20 Most Beautiful Caribbean Islands to Put on The Bucket List

Written By: The Planet D

After spending more than a year at home, we’ve been dreaming of a Caribbean vacation. Dave and I have been lucky to visit a lot of the Caribbean Islands and to help inspire a trip south this winter, we thought we’d share the most beautiful Islands in the Caribbean to spark your wanderlust.

Beautiful Caribbean Islands to Visit This Winter

The Caribbean is our winter playground. Canadians love to jet off to the islands to enjoy white sand beaches, swaying palm trees, and balmy weather. To ignite the dreamer in you, we’re rounding up the most beautiful Caribbean Islands. Let’s get right into it, shall we?

1. St. Lucia

beautiful caribbean islands st lucia

St. Lucia is arguably the most beautiful of all Caribbean Islands with its two UNESCO World Heritage designated Pitons standing proud. The Gros and Petit Pitons are two mountainous volcanic plugs that definitely contribute to the island’s beauty. With white sandy beaches, dense jungles, and private villas dotting the coast, this is our number one choice for travel to the Caribbean for honeymooners and couples.

When looking for a private villa in St. Lucia check out these two magnificent resorts that we stayed at. Calabash Cove is a luxury boutique all-inclusive resort and spa that caters to adults only. We loved our stay here and it had everything we could hope for in a romantic vacation. Stonefield Villas Resort has incredible views of the Petit Piton. It is locally owned and operated and was one of the first resorts opened near Soufriere.

2. Jamaica

best caribbean islands jamaica

There is no doubt that Jamaica is our favorite Caribbean Island. As much as we wanted to put it at the top of the most beautiful Caribbean Islands, it comes a close second.

The beaches of Jamaica though, are second to none with the incredible 7-mile Beach in Negril to the secluded Treasure Beach in the South and the famous beaches of Montego Bay. Jamaica has it all – dense jungles, rocky sea cliffs, tiered waterfalls, and white sand. Read: 33 of the Best Things to do in Jamaica

Where to Stay in Jamaica

best caribbean islands to vacation jamaica

We have stayed all over the island of Jamaica. These are a few of our favorite resorts in Jamaica. Also check out these: Jamaica Travel Tips

3. Exuma Cays Bahamas

Islands in Exuma Cays Bahamas

When flying over the Exumas from Nassau in the Bahamas, our jaws dropped as the beautiful scene transpired below. The Exuma Cays of the Bahamas consists of 365 islands and atolls dotting gin blue waters. Spanning 176 miles of crystal clear waters. While technically in the Atlantic, The Exumas are often lumped in with the Caribbean Islands and we couldn’t do this list without including our favorite island paradise.

The Exumas have some of the best animal encounters in the Caribbean where you can swim with sharks, meet the resident pigs, and at Major Cay and snorkel in the surreal Thunderball Grotto that feels like its own colorful fishbowl. If you are looking for a great place to stay, check out Embrace Resorts on Staniel Cay. It is locally owned and operated and is a wonderful couple’s escape in the heart of the Exumas.

4. Cayman Islands

best caribbean islands starfish in clear waters of Grand Cayman

The Cayman Islands are one of the best places in the Caribbean Islands to go scuba diving. They are also one of the most beautiful Caribbean Islands that we’ve seen. With its own Seven Mile Beach, we could walk for days on its white sand leading out to crystal clear turquoise waters.

The Cayman Islands are famous for their clear waters. The deep drop wall dives, Cayman Trench allow for deep diving in crystal clear water and endless visibility. We stayed in the Ritz Grand Cayman on Seven Mile Beach and it was heavenly. If there is one place to splurge on a Caribbean vacation, it is at the Cayman Islands.

5. Cozumel

Sitting on the beach in Cozumel bests caribbean islands
The diving is great in Cozumel.

One of our favorite Caribbean destinations is Mexico, and the Island of Cozumel is located just off the coast in the Caribbean Sea. Cozumel is famous for its scuba diving and nowhere compares to diving here on Palancar Reef.

