Looking to go on vacation? Dreaming of a warm destination with sandy beaches and bright sunshine? Instead of jetting off to Turks and Caicos or Aruba, check out these breath taking Carribean locations that don’t get nearly enough recognition for their beauty and vacation potential. Each boasting stunning beaches and palm trees swaying lazily in the warm tropical breeze, these islands will steal your heart and provide you with the relaxation and peace you need to rejuvenate after a long few months of work. Don’t forget your sunhat, sandals and bathing suit!
1. Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Kitts and Nevis is a two island country in the West Indes. It is the smallest sovereign state in the Western Hemisphere and takes only two hours to drive around the entire country. It is jam packed with history such as the Brimestone Hill Fortress built in the 1400’s and Romney Manor that is now filled with beautiful local souvenirs to bring home to your loved ones. You can stay at the local Timothy’s Beach Resort or play it safe by booking a room at the Marriott.
Made up of five insanely beautiful islands, Guadeloupe is a French country known for it’s well maintained islands, superior diving conditions and jaw dropping sunsets. It has one of France’s National Parks which is protected by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve and is classified as one of the top ten most beautiful bays in the world. With a combination of Creole and French cuisine, guests are never disappointed with their meals. With an inter-island boat system, you can visit all five islands and stay at a beautiful hotel or two, like the Hotel Le Bois Joli or La Toubana Hotel.
Monserrat is one of the most under rated and unknown locations in the Caribbean for vacationers. Two thirds of the island was completely destroyed by a volcano which erupted from 1995-2004. With the portion of the island that is left, it is stunning, beautiful and filled with culture and life. Hotels are extremely well priced, and if you are curious to learn about the history of the volcano, with the permission of local police, you and a tour guide are able to go see the “Exclusion Zone” where the volcano erupted.
Not to be mistaken with Dominican Republic, Dominica is a paradise all on it’s own. There is 750 square kilometres of stunning land that is waiting to be explored. Don’t miss Champagne Reef where you can snorkel and see beautiful kinds of fish. It is called the Champagne Reef because the water is bubbly, much like champagne! With Horseback riding on the beach and delicious local food made for you on the spot, Dominica cannot be missed! If your looking for a place to stay, check out the luxurious Rosalie Bay Resort. If you travel in between the months of March and October, you will be able to see baby turtles hatching on the black sand beaches.
A mountainous and sandy island, Martinique is a French island filled with Bamboo Forests, Waterfalls, once in a life time snorkelling opportunities and so much more. Many of the locals prefer to rent out apartments instead of allowing massive hotels to be built on the beach. Because of this, Martinique helps you experience the Caribbean in a non-commercialized setting that will take your breath away.
Anguilla is the luxurious option for those wanting to spend a little extra on their relaxing vacation. Find yourself at a busy beach? Not to worry. Travel 15 minutes down the road and you’ll find yourself the only ones on the next beach. Locals here are extremely kind and welcoming to tourists and want to involve them in their day to day traditions and life. The best way to experience this island is by staying at a luxury resort, hitting up Venus Spa and getting a mixed drink at a local beach bar. This island will truly rejuvenate your body, mind and soul.
Where to begin? Grenada is one stunning location that you will definitely want to put on your bucket list. Grenada is known for it’s vast farms that grown Nutmeg, and you can visit many historic sites that also produce Rum. Don’t forget to go on a jungle adventure to swim under waterfalls and then take a dive into the deep ocean to visit the Underwater Sculpture Park created by locals to assist with growing coral reefs. With a Sandals Resort on site, Grenada has everything you need for a vacation and so much more.
There are hundreds of thousands hotels and resorts across the Caribbean and many of us have a picture in our minds that they all tend to be mega-resorts; but assuming this would be wrong. Besides the sprawling resorts that are littered with hundreds of rooms, pools and families; there happens to be more than a handful of incredible hotels that remain a secret. Some have been around since the 1960’s, others are new, but all of them offer superior landscapes, service and dining. From Jamaica to Antigua; these 10 secret Caribbean hotels are well worth a visit.
