What are the the most beautiful islands of the Caribbean? Hard to choose. A real paradise on earth,the Caribbean has always been the most coveted holiday destination. The idea of being able to lie down in the sun, sipping a colourful cocktail at the foot of a coconut palm is a dream difficult to achieve for many. Yet the Caribbean with a Costa cruise becomes a destination that is not only reachable, but also particularly stimulating. With so many islands and archipelagos it can be difficult to select destinations, but with Costa you can visit numerous islands and not only get a tan, but also get to know their individual peculiarities.
The Caribbean islands, in fact, each enjoy very strong characteristics that emphasise their originality. The presence of beaches and coral reefs makes many of them particularly suited to the practice of sports, as well as the rainforests that offer extraordinary trails for excursions into nature. So many choices, all different depending on the island you are discovering.
Visiting cities, with their unique constructions, as happens in Martinique or Jamaica is a different experience than visiting the cities of Cuba or the Dominican Republic. A question of size, of course, but also of very different history, customs and traditions.
Yet every island visited leaves something with the visitor. The colour of the sunset in Guadeloupe, the scent of spices in Granada or even a glimpse of a bleachers in Martinique can fix in the memory, as can the inhabitants of those enchanted places where bananas and chocolate are grown.
In the Caribbean you can go in search of the beaches, very evocative locations like Grand Cayman, to try underwater sports amidst coral reefs or to relax, but in addition to this, the visitor will find something more: the possibility to live in contact with nature. In the Caribbean, in fact, you are constantly surrounded by beauty. A Costa cruise to the Caribbean is therefore not a simple holiday, but a life experience.
Which are the most stunning Caribbean islands? Here's our selection.
Caribbean: the most beautiful islands
- Dominican Republic
- Dutch Antilles
- Puerto Rico
- Tortola-Virgin Islands
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- St. Lucia
- Grand Cayman
The Dominican Republic is one of the most famous islands of the Caribbean. Its beaches, like Punta Cana or Bayahibe, have an irresistible charm. Described as real terrestrial paradises, these beaches confirm every description, from the intense blue of the water to the white sand, it is all extraordinary. But the beaches of the Dominican Republic are not just perfect for relaxing, perhaps sipping cocktails, they are also equipped for all water and diving sports.
And it's not just the sea! The capital of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo, is a famous city, one of the oldest of the Caribbean. Built in the 1500s, it still has the fortified original buildings and streets of the time, including the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Incarnation, the first to be built in colonial times. And if instead with a Costa cruise you dock at La Romana? You'll feel like you're in a film, going up the Chavon River by boat, dancing to a Latin American rhythm and maybe you could visit Altos de Chavon, a town where time seems to have stopped, for to make room for the enchantment of the panoramic view. The Dominican Republic will surprise you!
The Bahamas have 700 islands and islets. Unspoilt nature and endless deep white or pink beaches, are the setting for an ideal holiday. Password: relax, because in the Bahamas it really is possible to abandon the hectic lives and get in touch with nature.
Grand Bahama welcomes visitors with its mangrove swamps and coral reef and is also one of the few inhabited islands in the archipelago. It hosts Freeport and Lucaya, the two centres where the local population is concentrated, but offers ample space for parks and nature reserves. These include the Garden of the Groves, a tropical garden that is home not only to flowers and exotic plants, but also to many tropical animals and birds, amongst which there are pink flamingos the national birds of the Bahamas.
TheArchipelago of the Antilles is made up of predominantly mountainous islands that offer breathtaking views. Their arched pattern sees them extend from Florida to Venezuela and mark the dividing line between the sea of Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean.
Within the archipelago, they are divided into the Greater Antilles, which include Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico, and the Lesser Antilles, which in turn are divided into the Windward Islands and Leeward Islands as well as the Virgin Islands.
There are many islands that make up the archipelago, each with its own characteristics but united by a sea and nature of unforgettable beauty: for this, often tourists arriving in the Antilles choose not to spend their holiday on a single island, but to see several during their stay. A Costa cruise to the Caribbean, for example, can allow you to discover even seven islands in a single holiday! It's the ideal way to enjoy not only the beauties on land, but also the wonderful sea of the Antilles.
In its 430 square kilometres, Barbados encompasses a tropical microcosm. The white sand of the beaches, its coral reef and the possibility of practising water sports such as snorkelling, are just a few of the attractions it can offer, as well as green expanses, pastures and sugarcane plantations.