It’s the second-largest coral reef in the world! With turquoise water, and powdery white sand world-class diving, it should be at the top of your Mexican vacation. One of the best things to do is to head to another paradise island, Isla Ballestas to swim in its clear blue waters and to book a tour to see whale sharks migrating through. Read more: Swimming with Whale Sharks Cancun – A Massive Adventure

6. Cuba

best caribbean islands for vacation cuba

Havana is arguably the most beautiful city in the Caribbean. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is filled with classic cars lining the streets of pastel buildings. With idyllic beaches, historic cities, and lush forests, it has long been at the top of many a Canadian vacation destination.

While Cuba has had its share of difficulties, it is a beautiful island to visit and the people are the friendliest in the Caribbean. Book a stay at a Casa Particular, rent a motorcycle and travel the island independently and you’ll fall in love with Cuba.

7. Curacao

best caribbean islands for vacations Curacao Sign in the Caribbean

We had the opportunity to visit the beautiful island of Curacao on a Caribbean cruise. Its colorful waterfront completely blew us away. Part of the ABC Islands (including Aruba and Bonaire) Curaçao is a Dutch colony in the Lesser Antilles. It is known as the Amsterdam of the Caribbean, and for good reason.

The colonial architecture lines the waterfront and Curacao also houses beautiful beaches and quiet coves. The trade winds keep this Caribbean island a pleasant temperature year-round and is located outside the hurricane belt, there is not a bad time to visit Curacao. Read more: Best Caribbean Islands for Watersports

8. St. Kitts

beset caribbean islands to vacation st kitts

St. Kitts was an island that we had never heard of before visiting. Once we did, we knew that this was a shining star of the Caribbean Islands. Hiking to the top of the volcano Mt. Liamuiga offers views of the thick rainforest that dominates the mountainous island. Or take a zipline adventure to see the green jungle from above.

With waterfalls, long sandy beaches, and a cloud forest St. Kitts is definitely an island to put on your Caribbean Bucket List. But what is the best thing to do in St. Kitts? Limin’ of course. (it’s the endearing term to relax.) And here’s a fun fact, this island has monkeys!

9. Nevis

best Caribbean Islands of Nevis is Beautiful

Located right next door to St. Kitts, Nevis is a volcanic island that is considered a twin island to St. Kitts. With golden sand beaches, old plantations, and old-fashioned rustic charm, the Caribbean Island of Nevis is quickly growing to the top of many people’s favorite Caribbean islands.

The crystal clear waters are perfect for snorkeling and like St. Kitts, it too has a population of African Green Vervet Monkeys. Check out 13 Unique Beaches To Visit in Your Lifetime

10. Aruba

beautiful Caribbean Islands to visit Aruba

Aruba is another one of the ABC Islands of the Caribbean. Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao are the three westernmost islands of the Leeward Antilles in the South Caribbean. Like Curacao, it is located outside the hurricane belt, has the lovely trade winds to keep temperatures constant, and houses the classic white sand beaches and turquoise waters of the Caribbean islands. There are also some pretty cool landscapes to explore.

Aruba is known for its powdery soft sand beaches and since all beaches in Aruba are public, you are free to go beach hopping to explore the beauty for yourself. And like Curacao, Aruba has pastel Dutch colonial architecture that is great for strolling through pretty streets while shopping. Read next: Best Unique Cruises on Seven Continents

11. Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic best Caribbean islands to visit right now

Dave and I took our honeymoon in the Dominican Republic and it has always had an affection for this beautiful island. The beaches of the Dominican Republic are postcard-perfect with luxury resorts lining the coasts of Punta Cana, Puerto Plata, and La Romana.

The mountainous interior makes it an adventure traveler’s dream, while the colonial architecture of Santo Domingo will attract history buffs. Canadians love traveling to the Dominican Republic. Read more: What My Kids Learned from Living in the Dominican Republic

12. Puerto Rico

best caribbean islands to visit puerto rico

Puerto Rico is a great Caribbean Island to visit because Americans don’t even need a passport. This tropical paradise has waterfalls and rainforests, beaches, and a gorgeous heritage center. Puerto Rico may be a part of America, but it feels very much like an international destination.

