COVID-19 (Coronavirus) may impact your travel plans. Wherever you're going, you'll find the latest advice here.

News inspiration Essential guide to 10 of the best Caribbean islands

All articles

Essential guide to 10 of the best Caribbean islands

Considering a holiday to the paradise islands of the Caribbean? Planning a Caribbean cruise and trying to decide which beaches to hit? Whether you're booking a family holiday, searching for a dream honeymoon or just wanting sand, sea and rum cocktails, here's an essential guide to 10 of the best Caribbean islands for every type of trip.

1. Jamaica

Best for: Families and couples looking for a wallet-friendly Caribbean beach holiday.

Let’s kick things off with one of the Caribbean’s most popular destinations. Jamaica receives over 1,000,000 visitors every year, many of whom arrive on a Caribbean cruise. It’s a beautiful island with forested peaks, white sand beaches and insta-friendly waterfalls. Temperatures peak between July and August at around 32°C, although it rarely drops below 30°C all year-round, and during the so-called rainy season (October to November) the short bursts of rainfall come as a welcome relief. Most of Jamaica’s five-star hotels can be found on the north and west coast, but there are plenty of cheap hotels in Jamaica’s capital, Kingston. Don’t set foot on the island before checking out guide to the nine best things to do in Jamaica.

Where is Jamaica? Jamaica is part of Greater Antilles. It’s located in the north-western Caribbean sea, 145km south of Cuba.

How do I get there? Virgin Atlantic offers direct flights, but many airlines fly to the island via Madrid.

Stay and save: The Oasis Resort

Stay and splurge: Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort

Find cheap flights to Jamaica


2. Barbados

Best for: Everyone, really. The biggest visitor group is families and couples, although in recent years it’s become a popular destination for groups of friends and extended family.

This fabulous island is a top year-round destination with a fascinating history to boot. Barbados has the world’s third oldest parliament, and it’s one of the most popular destinations when it comes to Caribbean holidays. The temperature stays between 28°C and 32°C throughout the year, and there’s a wide range of hotels for you to choose from, including some of the best all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean, as well as budget backpacker hostels. The best (and most original) way to see Barbados is to hop on the Bajan Rum Bus for a tour of the island’s rum shops. Want to take the Caribbean back home with you once the holiday’s over? Sign up for a cookery lesson and learn how to make mouth-watering Bajan fishcakes. Think Barbados might be out of your holiday budget? Think again – we’ve got 10 sensible suggestions for making a holiday in Barbados more affordable than you might have thought even possible.

Where is Barbados? Located 100km east of the Windward Islands, Barbados is the easternmost Caribbean island.

How do I get there? Virgin Atlantic and British Airways are just two of the airlines which offer direct flights to Barbados from the UK.

Stay and save: Sea-U guesthouse

Stay and splurge: Tamarind by Elegant Hotels

Find cheap flights to Barbados


3. Aruba

Best for: Families and couples, but adventurous solo travellers will love it too.

New flight routes – including one from Thomson Airways – are making Aruba more accessible for British holidaymakers. The most luxurious hotels in Aruba are in the well-developed north, but there are plenty of cheap boutique hotels elsewhere on the island. There are no shortage of breathtaking beaches, but the most stunning swathes of sand are located on the western coast, where the water is clear and shallow. Baby Beach, a wide crescent of powdery white sand, is not to be missed. The eastern side of the island is more rugged and the seas are a touch rougher, making it ideal for water sports fans. But this is also where you’ll find Arikok National Park, a cactus and lizard-filled paradise popular with cyclists and hikers. The hottest weather comes between May and October, with temperatures tipping 33°C, but even if you love the heat, you may not appreciate the super-stuffy humidity at this time of year. The best time to visit Aruba is February or March, when the weather is hot, but rainfall is at its lowest. Most importantly, Aruba is outside of the hurricane belt, so it’s a great holiday option any time of the year.

Where is Aruba? Aruba is one of the Lesser Antilles islands, located in the
Southern Caribbean Sea.

How do I get there? Thomson Airways fly direct to Aruba, and KLM fly there via Amsterdam.

