The Caribbean is a holidaymaker's paradise. The islands that make up the region are classic examples of everything we love about getting away – white beaches, fun and friendly locals, delicious food, natural beauty and bright blue seas – so it comes as no surprise that lots of people dream of visiting.
If you're one of these people, you might be wondering which of the islands is for you – read on to find out your Caribbean soul mate!
One of the most popular Caribbean island chains, the Bahamas are a amazing collection of over 700 fully-fledged islands and smaller, sandier cays – the perfect place to relax, unwind and let the cares of the world float away.
Beach lovers will swoon at the unspoiled white beaches found across the chain, and there's all sorts of sailing, snorkelling, diving and surfing experiences to be enjoyed by the more adventurous.
Cuba’s tourist scene offers great experiences to travellers wanting to explore this one-of-a-kind destination that’s famous for its culture.</p>
The colonial architecture, fine sandy beaches, and interesting sites to see from times gone by make this a great, history-filled location to relax in. Be sure to take some time to see the capital, Havana – its winding streets, ancient autos and brilliant bars make it a must-see!
Antigua and Barbuda
If you don't just like beaches, but love them, the islands of Antigua and Barbuda are for you. The entire coast is a constant stream of inlets, coves and seafronts that are nearly all blessed with brilliant white beaches dotted with palm trees, but even if you don’t want to spend all your time listening to the ocean while topping up your tan, there's plenty of great stuff to see in the islands' interiors too.
Antigua in particular has a rich history stretching back to the pre-colonial era, and you'll definitely want to spend at least a day wandering through forgotten ruins and nearly-sunken ports.
One of the most popular islands in the Caribbean, the southern destination of Aruba is another one for beach fans. A colourful island, you'll find yourself mesmerised by the blue sky, sapphire sea and white-gold sand that are often made home by bright pink flamingos!
While tourists are happily catered for throughout the island and in the compact capital of Orjestad, there are wilder places to enjoy as well, especially on the north-eastern coast, where the deserted beaches drift off into the horizon.
Towering out of the blue Caribbean is St Lucia, home to nightlife, creole and cocoa. A perfect honeymooners' destination, this paradise is home to all sorts of lovely sights and experiences, from the rainforest-blanketed interior, to the enormous mountains of Petit Piton and Gros Piton, all the way to the busy restaurants and bars of the capital, Castries.
As with most Caribbean destinations, the time to visit St Lucia is between December and May, when there's not much rain and hurricane season has yet to arrive.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
A chic, classy collection of getaway spots, the friendly nation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is popular with the sailing set thanks to its calm harbours, brilliant beaches and selection of leafy green getaways.
If you love all things to do with the sea, St Vincent is the place for you. Freshly caught seafood is served everywhere, and in among the extensive corals that surround the island there's a huge number of marine species to be discovered and admired, turtles in particular.
Beautiful, bustling and exciting, Barbados is another of the more popular Caribbean islands you can choose from, and caters to far more varied groups than just honeymooners and the well-to-do.
The island's pretty capital has a thriving nightlife scene that's perfect for groups of younger travellers and has lots to do and see – brilliant if you're travelling with younger children who don't yet see the good in lying on a beach all week (they'll learn eventually!). There's also a lot of fine natural spots to explore on the east of the island, for those times when you want to get that desert island feeling.
A hilly volcanic island in the southern Caribbean, Grenada is fun to explore, even in the interior where rainforests hide huge waterfalls and plunge pools – perfect for cooling off after a trek up into the trees.
Also known as the island of spice, thanks to the huge amounts of cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, ginger, turmeric, cocoa and cloves that are grown across the landscape, the country has lots to offer by the way of delicious cuisine, especially in the capital St George, possibly one of the prettiest capital cities in the world.
Even if you haven't tried it before, make sure to book a diving trip when you visit Grenada. Alongside lots of undersea creatures and reefs, the country is home to the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park, the only underwater sculpture gallery in the world, and one that is slowly getting taken over by corals!
The Dominican Republic
For livelier and more active travellers, the Dominican Republic is perfect. Alongside the white beaches and jade seas that are pretty much a hallmark of the entire Caribbean region, the country is home to the area's tallest mountain and activities such as zip-lining and fast-faced water sports.
Diving, dancing, partying – the people of the Dominican Republic are a blast, and definitely one of the best things about the nation, while there's loads of nature to enjoy too, including graceful pods of whales swimming offshore.
Trinidad and Tobago
Located off the north-eastern coast of Venezuela, Trinidad and its smaller sister island Tobago are lush playgrounds that combine wonderful tropical nature with all of the traditional sunny and sandy things we crave from a Caribbean destination.
Trinidad is a little more urban than untouched Tobago, but each have their fair share of swamps, rainforests, exceptional diving opportunities and a really exciting nightlife – head to the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival (held on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday each year) for a true taste of calypso and colour.
If you've ever had a portion of jerk chicken or listened to the sounds of Bob Marley, you've already tasted a small aspect of Jamaica – and when visiting the country it's obvious where the vibrancy and colour of the country's culture comes from.
In this big, gorgeous nation there's something for everyone, from the Blue Mountains to the white beaches that surround the island. Horse riding, diving, hiking and rafting are on hand to satisfy the adventurous, while carnivals, an electric nightlife and a wide range of calmer cultural experiences are there for when relaxation's needed.
The Caribbean is a sun-soaked wonderland, and one that everyone should visit at some point in their lives. Whichever island in the region you choose to visit, we're sure you'll have a wonderful time – click here check out our range of destinations and the great places you can stay while you're there.