is a deep blue water hole perfect for some of the best photo ops.
Cozumel – The San Gervasio Ruins is a really cool spot for travelers who have yet to see ancient ruins. Faro Celerain Eco Park is a must for all wildlife lovers (also known as Parque Punta Sur).
Jamaica – Curry, jerk, ackee and salt fish, are some of the delicious flavors of Jamaica.
Puerto Rico – Flavors of Puerto Rico include a blend of Spanish, African, Taíno, and American tastes. Seasonings such as coriander, papaya, cacao, nispero, apio and plantains are all popular in creating yummy Puerto Rican dishes.
Bahamas – Bahamian food includes LOTS of seafood such as fish, shellfish, lobster, crab, and the famous conch (conch salad is delicious!).
Dominican Republic – Rum, Rum, Rum! The DR is one of the top destinations for producing the best Rum in the world and home to a number of distilleries and factories.
Mexico – Have you hear of The Tequila Trail in Mexico?? This place has some of the world’s most recognized tequila distilleries. No matter where in Mexico you are traveling you can be sure that you’ll experience the best tequila around!
So as you can see, when it comes to Caribbean Islands they are all quite diverse and I encourage you to explore each of them in their entirety to really see for yourselves. Do your research to find out which ones will best suits your needs.
As always, Safe Travels!!
The Chica Travelista