Also of great interest is a visit to the capital of Barbados, Bridgetown, full of monuments and colonial buildings and with a lively Port. For nature lovers, the Andromeda Gardens with their tropical plants are a must as well as the Farley Hill National Park.
After endless open-air proposals you can also choose a visit to the Harrison's Caves, caves full of stalactites and stalagmites, lakes and waterfalls, a true natural treasure of Barbados that has been possible to visit by a practical tram.
Jamaica is undoubtedly one of the most famous islands in the Caribbean Sea. Montego Bay with its beaches, coral reefs and rainforests, as well as its colonial architecture and Negril, a real paradise for all fans of diving, are destinations that easily fit on the wish lists of people of all ages.
It is easy to imagine yourself in the sun, dancing to the notes of reggae music with a cocktail in hand, or to be enchanted by nature and the Dunn River Falls.
The beating heart of Jamaica is the city of Kingston, created with a perpendicular and grid geometric plan based on some projects designed for the reconstruction of London after the fire of 1666. A modern city with a historic centre where there is even a museum dedicated to Bob Marley, the world-famous Jamaican reggae singer-songwriter and guitarist.
American or non-American? Puerto Rico is an unincorporated state of the United States, and although its inhabitants aspire to declare themselves independent, they follow the directives of the President himself. Despite this peculiarity, this island is undoubtedly one of the pearls of the Caribbean.
You can visit San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, to understand how far the uses and customs are from the frenetic American life, perhaps by stopping at one of its picturesque beach bars, or letting yourself be captivated by the Old San Juan, the historic heart and soul of the island with its two ancient fortresses: El Morro and La Fortaleza.
You can't leave Rico Port without going into the El Yunque National Forest and be surprised by La Mina Falls. A waterfall accessible from three different paths, located in the centre of the forest. A wonder of nature in which you can also swim, in its fresh and clear waters.
Antigua always strikes you. With its 150 km of coastline it can count on 365 beaches that allow you to relax, but also to practice all nautical sports or engage in other activities. Among these you can choose to go swimming with stingrays, with Costa, giving yourself an experience to remember and tell friends about.
For surfers the appointment is on the beach of Galley Bay, California, which in addition to having palm trees and lush vegetation, is the beach where the sea turtles nest and you may witness the birth of their young.
For lovers of views there is Shirley Heights, a hill that still houses the ruins of an ancient fortress but from which you can admire the whole bay and nearby islands, and at sunset it offers a thrilling view. A walk around the capital, St. John's, as well as a visit to its Cathedral, will offer you the opportunity to discover the colours and vibrancy of Antigua.
Barbuda is the perfect destination for those who seek peace and relaxation. As a small island, its white beaches are continuous in front of a reef that is often visible even to the naked eye. Gravenor Bay is one of the favourite beaches for snorkelling, but in the waters of Barbuda you can often find yourself swimming amongst fish of all kinds.
Of all the beaches, one that is very well known is the one from the Archaeological site of Palmetto Point leads to Cedar Tree Point, which at dawn is tinged with pink. Dawn in the Caribbean always deserves an early awakening, also because it gives a light and colours never seen in other parts of the world.
What if you are looking for something different? The Frigate Bird Sanctuary in Barbudavi will thrill you. A veritable ornithological reserve in the heart of the Codrington lagoon mangroves, where you will encounter over 170 species of birds.
Martinique must be savoured. Its colours and contrasts are fascinating and impress visitors from the outset. Modernity and tradition coexist on an island rich in lovely beaches, sugarcane plantations and cocoa.
Its capital, Fort de France, formerly Fort-Royal before Napoleon Bonaparte changed its name, is the perfect example. In the heart of a modern square you can come across the beautiful Schoelcher Library, by the architect Henri Picq. The building, which was originally built in Paris, was dismantled and rebuilt in Martinique, where other works by the same architect can be found, such as St. Louis Cathedral and the Covered Market. The latter is always worth a visit because it encompasses a universe of scents and colours. From bananas, to vanilla, chocolate, countless spices, it is a constant temptation!
But Martinique is unique, even for its culture, ranging from great authors to many danceable musical genres such as the Bel Air, the Calenda,the Mazurka or the Zouk.
