Caribbean calling: our favourite islands and things to do

It’s no surprise that when you think of gorgeous island getaways, you think of the Caribbean. Here’s a list of our favourite islands and the things you need to do when you visit.

Antigua

English Harbor, Antigua. Image: iStock/MichaelUtech

A patchwork of colourful villages and sheltered coves make Antigua a stylish, sun-drenched getaway.

Antigua was historically the premier Caribbean destination, now lesser travelled and therefore a truly serene outpost in the balmy waters of this famous sea. It easily matches and often surpasses the beauty of the other islands, with bright, technicolour villages lining exotic bays and colonial harbours offering a refined glamour to savvy travellers.

Half Moon Bay
This crescent shaped bay is a true paradise on the eastern shores of Antigua. Completely underdeveloped, it offers a natural sanctuary for whiling away the day under the hot Caribbean sun. The waters are startlingly clear, the sands powder light, and the surroundings picture postcard perfect. It doesn’t get as irresistible as this.

Frigate Bird Sanctuary
Head for Codrington Lagoon and take a boat through the protected estuary that it hosts. A licensed sea taxi is the only way to reach this remote National Park, home to one of the world’s largest colonies of frigatebirds. As you glide through, a chorus of chirps and squawks fills the air. These exotic, rather odd looking birds with their jet black feathers juxtaposed against their billowing, bright red necks, are spectacle not to be missed.

English Harbour
Rich in Antigua’s colonial history, English Harbour is a collection of tropical bays and coves now frequented by yachts and holidaymakers. Old English forts like Fort Berkeley and Fort George line the coast, offering a rich history to discover. Fine dining is plentiful, and Sunday night parties at the Lookout on Shirley Heights are famous.

Bahamas

Perfect tropical island paradise beach. Image: iStock/photogerson


700 islands create a patchwork of irresistible sun-drenched shores, lapped by the clearest waters in the world.

Exotic adventures await in Nassau, whilst coral reefs invite exploration just below the surface of the remarkable waters. Island hopping is an excellent way to catch the diversity of this island chain, with rare sights like pink beaches waiting to be explored.

Fish Fry
Head to Arawak Cay in Nassau, where a collection of street food stalls, restaurants and open-air bars form what is locally known as the fish fry. This is the perfect spot to grab some of the freshest seafood on the island, with a vibrant atmosphere unique to these gorgeous islands.

Harbour Island
This glamorous island is home to one of the Bahamas’ most unique sites. The eastern coastline is blessed with pink beaches, a rare phenomenon that makes your beach day that little bit more special. In the town, pastel-coloured colonial buildings house smart bistros and fine dining spots.

Swimming Pigs
Exuma has become internationally renowned for this rather odd sight. It is here that wild pigs, quite naturally, enjoy a dip in the sea to cool off from the balmy heat. They, evidently, are very relaxed, meaning you too can swim alongside these irresistible chums.

Grenada

Grenada, Au Coin Falls. Image: iStock/argalis

This famous spice island is a riot of flavour, colour and outdoor adventure.

Lose yourself on its effortlessly beautiful beaches and explore the unique culture of Grenada in postcard-perfect towns. Diving here is spectacular, as are the walks and hikes in the verdant interior. Grenada is a magical destination perfect for a holiday framed by unique Caribbean charms.

St George’s
Wonderfully picturesque, St George’s is a gorgeous harbour town where colourful Georgian architecture lines the edge of the Carenage inlet. Head for the shops and chic cafes, in awe at this town’s beauty. Settle on the bay with a rum punch or a coconut water and soak up the atmosphere of one of the prettiest towns in the Caribbean.

Underwater Sculpture Park
An underwater art gallery awaits adventurers in the warm seas off Grenada’s coast. Around 80 works sit on the seabed, slowly being claimed by corals that add another layer of mystery to these sunken treasures. The best way to see these incredible sculptures is by scuba diving. An adventure not to be missed!

Grand Etang National Park
Head for the tropical rainforest for walks through beguiling scenery. An outdoor wonderland, the park teems with unique wildlife and mesmerizing waterfalls. The epicentre is the Grand Etang lake which occupies a volcanic crater – it’s a truly spellbinding spot.

