With shimmering turquoise seas and palm-fringed white sand beaches, the Caribbean is a picture-perfect honeymoon destination. Each island has its own history and atmosphere, which can make the best Caribbean island to choose a dizzying decision.
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What you’re guaranteed wherever you go is warm hospitality, a laid-back vibe, reggae beats and great rum punch – can you ask for more than that? From vibrant Jamaica to the tiny Bonaire; from relaxing spas to rugged hikes up mountain peaks; from dancing till dawn to early morning dives, you’ll find just about everything on offer on one of the Caribbean islands.
Where to Go in the Caribbean
The Caribbean is a broad term for the area covered by the Caribbean sea, bordered by Florida in the north down to the coast of South America. But when looking for a Caribbean honeymoon, you’re most likely heading towards one of the main islands of the West Indies, like St Lucia, Antigua, the Dominican Republic or Barbados.
To help you decide the best Caribbean island for you, here’s a little of what to expect from the most popular.
Barbados is the birthplace of rum, and you’ll find an island dripping with history, culture and irresistible nightlife. Whatever you budget, you can find a beach and resort in Barbados to suit you. Don’t miss the bustling capital of Bridgetown and the Friday Night Fish Fry at Oistins.
Image: Sandals Royal Barbados
Easy to reach and offering fantastic all-inclusive deals, Jamaica is a popular destination with honeymooners. Go here for beautiful beaches, authentic jerk cooking, a breathtaking hike up Blue Mountain Peak – all set to a soundtrack of Bob Marley.
Actually made up of more than 700 islands, the Bahamas are a playground for island-hoppers, partiers and watersports-lovers. Head to Nassau and Paradise Island for glam resorts and fascinating pirate history, and the Exumas for ultra-exclusive hotels and beaches.
Turks & Caicos
If you’re after tranquillity, head to these serene islands. They boast some of these world’s most spectacular diving spots, relaxed seaside bars and your pick of deserted beaches. You might even spot the annual migration of thousands of humpback whales.
Antigua & Barbuda
Visit both these sister islands: Barbuda, with natural pink sand beaches, and the larger Antigua, covered in small bays lapped by azure seas. Head to Antigua’s English Harbour for colonial heritage architecture and Shirley Heights Lookout’s legendary Sunday Barbecue parties.
Lush, jungle-draped hills and enamel blue shores make this a number one spot for luxury-seeking honeymooners. Go for relaxing resorts, stunning sailing and the impossibly picturesque backdrop of the Pitons.
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A time-capsule island, bursting with colour and colonial curiosities. Coastal resorts offer fantastic beaches and mojitos on tap but it’s the cities you’ll not want to miss. Down cobbled streets and off grand squares, you’ll find Havana fizzing with culture, nightlife, live music and salsa clubs.
Very few islands boast their own underwater sculpture park like Grenada does. Known as the Spice Island, the scent of nutmeg hangs in the air, friendly locals wave good morning and your days are whiled away on beaches or wandering colourful towns on this low-key island.
British Virgin Islands
Hop on a yacht and tack and gybe your way around these 50+ idyllic isles. You’ll find billionaires and old school sailors alike sharing a punch at the friendly watering holes along the white sand beaches of Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke – everyone here is on island time.
Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao: these three Dutch islands all have their own character. Aruba is the most touristy, with plenty of all-inclusives and cruise ship stopovers, but the beaches more than make up for it. Tiny Bonaire is a diver’s paradise, rich with sea turtles and exotic fish on pristine coral reefs. Curaçao feels like discovering a little bit of Europe – delightful candy-coloured Dutch colonial houses border the port at Willemstad, with dramatic coast all around.
If you like a resort holiday where everything is taken care of, the Dominican Republic is your place. But this diverse country offers rainforests, mountains, mangrove lagoons, colonial towns, quiet fishing villages and more just beyond the picture-perfect beaches and bars.
The rich and famous descend on this sun-kissed island every winter for its legendary parties. If you want a taste of the high life, with postcard-worthy beaches and marinas at every turn, St Barts will not disappoint. Expect French-inspired fine-dining food and designer boutiques worthy of the celebrity clientele.
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Trinidad and Tobago
Pulsing Trinidad and peaceful Tobago are neighbouring islands, best explored in combination. Get the vibrant nightlife, amazing Carnival and buzzing towns on Trinidad before hopping over to Tobago for waterfall swimming, world-class diving, hiking and sunbathing.
Composed of three islands – Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac – the Caymans are a cruise ship favourite. And rightly so: with stringrays to swim with, beautiful all-inclusive resorts on Seven Mile Beach, and cosmopolitan towns with excellent shopping, there’s lots to see and do.
