When most people imagine their ultimate beach holiday destination, they picture turquoise water, white-sand beaches and sunny, hot weather. Fortunately, the Caribbean has all three of these elements in spades - making it the most popular destination for a beach break.
Since numerous countries and thousands of islands make up the Caribbean, you'll have a whole lot of choice when it comes to picking your holiday destination. Jamaica, Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and Barbados are some of the most popular spots, especially for romantic getaways and honeymoons.
But each destination has its own distinct flavour, so why not do a bit of island hopping to get a better feel for the area? A Caribbean holiday is perfect for any kind of trip - whether that means relaxing by the beach or exploring historic towns. The best news? Even if you're on a budget, a Caribbean holiday is well within your reach.
With 13 official Caribbean countries and a handful of overseas territories and dependent nations, there's a lot of variety when it comes to picking your Caribbean holiday destination. But this variety is a good thing, as each country and each island have their own character and unique experiences.
Depending on whether you're travelling as a couple, solo or as a family, some Caribbean destinations may be more suitable than others. If you have no idea where to begin, here are some of the top holiday destinations in the Caribbean.
The largest of the Caribbean islands, Cuba is renowned for its historic, vibrant cities and towns, lovely beaches and, of course, those colourful vintage cars! This fascinating island is like no other; scratch beneath the surface and you'll find a place full of contradictions and a rich culture.
Havana, the capital, is a popular place to stay; this is where you'll see crumbling, pastel-coloured mansions and experience some of the best music and nightlife on the island. For a beach escape filled with great resorts and lots of amenities, head to tropical Varadero. If you'd like to hit the beach but get off the beaten track, Guardalavaca and Cayo Coco are quieter options.
The Dominican Republic is an incredible holiday destination, filled with local history, stunning beaches and opportunities to connect with nature. While many travellers head straight to Punta Cana for its beaches, golf courses and wealth of relaxing resorts, this country has so much more to offer.
Santo Domingo, its capital, is a must-see for understanding more about the Dominican Republic's past and for its wonderfully preserved historic buildings. Outside of the cities, you can find national parks filled with dense forests and fascinating caves. From January to March, you can admire the migrating humpback whales that make their way past the Dominican Republic every year.
An island filled with jaw-dropping natural beauty, Jamaica may be most known as a destination for romantic trips and honeymoons, but it also happens to be a great choice for families. Firmly on the tourist trail, you can find great deals for package holidays and all-inclusive stays in Jamaica.
If the beach is your number-one priority, base yourself in Negril, Montego Bay, Runaway Bay or Treasure Beach. Both Negril and Ocho Rios are considered to be excellent spots for families in Jamaica. To fully immerse yourself in the island's culture and history, don't miss out on a trip to vibrant Kingston, the island's capital city.
Perhaps most famous for its twin-peaked Pitons, Saint Lucia is fast becoming one of the most popular holiday destinations in the Caribbean. Home to spotless beaches, abundant wildlife and lively resort areas, this small island offers a lot of variety to holidaymakers visiting its shores.
The northern part of the island - home to the capital, Castries - is great for lovely beaches, buzzing nightlife and a wide range of activities. This is the place to be for couples and families. However, if you're looking for something quieter and more luxurious, the southern side is known for its exclusive resorts and, of course, the Pitons.
The Bahamas are made up of thousands of islands, cays and islets, making it the ultimate island paradise in the Caribbean. While you can find the densest populations in Nassau on the island of New Providence as well as Grand Bahama island, there are many attractions scattered across the entire archipelago.
That includes swimming with pigs at Big Major Cay, enjoying sublime nature at Blue Holes National Park on Andros and snorkelling among the Abacos. While you can find accommodation scattered across the Bahamas, Nassau, Grand Bahama, Andros and Eleuthera are some of the more popular areas to stay in.
Grenada may not be one of the most well-known Caribbean holiday destinations, but this happens to be this island nation's charm. Consisting of a main island and some smaller surrounding ones, most tourists stick to Grenada itself. Although small, this island is packed with beautiful places and memorable things to do.
Grand Anse Bay is one of the most popular areas to stay in, thanks to its resorts and seriously stunning beaches. The capital, St George's, has a number of great hotels too and you can find other top beaches at Morne Rouge Bay. If you're keen on diving and snorkelling, don't miss out on Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park!
An extremely popular destination for UK holidaymakers, a Barbados getaway never disappoints! The island features hot weather, gorgeous beaches and an infectious party vibe - what's not to like? Plus, thanks to its smaller size, you can see a lot of the island while you're on holiday there.
