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The Caribbean archipelago is made up of 26 countries and thousands of islands, big and small. You’ve probably heard of the more frequently visited ones—the Bahamas, Barbados, or Aruba—but there are so many destinations that should be on your radar. Each island is equally paradisical, but are known for certain features or activities. Some are family-friendly, others popular with honeymooners and couples. Here are the six lesser-known Caribbean islands that you can’t miss.
St Thomas starts off the list as a must-see spot for its colonial landmarks, such as Blackbeard’s Castle, and its plentiful amount of beachside bars. One of the perks of St Thomas is that everything is duty-free, so grab some spices that are locally made and tropical jams for friends and family back home (and some for yourself, too!).
Home to over 120 different nationalities who speak over 80 languages, St Maarten is an extremely diverse and interesting place to visit on your Caribbean vacation. A fun fact about this island is that it is the smallest landmass in the world that is governed by two different nations—the Netherlands and France.
St Maarten provides so much to do for every type of visitor—whether you enjoy exploring centuries-old ruins or if you are an adrenaline junkie wanting to zip through tropical forests. If that’s not enough to come to visit this island, you can find plenty of secluded beaches that will help you work on your cruise tan.
From its rugged landscapes to secluded beaches, Curacao is definitely an underrated spot when thinking about the best islands to visit in the Caribbean. Sint Anna Bay is the separation between the two sides of Curacao. Punda is the original settlement, where there is a grid of buildings with colourful walls, and the area is filled with shops and interesting markets. Otrobanda is a nice spot to wander through, as it offers a maze-like experience with its narrow streets and alleyways. Being only 40 miles long, you can visit this little island and have all the activities done in a day!
Puerto Rico’s 500-year-old capital is heaven for history buffs. The evidence of Spanish influence is visible throughout the city, from the fortress walls at Old San Juan to the array of colours on its colonial building. If you want to take a break from the main attractions, take a trip to El Yunque Forest, or even go riverside horseback riding!
While Grand Cayman is famous for being an international tax haven and a go-to spot for many celebrities, it is so much more than that. During your visit to this amazing destination, you can snorkel with stingrays in Stingray City, visit one of the best beaches in the world—Seven Mile Beach—and chomp down on some local seafood by the shore.
With its dense mangrove forests, jungles, and white sand beaches, Roatan is a diverse blend of different cultures and traditions. It is known as a must-visit spot for any diver or snorkeller wanting to see the world’s second-largest barrier reef in real life. Not only can you spend time in the water, but you can also meet monkeys and “Jesus” lizards—named as such due to their ability to run on water—and zipline through rainforests.