It can’t be denied that the Caribbean is one of Earths true Paradises – Fabulous Beaches, Incredible Cuisine, some of the worlds most luxurious hotels, some of the friendliest people to be found anywhere on the planet.
If you then add to that, wall to wall sunshine and its famous laid back style, there are few places on earth better for a relaxing beach holiday.
But whilst all of this is undoubtedly a given, deciding which of these fabulous Islands to visit can be a little trickier.
Here are a few of the most popular Caribbean Islands to give serious consideration to.
It has been said many times that Antigua is home to some of the Caribbean’s best beaches, Half Moon Bay, Ffryes Bay and Dickinsons to name just a few, in fact, ask any local and they will tell you Antigua is famed as the Island of 365 beaches one for each day of the year! True or not there is no denying Antigua is simply beautiful. The island is not just famous for its palm fringed shoreline, it also has a fascinating history as it was once the UKs Caribbean naval base. A visit to English Harbour is a must. Here you will be able to explore 18th and 19th century naval buildings and artefacts, including the dockyard once commanded by Admiral Horatio Nelson.
In early August Antigua enjoys a colourful carnival which is an 11 day celebration of the Island. But you don’t have to wait for carnival to enjoy a taste of calypso, just head to Shirley Heights on a Sunday where you will find a good mix of locals and visitors alike dancing to the local steel and reggae bands whilst eating delicious fresh local cuisine, and supping the famous Shirley Heights rum cocktails.
Fly to : St Johns Antigua
Flying Time : 8 hours 30 minutes
Time Difference : GMT – 5 hours
Barbados is the most well known of the Caribbean Islands, as well as being the most Easterly. It is an Island of two halves, it’s Eastern Coast is more rugged and wild and is shaped by the Atlantic waves, and in some respects resembles a dramatic Cornish coastline rather than a typical Caribbean paradise. But head along the famous West coast to be welcomed by a different vibe, where you will find pretty sheltered coves and bays sloping gently into the clear warm waters of the Caribbean Sea.
The Island, home to many of the glitterati, birthplace of Rhianna and many famous cricketing legends there is much to explore. Wherever you choose on this Island you will find many dining hotspots, as Barbados is seen as the culinary capital of the Caribbean, it is considered by many as a foodie “hotspot”. On this Island you could be rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous at fine dining restaurants such as Lone Star nicknamed The Ivy of the Caribbean by the late Michael Winner, The Cliff a World renowned restaurant and The Tides at Holetown in a superb location on the West Coast, or kick off your shoes and be eating fresh lobster or crab at an old rum shack directly on one of the many beautiful beaches.
Fly to : Bridgetown, Barbados
Flying Time : 8 Hours 30 minutes
Time difference : GMT – 4 hours
If Barbados is the Caribbean’s food capital, then St Lucia is definitely renowned for its natural beauty. The islands lush rainforests are a protected habitat for numerous bird species and wildlife. Just west of the rainforest is La Soufriere where you will find the worlds only drive-in volcano, where you can spend time visiting the geothermal vents, and mud baths. You will also find here the Pitons a towering pair of Unesco listed volcanic mountains. On the coast discover numerous palm fringed white Caribbean beaches with clear warm seas for which the island is so famous for. A scuba trip beneath the seas will reveal a world rich in marine life, colourful coral and historic shipwrecks.
Not to be missed is the Friday night street party at GrosIslet. Order a rum cocktail and enjoy the freshest of seafood as steel bands play upbeat calypso music.
Getting to St Lucia : Hewanorra Airport Vieux Fort or George F.L. Charles Airport in Castries
Flying Time : 8 Hours 49 Minutes
Time Difference : GMT – -5 hours
Grenada known as the Spice Island due to its fertile landscape, provides the perfect growing conditions for tropical fruit, flowers and spices. It’s hillsides are dotted with plantations of nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Grenada’s mountainous interior offers many hiking opportunities through its unique tropical ecosystems.
On the West Coast you will find the capital of St George which perfectly captures the islands cultural and historical influences, lush hillsides, quaint streets and pretty houses and a colourful harbour, make up this picturesque old town.
To the south of St George, Is Grand Anse Beach one of not only Grenada’s famous beaches but one of the best beaches in the Caribbean. This famous stretch of soft, white sand slopes gently into the warm Caribbean Sea. Take a dip then head to one of the many beach bars lining the beach for an ice cold cocktail.
Not to be missed – for a diving experience with a difference, head beneath the waves to explore the Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park. Located just off Grenada’s west coast this protected marine area is home to 65 sculptures of human figures. If you prefer to stay above the waves you can view the Park from the deck of a glass bottomed boat.
Getting to Grenada : Fly to St George’s Grenada
Flying Time : 10 hours 45 minutes
Time Difference : GMT – 5 Hours
TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS
The 40 Islands that make up Turks and Caicos archipelago lie like a string of pearls across the turquoise ocean off of Cuba’s east coast, the islands sheltered cays were once used as hideouts for pirates lying in wait for the Spanish Galleons loaded with treasure. Today, only 8 of the 49 islands are inhabited.
With miles of pure white sandy beaches it is no surprise that the Turks and Caicos Islands are considered some of the best for a luxury Caribbean beach break. The islands vast reef system is home to countless species of tropical fish and has an array of colourful coral. If you are a fan of scuba diving and snorkelling, there is a pristine underwater world waiting to be explored.
Don’t miss an unusual Caribbean adventure, time your visit between January and April, and you might get to see the humpback whales. During their annual migration thousands of these gentle giants journey through the underwater plateaus of the Turks Banks and a short boat ride could bring you up right alongside them.
Getting to Turks and Caicos : Fly to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos (via United States)
Flying Time : 8 hours 30 minutes (excluding connection time)
Time Difference : GMT -4
A Trip to Paradise Tip
Don’t forget that whilst planning your Caribbean Trip from the Uk, that if your flight is delayed you could be entitled to up to £510 in flight delay compensation, a full refund or even both. Ensure you use a credible provider such as Airhelp if you are travelling via Europe.