The southern and western coasts of Barbados are considered the best places to stay, where St Lawrence Gap, Crane Beach and Bridgetown are all popular choices. No matter what you do, make Oistins Fish Fry - a regular Friday night event featuring street food and entertainment - a part of your itinerary!
As the name suggests, Antigua and Barbuda are two islands, and they're renowned for their picturesque beaches. While most travellers base themselves in Antigua, which has more tourist infrastructure, Barbuda is a short boat ride or even shorter domestic flight away. Barbuda is home to spectacular nature and some of the best beaches in the whole country.
Colourful St John's is the capital city and it's a great spot to get acquainted with the islands and their history. Dickenson Bay, Jolly Harbour and English Harbour are some of the popular choices for a beachside holiday.
Know you want to visit the Caribbean but not quite sure how you'd like to explore or when is the best time to travel there? Don't fret - we've got you sorted! There are many great ways to see the Caribbean, from ferries and domestic flights to luxurious cruises and tours.
Although you can find great weather in the Caribbean for much of the year, there are a few factors to consider when you're timing your holiday out there. Read on to discover the best time to visit the Caribbean.
Although there is a bit of variation between islands, the months between December and April are generally considered to be the region's peak tourism season. You can expect the weather to be warm, not too humid and accompanied by very little rainfall. Thanks to this good weather, you can expect major Caribbean destinations to be busy during these months; book an early bird deal to avoid high prices. As an extra bonus, these months are also known to be the best for whale watching.
June to November is the Caribbean's official hurricane season, when you can expect moderate to heavy rainfall, humidity and tropical storms. You may want to avoid travelling to the region at this time if good weather is your number-one priority!
If you'd like to see multiple Caribbean destinations and love travelling in style, then a Caribbean cruise may be your perfect holiday choice!
Most cruises to the Caribbean depart from USA, so you may have to factor in a flight to Florida in order to join your ship. Spend a week or two cruising the region and then catch another flight back to Europe.
By choosing a cruise holiday, you'll get to explore a different Caribbean destination on almost every day of your trip. While each cruise line offers their own cruising itinerary, the Bahamas, Jamaica and the Virgin Islands are all popular stopping-off points.
And, if you choose a cruise to the western parts of the Caribbean, you can expect ports to include the Mexican coast, Costa Rica or Panama. Shore excursions are likely to feature the Mayan ruins at Tulum, coffee plantations in Costa Rica or the famous canal zone in Panama.
Just because you're on a budget, that doesn't mean that you'll miss out on what the Caribbean can offer. There are a number of affordable, budget-friendly holiday destinations in the Caribbean.
If you're on the lookout for a blissful and fun Caribbean beach holiday, two of our go-tos are Varadero in Cuba and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Find out more about these fantastic spots below.
Varadero is perfect for travellers looking for a beach holiday that feels like an escape from the strains of everyday life. In Varadero, you'll find all-inclusive resorts at an affordable price complemented by a 20km-stretch of white-sand beaches lined with palm trees. Explore the street market in Varadero for a taste of the Caribbean. Varadero also offers adventurous opportunities to explore hidden caves or head out on diving excursions.
Havana is located about 140km away and many operators offer overnight buses to the capital. Experience its famous history, music and culinary delights that will transport you to a different world. Don't forget to capture the moment with a photo of Havana's iconic American vintage cars.
Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic is another great option that offers an unforgettable, but affordable Caribbean holiday. Life in Punta Cana centres around the beach. During your stay, visit Bavaro Beach or Macao Beach and, when you're ready to leave the sand, complete your Caribbean adventure with an excursion to Saona Island. The island is a small paradise accessible by a short but captivating boat ride.
If you love snorkelling, you can expect crystal-clear waters and sightings of tropical fish, turtles and starfish. The low tides and warm waters make Punta Cana an ideal and popular spot for family-friendly Caribbean holidays. Resorts here are kid-friendly and often boast amazing locations.
Each Caribbean destination has a wide range of things to do, from beach-related activities to day trips and opportunities to learn more about the region's history. But if you're looking for experiences to add to that ever-growing travel bucket list, the Caribbean is home to some truly one-of-a-kind things to do.
Ready to get inspired? Here are some our top bucket list-worthy things to do in the Caribbean.
Hike to the top of Gros Piton in Saint Lucia
Swim with pigs in the Bahamas
Enjoy whale watching in the Dominican Republic
Go on a bioluminescence kayaking trip in Puerto Rico
Spot the vintage cars in Old Havana, Cuba
Feel refreshed at Jamaica's Dunn’s River Falls and Park
Make your own chocolate in Grenada
Admire the view from Animal Flower Cave in Barbados
Snorkel with sea turtles in Turks and Caicos