It’s a new year, and that means it’s time to set your sights on your vacation plans for 2017. Are you a warm weather junkie? Do white sands and blue waters never lose their magic for you? Then consider these next ten Caribbean Islands that were the most traveled to in 2016; Aruba, Jamaica, Bermuda, Bahamas, and more.
10. St. Maarten
With it’s mix of various cultures, cuisines, and activities, it’s no wonder that this tiny island saw more than 400,000 visitors last year. Feast options include Dutch, French, and native cuisines, and there are casinos, clubs, and shopping to work off the dinners. St. Maarten is a destination best suited for couples both looking to kick back and adrenaline junkies as well. Along with the spas for relaxation, there are options to parachute over the island, explore the mountain ranges, or enjoy the day atop a yacht.
© Chris Favero
Unlike many Caribbean islands, Aruba is located just outside the main hurricane avenue and has a dry, sunny climate nearly year-round. It has a beautiful National Park that covers a fourth of the island, and top of the line wreck diving, surfing, and horseback riding. The nightlife in Aruba also cannot be beat. Their motto is “One Happy Island,” and it’s not hard to see why.
8. St. Lucia
With it’s huge music fan base, St. Lucia has welcomed artists such as Akon, Ziggy Marley, Diana Ross, and Amy Winehouse to events such as the St. Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival. Many couples also visit the island to relax on the beaches and to take advantage of the many resorts. From daytime spa days to evening dance parties, St. Lucia has it all.
© Serge Melki
7. St. Kitts/Nevis
Another island with a reputation for festivals, St. Kitts is the perfect island for music lovers. Music festivals by day, a buzzing nightlife by night. One of the widest selections of restaurants, bars, and hotels lies here, while Nevis, St. Kitts’ sister island, is one so peaceful that it doesn’t even have one streetlight. Seclusion is the number one calling card for Nevis, while St. Kitts offers the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club and the wintertime St. Kitts Carnival every June.
© Nathan M.
The Bahamas is one of the most touristy islands in the Caribbean, yes, but with good reason! The options are endless, from fishing and scuba diving to shopping and golf, there is something for everyone. Nassau is one of the most upscale islands, with casinos, upscale resorts, and pirate lore. The other islands offer a bit more peace, for those who wish for a bit more of a simple, quiet vacation.
© Ricardo’s Photography
Most unique to Bermuda is it’s incredible dusty pink beaches that meet the transparent waters. It’s architecture is colored in bright pastels and the cities offer a blend of American, British, and Caribbean cultures. Year after year, Bermuda is ranked at the top among vacationers as far as satisfaction goes. And, because it’s seasons contrast with the other neighboring islands, Bermuda’s peak seasons are during the off-seasons of it’s neighbors, meaning a bit easier travel for it’s visitors.
© Josh Dubya
4. Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands is a popular destination for families due to it’s huge resorts with all-inclusive amenities for parents and kids alike. Interactive swims for children in Stingray City keep them busy while parents hike through the ancient Mystic Trail or relax on the beach.
© Bruce Harlick
Bob Marley and the Rastafarianism has made Jamaica one of the best known Caribbean islands. The rich history and culture is unique to this island, and is a popular destination for newlyweds. It’s all-inclusive resorts and romantic scenery, with beautiful trails and waterfalls, have brought couples and families to the island for generations. Nearly two million people visited last year, will you be next?
© Ishamari Colon
The selling factor for Barbados is it’s slow pace, and not to mention that it’s the birthplace of rum. The signature drinks are served in drinks you’d recognize as well as ones special to the island. Horse races, a fish fry, in the clubs, or beachfront are all locations available to be sipping on the best rum the Caribbean has to offer. And on the eastern edge lies one of the best surfing spots in the entire world.
© Drew Stephens
1. Dominican Republic
Finally, with an astounding 4.3 million visitors, the Dominican Republic is the most popular Caribbean destination. What brings so many tourists here? It starts with the incredible scenery that can’t be duplicated anywhere else on earth. From the beaches to the waterfalls, from the deserts to the mountains, it’s picture perfection. The Dominican Republic is home to Santo Domingo, which is the Caribbean’s largest city, quite literally never sleeps. New friends, new experiences, and new cuisine are just the start of the adventures that await.
© Reinhard Link