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Top 12 Caribbean Islands For Beach Lovers

Top 12 Caribbean Islands For Beach Lovers

There is no better place to escape winter than the Islands of the Caribbean. Deciding which island is for you can be tough. Each island in the Caribbean has its own identity with different local cuisine, beer & rum, language, and, of course, gorgeous beaches.

We’ve compiled this list of the best Caribbean Islands to visit, with a little information about each island. We’ve personally been to 19 of the 28 islands below. Make sure to click through on the blue text for additional articles.

Quick Answers About The Caribbean Islands

How Many Caribbean Islands Are There? There are more than 7,000 islands in the Caribbean and 28 island nations.

When is hurricane season in the Caribbean? June 1st through November 30th, with the worst part being mid-August through mid-September

When is the best time to visit the Caribbean? December through April

Which Caribbean islands aren’t in the hurricane belt? Aruba, Barbados, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Bonaire, Curaçao, Providencia Island, San Andrés, and the islands off Venezuela.

What is the largest island in the Caribbean? Cuba, which is 42,803 square miles.

12 of The Best Caribbean Islands

Ariel Photo of Ce Blue Anguilla beach and property

1. Anguilla

You’ll always find your own sliver of sand on the island of Anguilla. Most tourists head to St. Maarten or St. Barts, not knowing that Anguilla is a quick twenty-minute boat ride from St. Maarten airport.

The island is full of gorgeous villas for rent with epic ocean views. It’s essential to rent a car in Anguilla to drive around the island and visit the 33 beaches. Our favorite beach is Shoal Bay East. It may be a small island, but there are still plenty of attractions in Anguilla to keep you as busy as you want.

  • Best Time To Visit Anguilla: December-May
  • Currency in Anguilla: Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollar
  • Is USD widely accepted: Yes
  • What language do they speak in Anguilla: English
  • What side of the road do they drive on in Anguilla: Left
  • Where to stay in Anguilla: CeBlue Villas

Woman on Driftwood on the beach Playa Jibacoa Cuba

2. Cuba

The forbidden fruit of the Caribbean Islands. Cuba has always been a mystery and a place stuck in time. But now we can finally travel to Cuba as Americans. Cuba is one of the most amazing islands in the Caribbean, so different than any other.

From the gorgeous Spanish colonial town of Trinidad, tobacco fields in Vinales, dance the night away in Havana, and so many more amazing places to visit in Cuba. Cuba is full of culture, history, outdoor adventures, beaches, and so many more things to do in Cuba.

  • Best Time To Visit Cuba: December-May
  • Currency in Cuba: CUC used by tourists and CUP used by locals
  • Is USD widely accepted: No
  • What language do they speak in Cuba: Spanish
  • What side of the road do they drive on in Cuba: Right

Best place for a honeymoon in Jamaica - Negril drone photo of 7 mile beach

3. Jamaica

There are several popular resort areas in Jamaica, all with gorgeous beaches and turquoise waters. The most famous beach in Jamaica is Seven Mile Beach in Negril, and as the name suggests, it’s seven miles of gorgeous white sand.

If you’re looking for the perfect Jamaica honeymoon spot, head to Sandals South Coast to stay in an overwater bungalow in Jamaica. They are even in the shape of a perfect heart. Another popular location in Ocho Rios, many cruise ships visit for the day, with Dunn’s River Falls being a popular attraction.

For More Articles On Jamaica

  • Best Time To Visit Jamaica: December-May
  • Currency in Jamaica: Jamaican Dollar
  • Is USD widely accepted: Yes
  • What language do they speak in Jamaica: English & Jamaican Creole
  • What side of the road do they drive on in Jamaica: Left
  • Where to stay in Jamaica: Sandals Negril 

Drone photo looking down into the Natural Pool Aruba

4. Aruba

Aruba will blow your mind with how diverse it is. On one side, you have gorgeous beaches like Eagle Beach, which has been named one of the top beaches in the world by TripAdvisor. If you love beaches, you won’t be disappointed with the beaches in Aruba. And on the other side, you’ve got the rugged coastline and very desert landscapes.