Guadeloupe at sunset becomes magical. An island that encompasses everything you might expect from the Caribbean. Beaches with white, golden or black sand surrounded by unspoilt nature, await the tourists with their fairytale views. And how to resist the temptation to enter the crystal clear and turquoise waters that touch them? Impossible.
A walk to Pointe-à-Pitre will prove equally inspiring, with a succession of typical houses flanked by more modern buildings. The spacious, slightly sloping Place de la Victoire, almost reminiscent of a modern arena, on which huge coconut palms peep out. And how to not get lost in the streets of the craft and spice market? In Guadeloupe there are a thousand colours, which harmonise at sunset, before giving way to the intense blue of the sea and night sky, which are etched forever on the heart.
Tortola, Virgin Islands
Tortola , with its pirates and sugarcane, has always been a very coveted destination. It is the largest of the British Virgin Islands and also has the largest population. It owes its name to Christopher Columbus, who wanted to give it the name of the bird that means dove in Italian. Among its first inhabitants were pirates such as Blackbeard or William Kiddbut today its capital, Road Town, has just over fifteen thousand inhabitants and is considered a yacht paradise and a great tourist centre.
A stopover in Tortola, on a Costa cruise, will offer you the opportunity to dive in crystal clear waters and to be able to lie in the sun on long white beaches. For those who like to go surfing Apple Bay Beach is a beach to visit and have fun, while lovers of snorkelling find Smuggler's Cove more interesting. Also worth mentioning in Tortola is Trellis Bay, great for surfers, but much appreciated for its restaurants on the beach.
Athletes can only fall in love with Dominica. The island that Christopher Columbus spotted on November 3, 1493, and which bears the name of that day, i.e. Sunday, is a succession of perfect locations for keeping in shape. Soufrière Bay is perfect for snorkelling and for diving thanks to the underwater caves where you can meet Barracuda, stingrays, parrotfish and dancer fish.
Dominica is an island full of rainforests, lakes and rivers, dominated by the Morne Diablotin, a 1447-metre mountain. Many treks are therefore possible through the unspoiled nature, or also while mountain biking. Don't miss the nebulous atmosphere of the Boiling Lake, one of the largest steam lakes in the world, with water reaching temperatures between 80 and 90 degrees. Dominica also has waterfalls and hot springs, for complete a truly exciting visit!
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Not just an island but a real Archipelago , where you can dream and go snorkelling: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have a coral reef all to discover, as well as white beaches and many palm trees. Bananas and coconuts grow on the islands, where historically the main activity was fishing.
A trip to the capital, Kingstown, will reveal a small town where you can find numerous colonial buildings alternating with those in Creole style and other more modern ones. Fort Charlotte, a British colonial-era fortress dominates the town and is undoubtedly the ideal place for observing the archipelago of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Descending, you can linger amongst the colourful stalls that sell fish, rum and chocolate, hoping to meet some film, music or sports stars who have chosen to build a house on one of the archipelago's private islands.
Trinidad and Tobago
An ideal destination for all lovers of beach tourism. Trinidad and Tobago are two islands that make up a perfect state for spending time to relax and tan. A crystal clear sea is the perfect backdrop to a heavenly atmosphere but is also perfect for snorkelling, discovering marine wildlife or the Buccoo Reef in Tobago.
A visit to the capital, Port of Spain, on the island of Trinidad, will offer a taste of the culture of the place, with its harbour and its modern buildings. It is also the centre where the Caribbean Carnival takes place in Trinidad and Tobago, which has become a world-class event.
In Trinidad and Tobago there is also the Caroni Bird Sanctuary, where the Scarlet Ibis is at home, along with many other tropical bird species. An area where animals can easily find food and protection and where it is possible to experience eco tourism.
A mountain in the middle of the sea? No, two! The Pitons are two taper-shaped volcanic formations that characterise the island of St. Lucia and have been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Considered now extinct, the two Pitons are covered with a lush vegetation that colours them green and that makes them stand out in contrast to the blue of the water from which they seem to emerge.
St. Lucia, however, is full of surprises, such as its volcanic beaches and its extraordinary coral reef. Snorkelling, diving, windsurfing and kite surfing are all viable sports in amazing sea. There is no shortage of rainforests, where you can see some stunning waterfalls to swim in.
The capital of St. Lucia, Castries, is worth a visit to Derek Walcott Square, surrounded by wooden buildings and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and to its market offering local crafts as well as fruits and vegetables.
