If you’ve been bitten by the travel bug, your travel bucket list is undoubtedly filled with exciting destinations all over the world. But something tells us that Caribbean islands probably aren’t high on your list of priorities. Up until this year, we hadn’t thought much about exploring the Caribbean, either. Growing up in Canada, we learned to associate the Caribbean with all-inclusive resorts and vacations that offer little in terms of culture, outdoor adventures, and unique experiences.
After visiting a few Caribbean destinations over the last year, we’ve gained a newfound curiosity for this part of the world. Some places like Antigua, St Lucia, Virgin Islands, and Aruba are hotspots for carefree living and sunny beaches, but others offer opportunities to explore well beyond the all-inclusive resorts. These are just a few islands that top the list of our favourite Caribbean destinations.
Cuba is by far the most diverse and the most interesting island in the Caribbean. Travelers with a little bit of patience and a sense of adventure will find that Cuba offers myriad experiences. The island is rich in history, culture, and music, and it’s home to some beautiful valleys and national parks perfect for hiking and horseback riding. From the intriguing streets of Havana to the beautifully lush setting of the Valley of Viñales, Cuba’s variable landscape is a great playground for those looking for a different Caribbean experience.
The Dominican Republic is another destination often associated with all-inclusive resorts, but it offers much more for the curious traveler. This destination is primed for those looking for a little bit of adventure. Whether you want to hike up to the top of the highest peak in the Caribbean, admire the Cordillera Central mountain range from afar, try white-water rafting on one of the wild rivers, or swing among the treetops on a zip-line adventure, the island offers lots of excellent activities.
The Dominican Republic is also known for its steamy Latin flavor. With several clubs and dance schools in the capital and all across the island, it’s an easy place to let the balmy tropical weather and the Latin rhythm take you away with a night of dancing. The island’s capital, Santo Domingo, also offers fascinating museums, tranquil parks, historical architecture, and plenty of exciting dining options.
They don’t call Grenada the Spice Island for nothing! Grenada is one of the world’s largest exporters of spices, and it’s a fantastic Caribbean destination for foodies and spice lovers. But it’s not all about food in Grenada.
This small island also offers plenty of hiking opportunities in its wildlife-rich rainforest, a chance to see breathtaking waterfalls, and the opportunity to spend your days relaxing on over 40 public beaches. Local events abound in Grenada, and if you plan your visit at the right time, you’ll be able to take part in the most extravagant celebration on the island, Carnival.
Sometimes referred to as the secret island in the Caribbean, Dominica is an ideal destination for climbers, trekkers, nature lovers, and anyone who wants to escape the Caribbean cliché of all-inclusive resorts.
On Dominica, you’ll find plenty of lush rainforest trails to explore, volcanic peaks to climb, dramatic waterfalls to admire, and lots of marine life to spot in the Soufriere-Scotts Head Marine Reserve. Unlike many other Caribbean islands, mass tourism hasn’t yet arrived on Dominica. That’s exactly what we find so attractive about this tiny island.
Take advantage of some great Caribbean hotel deals, and start off your holiday with much-deserved rest and relaxation. Make sure you extend your stay to give yourself time to explore the country well beyond the all-inclusive resorts. We promise that you’ll be happy you did.