One of our favorite places was Aruba’s natural pool. It’s an adventure to get to swimming in the “pool” with the waves crashing over the rocks is amazing. If you’re looking for a honeymoon with a good mix of adventure and beach, a honeymoon in Aruba would be the perfect spot.

  • Best Time To Visit Aruba: February-August
  • Aruba Currency: Aruban Florin
  • Is USD widely accepted: Yes
  • What language do they speak in Aruba: Papiamento, Dutch, English, Spanish
  • What side of the road do they drive on in Aruba: Right
  • Where to stay in Aruba: Machebo Beach Resort

The Piton Mountains seen from the Caribbean Sea - St Lucia - Best Caribbean Islands

5. Saint Lucia

The mighty Pitons rising up over 2,500 feet are the famous residences of the island. St Lucia has some of the best sunsets in the Caribbean. We suggest a sunset catamaran cruise to the Pitons.

Sandals Resorts has three properties on the islands, with our favorite being Sandals St Lucian Grande with the overwater bungalow rooms. For a unique spa day, head to the volcano springs and mud pools.

  • Best Time To Visit Saint Lucia: January-April
  • St Lucia Currency: Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollar
  • Is USD widely accepted: Yes
  • What language do they speak in St Lucia: English
  • What side of the road do they drive on in St Lucia: Left
  • Where to stay in Saint Lucia: Sandals Grande St. Lucian

Related Article: Which Resort is the Best Sandals Resort?

A view of Old San Juan Puerto Rico

6. Puerto Rico

If you’re coming from the United States, you don’t even need a passport to visit this Caribbean island. A trip to Puerto Rico should start in Old San Juan, walk the cobblestone streets, and check out all the colorful buildings.

The beaches in Puerto Rico will leave you in awe. Head to Playa Flamenco, named the best beach in Puerto Rico by the Discovery Channel. Don’t forget to check out El Yunque tropical rainforest and chase some waterfalls.

NOTE: It seems to always be really hot in Old San Juan, so dress accordingly and plan on stopping for a Pina Colada Barrachina Restaurant, the home of the original Pina Colada.

  • Best Time To Visit Puerto Rico: December-May
  • Currency in Puerto Rico: USD
  • Is USD widely accepted: Yes
  • What language do they speak in Puerto Rico: Spanish & English
  • What side of the road do they drive on in Puerto Rico: Right

Woman standing at Bathsheba Beach and rock formations in Barbados - Top Caribbean Islands

7. Barbados

The Easternmost Caribbean island is super unique as one side is the calm Caribbean Sea, and the other side is the rough Atlantic Ocean. The island is full of hotels for everyone’s budget, from Sandals Barbados all-inclusive to budget hotels and apartments.

Some of the best seafood in the Caribbean is found in Barbados. Make sure to head to Oistins Fish fry any night of the week, but the real party is on Friday nights. It’s our favorite thing to do in Barbados. Barbados is outside of the hurricane belt and great to visit year-round.

  • Best Time To Visit Barbados: December-May
  • Currency in Barbados: Barbadian dollar
  • Is USD widely accepted: Yes
  • What language do they speak in Barbados: English & Bajan
  • What side of the road do they drive on in Barbados: Left
  • Where to stay in Barbados: Sandals Royal Barbados

Related Article: The Best Beaches in Barbados

St Barts Island - Saline Beach - Best Islands and Beaches in the Caribbean

8. Saint Barts

St Barts is a ritzy and fancy island with a price tag to match. For those with deep pockets, head to Saint Barts, where the rich & famous come to play in the Caribbean.

The island is small, so it’s best to rent a car as taxis are really expensive and rental cars are reasonably priced. To get the cheapest price, book your rental car in advance on They have the best rates and free cancellation.

There are 14 beaches in St Barts, and all the beaches are public. Our favorite beach is Saline Beach, a nice long and deep white sandy beach with very few people. Port de Gustavia in Saint Barts is always filled with massive million-dollar yachts.

