From Cuba to the Cayman Islands, the Turks and Caicos to Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean is the home to beautiful beaches, sparkling oceans and incredible wildlife. It is little wonder that it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with millions of visitors travelling from the USA, Europe and further afield every single year.
For anyone yet to visit this spectacularly diverse part of the world it can be challenging just to know where to start! Are you interested in visiting one of the few remaining communist states in the world? Or are you looking for cocktails on the beach, or perhaps a spot of deep sea fishing in the Caribbean? Whatever your game, there is something for you in the Caribbean and this guide will help you plan the perfect trip.
The first thing to decide for your Caribbean vacation is which islands you want to visit and how many you plan on fitting in during your stay. Many visitors opt for an island hopping style holiday in order to see as much of the Caribbean as possible, so don’t be led into thinking you’ll only get to see one of the many islands that call the Caribbean home.
For culture and history, Cuba is an increasingly popular destination as it teems with nightlife, dancing and marks from the past. It’s not all salsa, rum and ruins though as the island is also home to magnificent beaches and wildlife. Havana’s atmosphere and aroma is something you’ll never forget.
If an expedition or outdoor pursuits is more up your street, consider the rugged hills of Grenada or the Dominican Republic. The Bahamas and Puerto Rica offer fantastic nightlife whilst the Turks and Caicos are home to splendid beaches and some of the finest fishing to be had in the world.
Next, decide the type of accommodation you want to reside in during your stay as, like most tourist destinations, there are many on offer.
Many islands are home to purpose built, five star luxury resorts offering visitors everything they could possibly need to relax and enjoy their trip away from home. For those that prefer to avoid the crowds, consider hiring a private villa or apartment or perhaps a chartered yacht would be more to your liking. The latter is particularly useful if you plan to sail between the islands and explore more than just the island onto which you land.
You’ll never be short of activities, regardless where you stay in the Caribbean but be aware that some islands offer far more than others. Some of the quieter islands on the Turks and Caicos for example, are barely inhabited and so make perfect retreats for those seeking peace and relaxation. As mentioned, the Bahamas and Puerto Rica are exciting nightlife destinations whilst the likes of Jamaica and Turks and Caicos are ideal for sun, sand, sea and luxury.
Across the entire region there are wildlife excursions to embark upon, regardless of whether you want to venture inland or jet off onto the ocean. Coral reef can be found around the majority of the islands, making for fantastic scuba and snorkelling wherever you go.
There’s even great shopping to had across a number of the islands, meaning there is literally something for everyone!
How and when to travel is the next thing to consider. Bear in mind that from mid-December to April is the high season and prices are at their highest. Nevertheless, if you book far enough in advance you can still get a great deal. The summer time is also popular, but be prepared for spectacular thunderstorms, particularly if you are staying by the sea!
If you are hoping to find a bargain, discounts of up to 50% are available in the off season, extending to 60 or 70% if you book last minute. Hurricane season lasts from June until the autumn so be sure to invest in travel insurance if you are travelling at this time.
Finally, check the travel restrictions well before you travel as most flights from Europe travel via the USA. Whilst there may be no need for a visa, it is imperative you check to avoid being told you can’t board the flight to or from your dream holiday!
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