Grenada is conquering the whole world with its charm. It attracts those who love the sea, because it has about thirty sites for diving where you can swim with the hawksbill turtle. There is also the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park, an underwater art project involving 75 sculptures by Jason deCaires Taylor that should stimulate the formation of a new coral reef. Irresistible, therefore, for lovers of the underwater world.
For green lovers, in Grenada, there are rainforests, spice tree crops and many waterfalls. Paths to walk amidst nature to be in awe of the vegetation and its fauna.
However, Grenada knows how to make itself even more intriguing by enticing us with chocolate and its fragrant spices, or with many partying opportunities like the Carriacou Maroon Music Festival or Carnival.
Sapphire blue waters in which to dive, white and fluffy sand and all around the green of the palm trees. Welcome to Seven Mile Beach, in Grand Cayman, considered the most beautiful beach in the Caribbean. Parasailing, kite surfing, jet skiing are just some of the activities that can be carried out there, for a heavenly holiday. Isn't that enough? Here you can also pet starfish!
But Grand Cayman has a heart to explore even far away from the beach, with its Crystal Caves rich in stalactites and stalagmites, underground lakes and some open-air stretches. You can also be amazed by the visit to the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park where you can see the very rare blue iguanas.
Such a rich island can only have a capital like George Town, where you can also visit the Cayman Islands National Museum, dedicated to the cultural heritage of the Cayman Islands in addition to the ruins of Fort George, a fortress that dates back to colonial times.
Aruba is the island where fun and adventure meet, to the joy of visitors. Beaches dedicated to relaxation, as is the case with Eagle Beach, or beaches where you can try and play the most modern sports such as Andicuri or Dos Playa.
The capital of Aruba, Oranjestad, was founded in 1796, near Fort Zoutman, one of the main monuments of the city, where the buildings are very much affected by European influences.
There are several wildlife-related excursions on offer. The colourful Butterfly Farm, while the visit to the Philip's Animal Garden where more than fifty species of exotic animals coexist, will be unforgettable. A separate mention, on the other hand, must go to the Arikok National Park Aruba, where many species of animals and plants coexist, but which also includes dry river beds, protected bays and picturesque landscapes.
Anguilla is an island where calm reigns supreme. Away from the stress and hectic life of the big cities this small island forces everyone to enjoy the day without having to constantly look at the phone or the clock.
In such an atmosphere it becomes even more important to find the right beach to spend the day on. Lovely, undoubtedly, is Little Bay, with its white sand and the high cliffs that protect it, as well as the equally stunning Shoal Bay East, reported by many as being amongst the most beautiful in the world.
Anguilla is all to discover and you can start from one of the seven marine parks that surround it and that aim to protect natural resources by trying to guarantee them a safe place as well as a future. The capital, The Valley, seems to follow the island's beneficial influences, distinguishing itself by the peace and the feeling of relaxation that it manages to instil in visitors, who can only think that in Anguilla you can live in a Dream!
Cuba is an island, but it is also a state of world renown. It is often forgotten that it is in the Caribbean Sea. Yet like the others, this island has great white beaches, such as Playas del Este, which spans nine kilometres or the Playa Jibacoa protected by hills with dense vegetation.
Cuba is also known for the many tobacco fields that are essential for making the cigars, appreciated by connoisseurs around the world, and for sugarcane crops that are fundamental for the island’s prized Rum.
In Cuba, a visit to its capital is also a must, Havana, with its pastel-coloured houses and on whose streets 1950s cars still whizz past. Since 1982, much modernisation of the old part of the city has taken place under the tutelage of UNESCO. You cannot count the squares and buildings to visit, in a city where history has written very important pages, but where you can still see people dancing in the streets and in its clubs, frequented by prominent personalities such as Ernest Hemingway, to whom a museum is also dedicated.
Map of the Caribbean Islands
Cruise holiday in the Caribbean
Visiting the most beautiful islands of the Caribbean is an exciting experience, to be done even more than once in a lifetime. Thanks to a cruise, you can visit them thoroughly and can taste the most important features. Sea, water sports, nature excursions, original city walks and visits to spice and craft markets like you've never seen before. But you'll also have something more: the thrilling view of the islands that suddenly appear, as if by magic, in the blue Caribbean Sea, revealing itself with increasing precision as you approach the port, in all their beauty.