  • Best Time To Visit St Barts: December-May
  • Currency in St Barts: Euro
  • Is USD widely accepted: No
  • What language do they speak in St Barts: French
  • What side of the road do they drive on in St Barts: Right
  • Where to stay in Saint Barts: Hotel Christopher Saint Barth

panoramic picture of the island of Dominica at sunset - Best Islands

9. Dominica 

Often called the nature island in the Caribbean, Dominica is so much more than beaches. The island has lush rainforests, hot springs, waterfalls, diving, snorkeling, and volcano peaks. If you love the outdoors and adventures, we suggest hiking in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park for an epic view.

  • Best Time To Visit Dominica: February-April
  • Currency in Dominica: Eastern Caribbean dollar (EUC)
  • Is USD widely accepted: No
  • What language do they speak in Dominica: English
  • What side of the road do they drive on in Dominica: Left
  • Where to stay in Dominica: 

Aerial photo of Guadloupe on a Windstar cruise line trip

10. Guadeloupe (France overseas territory since 1946)

The French island of Guadeloupe is often overlooked by tourists, which is a huge mistake. Home to gorgeous beaches and volcanic hillsides.

We visited while we were Caribbean island hopping on a Windstar Cruise, and it was our favorite stop. Make sure to get out on a boat and explore the Les Saintes islands.

  • Best Time To Visit Guadeloupe: December-May
  • Currency in Guadeloupe: Euro
  • Is USD widely accepted: No
  • What language do they speak in Guadeloupe: French
  • What side of the road do they drive on in Guadeloupe: Right

never ending pink sand beach in Barbuda while Caribbean island hopping

11. Antigua & Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda are two separate islands. There is a high-speed ferry that runs several times a day. Most of the resorts are in Antigua, but there are a few smaller places to stay in Barbuda that are great for those like privacy.

We spent 4 hours walking on the beach in Barbuda and saw no one. It was just us and the white sand. It’s a great Caribbean island for those wanting to relax in the sun all day long.

  • Best Time To Visit Antigua & Barbuda: January-April
  • Currency in Antigua & Barbuda: Eastern Caribbean dollar (EUC)
  • Is USD widely accepted: Yes
  • What language do they speak in Antigua & Barbuda: English
  • What side of the road do they drive on in Antigua & Barbuda: Left
  • Where to stay in Antigua: Sandals Grande Antigua

Swimming pigs in the Bahamas - Caribbean Islands Top picks

12. The Bahamas

The Bahamas is huge. It extends 760 miles from the Florida coast all the way down to Haiti. There are 700 islands in the Bahamas. Only 30 are inhabited. So, picking which Bahamas Island can be tricky.

The capital city of Nassau is home to huge resorts and gorgeous beaches, but if you want remote and exotic, jump on a plane and head to one of the other islands.

If you ask us, the best islands in the Bahamas are the Exumas. Our personal favorite is Staniel Cay, which is close to the home of the famous swimming pigs in the Bahamas.

  • Best Time To Visit the Bahamas: November-April
  • Currency in the Bahamas: Bahamian Dollar
  • Is USD widely accepted: Yes
  • What language do they speak in the Bahamas: English
  • What side of the road do they drive on in the Bahamas: Left

Other Caribbean Islands To Visit Not Included Above

If you ask us, all the Caribbean Islands are amazing, each in its own way. We have been to 18 out of the 28 island nations, so we know we’ll get to them all eventually.

  1. United States Virgin Islands USVI – Which is made up of Saint Croix, Saint John, Saint Thomas
  2. Trinidad and Tobago
  3. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  4. Montserrat
  5. Caribbean Netherlands, also known as the BES islands made up of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba
  6. Cayman Islands
  7. Grenada
  8. Curaçao
  9. The British Virgin Islands is made up of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, Jost Van Dyke
  10. Turks & Caicos – We stayed at Beaches Turks & Caicos
  11. Sint Maarten (Kingdom of the Netherlands)
  12. Saint Martin (France overseas territory)
  13. Saint Kitts
  14. Dominican Republic
  15. Haiti
  16. Martinique

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What’s your favorite Caribbean Island?