Stay and save: Boardwalk Aruba

Stay and splurge: The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba

Find cheap flights to Aruba


Essential guide to Caribbean, Aruba beaches

4. Saint Lucia

Best for: Family beach holidays and romantic island-hopping.

A lush, volcanic island filled with sugarcane plantations and fringed with stunning beaches, Saint Lucia is the Caribbean’s undisputed gem. The island’s Piton mountains attract hikers from all over the world – take a dip in one of the (admittedly slightly stinky) sulphur springs to soothe away any aches and pains. Castries, a bustling city packed with colourful markets, is the capital. The hotels are dotted all over the island, but Saint Lucia’s most luxurious resorts are mostly in the southern end. The island is hottest between May and Oct (with highs of up to 30°C) but this is also when hurricane season hits. Hotel and flight prices are lower at this time of year if you don’t mind risking the odd short, sharp shower. But the best time to visit Saint Lucia is February to April, when the weather is much drier and still hot enough for most beach bums. St Lucia is also well connected to the other islands thanks to regular services operated by several regional Caribbean airlines, so why not opt for a spot of island hopping while you’re there? For some pre-holiday inspiration, brush up on our list of nine things to do on St. Lucia.

Where is St Lucia? Saint Lucia is located in the eastern Caribbean sea on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean.

How do I get there? Many airlines – including Virgin Atlantic and Air France – fly direct to St. Lucia from the UK, and from there it’s just a short hop to the island with one of the regional airlines.

Stay and save: Hummingbird Beach Resort

Stay and splurge: Jade Mountain Resort

Find cheap flights to St. Lucia

St Lucia

5. St. Barthelemy

Best for: Those who aren’t sticking to a strict budget with spare cash to spend.

Tiny St. Barthelemy (or St. Barts for short) covers just 21 square kilometres and has a reputation as a destination solely for the world’s beautiful (and very rich) people, but don’t be put off. The island’s 22 beaches are all public, and it’s becoming increasingly well known as a top water sports destination, whether you’re a keen diver or an adrenaline-charged kite surfer. If you’re on a budget, steer clear of Baie de St. John – this beach is where you’ll find St. Barts’ best luxury hotels – but pay a visit for the terrific people-watching. Some of the best cheap hotels on the island can be found near Lorient beach. Head to St. Barts between April and June, when the weather is driest and temperatures haven’t hit the heady highs of late summer, peaking usually at around 32 or 33°C. You’ll also need to book at least six months in advance if you visit the island during these months.

Where is St. Barts? St. Barts lies 35km southeast of St. Maarten and is just north of St. Kitts. The island is part of the French West Indies.

How do I get there? Getting there from London requires two stop offs – you’ll fly to Paris and then St Maarten with Air France, before a final flight with a regional airline.

Stay and save: Normandie Hotel

Stay and splurge: Eden Rock Resort

Find cheap flights to St. Barts

St Barts

6. St. Kitts

Best for: Couples, although many new hotels have been built with families in mind.

This West Indies paradise is an island of two halves; the west side of the island borders the Caribbean sea, and the eastern coast faces the Atlantic ocean. It’s part of a two-island nation – St. Kitts and Nevis – and it has a wonderfully laid-back vibe. Not that there isn’t plenty on offer for active types; the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the St. Kitts Scenic Railway is a great way to discover the island’s sugar cane producing history. But go now, because it appears the wider world has discovered St. Kitts and tourist numbers are on the increase.

Where is St. Kitts? St. Kitts is an island in the West Indies, in the North Atlantic Ocean.

How do I get there? Several airlines offer flights from the UK to St. Kitts, stopping in Antigua.

Stay and save: Ottley’s Plantation Inn

Stay and splurge: Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

Find cheap flights to St. Kitts

St Kitts

7. Grand Cayman

Best for: Shopaholics who don’t like paying tax on their souvenirs.

Grand Cayman is the largest of the Cayman islands. It’s known for its delicious seafood, beautiful marine life and fantastic museums, which include the Cayman Islands National Museum. Duty free shopping (there are Versace, Tiffany and Gucci boutiques) makes it popular with bargain hunters but there’s something for everyone on Grand Cayman, including flora-filled Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Park and the National’s Trusts Mastic Trail, a footpath which winds through the island’s forests.

Where is Grand Cayman? The Cayman Islands are located in the western Caribbean and are 240km south of Cuba.