Jamaica

Local Fruit Stand in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Image: iStock/Veni


The loudest of all the islands, Jamaica is a famed destination, having spread its unique culture around the world.

Rocksteady-saunter is framed by gorgeous countryside, cascading waterfalls and fiery cuisine. Whether it’s hanging out at a jerk spot tucking into the island’s famous oil drum jerk with rice and peas, or sinking into white sand beaches under palm tree canopies, Jamaica is a heady mix of all the Caribbean’s best bits.

The music
Music is impossible to ignore in Jamaica. It shakes dance halls when the sun goes down, it wakes you up from corner sound systems playing oldies, and it spills from the record shops still harbouring coveted island classics. From ska to rocksteady, rub a dub to dancehall, music is Jamaica’s lifeblood – get in the dance.

River Rafting
Head over to the Martha Brae River to sample the sublime delights of Jamaica’s riverways. With a simple bamboo raft gliding across the water, you’ll revel in the idyllic scenery of the island’s interior. Stop off at swimming spots or take a guide through a network of impressive caves that line parts of the river. With a Red Stripe in hand, rafting down Martha Brae is an unforgettable experience.

Blue Mountain Peak
A long, winding trek through a verdant, lush mountain landscape that ranks high on the list of unmissable things to do in Jamaica. The tallest peak on the island, Blue Mountain offers a remarkable and unique array of flora and fauna with typical tropical charms making this trail a true Caribbean gem.

St Lucia

St. Lucia’s Twin Pitons lit by sunset glow. Image: iStock/Wildroze


A volcanic history has created a lush rainforest landscape bustling with a spectacular diversity of animals and fauna.

From the rich interior, Saint Lucia invites you to its stunning coast, with the two famous Pitons towering high into view. Explore technicolour towns and prop up at the rum shacks, in awe at the natural splendor of this Caribbean starlet. From idyllic bays to botanical gardens, explore it all here.

Soufrière & The Pitons
A technicolour seaside town with weathered colonial facades that impart an irresistible charm. Shadowed by the island’s icons, the Pitons, Soufrière is bustling yet relaxed town where rum shacks invite pit-stops packed with local flavour. Surrounded by lush rainforest, don’t miss this urban idyll.

Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens & Mineral Baths
Bestowed to the three brothers Devaux by King Louis XIV, this vast estate is a verdant, tropical sprawl perfect for whiling away an afternoon in natural splendour. See crystalline waters cascade from waterfalls, or walk amongst unique flora & fauna. Dip in the natural mineral baths for a truly enchanting experience in these unique surroundings.

Marigot Bay
This idyllic natural bay is a wonder of St Lucia. It’s irresistibly attractive, typifying the kind of tropical island paradise that we all long for when travelling the Caribbean. Alight at sophisticated restaurants and contemporary bars, set to show you the warmth and hospitality that the Caribbean is famous for.

Barbados

Luxury hotel pool. Image: iStock/oversnap


Allow the heady Bajan atmosphere to intoxicate the spirit, from the soca, the calypso, the rum and the spice.

With over 92km of unspoilt, idyllic coastline, Barbados is a premier destination for lying back on golden sands, and listening to the tranquil seas gently lap against this untouched paradise. Indulge mind,body, and soul as you discover a vibrant culture and beguiling outdoor landscape.

Rum Shacks
Rum is a Bajan speciality. It flows freely from a host of rustic rum shacks, found dotted across the island. This is the best place to get a slice of authentic Bajan culture. Prop yourself up and try a host of fiery, refreshing drinks best served with some homemade flying fish and cou cou.

Oistins Fish Fry
Flames spit from oil drum barbecues, calypso bounces around a buzzing crowd, and the irresistible draw of various traders makes Oistins the only place to go on a Friday night. Pick from a host of vendors, each rumoured to have the best flying fish, or mac pie, or swordfish – you get the picture. Great food, an electric atmosphere and warm, Bajan hospitality.

Swim with Turtles
Head by boat to isolated coves and dip into the warm Caribbean sea. Below the water you’ll find majestic turtles gliding beneath your feet. A truly inspired sight, be sure to pick an operator that works ethically, like Barbados Blue, to ensure the protection and conservation of these grand creatures.