The powder white sands and azure waters of the Caribbean are a firm favourite amongst all cruisers, which is why the Port of Miami is the busiest cruise terminal in the world!
But just what are our Top 5 Caribbean Islands? Read on to find out…
1) St. Kitts – Picked by Dan
Originally named after Christopher Columbus, St. Kitts is filled with fascinating wildlife that lives in the dense tropical jungle that surrounds volcano Mt. Liamuiga. The best place to start discovering the animals is at Brimstone Hill Fortress and National Park, where you’ll find an old military fort, moat and all! The park is vast, and the paths are few and far between, so take care when you’re exploring! Be sure to take a camera too, because on a clear day you can see right out to Nevis, Montserrat, Saba, and more.
Other great photography points include Black Rocks (in the North), where the volcanic deposits have formed all sorts of incredible shapes, and Bloody Point, which allows for breath-taking views of Mount Liamuiga. Those that are keen in ghost stories might like to visit the allegedly haunted Eden Brown Estate, which was once a sugar plantation.
The water surrounding St. Kitts is teeming with marine life, including sting rays, Hawksbill turtles, and reef sharks. Diving, then, is a treat in the warm waters in summer, and sites like Booby Shoals and Nag’s Head are the best for swimming with fish! Out of the water, there are plenty of safari opportunities to explore the rainforest and mountain valley, on an adventure out of this world.
2) Antigua – Picked by Sam
Island of Beaches, Antigua boasts one for every day of the year, and you’ll see why they’re something to boast about when you arrive. Whether it’s pristine white sands, pink seashells, palm trees in the wind, or warm clear sea, each and every one is a shore to fall in love with. With so many beaches, the island has its fair share of pirate stories, washed up soldiers, and a whole number of adventurers. Join the ranks by first exploring the Historic Nelson’s Dockyard. Once a repair harbour for damaged battleships, the dockyard is now home to incredible yachts and ocean liners, alongside a great many restaurants, shops, galleries and more!
There are plenty of other highlights, where you can keep your toes dry. Be sure to visit the 18th century military fort at the top of Shirley Heights, with panoramas over English Harbour, as well as Devil’s Bridge (out towards Long Bay) which is proud of particularly impressive views at sunset. The Museum of Antigua and Barbuda gives you a little taste of the island’s past, with icons from the island’s Arawak origins, right up to living cricket legends memorabilia.
3) Barbados – Picked by Beccy
Barbados is alive with people and there’s so much to do and see that you’ll almost always run out of time. If you’re visiting for the sun and the sea, Accra Beach is local’s favourite. It’s that picture-perfect crescent with the aqua-marine blue splashing up one shore. Hidden away for you to discover is Miami Beach, small, intimate, and quiet on weekdays, this sandy gem is your perfect South Caribbean beach escape.
George Washington’s House, the Parliament Buildings, and the Kensington Oval cricket grounds are all popular tourist attractions. The first president’s house was the only place he visited outside of the U.S, a perfectly restored heritage site. The Parliament buildings are 19th century buildings, complete with a museum about Barbados’ democracy, and the Kengsington Oval grounds was the location of the 2007 Cricket World Cup, where you can still enjoy matches today.
Barbados’ Speightstown is a charming battered little colonial town on the West Coast well worth exploring, with incredible ocean views and a real rustic feel. Harrison’s Cave is an extra-ordinary show-cave, a great place to find green monkeys and bearded fig-trees (from which Barbados gets its name), and what’s a trip to the Caribbean without South Caribbean Rum? Discover Mount Gay Rum Distillery, where you can learn about the history of rum on the island, try your hand at mixing your own cocktails, and grab a bite to eat when it’s all over!
4) St. Maarten – Picked by Corinna
The World’s smallest terrority governed by two countries, you essentially get two perfectly-packaged cultures in just one stop when your cruise docks at St. Maarten. On the island of contrasts, both the Dutch and French sections have stubbornly retained their heritage – on the Dutch side, the capital, Philipsburg, is home to cobblestone streets and colourful, colonial-style buildings.
Renowed for being the best shopping port in the Caribbean, with over 500 duty free stores you can indulge in a spot of light-hearted haggling on its down-to-earth Front Street shopping precinct – or if upmarket boutiques and fine-dining are more your style, cross over to the French St. Martin. The north side of the island is more rural, but the sandy beaches and tranquil rocky coves provide plenty to keep you entertained.
5) Jamaica – Picked by Nicki
Considered a Caribbean jewel, Jamaica is much more than just its resorts and beaches, with vast lush green gardens right across the island, intricate cave networks to be explored, and countless waterfalls, sheer beautiful mountains, and a people that will you to smile. Music is a repeat-favourite, from the country that brought you Bob Marley, food is absolutely delicious, and even the rum that you’ll be encouraged to wash it down with is the best of its kind.
On your travels, you’re most likely to call at Montego Bay or Falmouth, both on the north side of the island. Falmouth is awash with historical sites of interest, including Falmouth Court House (built in 1815, and restored in the 1920), and St. Peter’s Anglican Church (Falmouth’s oldest fully-functioning building dating back to 1795). For a more active experience, take on Martha Brae River (dubbed Jamaica’s prettiest river) on a 3-mile raft journey, wander through the Good Hope Great House House and Estate (where you can zip-line, dune-buggy safari, or try river-tubing, and horse-and-buggy tours), and discover the Mystic Mountain rain forest adventure park (not far from Ocho Rios) with plenty of rides and experiences for kids and adults!
Montego Bay offers some of the Caribbean’s most entertaining beaches, as well as a reliable flow of food and culture festivals throughout the year! Make the most of the large duty-free shopping area in the City Centre, with upscale shopping found at Half Moon Shopping Village, arts and crafts at the Harbour Street Craft Market, and great cafes, restaurants and bars on the Hip Strip. Discover the Great Houses of Montego Bay, many of which have been impressively restored from the 18th century, including (allegedly haunted) Rose Hall Great House, Greenwood Great House, and Hampden Great House (home to a delicious rum distillery). A little further out, explore highlights like Dunn’s River Falls, Dolphin Cove, and Rocklands Bird Feeding Station and Sanctuary.
Did your favourite island make the grade? Be sure to let us know! And if you fancy taking a trip to some of these beautiful islands, don’t miss our fantastic offer of the week!