Caribbean travel info, including advice for the Greater Antilles, Cuba, Jamaica and Puerto Rico, plus the lesser Antilles, Anguilla, Antigua, Dominica, Grenada
If occasional crises – hurricanes, revolutions and most recently, Haiti's devastating earthquake – have crumpled this picture postcard view, the Caribbean remains a region largely devoted to the good life.
First, some geography. The islands are divided into three broad groups. To the west are the Greater Antilles: mainly independent countries including Cuba, Jamaica and Puerto Rico. To the east is the long, curving necklace of the Lesser Antilles, which are in turn divided into the tiny Leewards (Anguilla down to Antigua) and the slightly-less-tiny Windwards (including Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia and Barbados).
If you’re simply looking to fly in and flop on a perfect beach, you’re spoilt for choice. Antigua, Anguilla, Barbuda and the Turks and Caicos Islands have some of the longest and quietest sands in the world, while St Vincent and the Grenadines have beaches of squeak-fine white silica.
If you want to actually do something on your trip, though, you have more options than you might think. Seafaring and colonial history is everywhere: you can tour Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua, visit the oldest city in the New World – Santa Domingo – in the Dominican Republic, and hike the oldest protected forest in the west at Main Ridge, Tobago. Communist Cuba is the most culturally rich island, with its mesmerising capital Havana, irrepressible rumba and salsa music, and opportunities to stay in cheap B&Bs run by ordinary Cubans – casas particulares.
Although rarely thought of as an ecotourism destination, many Caribbean islands offer great hiking and wildlife opportunities. Away from Jamaica’s all-inclusive resorts lie the cool Blue Mountains and wild Cockpit Country, and Dominica, Grenada and St Lucia all offer stunning rainforest walks. Sailing and diving are world class too – try the sheltered British Virgin Islands for sailing courses, and the Cayman Islands for epic, coral-encrusted wall dives.
Although the Caribbean is not ideally set-up (or economical) for island-hopping, various clusters of islands can be tackled this way. Mailboats still ply the waters between St Vincent and Grenada; the French creole islands around Guadeloupe are joined by hydrofoil; and ferry-linked Trinidad & Tobago make an appealing double-act. For longer itineraries, you’ll need to use inter-island ‘hopper’ planes, or transit via hub airports in Barbados, Antigua or Jamaica.
Finally, is it expensive? Well, yes – the Caribbean can loosen your wallet faster than a Carnival shimmy. But if you travel in shoulder season (late November to mid December, mid April to late May), book independent accommodation or guesthouses and research flight options carefully, you can still enjoy the Caribbean dream without an MI6 expense account.
So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Caribbean adventure today…
Blue skies, bluer waters, palm trees and cocktails... all true, but there's a lot more to the varied islands of the Caribbean. Ditch your beach towel and do something less boring
Costa Rica has 29 national parks, home to sloths, birds, amphibians, reptiles and even jaguars. Here's how to see the wildlife away from the crowds at these lesser-known national parks... More
Renowned chef Sean Kuylen and team Wanderlust took 100 readers on a culinary journey through Belize's vibrant food culture… More
Sleepy sloths, rainbow-hued birds, humpback whales and turtles barely scratch the surface of the huge array of widlife in Costa Rica. Here's all the animals you can expect to see... More
Never meet your heroes – even when they’re dead! Jamaica cashing in on the legacy of Bob Marley is one example of ‘hero travel’ gone wrong, as Paul Clammer found on a trip to the singer’s birthplace... More
From Rio’s famous Sambadrome to Notting Hill Carnival on the streets of West London, these colourful and cacophonous street parties are guaranteed to shake off the cobwebs and get you dancing... More
Tucked away in some of the most remote corners of the planet, from Ecuador to Cambodia, Australia to the Arctic - these beautiful, isolated hotels are the best way to truly get away from it all... More
Sure, you could spend your Barbados holiday on a sun-lounger – or you could tackle wild hiking trails, go rum tasting, mountain biking and snorkelling. We know which we’d prefer… More
Plan your timing wisely and your wildlife experience could be enriched by the presence of tiny (and unbelievably cute) animal offspring... More
Enjoy some of the world’s most famous and delicious cocktails in the places they were invented, and create a host of travel memories you’ll (hopefully) never forget... More
We reveal the best destinations to travel to in May, for ideal weather, natural wonders, cultural highlights, primetime wildlife watching experiences and longer-term trips... More
From bubblegum-coloured lakes and baby pink palaces to a Japanese garden covered in garishly pink moss, life always looks rosy in these pretty pink-hued attractions... More
Off the travel radar for a variety of reasons, these countries are back – and ready to reward travellers with epic landscapes, vibrant culture and crowd-free attractions. Here are their top trips... More
White sands, swaying palms and a big dose of adventure. Forget the resorts: these unique hotels reveal the Caribbean’s wilder side. Enjoy our top pick of the best Wandersleeps from Jamaica to Barbados... More
A week is never enough on the nature island, but if that is all the time you have, here is the best way to spend your time…. More
We round up the best nature documentaries can you find on Netflix, Amazon Prime, iPlayer and NowTV - so you've got more to watch once you've finished Our Planet... More
Whether you arrive at Dominica by air or sea, the island’s steep forest-covered mountain peaks, rising like green giants from the ocean, is such a jaw-dropping sight that it will take your breath away... More
Silent and hauntingly beautiful, these wrecks have washed up on some of the loveliest parts of the planet and become an integral part of the landscape - or remain hidden under the sea to this day... More
From hiking mountain peaks to scuba diving abyssal drop-offs, there are enough nature and culture-based activities here to keep you coming back for more. Here are just 10 of them… More
Exploring the world by yacht is becoming more accessible than ever before. Discover how with The Moorings yacht ownership programme… More
Wanderlust subscribers now receive a free £50 voucher valid on trips from a great selection of top tour operators
And the best bit is, this isn't a one-off offer, you get one every time you renew as well!
The £50 discount can be redeemed against one trip booking with one of our tour operator partners, by the expiry date printed on the voucher. The £50 can even be redeemed on top of any discounts our partners are already offering, ensuring Wanderlust subscribers get the best deal possible.
Simply quote your unique voucher code when booking to claim the discount. This offer is only available to Wanderlust subscribers.
UK subscribers automatically receive the voucher each year. Overseas subscribers receive it upon request.
From: £2570.00More …
From: £1440.00More …
Sign up today for free and be the first to get notified of new articles, new competitions, new events and more!