As travelers, we’re guilty of throwing the Caribbean into one big umbrella term. There’s sun, sea, and resorts—they’re basically all the same, right? Wrong. It’s a disservice to the 13 Caribbean countries, 21 overseas territories, and more than 700 islands to view them as such when they each boast a unique culture that springs to life in the form of food, customs, and natural wonder.
Before you book your next Caribbean destinations getaway, consider what you really want from your trip, and you might find your destination exceeds any expectations you held. To help, here are 10 Caribbean destinations for every kind of traveler, from foodies to adrenaline junkies. Of course, there’s major crossover for virtually all of the suggestions; it’s just advice.
Mexican Caribbean – Foodies
While not an island, the southeast coast of Mexico is very much part of the Caribbean. The likes of Cancun boast some of the best resorts in the world, but it’s in towns and cities like Merida and Tulum where foodies can revel.
Get off the beaten path and sample some Yucutan staples in the smaller towns, then head to Tulum for some upscale modern interpretations of the local fare. Your taste buds will thank you later.
Dominican Republic – Beach Bums
There’s nothing wrong with a spectacularly lazy vacation, and with over 100 all-inclusive resorts, the Dominican Republic is hard to beat in terms of the best Caribbean destinations.
Many travelers find the rest of the island a little intimidating, so the tourist industry has placed a lot of emphasis on creating secure and comfortable resorts that cater to guests’ every need. Why leave the beach when you’ve got cocktails, food, and fun at your fingertips 24/7?
Puerto Rico – Party Seekers
Everyone knows Puerto Ricans have a penchant for partying. Reggaeton thumps from clubs until the sun rises, roadside eateries become salsa joints at the drop of a hat, and upscale hotel bars ooze fun every day of the week.
Just make sure you hydrate before you hit the beach in the morning. That is, if you’re not already partying at the beach.
Barbados – Booze Connoisseurs
There’s drinking, and there’s drinking. Barbados is one of the Caribbean destinations that offers the latter in the form of the world’s best and oldest rum distilleries. Thousands of tourists make the sugar-based liquor a centerpiece of their visit, sampling the local wares while tracing the island’s history.
As a side note, why hasn’t Barbados native Rihanna released her own rum?
You can stand under my “rumbrella”. Had to. Sorry.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines – Big-Spending Socialites
St. Vincent and the Grenadines may not be on your travel radar, but it most definitely is for the rich and powerful. The gloriously beautiful stretch of islands is home to super-yacht harbors, high-end eco-resorts, and some stunning restaurants. There’s a reason celebrities flock there for pure blissful seclusion.
Trinidad and Tobago – Budget Travelers
Caribbean destinations and countries aren’t always associated with budget travel, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Trinidad and Tobago offers excellent value for money. There are not as many big resorts as its sibling islands, but it makes up for it in staggering cultural diversity, untouched beaches, and delightfully friendly locals.
The food might just be the biggest surprise of your visit, though. Make sure to take care out and about, as crime is rising in the region.
Grenada – Off the Beaten Trackers
Grenada is ludicrously overlooked of the Caribbean countries. Despite being a tourist triple threat, with lush rainforests, outstanding resorts, and unique cultural offerings, it’s still a comparatively passed-over destination.
Its cacao, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon production lend to its nickname, the Isle of Spice while cascading waterfalls pull tourists inland away from the typically pristine beaches
Turks and Caicos – Wellness Warriors
Turks and Caicos is world-renowned as a luxury destination. The words alone conjure images of high-end resorts and the best of the Caribbean destinations. Its wellness retreats, in particular, help set it apart from its neighbors, however.
Dozens of its hotels are tied to world-class spas and offer wellness packages to work alongside their usual hotel offerings. Expect it to be pricey, though.
Nevis – Adventurers
The tiny island of Nevis, population 12,000, is half of the country of St Kitts and Nevis. The picturesque destination is laced with excellent hiking and some challenging climbs to the top of its volcanic mountain.
Elsewhere on the island, expect to find zip-lining courses, ATV tours, and water sports.
The Cayman Islands – Divers
The Cayman Islands are often cited as the home of recreational scuba diving and remain one of the best spots in the world to try it out. While the stingray dives pull most of the attention, some of the planet’s most famous dives are found close by.
On Little Cayman, the Bloody Bay Wall, a huge underwater mountain range, has been blowing scuba diving minds for decades, and there are some spectacular wreckages to explore. Not to mention the abundance of wildlife on show.