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Caribbean Travel Guide

Caribbean Travel Guide: An expedition to explore the unknown

Explore the lands of colonial architecture, turquoise beaches, and mesmerizing sceneries!



Caribbean Travel Guide

With soaring mountain ranges, gleaming coral reals, sandy beaches, and many more attractions, The Caribbean is a mysterious beauty. The Caribbean is a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea and is part of the Americas. This region is located east of Central America and southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland.

Although there are around 1000 islands in the Caribbean, most of them remain abandoned. There are about 13 continental countries with Caribbean islands/coastlines, 13 independent states, 6 are part of the Netherlands (Antilles), 4 islands belong to France, and 5 to the United Kingdom. Through this Caribbean Travel Guide, we will look into the popular countries to visit, the best time to travel, things to know before backpacking to the Caribbean islands, and the things to do on the islands in the Caribbean Sea, including the Greater and the Lesser Antilles plus the nearby Lucayan Archipelago (The Bahamas and Caicos Islands).

The Caribbean is a captivating destination with lush green forests, exquisite culture, musical streets, and alleys. You can always take a break on the cruise ships that sail to different Caribbean Islands. With countless resorts and adventure sports, you would never get enough of this paradise of islands.

The Bahamas, Dominica, Cuba, and Puerto Rico are some of the places you can add to your bucket list while planning your travel to the Caribbean Islands. Belize, Nicaragua, Cozumel, the Yucatan Peninsula, the Caribbean region of Colombia, The Guianas, and the Margarita Islands are also often included in the Caribbean.

The Caribbean Islands offer a plethora of carnivals and festivals with intense costumes. Apart from the cultural aspect, the Archipelagoes of the Caribbean have 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and about 50+ National Parks. You can explore a variety of wildlife and scenic beauty as well in the Caribbean Islands.

Featured Caribbean Islands

   Visit Cuba
   Visit Bonaire

Popular islands to visit in the Caribbean by region

Caribbean Travel: Bahamas

The Bahamas

There are around 700 islands, and only 16 of them are significant islands. Andros is the largest island, and it offers numerous adventure sports, including scuba diving. Other islands include Berry Island, Cat Island, and Bimini. Acklins and Crooked Island is a place that focuses on the preservation of Nature. They have a wilderness of about 100 years old. They offer bonefishing, snorkeling, boating, and diving. Other than that, the Bahamas has turquoise blue oceans, colonial towns, and brilliantly colored coral reefs.

Caribbean Travel: Cuba, Lesser Antilles

The Greater Antilles

The Greater Antilles has 90% of the islands of the West Indies. It includes larger islands like Cuba, Puerto Rica, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and Hispaniola. The Greater Antilles is best suited for beach holidays. Jamaican beach parties are pretty famous. San Juan is a place that could walk you back through colonial architecture and buildings.

Caribbean Travel: Aruba

The Lesser Antilles

They are mostly volcanic islands between the Greater Antilles and the North West South America. You can enjoy a tropical climate and spend time on sandy beaches while in the islands of the Lesser Antilles. It has three island groups. They include Windward Island, Leeward Island, and the Leeward Antilles. Some of the most famous destinations in the Lesser Antilles include the Dutch Antilles, such as Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, the Virgin Islands, Antigua, and Guadeloupe. If you plan your visit in January or February, you can take part in different carnivals.

Best time to visit the Caribbean

The best time to visit the Caribbean is between December and April. The climate is cool and pleasant. Between these months, the number of travelers and prices are high. Throughout the year, the temperature in most islands of the Caribbean ranges between 24 to 29 degrees Celcius. However, from May to November, it is a wet season, and from July to October, there are chances of hurricanes and storms in most travel destinations. Between June and August, it is the summer season, and the number of travelers visiting during these months is low. 

Things to know before you travel to The Caribbean

Most Caribbean countries are safe to visit

Around 20 to 50 million tourists travel to the Caribbean islands every year. The crime rates on these islands are low, and it is a safe destination to visit. However, a few incidents of petty theft occur in the inner cities. You have to take care of your valuables and never leave them unattended on beaches, rental cars, or other places. Issues related to poor weather occur due to hurricanes, rain, and storms. However, they happen only between July and November. If you are visiting the Caribbean Islands, Barbados is the safest place to travel to for families.

Currency in The Caribbean

There are around thirteen currencies in use on the Caribbean Islands. The currencies most commonly used in the Caribbean include Eastern Caribbean dollars, US dollars, and Euros. Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands accept US dollars legally. You can exchange your money from the exchange centers in the airports, local banks, hotels, and other centers. However, you can receive better exchange rates from the banks. As there are several islands, the acceptance of currencies depends highly on the place you are visiting. Most places accept US dollars. You can always use a credit or debit card to make payments in most cases. However, you can have cash with you to make transactions in places that do not accept cards. Online money transactions are yet another option.

Tipping in The Caribbean

Tipping is not compulsory while visiting the Caribbean. However, it is a good gesture. In most places, the service providers add a 10 to 15% tax on the product or services. However, you can give some money as a tip to the waiters, porters, and travel guides if you are pleased with their services. It would help them because most of them have low wages. A few extra dollars would be helpful for them.