10. Turquoise Cay -Great Exuma, Bahamas
It used to be a former fishing lodge but just recently this lodge underwent extensive renovations and opened as a hotel. There are only a total of eight, simple yet elegant rooms each named after the different shade of blue painted on the walls. Furnishings here include round tables with wicker furniture and lobster print cushions, lamp bases filled with sand and daybeds suspended over the beach. Guests should plan on relaxing in the infinity pool that cascades into the bay or getting active with the kayaks and paddleboards available to rent. The Peruvian-Asian restaurant serves up amazing sushi and fresh seafood while music plays lightly on the outdoor deck under the twinkling stars. Guests shouldn’t miss out on visiting Little Exuma, the smaller island of the pair and home to Santana’s Grill Pit; a favorite spot that Johnny Depp often heads to.
9. The Caves, Jamaica
This all-inclusive, child-free resort offers visitors an incredible experience as soon as they walk through the door. The focus here is the ocean and all 12 wooden thatch cottages are located on the cliff top overlooking the sea. Each cottage is painted its own color and has its own private sundeck completed with hammocks. Leaping into the water from the 20-meter cliff is one of the most popular ways to cool down here, and for those who aren’t daring enough, you can find your peace lounging by the pool. As for the dining, guests here are encouraged to order breakfast whenever they want and the choices are endless, as goes the same for lunch and dinner. The candlelit bar built out of rocks creates the perfect after dinner setting and with a maximum of 36 guests at one time; you won’t have any trouble relaxing here.
8. Secret Bay Resort -Portsmouth, Dominica
This award-winning small hotel is immersed deep in nature on the unspoiled island of Dominica. Made up of just six sustainable luxury villas and bungalows, visitors here can be sure to have the utmost of privacy. Secret Bay is unique in many ways, including its cliff top location that overlooks the Caribbean Sea. This hotel also features two beaches, the magical Cario River, a spectacular sea cave and exquisite dining. Don’t worry about using the full kitchen that is located in your villa as the superior cooking service that is offered will come to you, and use only the best local and organic ingredients. Along with terrific views, gourmet meals, and above average service; guests are treated to such activities as kayaking, snorkeling, cooking classes, yoga and massages. With guests having to be over the age of 12, there is no need to worry about screaming and splashing children running about the tranquil resort.
7. Sugar Reef -Bequia, St Vincent & the Grenadines
65 tropical acres, eight beautiful rooms and one extraordinary private beach awaits visitors at Sugar Reef. Situated on a 65-acre coconut plantation straddling a breathtaking bay with quarter-mile-long beach views, Sugar Reef has managed to create the uniquely Caribbean tradition of living in luxury that is open to views and breezes, along with the occasional lizard and bat. The main dining room boasts enormous driftwood chandeliers where the best lobster roti on the island is served. The eight bedrooms are split between the Beach House and the French House, each featuring high quality linens, driftwood mirrors, four poster beds and French doors. Popular activities here include cycling through the estate, kayaking, snorkeling and gathering around the huge tables at night to play board games. Lush green mountains, sparkling blue ocean and the white sand beach is enough to make anyone want to stay at Sugar Reef forever.
6. CasaSandra -Holbox, Mexico
On the tiny island of Holbox, just north of Cancun sits a paradise inside a paradise. CasaSandra is the islands chicest hotel and the owner, a full-time artist has created a natural masterpiece. The hotel was designed with love, conceived with art, music and coziness in mind. With 18 rooms plus 1 luxury villa, personalized service and the absence of TV’s, telephones and radios; this resort is truly for those looking to bring tranquility into their lives. Known as having one of the best places to eat on the island, guests certainly won’t go hungry when they are staying here. Breakfast is served in the open air seating while dinner is taken in the elegant dining room complete with beautiful music and art. The islands’ claim to fame is the sheer number of whale sharks that congregate here from June to September and guests of the hotel should be sure to take some time out to swim with these majestic creatures.
5. The Dunmore -Harbour Island, Bahamas
The most famous beach on Harbour Island is three miles long, one mile wide and in certain lights the grains beneath your feet glow a soft pink color; hence the name Pink Beach. The Dunmore happens to be located smack dab in the middle of the beach and has been around since the 1960’s. In recent years the hotel was taken over for two former guests and has since gone under renovations, making this hotel even better than it was before. The 14 beachfront and garden cottages are decked out in teak furniture, graphic patterned cushions and rattan blinds. Guests can often been seen lounging by the pool or beneath turquoise umbrellas on the palm-fringed beach. The restaurant at the Dunmore produces some of the best food on the island, including snapper sandwiches, fish tacos and fresh lobster.