How do I get there? The Cayman Islands main airport, Owen Roberts International Airport, is on Grand Cayman and flight from the UK usually go through New York City’s JFK Airport or Miami.

Stay and save: Holiday Inn Resort Grand Cayman

Stay and splurge: Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort

Find cheap flights to Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman

8. Antigua

Best for: Honeymooners and holidaymakers who love the finer things in life.

Blessed with some of the most breathtaking beaches in the Caribbean, Antigua is an island brimming with charm. Put simply, there’s no better time to visit. The historic Nelson’s Dockyard was recently made a UNESCO World Heritage site (the island’s first) and Antigua will celebrate 35 years of independence in 2017, so expect its annual carnival to be the best yet. Antigua’s also home to some of the most luxurious hotels in the Caribbean, making it easy to find a romantic honeymoon hotel with fantastic spa facilities and beach-side barbecues. The island is driest between December and April, but it’s warm and sunny throughout the year, with temperatures never really straying too far from 30°C.

Where is Antigua? Antigua is part of the Americas, lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

How do I get there? Most flights from the UK depart from London and go through New York, or via Paris and the Caribbean island of St. Maarten.

Stay and save: The all-inclusive Keyonna Beach Resort

Stay and splurge: Five-star Jumby Bay Resort

Find cheap flights to Antigua


9. Nevis

Best for: Foodies who want a quiet retreat.

St Kitt’s sister island is known as one of the Caribbean’s most relaxed destinations, with a slow pace of life which rumbles on beneath unbelievably blue skies. There’s never a bad time to visit – temperatures rarely fall below 78 °F – but time your visit to coincide with one of the regular festivals and you’ll gain a fantastic insight into the destination. Our favourite event is the annual Mango and Food Festival, which takes place in July.

Where is Nevis? It’s the sister island of St Kitts and is part of the West Indies, in the North Atlantic Ocean.

How do I get there? Passengers arriving from the UK usually arrive via Paris and the nearby island of St Maarten.

Stay and save: Oualie Beach Resort

Stay and splurge: Four Seasons Nevis

Find flights to Nevis


10. Puerto Rico

Best for: Rainforest trekking and partying ’til sunrise.

A Caribbean island which offers so much more than sun and sand, Puerto Rico has it all: award-winning art galleries, buzzing towns where the parties last until sunrise and lush rainforests to explore on foot or by jeep. Colonial towns such as Ponce are filled with historic plazas and weathered cathedrals, but to really get away from it all, head to the El Yunque rainforest or to the Arecibo Observatory (Bond hung out here in Goldeneye). The island is also a huge water sports destination, with some of the biggest action taking place around the town of Rincon on the western coast.

Where is Puerto Rico? It’s located in the north-eastern Caribbean Sea. It is an archipelago that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands including Mona, Culebra, and Vieques.

How do I get there? The easiest route is to fly via New York city.

Stay and save: Coconut Palms Inn

Stay and splurge: The Condado Plaza Hilton

Find flights to Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

Picked your perfect Caribbean getaway? Find cheap flights to your dream beach holiday ✈️👇


Want more island inspiration for a holiday of a lifetime? Check out these guides:

A guide to 20 beautiful Greek islands

From Ios to Samos, find out more about Greece’s stunning islands.

8 top Thai islands you must visit

From Phuket to Phi Phi: a beginner’s guide to some of Thailand’s most beautiful areas.

Secret Islands: 7 European islands you’ve never heard of

Move over Mallorca! Here are 7 sweet spots for an alternative island adventure.

Skyscanner is the world’s travel search engine, helping your money go further on flights, hotels and car hire.


window._pcq = window._pcq || [];
_pcq.push([‘addSubscriberToSegment’, ‘uk-news’, callbackForAddToSegment]);

function callbackForAddToSegment(response) {
if(response === -1) {
console.log(‘User is not a subscriber or has blocked notifications’);

if(response === false) {
console.log(‘Segment name provided is not valid. Maximum length of segment name can be 30 chars and it can only contain alphanumeric characters, underscore and dash.’);

if(response === true) {
console.log(‘User got added to the segment successfully. Now you may run any code you wish to execute after user gets added to segment successfully’);