When to Go to the Caribbean
Temperatures never really drop below 24 degrees year round in the Caribbean, so if you’re outside the path of the typical hurricane season – like the ABC islands or Trinidad and Tobago in the South – you can visit year round.
If you want to avoid a soggy honeymoon elsewhere in the Caribbean, the best time to visit is December to April, when it’s drier, less humid but still gloriously warm. Hurricanes are possible from July to October so avoid if possible.
What to See in the Caribbean
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It’s hard to narrow down a Caribbean bucket list due to the plethora of activities on each island.
If you’re looking for unforgettable experiences in nature, spend a day exploring the spectacular Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica, snorkelling on the sandbars of Stingray City in the Grand Caymans, and swim with pigs on the uninhabited island of Big Major Cay in the Exumas. Hike Gros Piton or zip-line through the rainforest on St Lucia or go early-morning horse riding along the beach.
Water-lovers can take an Atlantis Adventures submarine tour in Aruba, night dive during a full moon on Curaçao or learn to sail on the British Virgin Islands.
Image: Angello Cavalli/Robert Harding/Getty
For gastronomy lovers, we mentioned Oistins’ Fish Fry with traditional sides like macaroni pie and grilled plantain in Barbados, and Jamaica for unbeatable jerk. Try a beach BBQ on Sandy Island off Anguilla for seriously fresh fish or seek contemporary French-Creole cooking on tiny St Martin. You won’t be able to resist the scent from The Grenda Chocolate Company either.
To wash it all down, don’t miss Mount Gay Rum Visitor Centre in Barbados – the oldest rum distillery in the world – and the coffee estates on Jamaica’s Blue Mountains. Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke, reached only by swimming, lives up to its legendary reputation.
Where to Stay in the Caribbean
Villa Serena, Dominican Republic
A charming hotel set on the beautiful Playa Rincon. If you’re staying for a honeymoon, you get their four-poster suite, a bottle of bubbles upon arrival and breakfast in bed served to you.
Grenadine House, St Vincent
Discover the best of Creole cooking at this charming 18-bedroom hotel overlooking the bay and island of Bequia – ideal for a romantic day trip.
Scuba Lodge, Curaçao
A colourful boutique hotel in the historical heart of Willemstad, Scuba Lodge is the perfect base for diving, dining out and exploring all the tourist attractions.
Fond Doux Plantation & Resort, St Lucia
15 romantic colonial-style cottages, an organic spa and three outdoor swimming pools sit among a 250-year-old working plantation, where you can make your own chocolate!
Olive Boutique Hotel, Puerto Rico
Part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group, there’s little better than watching sunset from the rooftop bar at this cool hidden gem.
Belle Mont Farm, St Kitts
Set in 400 acres of organic tropical farmland, this beautiful eco-resort combines luxury with sustainability. They even boast ‘the world’s most edible golf course’!
Sandals Royal Bahamian, The Bahamas
A romantic hideaway in Nassau with all those little extras you expect from a Sandals resort. Choose a quiet villa tucked among the tropical gardens for complete privacy. They even have their own island just offshore for couples to enjoy!
Half Moon, Jamaica
With two private beaches, an award-winning spa and a whole host of romantic activities, Half Moon is a dream honeymoon destination. Go for a horse ride on the beach in the morning, then dine under the stars, just the two of you, in their sunset gazebo.
Sugar Beach, St Lucia
With a backdrop of the glorious Pitons, this lush resort is all about luxury. Dive at their PADI centre, dine in one of Sugar Beach’s three restaurants, relax in the spa or sunbathe on the beach itself. Some rooms even come with their own butler service.
Sandals Grande Antigua
Regularly voted the ‘Caribbean’s most romantic resort’, Sandals Grande Antigua is a dream honeymoon spot located right on the shores of the famous Dickenson Bay. With a whopping 11 restaurants, 7 bars and even scuba diving included in this amazing all-inclusive deal, you’ll never want to leave.
How to Get to the Caribbean
The average flight time to the Caribbean is 9-10 hours, with plenty of non-stop flights from the UK to the bigger islands like Barbados, St Lucia, Jamaica and Antigua. Some will only fly from London but many also go from Manchester and Birmingham.
For overseas territories, it’s often necessary to stop over in their parent country. Flights to the Dutch Antilles often go over Amsterdam, and through Paris to the French Caribbean islands. The US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are reached via the US.
Domestic airports offer easy island-hopping opportunities, although it’s doable to visit many by ferry and you can rent cars easily on the larger islands.
The Caribbean is a big docking point for cruise ships and you might find this an enjoyable option if you want to visit lots of destinations in one go.
Check the visa requirements for individual countries on the Foreign Office website.