It is made up of Spanish, African, and Taino (one of the largest indigenous people of the Caribbean Islands) With festivals, outdoor markets, lively nightlife, and unique cuisine (oh, and let’s not forget Rum, lots of rum) Puerto Rico should be put at the top of your Caribbean travel list right now. Read More: 11 Reasons to Visit Puerto Rico This Year

13. Utila, Honduras

best caribbean islands utila

Utila is located off the coast of Honduras and was the island where we took our divemasters course many years ago. Utila is certainly one of the most beautiful places to visit in Honduras with secluded beaches and great cheap diving. We swam with whale sharks and explored its extensive underwater world while enjoying seafood on the beach or lazing on a hammock while watching the sunset. Check out Honduras Travel Guide

14. Caye Caulker, Belize

best islands in the caribbean Cay Caulker in Belize

Caye Caulker is an incredible laid-back island in Belize. We chilled on Cay Caulker marveling at the beautiful sandy island. The neighboring island of Ambergris Caye may be more popular, but we loved the laid-back vibe of Caye Caulker. It has some of the best Snorkeling and diving in the Caribbean with Shark Ray Alley located just off its coast.

What we loved the most about Caye Caulker is that there are no cars on the island and we walked through the sandy streets chillaxing on this island paradise. Read more: 16 Amazing Things to Do in Belize One of the coolest things we did in Belize was staying at Deb and Dave’s Resort. Yes, we found a couple with our name! they were so nice, they let us store our dive gear there while we traveled around for a couple of weeks!

15. Turks and Caicos

best caribbean islands turks and caicos

Turks and Caicos consist of 30 islands and cays and boy are they beautiful! Only 8 are inhabited with Providenciales being the main tourist hub. Take in the history of Grand Turk and Salt Cay and head to Middle Caicos to explore the biggest cave network in the Caribbean Islands.

Have you guessed that Turks and Caicos are surrounded by turquoise waters and sandy beaches? Yes, this is a theme of all Caribbean Islands, and that is what makes the Caribbean such an incredible vacation destination. Grand Turk is one of the best diving destinations in the Caribbean with a wall just a short boat ride offshore. The beaches of Turks and Caicos were created by coral breaks creating beaches of white sands, pink sands, and peach hues.

16. Barbados

best Islands in the Caribbean barbados

Barbados is probably at the top of most people’s Caribbean island dream list. It is the most easterly of all Caribbean Islands. In fact, Barbados isn’t technically even in the Caribbean, it’s located entirely in the Atlantic Ocean. Located in the Lesser Antilles, Barbados has soft sand lining the turquoise waters.

With a tropical garden, underground caves, and a British heritage there is something for everyone in Barbados. Plus, Barbados is one of the few Caribbean islands that has monkeys! The others are St Kitts, Nevis, Saint Martin, and Barbados.

17. Grenada

best islands in the caribbean grenada

We haven’t had the chance to visit Grenada ourselves, but our friend Parm has extensively traveled around and written about it for us. Grenada isn’t as well-traveled as other Caribbean Islands, so be the first of your friends to check it out. With white sandy beaches, colonial cities, plantations, chocolate, and clear waters, there are so many things to do in Grenada you’ll never want to leave. Read more: 20 of the Best Things to do in Grenada

Book this highly rated Barbados Island tour – where you’ll drive through the natural beauty of the Scotland District of Barbados, stop at St. John’s Paris for panoramic views, and the capital city of Bridgetown, to explore the rich history of Barbados at Bridgetown’s Garrison, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

18. St. Maarten

best caribbean islands st marteen

Speaking of Saint Martin, Sint Maarten is made up of two territories. One French and one dutch. St. Maarten is the Caribbean Island that is famous for airplanes landing extremely close to beachgoers. It’s known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean there are also a lot of adventures to be had.

From the world’s steepest zip line to climbing Pic du Paradis Mountain there is a lot more to do than just relaxing on its pristine beaches. When visiting St. Maarten you can also go Caribbean island hopping on day trips to nearby Aguilla, Saba, or St. Barths.

19. U.S. Virgin Islands

best caribbean islands us virgin islands

I am so jealous that the United States has its own tropical islands. Canada was once trying to get a tropical island where we could easily escape our winters, but the country wouldn’t let Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau purchase it. So alas, we look on with envy to our neighbors to the south.

The US Virgin Islands consist of St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas and they are known to have some of the world’s most stunning beaches, with crystal clear waters and soft white sand. The islands are surrounded by lush green hills and mountains, offering a beautiful contrast to the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.

This island is so appealing to Americans because you do not need a passport to visit it if you are an American citizen. Lucky you!