Sustainable Tourism in The Caribbean

Traveling sustainably and responsibly is necessary to take care of our eco-system. The tourism sector of the Caribbean islands has adopted sustainable practices to reduce carbon emissions. They focus on the conservation of energy water and also on solid waste management. Dominica is an island that focuses on ecotourism, and it is the very foundation of its economy. They are trying to move forward with their strategies to embrace sustainable tourism. Bonaire, Costa Rica, and Belize are some of the islands in the Caribbean known for focusing on eco-friendly travel. Saint John and the US Virgin Islands have several eco-friendly campgrounds

Vaccinations for your Caribbean travels

The WHO and CDC recommend different vaccinations that travelers to the Caribbean Islands can take. All travelers must have done the vaccinations for Measles. They need to ensure that they have taken all the routine vaccines for Rubella, Polio, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Flu, Chicken Pox, and Mumps. Most travelers have to take vaccinations for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rabies, Yellow Fever, and Typhoid. You can always go through the official websites of each of these countries. It would give you an idea of the vaccines you have to take. If you are on medication, carry them as well.

Check Visa requirements before traveling to The Caribbean

Visa requirements depend highly on the country you are planning to visit, how long your stay is, and your native country. With a short stay visa that is valid for six months, you can travel between the Caribbean parts in the Netherlands' kingdom. With the long-stay visa, you can travel to Aruba, Curacao, and other Caribbean countries as well. With this visa, you can stay for around 90 days. However, if you are planning to stay in the Caribbeans for more than 90 days, you would require a residence permit. US citizens do not need a visa to travel to the Caribbean Islands.

Things to do on the Caribbean Islands to cross off your bucket list

Caribbean Travel: Bonaire Island Dutch Antilles

Bonaire Island, Netherlands Antilles

Along the coast of crystal clear seas, Bonaire is a beautiful island of the Caribbean Netherlands (or Netherlands Antilles). It is a calm and peaceful destination without any traffic jams and hassles. It is one of the destinations known for practicing sustainable tourism as well. Bonaire has the oldest marine reserve in the world (the Bonaire National Marine Park) and is world-famous for its active management of the island’s marine resources. It was also one of the first dive destinations to introduce admission fees for scuba divers.

There are countless activities you can take part in while on Bonaire Island as part of your travel to the Caribbean Islands for your vacation. You can enjoy windsurfing, snorkeling, kite surfing, mangroves, coral reefs, and diving. Boca Slagbaai is a remote beach and a great diving spot. 

Other places worth visiting in Bonaire are the Slave Huts, located in Kralendijk, which will take you back through the living/ working conditions of the slaves in the past eras. Gotomeer, the saltwater lagoon in the North of Bonaire Island, is a site suitable for bird watching including flamingoes. The best time to visit Gotomeer is between January and June.

Caribbean Travel: Havana in Cuba

Explore Havana with its classic American cars

Being one of the most popular tourist destinations, Havana is an enchanting place in Cuba. You can get a taste of traditional Spanish architecture, classic models of American cars, beautiful beaches, and many more. Their tropical climate and festivals are other main attractions of Havana. 

Ballet festival is an international festival in Havana. Many refer to Havana as the Rome of the Caribbean Islands as well. You can travel to Havana to imbibe the music, art, culture, and cuisine of the region. Old Havana is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well. Classic American cars are attractions of Cuba. These Old-timers are from the 1950s. You can find several such cars on the Cuban streets. You can always go for a classic two to three-hour tour that would give you a different experience of exploring the country.

Caribbean Travel: Visit Trinidad in Cuba

Trinidad, Cuba

Trinidad is a Spanish colonial settlement. UNESCO declared Trinidad a World Heritage Site in 1988. It has several beaches, waterfalls, and places suited for hiking and trekking as well. Trinidad offers extravagant nightlife and music scenes. Live music concerts happen in the squares and the streets of Trinidad. Casa de la Musica is a hotspot for music, and people swarm in there for the experience it offers. You can have a good time enjoying music and drinks while in Trinidad.  

Caribbean Travel: Valle de Vinales, Cuba

Valle de Viñales, Cuba

Viñales is a scenic beauty with several pine trees and limestone cliffs. You can go rock climbing, horseback trekking, hiking, and other activities while in Valle de Viñales. Valle de Viñales is an agricultural town and is best known for Cuban tobacco. You can enjoy visits to tobacco farms and caves as well.

Cuba Things to do: Cayo Levisa Tropical Island

Cayo Levisa in Cuba

Cayo Levisa Island is part of Los Colorado's Archipelago. With several crystalline beaches, coral reefs, palm trees, and other destinations, Cayo Levisa is famous for its black corals. From the sandy beaches, you can have a beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico. 

You can observe several marine lives, including starfish. Snorkeling, scuba diving, and surfing are some of the water sports you can take part in while traveling to Cayo Levisa in Cuba.

Caribbean Travel: Curacao

Curacao, Netherlands Antilles

Curacao is an excellent destination with fascinating caves, flourishing art, sunkissed beaches, and wondrous Dutch colonial architecture. You can have a relaxing time in Curacao exploring the turquoise beaches, exotic caves and take part in activities like snorkeling and diving as well. Willemstad, a port city in Curacao, resembles the old European cities. 

Christoffel National Park, the Curacao Seaquarium, the Curacao Museum, Queen Emma Bridge, and St. Anna Bay are some of the places worth visiting in Curacao. 

Caribbean Travel: Antigua

Antigua, Lesser Antilles

With turquoise beaches, ancient sites, lively markets, and culture, Antigua is an island with diverse beaches and is famous for its black pineapples. You can take part in numerous water sport activities like surfing, scuba diving, and others.

Nelson's Dockyard and Betty's Hope are the two main historical attractions in Antigua on the Caribbean Island. If you are someone interested in hiking, you can always go for a hike up Boggy peak, the highest point in Antigua. Pack your bags and be ready for an enchanting vacation on the Caribbean Islands. You can always browse back to our Caribbean Travel Guide for any clarifications!