Read our pocket guide to Caribbean Islands
Caribbean Islands: A pocket guide
Pristine beaches, crystal blue waters, charming colonial towns and exceptional hospitality, the decision isn’t whether to holiday in the Caribbean or not; it’s which of the thousands of spectacular islands to choose from. Comprised of the Greater Antilles to the north and the Lesser Antilles to the south and east, there are more than 7,000 islands, reefs and cays scattered across the Caribbean sea. Spend your days snorkelling through shipwrecks and coral reefs, sipping golden rum at historic plantations, savoring succulent seafood or relaxing poolside at your luxury villa, all to the soundtrack of reggae, calypso or simply the waves. Here are our favorite destinations for heavenly Caribbean holidays.
Combining British colonial history and contemporary glamour, it’s not surprising that Barbados is one of the region’s most popular destinations. By day you’ll be sunbathing on its narrow sandy beaches or surfing along its rugged west coast. By night you’ll be dining and dancing till dawn at Oistins’s legendary Friday Night Fish Fry. Take in some local heritage in Bridgetown to admire the historic homes and 17th-century UNESCO World Heritage Garrison or join the rum route with a tour of the Mount Gay Distillery.
The idyllic island of Anguilla, with mainly small boutique hotels and private villas to rent, draws visitors aiming to escape the crowds. Its calm emerald waters are perfect for windsurfing and sailing whereas hidden Little Bay is the ideal couples’ getaway, especially at sunset. Discerning travelers can peruse the island’s art galleries and small designer stores while foodies can indulge on its seafood delights, some of the best catches of the Caribbean.
Saint Barthelemy beckons those who want to relax, in style. It attracts the wealthy and the beautiful with its gleaming beaches, world-class restaurants, posh duty-free shops and therapeutic spas. Head to L’Orient to snorkel with sea turtles or take to the sails and moor your private yacht at its renowned beaches like Anse du Grand Colombier or Anse des Flamane.
The diversity, casual ambience and natural beauty of Jamaica is a foolproof match for the laid-back luxury seeker. The adventurer can trek through gorgeous rainforests in search of awe-inspiring waterfalls, go parasailing over the turquoise waters of Negril and dine on jerk chicken or sizzling seafood accompanied by a crisp Red Label beer and groove to the reggae rhythms on the beach. Or for a taste of the best of the island’s luxury, be pampered in some of the most phenomenal villas of the Caribbean at Discovery Bay.
The chilled vibe carries on at the lesser-visited Turks and Caicos. The 40 islands just southeast of Bahamas pride themselves on their calm waters and powder-soft sandy beaches. There is an abundance of fantastic water sports such as diving over long coral reefs and kayaking through the lush mangrove forest, you can even tee off at some of the Caribbean’s best golf courses.
Why share your island when you can have one just for you? The archipelago of hundreds of islands and cays that make up The Bahamas have a number of private islands where you can live in the lap of luxury; lounge by your pool, spy on the local marine life while snorkeling or be hypnotized staring out at the changing blue palette of the sea. For a little excitement, head to the capital city Nassau, where you can amble the pretty, colonial streets, lunch at its fashionable eateries or savor a cocktail and soak up the atmosphere at the port.
Family friendly resorts with activities for kids, romantic villas with private pools on secluded islands or deluxe yachts for island-hopping, the experts of UltraVilla have an incredible range of vacation rentals to ensure you have your dream holiday. All you’ll have to do is lie back in your infinity pool and gaze out at the endlessly blue horizon.