The 10 Best Caribbean Islands
The 10 Best Caribbean Islands
If you're planning a tropical getaway, the Caribbean islands are a gold mine of beauty, seclusion, and adventure.
Even though all the Caribbean islands are beautiful, some are better than others. So we decided to rank them.
We figured that the best islands would have a low cost, be easy to get to, and have beautiful beaches and lots of activities. In most instances, we defined a Caribbean island as a single country, republic, or territory in the Caribbean.
To rank these islands, we factored in each island's average hotel room cost, according to Hotels.com; the distance from New York City; the number of attractions listed on TripAdvisor; and the amount of coastline per square kilometer, which we called the beach density score.
10. US Virgin Islands
Distance from NYC: 4 hours and 31 minutes
Average hotel room cost: $262/night
Made up of St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas, this Caribbean island archipelago is home to 185 attractions. Although it has a low beach density score of 0.1, the US Virgin Islands boasts two Travelers' Choice-winning beaches: Trunk Bay and Magens Bay.
Distance from NYC: 3 hours and 45 minutes
Average hotel room cost: $226/night
Whether you’re looking to kick up your adrenaline in the great outdoors or just chill out under some palm trees, Jamaica has something for everyone. It has a low beach density score of 0.09, but 164 attractions, including the Blue Mountains and a Bob Marley Museum.
8. St. Kitts and Nevis
Distance from NYC: 4 hours and 10 minutes
Average hotel room cost: $221/night
Sister-islands St. Kitts and Nevis have a high beach density score of 0.52 and 71 attractions to choose from. A hidden gem of the Caribbean, the republic's 38-acre Brimstone Hill Fortress and Clay Villa Plantation House & Gardens are as breathtaking as they are historic.
7. Cayman Islands
Distance from NYC: 3 hours and 50 minutes
Average hotel room cost: $294/night
Perhaps best known for their offshore bank accounts, the Cayman Islands have so much more to offer. Made up of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman, the islands boast world-class diving, gourmet restaurants, and the world-famous Seven Mile Beach. They have 151 attractions and a high beach density score of 0.61.
6. Dominican Republic
Distance from NYC: 3 hours and 40 minutes
Average hotel room cost: $193/night
Despite having the lowest beach density score on this list (0.03), the Dominican Republic blows away other islands because of its accessibility, affordable hotel rooms, and 219 attractions. Bavaro Beach, Macao Beach, and Paradise Island & The Mangroves all made TripAdvisor's list of the top 25 beaches in the Caribbean.
Distance from NYC: 4 hours and 30 minutes
Average hotel room cost: $190/night
Curaçao is the destination for serious divers. More casual beachgoers will find heaven on its sugar-fine sands; the island has the third highest beach density score on this list (0.82). The hidden inlet Kenepa Beach and Curaçao Underwater Marine Park are among its 61 attractions.
4. St. Martin – Sint Maarten
Distance from NYC: 3 hours and 55 minutes
Average hotel room cost: $267/night
The perfect marriage of French and Dutch cultures, St. Martin and Sint Maarten are two different colonies on one island. There are no border patrols or customs separating the colonies, so tourists can enjoy the best of both worlds — including their 44 combined attractions. The island has a very high beach density score of 1.09.
3. Saint Barthélemy
Distance from NYC: 5 hours and 5 minutes (no regularly scheduled direct flights)
Average hotel room cost: $305/night
It's neither the nearest nor the most affordable of the Caribbean islands, but Saint Barthélemy has an absurdly high beach density score of 1.52 — indicating that the coastline is curvaceous and complex. Saint Barths offers17 attractions, including the isolated and sunny Anse du Gouverneur beach and a historic district where the French first settled.
Distance from NYC: 2 hours and 55 minutes
Average hotel room cost: $300/night
The Bahamas, which has a moderate beach density score of 0.26, has more to do than anywhere else in the Caribbean. The island chain's pristine beaches, golf, duty-free shopping, gambling, nature parks, and 368 total attractions ensure there's something for everyone. The capital city of Nassau on New Providence Island is a must-visit.
1. Puerto Rico
Distance from NYC: 2 hours and 40 minutes
Average hotel room cost: $187/night
Located in the balmy northeast of the Caribbean, Puerto Rico is without a doubt the easiest island to access — which is good news, because you'll want to visit again and again. There are 348 attractions to choose from, including the Spanish colonial district of San Juan and the rainforests' ziplining parks. Despite having a low beach density score of 0.04, the island's Flamenco Beach is considered one of the best in the world, according to TripAdvisor.