From the lingering scent of rum in the air to the rhythm of the steel-pan drums, Caribbean holidays offer a slice of paradise. A lush tropical region with some of the world’s best beaches and an easy-going charm, there’s nowhere on the planet quite like it.
Whether you’re visiting laid-back Jamaica, unspoilt Tobago or upmarket Barbados, holidays to the Caribbean suit all tastes - from family getaways with tots or teens to spa breaks, honeymoon escapes and blissful post-retirement trips.
You’ll get to unwind in some of the most breathtaking tropical landscapes in the world, and soak up the region’s irresistible energy, which will stay with you long after you’ve flown home. Plus, sunshine is practically guaranteed, whatever the time of year.
Things to do
From sampling the Dominican Republic's local rum to ziplining over Jamaica's breathtaking Dunn’s River waterfall, there’s enough to experience in the Caribbean to send your senses into a frenzy. How about Cuba’s picture-perfect beaches, ideal for quiet relaxation and a mojito or two (or building sandcastles with the kids); Barbados with its incredible golf courses and cricket obsession; or St. Lucia, which is renowned for its world-class snorkelling and scuba-diving spots.
For more of those amazing underwater worlds, there are plenty of family-friendly adventures at Montego Bay Marine Park. This protected area of the Jamaican coastline’s packed with everything you’d expect of the Caribbean Sea, from glass-bottomed boat trips over vibrant coral and snorkelling above seagrass beds, to kayaking through mangroves and, yes, chilling on gorgeous white sands.
And if it’s total paradise-like peace you’re after, you might be lucky enough to spend time on tranquil CocoCay, also called Little Stirrup Cay, which is privately owned by the Royal Caribbean cruise line.
For a different kind of discovery, take a dive into Caribbean food culture with a meaty St Lucian pepperpot stew, a moreish plate of saltfish and fungie (sauteed okra and cornmeal balls) in Antigua, or a freshly prepared taco from one of Mexico’s many street stands. That should help fuel you for some exhilarating exploring - there’s plenty to see! If you’re staying on the Yucatan Peninsula, make sure you pay a visit to the Coba Mayan Ruins to stroll the excavated ‘white roads’ and see the area’s tallest pyramid, amongst the many fascinating features that remain of this ancient Mexican city.
Places to stay
Whether you’re searching for a postcard-perfect setting to fall in love with, a beautiful old city to delve into or the best music spot to perfect your salsa and merengue moves, holidays to the Caribbean islands and Mexico will definitely satisfy your travel cravings.
The Dominican Republic’s vibrant Latin culture is guaranteed to get you on your feet but this is also a fantastic place to stay if you really want to unwind. Give Cayo Levantado (dubbed Bacardi Island) a whirl for lazy beach days, laid-back catamaran trips through Los Haitises National Park and swimming in the Limon Waterfall’s refreshingly cold plunge pool.
While Caribbean holidays are renowned for sunbathing on lush white sands, did you know there’s a pink-tinted beach on the island of Barbados? Crane Beach in St. Philip is a total beauty that will look great on your Insta grid - and it’s pretty perfect for a relaxing day on the south coast. But you don’t just go to Barbados for the beaches! Bajan culture’s world-famous, from the satisfyingly historic capital, Bridgetown, to mouthwatering dishes like flying fish.
If you’re keen to get out and explore some of the Caribbean’s rainforest, you’ll have a blast in Tobago. Visiting this pristine island feels like stepping into a travel mag, with off-the-beaten-track eco adventures galore. Just imagine, the peaceful thrill of turtle watching, the adrenaline rush of a mountain biking expedition, the mindful calm of stumbling across a waterfall on a jungle hike, and the chance to spot everything from tiny hummingbirds to bioluminescent plankton.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for the best places to be after sunset, the nightlife in the Bahamas is a revelation. There’s a ton of top-notch venues amongst the city lights of Nassau and Freeport, while you’ll find a more chilled vibe in George Town on Great Exuma island, which is a great place to stay if you’re keen to check out the local live music scene.
But for social hotspots unlike anything you’ve ever experienced, head northwest to Mexico’s coastal party capital, Cancun. Pack your out-out clothes and prepare to be treated to performances by DJs and artists from around the world at the city’s legendary clubs. Or, for evening entertainment with a bit of a twist, you’ll never forget a dinner cruise aboard the Captain Hook Cancun - just watch out for those brawling pirates!
And, if you want to explore somewhere a bit more quirky, head to Cuba. Away from the legendary pristine beaches are sugar mills, cigar factories, and some gorgeous old towns and cities, where you’ll discover authentic bars and markets. Visit charming Holguin (the ‘City of Parks’) from Guardalavaca, bustling Moron from Cayo Coco, or the characterful capital, Havana, from Varadero.
More Travel Guides
Make sure you check out our travel guides for these Caribbean destinations too: Antigua | Bahamas | Barbados | Cuba | Dominican Republic | Jamaica | Mexico | St Lucia | Tobago