When it comes to island hopping, unless you have the use of a private jet (don’t we all wish!), cruising is the perfect way to go. From respites filled with lush beaches and historic sites to locales peppered with modern amenities and yachts galore, here are 8 islands not to miss in the Caribbean Sea.
Antigua is peppered with soft sandy beaches next to clear waters with an aqua hue. The Caribbean wouldn’t have it any other way! Heading out to any of the beaches via car rental (which is less expensive and more readily available than you might think) allows you to experience multiple beaches for lounging, seeing beautiful views, and experiencing the sunset.
Not to be missed is Nelson’s Dockyard, which is a set of older buildings that now house shops and restaurants. Because of the historical aspect, it is associated with the parks system, which includes a few vantage points such as Shirley Heights. It’s a must for your list as the area truly offers some of the best views in the Caribbean. They will take your breath away!
This little-known island is…well, little. At only 18 square km, Bequia is small on size, but big on views. A leisurely pace is kept by expats and locals alike, and quaint, beachside villas are available for those who would like to stay a while.
One favorite spot is Princess Margaret Beach. A walkway made of wood and stone takes visitors to a sandy beach with gorgeous views of the boats in the harbor. Beachgoers can relax in either the sun or shade as they look out onto the aqua waters.
The island is popular with expats, some of whom create and sell artisan wares, such as lovely paintings and wooden, miniature boats that float. Those who like rum punch will be thrilled with the many two-for-one offerings at the ocean side restaurants where you can stop and grab a bite.
The port of St. George’s has the typical shops and activity of a town, yet it also houses museums such as the Grenada Museum and the House of Chocolate (yum!). Venturing out from the port showcases a lovely inland harbor filled with colorful boats.
One of the highlights of the island is the impressive Underwater Sculpture Park. Snorkeling or scuba diving allows visitors to view underwater statues where sea life has begun to take residence, creating a delicate balance between art and nature. Feeling adventurous? Head to Annadale Falls to relax by the sounds of falling water.
A favorite stop of many, the port of Les Saintes in Guadeloupe is both quaint and filled with shops and restaurants. There is plenty to do within walking distance. A short, but steep hike will take you up to Fort Napoleon, where there are lovely views of the harbor. Walking to the other side of the island offers a different view of lovely homes, interesting cemeteries, and a beach area with vigorous waves.
Especially endearing are the swimming areas, which are spread along working beaches peppered with fishing boats. The folks on this French-speaking island are sweet and accommodating, but be prepared to do a bit of hand signaling as native English speakers in Les Saintes are few and far between.
Those who love shopping and artisan wares will adore the port of Anse Mitan, which has many local restaurants and boutique shops to peruse. Also of note is the smattering of artisans with their handmade wares. Patrons can purchase one of their ready-made items or have a custom piece made as a souvenir.
To avoid crowds, head to one of the lesser-known beaches, such as Pointe du Bout, which has shade, palm trees, and clear water that is perfect for snorkeling. For those who want to venture out, a ferry is available to other points. A ride on the ferry affords beautiful outlooks and a relaxing experience.
Want to experience living like the rich and famous – even if only for a day? Then this island, more commonly known as St. Barts, is where to head. The port of Gustavia is filled with impressive yachts and upscale stores.
ATV rentals are available at a few shops around the port, which opens up a whole host of areas to explore. The secluded Rockefeller Beach is a 20-minute hike from the road, but the once private beach is the perfect place to sunbathe and swim in clear waters.
Although your cruise ship may offer excursions, this island is easy to navigate if you are daring enough to rent an ATV in the port of Basseterre. Encompassing 175 square km, the views from the coastline are breathtaking. Brimstone Hill Fortress is a worthy vantage point while adding a bit of history to your stop.
Also of note is Wingfield Estate, which showcases sugar cane processing ruins. Romney Manor is next door, where patrons can view the delicate process of making batik fabric.
Heading along the coastline will also cause you to encounter Black Rock Beach, which is just that – a beach line filled with stately black rock formations. St. Kitts has plenty of lounging beaches around the island for you to discover, and if you have time, popping over to the nearby island of Nevis is a possibility.
For those who crave a bit of adventure, Pigeon Island is a fabulous stop. It is filled with rainforest canopies, so heading one to one of many ziplines is a thrill. Line guides watch for safety and also take photos and videos with your phone as you whiz by.
The port itself has a fort that overlooks the harbor and white sand beaches with clear water like only the Caribbean can offer.
If you are headed to the sunny Caribbean, any of these stops (or all of them!) are worth your while for exploring or relaxing the days away.