Which Caribbean Destination Should You Choose?

By Olivia Lyons
More than a million square miles, more than 125 major islands, countless varieties of cultural influences—how can anyone hope to get a grasp of which Caribbean destination is for them? Well, we can't describe every cranny of all that space, but we can give you a good head start. Here's our roundup of some of the most popular places to go, what each one offers, and some links to help you learn more about where you'll visit first for your base tan.

(Pictured: Aruba)
Coral rocks at Crane Beach , Barbados
Jérémie Souteyrat
Barbados
We start our quick overview of the Caribbean islands and their individual qualities in Barbados.

Crane Beach (click on any link in this slideshow to be taken to Frommer's' pages about that island), located on the southeast coast, is equipped with the picturesque white sand and palm trees that people day dream about; Prince Andrew even has a house overlooking Crane Beach. The waters are beautiful, but be cautious because the waves may be too rough for leisurely swimming. This beach and all beaches in Barbados, even the ones located in front of privately owned homes and resorts, are open to the public.

 
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Men climbing down a steep seaside cliff in Jamaica
Thornton Cohen
Jamaica
From swimming in the deep rock pools in the Somerset Falls in Port Antonio to river-rafting in Martha Brae's Rafters Village in Montego Bay; Jamaica is home to some of the best natural adventures in the world.
St. John, USVI
Neil Beer
St. John, USVI
St. John, USVI is the smallest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, but is one of the best places to chill out. Don't miss out on the opportunity to do a driving tour of the island and makes stops at beautiful beaches, shopping areas, and bars.
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Shoreline along Antigua
Anne Ackermann
Antigua
Antigua is known for its abundance of beaches and dramatic shoreline. Be sure to visit Nelson Dockyard's National Park, near English Harbour, for a historic look at the real life Pirates of the Caribbean. 
Aruba's North Coast/Aruba Marriott Resort, Palm Beach
Aruba Marriott Resort
Aruba

Located on the north coast of Aruba, the  Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino provides you with luxurious resort accommodations with a small island feel. The hotel has 6 restaurants, 1 café, 2 bars, casino, and a lot of fun outdoor and indoor activities.

 

 

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Narrow path to the Queen's Staircase in Nassau
Norihiro Haruta
Queen's Staircase
The Queen's Staircase in Nassau was built in 1793 by slaves who cut the 66 steps out of sandstone cliffs. Try out our walking tour of Historic Nassau which starts at Rawson Square and stops at this famous staircase.
 
Atlantis Paradise Island Resort
Jodi Bratch
Paradise Island
What's one of the biggest attractions in the Bahamas? The Atlantis Paradise Island. It has it all; a theme park, hotel, restaurant complex, casino, and entertainment center.
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Colorful homes on a quiet street, Harbour Island, Bahamas
E. Mccartney/Dreamstime.com
Harbour Island
Harbour Island, Bahamas is filled with colorful homes and spectacular resorts. Check out Pink Sands Beach which runs the whole length of the eastern side of the island and is country's safest place to swim. Be prepared for some "chiller" weather on Harbour Island; the average temperature is around 72°F during the winter months and 82°F duing the summer.
 
Sailboats in Nanny Cay Marina, Tortola Island in the British Virgin Islands
Anne Ackermann
Tortola, BVI
Tortola Island is the largest of the British Virgin Islands and is a top spot for sailing adventures. Enjoy outdoor excursions like sailing and snorkeling as well as some laid-back nightlife at some of the island's most popular beach bars.
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Doctor's Cave Beach, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Thornton Cohen
Montego Bay
Montego Bay, Jamaica is the most cosmopolitan of resorts and is home to some of the most luxurious hotels like the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon, Round Hill, and Tryall. 'Mo Bay' is also home to one of the best and most family friendly beaches in Jamaica; Doctor's Cave Beach (pictured above).
Castillo del Morro, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Naomi Kraus
San Juan
Castillo de San Felipe del Morro in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico sits at the entrance of San Juan Bay and is open to the public (Admission $5 adults, daily 9am-6pm). The U.S. National Park Service protected fort was built in 1540 and is considered to be a World Heritage Site by the United Nations.
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Deserted cove southside of Vieques Island
Anne Ackermann
Vieques
The beautiful Vieques Island is one of the best kept secrets in travel. The island used to serve as a U.S. Navy bombing range for more than 50 years and is now home to a protected wildlife refuge. You can find some incredible and secluded beaches that are the perfect gettaway for a savvy traveler.
Colorful huts on a beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Radovan/Dreamstime.com
Punta Cana
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic is on the easternmost tip of the island and is known for its abundance of all-inclusive resorts up and down, what is called, "The Coconut Coast." Check out the 22 resorts/hotels that we definitely recommend staying at if you plan on visiting this popular tourist area.
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Beautiful crystal waters on the shores of Slagbaai National Park on Bonaire in the Antilles
Anne Ackermann
Bonaire
This "Diver's Paradise" has over 80 dive sites that are mostly accessible by shore and house an incredible marine ecosystem. The beautiful crystal waters are what Bonaire is known for as well as the tranquil beaches which makes it the perfect destination for families.
Motorbike moving in front of an church in Old Havana, Cuba
John Lander
Havana
Check out some of Frommer's Favorite Experiences in Havana, Cuba which includes taking a stroll along the Malecón, visiting a cigar factory, and many more exciting attractions. The city is the capitol of Cuba and is on the northern coast of the island. Havana offers vibrant city life as well as many relaxing beaches.
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