4. Hotel Deep Blue -Providencia, Colombia
Located on the beautiful Colombian island of Providencia lies a luxurious 12-room resort that is well worth the effort to get there. The rooms are elegantly furnished with king size beds, private balconies and beautiful furnishings; all with an amazing view out to the sea. The restaurant is one of the most stunning features of this property as it is built right over the water and diners will enjoy the sounds of the waves lapping against the deck and indulging in mouth watering international cuisine. Hotel Deep Blue is part of a biosphere reserve giving way to a variety of animals, near-deserted beaches and a traditional Creole culture. Enjoy the private boat, snorkeling in the clear waters or trekking through the verdant jungle at this amazing hidden gem in the Caribbean.
3. Inn at English Harbour, Antigua
It may have opened in the 1960’s but this hotel has managed to stay under the radar, blanketed by thick palm forests complete with its own crescent of sand. Expect to see bright red flowers, colorful birds and painted clapboard buildings among the property. Currently there are 28 rooms which include beautiful four-poster beds, mahogany washstands and breathtaking water views. There are two restaurants on –site, one located down at the beach and another atop a hill. Expect a mix of dining options and be sure to try the lamb and mint sauce that is a favorite of guests. A small spa, sparkling pool, boutique full of gorgeous handmade dresses and tennis courts rounds out this intimate property.
2. Kamalame Cay, Bahamas
It is only a 15 minute plane ride from the glitz and crowds of Nassau but visitors will feel a world away when they get to this secluded island with its white sands and turquoise waters. Here is where Kamalame Cay lives; a collection of houses sprinkled along the shores among the thousands of coconut palms. This resort features such awesome amenities as tennis courts, a spa pavilion over the water, beachfront Tiki bar and the Great House dining room. Visitors are treated to luxury linens, nightly bonfires, incredible antique furnishings and some seriously good food. Plan on dining on fresh crab dim sum, fresh caprese salads and fresh bread baked from the on-site bakery. Plenty of celebrities grace the likes of this hotel around the holidays and we wish you the best of luck trying to get a reservation here.
1. Golden Rock Inn, Nevis
What was once a 19th century sugar estate, complete with an array of stone buildings and rampant forest is now a breathtaking property that features incredible flora and fauna, along with eleven cottages. The old counting house was restored and transformed into the foliage-framed reception and the dining areas and outdoor terraces look onto serene reflection pools. Bamboo trees, palms and orchids are home to colorful hummingbirds and dragonflies throughout the property. Each cottage is designed to be different, each featuring unique amenities and the utmost privacy. Lively Caribbean cuisine is served using the freshest of ingredients and patrons can choose to sit on one of the decks overlooking the sea or within the intimate garden settings. Visitors here won’t find fully-stocked minibars or TV’s in their cottages; instead they will find beautiful surroundings that evoke the feelings of tranquility and peace.
When the temperatures drop in the Northern hemisphere people tend to flock down south to get a little escape from the winter’s chill. One of the easiest places to find the sunshine we seek is the Caribbean, with so many choices available to us depending on the experience we’re looking for. When we think Caribbean vacation, the popular places like Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and The Bahamas tend to come to mind first. Or the slightly more adventurous may think of the resort laden islands of Saint Lucia, Barbados and Turks and Caicos. These destinations, while popular for good reason are not your only choice in the vast expanse of the Caribbean Sea. Here are 7 lesser-known, hidden gem islands that are definitely worth checking out the next time the Caribbean is beckoning.
The island of Guadeloupe is actually an overseas region of France and has a total population of 403,750 as of 2014. While commonly referred to as one island, Guadeloupe is actually two islands, Basse-Terre to the west and Grande-Terre to the east. These 2 are separated by a narrow strait and crossed by bridges. Part of the French West Indies, the official language spoken is French, though almost everyone also speaks Antillean Creole. The currency used throughout Guadeloupe it the Euro, give that this island is part of the European Union. There’s tons to see and do on these islands, including swimming in hot springs, climbing an active volcano and visiting the many parks and historic sites throughout Guadeloupe. The winter months of January, February and March are an excellent time to visit this Caribbean destination as average rainfall is at its lowest.