20. British Virgin Islands

beatufiul caribbean islands british virgin islands jost van dyke

The British Virgin Islands have some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. White sand, turquoise waters, and lush greenery make for a stunning natural setting. They are known for their excellent sailing and boating opportunities. The calm waters and steady trade winds make for ideal conditions, and there are many marinas and yacht clubs to cater to boaters.

With over 60 islands and cays, which makes island hopping is a popular activity. Each island has its own character and charm, from the quiet and secluded Jost Van Dyke to the lively and cosmopolitan Tortola.

It is also committed to eco-tourism, with a focus on sustainable development and preserving the natural environment. Visitors can participate in activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and visiting nature reserves and national parks.

best caribbean islands st lucia

There are so many more Caribbean Islands to visit. It’s impossible to round them all up in one post. While we haven’t been to all of them yet, we look forward to exploring more and adding them to our list as we check off more great Caribbean Islands to visit.

best caribbean islands map

Part of the fun of travel is getting to go places you haven’t been to yet. What Caribbean Island should we visit next?

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO

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Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

27 thoughts on “20 Most Beautiful Caribbean Islands to Put on The Bucket List”

  1. Great places, indeed! It looks like paradise to me. My kids and I love nature. So I hope we will experience exploring great places in the Caribbean islands.

  2. Have you ever been to Dominica? Not the Dominican Republic but Dominica. It rivals St. Lucia in natural beauty and until you have visited all Caribbean Islands you can’t declare just one as the most beautiful.

  3. That’s a shame they left out the French Polynesia islands I’ve been there many years ago beautiful place and the people are great. Now I want to go to the Caribbean Islands they look fabulous and the water crystal clear Wow

    • The best part of going to the French Polynesia islands you have to go through Tahiti first then catch a small puddle jump er to Bora Bora and the other islands there you can stay for 3 months with out a visa

  4. Some wonderful choices. We will not agree on all the choices and their order in this article, but in general, the Caribbean is a most beautiful location.
    The concept of beauty differs from one person’s perspective to another.

    • St. Lucia. Simply BEAUTIFUL. The MOST AMAZING Caribbean island in the world. With two distinguished NOBEL LAUREATES,, BEST CARIBBEAN CUISINE,, MOST AWESOME and BEAUTIFUL TOURIST ATTRACTIONS. What more can I say!!!!

      • I’ve been to st Lucia for my nieces’s wedding. The beach was not good (I was told we were on the Atlantic side that’s why), some of the people were NOT friendly, and the food was basic. Their only attraction were the Pitons which was just ok. I have no idea why they are at the top of your list. Sorry, but I couldn’t wait to leave.

      • Sorry you had a bad time in St. Lucia, there are so many things to do there and it truly is a beautiful island. That is why we encourage people to get off the resort. Sometimes and entire experience can be based on staying at the wrong resort. Hopefully your next Caribbean Island vacation goes better.

  5. When it comes to beautification st kitts is the number one in the caribbean yes it might be small but look how it has developed over the pass fifteen years.i think you have made a mistake by giving st lucia the number one spot I’ve been to st lucia and the capital is still old that needs lots of work that’s my opinion

  6. I’m surprised that Saint Vincent and the grenadines was not on your list. It is comprised of 32 islands. It is also where One of the installment of Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed, as well as my native home home. St. Vincent also has some amazing black sandy beaches.

  7. Sorry, but we just spent 7 days in Saba, and it has to be the most awe-inspiring island in the Caribbean!! I agree with many of your choices, but we have never been anywhere like Saba.

  8. For your information Trinidad and Tobago has monkeys as well they are the Red Howler monkey, the
    White-fronted capuchin monkey and the Tufted capuchin monkey also Tobago’s beautiful Forest Reserve which was legally established in 1776 but started since 1774 is one of the oldest protected areas in the world. We have 470 species of birds where there are only 270 species in the whole of the rest of the Caribbean and Trinidad has the Ocelot is a wild Spotted cat also found in Southern North America (Texas), Central America, Central and Northern South America, Trinidad is the only known Caribbean island that they are found in.
    Please do not give readers false information. We have animals in Trinidad and Tobago that cannot be found anywhere else in the Caribbean.
    Thank you