The cold winter months are here and while you’re bundled up in four layers ready to brave the sub zero temperatures, you might find yourself dreaming of hot sun and perfect beach to lay out on. Well, you’re in luck, and while most of the world is preparing for a cold winter, the Caribbean Islands are enjoying the most pleasant time of the year.
With perfect temperatures, dry heat and low humidity, this is the time of year to visit, and when you see these pristine islands, there will be nothing holding you back.
White sand beaches, turquoise waters, vibrant marine life and luxury hotel await on the beautiful island of Anguilla. A mere 5-hour and 12-minute flight from New York will get you to this paradise, all while escaping New York’s freeze.
The flat landscape is perfect for those looking to kick back and relax on the beach, cold beverage in hand and a riveting book to delve into. For those looking for some adventure, taking advantage of the gorgeous island and its reef by swimming with dolphins, snorkelling and sailing is the best way to do it.
The Caribbean has an island for everyone and places like Grenada are a great example of this. Known for its treasured source of exotic spices, Grenada was named Spice Island in paying homage to this.
Not only does it have some beautiful beaches, it is also home to luscious greenery and scenic mountain terrain where you can fish, sail, hike, or bike. Most of all, Grenada is one for the foodies and their culinary scene is exquisite. Local dishes are given an excellent kick with the local spices including cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate.
A short five hour and 55 minute flight from New York will land you in the gorgeous island Dominica. This is an island where the activities are endless, so if you want to switch up laying on the beach, there is so much more to do.
There are over 40 amazing sites for diving, volcanic sites including the Champagne Reef where you can enjoy the geothermal bubbles. If you’re looking for more activity and adventure, this is the right island for you.
If you thought there was not much to do on the Caribbean Islands, think again. Guadeloupe is an archipelago of islands which has over 321 activities for tourists to take their pick of.
The two main islands include Grande-Terre which are complete with adorable beach towns where the sand is white and there are plenty of water sports. In addition, the mountainous Basse-Terre boasts panoramic, breathtaking views of Guadeloupe National Park. Here, you can go for hikes, mountain bike, or watch the wild animals in their habitats.
British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands are a genuine piece of paradise and there is something for everyone on around 60 islands. On Tortola you can tour the ruins and rum distilleries, or venture to Virgin Gorda and swim in the turquoise water and boulders which formed a series of pools and seawater-flooded grottoes.
The British Virgin Islands is also home to Richard Branson’s home, Necker Island, so if it’s good enough for a billionaire, you know it’s the real deal.
Turks and Caicos
Turks and Caicos is just a 3 hour and 25 minute flight from New York, so there shouldn’t be much stopping you from heading down for some winter warmth. With stretches of white sand beaches and luxury resorts for every budget, Turks and Caicos is really popular with both families and couples.
With 118 outdoor activities and wonderful oceans to swim in the possibilities are endless. Grace Bay Beach in Providenciales has earned a great reputation among luxury travelers.
Trinidad and Tobago
With Trinidad and Tobago, you get two great islands on one trip. From bird-watching, diving, and rainforest-hiking to vibrant nightlife and glass-bottom boat tours, there is so much to do on the islands.
Trinidad is home to luscious greenery and a great culinary scene, while Tobago has palm-lined beaches and more serene, quiet spots to kick back and relax. With around 231 different cultural, natural, and recreational activities, you won’t be bored for a second on this vacation.
St. Lucia is considered to be one of the hottest and dreamiest honeymoon destinations in the world. The organic architecture luxury hotels are nestled within luscious greenery with panoramic views of plantations and white sand beaches.
If you’re in a couple, take advantage of the world-class spas where the natural surroundings will bring you peace and serenity. For those traveling with children, the island has over 366 activities to choose from, meaning there will be no boredom from anyone.
Montserrat is one of the smaller Caribbean islands, but by no means the worst. Due to it not being one of the most common travel destinations, visitors love it because it is quiet and unspoilt.
The volcanoes make for an incredible landscape, the ruins are fascinating and the beaches are quiet and pristine. With 19 attractions to enjoy, it is a great getaway for you and your significant other to escape the cold and enjoy some time together before the holiday season.
Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua is one of the most charming islands in the Caribbean with cobble-stoned streets, colorful buildings and interesting historical sites. With some of the most distinct flavors in the Caribbean, it’s a great place for foodies who want to get a cultural taste of everything.
In addition, Barbuda has an incredible reef for those who want to take part in watersports and if you have a thing for birds, the bird-watching is worth it. With so many beaches, you can hit a different spot each day of the trip.
Martinique is one of the Caribbean islands that offers much more than beautiful beaches and scenic shores. The capital, Fort-de-France is more of an urban town while the northern region has tropical rain forests, mountains and stretches of picturesque beaches.
For those who love to explore the outdoors, this is a great island with so much to choose from. Other than physical activities, the island also has 25 historical landmarks so culture vultures will very much enjoy their trip, too.
Barbados is by far one of the most popular Caribbean islands, and for good reason. From luxury beach resorts and stunning nature to a buzzing nightlife and excellent restaurants, it is no surprise that the vacation destination is very popular among celebrities.
Boat trips turn into parties and watersports are exhilarating. If you want to do something different, you can visit the Mount Gay Rum Distillery which produces the oldest rum in the world. The waters are perfect for swimming and other areas are a surfers paradise. December is the best time to go.
Aruba isn’t the most luxurious of Caribbean islands, but it still is one of the most popular due to its accessibility for all budgets. The resorts are all at different price points and most of them offer affordable package deals, great for the whole family.
In addition, many of these resorts have more activities than you could possibly choose from, making it a great place to keep everyone occupied. The main town of Oranjestad boasts colorful buildings, plenty of landmarks, shopping and gorgeous beaches.
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Kitts and Nevis is one of the hubs for cruise liners to dock in the Caribbean due to the sheer size of the islands. Along with the palm-lined beaches, the island also has thousands of acres of jungle terrain and both of these scenic places offer tons of activities each.
As for the vibe on the island, St Kitts has a buzzing and bustling nightlife while Nevis has a calmer and more relaxing side to it. Depending on who you are traveling with, you can choose which side suits you best.
US Virgin Islands
In the US Virgin Islands, the main islands are St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas, where visitors flock to for some winter sun. Not only are these islands rich in culture with their historic colonial buildings, but the perfect sailing conditions, bustling nightlife and great shopping has attracted so many people to vacation here.
Ferries are used to get from island to island so you can explore what each of them have to offer and take part in their activities.
Other than being one of the most famous tax havens in the world, the Cayman Islands attracts more than 2.5 million tourists each year, most of which come from cruise liners.
Grand Cayman is the biggest island and has a cosmopolitan city feel to it due to the malls, restaurants, shops and a seven mile beach. Cayman Brac is a great place to visit for diving fanatics with so many different trails, while Little Cayman is quiet, uncrowded and a great place to relax and enjoy the surroundings.
There is not much that Jamaica doesn’t have. From mountains, rainforests, reef-lined beaches and colonial architecture, it caters to so many different kinds of travelers.
With 763 activities to take part in on the island, ranging from snorkelling, diving and swimming with dolphins to visiting the Bob Marley museum and Rose Hall in Montego Bay, you won’t be bored for a second. The food doesn’t get much better than this and going to an authentic jerk restaurant is a must.
St. Martin/Sint Maarten
Split into two sides, St. Martin is a popular island which includes the Dutch half, Sint Marteen, where travelers go to enjoy the bustling nightlife, great shops and beautiful beaches. On the other French half, it is a much quieter and slower vibe, the kind you would expect from a Caribbean island.
The white-sand beaches are stunning and the mountains are filled with luscious greenery and the restaurants serve up delicious French and Indian Caribbean cuisine.
Also known as St. Barths, this island is one for the rich and famous. It isn’t just the turquoise waters, white sand beaches and five star hotels that has the A-list vacationing there, but the designer boutiques, fine dining restaurants and yachts are also a factor.
The beaches are never crowded and over Christmas and New Year, it is the millionaire playground so expect to see plenty of celebrities and even the British royal family. If you can stomach one of the most terrifying plane landing strips in the world, you shouldn’t miss this one.