You may be familiar with Barbuda from hearing it mentioned alongside its more popular sister island Antigua. Together the two make up the twin-island country that lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Those looking for a quite piece of island paradise will enjoy the island of Barbuda and it’s small, relaxed charm. The island is pretty tiny and only hosts a population of about 1,600 but the beaches are simply breathtaking. The only town on the island, Codrington is where you’ll find most of the island’s residents as well as the public airport. With only a handful of accommodations available, you won’t have to sift through pages of resorts before deciding where to stay. If quiet reflection in a world of untouched beauty sounds enticing, Barbuda is the paradise you seek.
The slogan of the island country of Grenada is ‘The spice of the Caribbean’ and that’s not just a clever tagline either. The nickname is due to the fact that Grenada is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of Nutmeg and Mace crops. It’s also the largest in the string of islands known as the Grenadines, with a total population of 110,000. Grand Anse Beach is world famous for its 2 mile stretch of soft white sand and calm waters, or if you’re looking for more seclusion and less crowds, visit any of La Sagesse, Bathway or Levera Beaches. If waterfalls are your thing, you’ll love the 4 falls that can be found throughout the island and beg to be jumped in. Annandale Falls is only a short drive from the capital city of St. Georges and has a paved pathway leading to the falls. It’s the perfect place for a hike and a picnic by the falls.
This next island is another half of a larger picture. Tobago is the smaller sister island to Trinidad and together they form The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Fun fact: Tobago was the filming location for the classic Walt Disney film ‘Swiss Family Robinson’. This island is a divers paradise with some of the best dive spots in all of the Caribbean and 3 underwater shipwrecks around the shores which make for some awesome marine life exploration. Despite being the smaller of the country’s islands with a population of around 62,000, visitors to Tobago will have no problem finding an abundance of hotels, bars, restaurants, shopping, golf and many more activities. Oh and of course no shortage of beautiful beaches as well.
Another overseas region of France, the island of Martinique, like Guadeloupe is part of the EU and its currency is the Euro. It is the third largest island in the region of The Lesser Antilles with a total population of 386,486 as of 2013. With little other trade and industry, tourism plays an important part in this Caribbean island’s economy and it’s estimated that 7% of the population and 16% of all businesses are in the tourism sector. There’s no shortage of exciting things to see and do around the island, like taking a trip up Mount Pelée, a 1,397 meter high volcano that marks the highest peak in all of Martinique. As a result of the historic volcanic activity in the island’s north end, there are several grey and black sand beaches to be found, but if you head down south you’ll find the fine white sand you’d expect in the Caribbean at beautiful beaches like Les Salines.
The small island of Anguilla lies directly north of Saint Martin in the Caribbean Sea. It is actually a British overseas territory and as such, visitors will notice that cars drive on the left side of the roads. The total population of the island is approximately 13,500 which drives home it’s small size compared to some of the other islands mentioned in this list. None the less, there are still countless activities and opportunities for fun in Anguilla. The beaches are truly something to behold with the Travel Channel even going so far as to call this destination “number one in the world for best overall beaches.” There’s 33 beaches in total and over 12 miles of powder white sand lining the inviting turquoise waters. And because of the lesser-known nature of Anguilla, these beaches are uncrowded and unspoiled.
Don’t confuse the number one island on our list with similar sounding countries like the Dominican Republic, the beautiful island of Dominica is a country all its own. This piece of paradise located in the southern portion of the Caribbean Sea between Martinique and Guadeloupe is dubbed as “the nature island”. One visit here will show you how it’s numerous waterfalls, springs, rivers and expansive rainforest with unique flora and fauna have earned it such a title. The island is also home to the world’s second largest hot spring, Boiling Lake which is located in Morne Trois Pitons National Park on the islands southern end. This nature-lovers paradise never ceases to amaze visitors with its endless unspoiled natural beauty.