Great Destinations for Island Hopping in the Caribbean

Island Hopping in the Caribbean

There is so much real estate to cover within the Caribbean, you can make multiple visits throughout your lifetime and still not see it all. Particularly for those travelers who must endure long-haul flights to get here, a trip to the region is often-times a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. Luckily, there are opportunities for you to make multiple stops within a very short space of time. While regional flights are generally pricey, several Caribbean destinations facilitate budget-friendly options due to super close proximity or the fact that they are multi-island states. So, for those of you interested in maximizing your time and minimizing your spend in paradise, here are some great destinations for island hopping in the Caribbean.

Grenada (& Carriacou and Petit Martinique)

Island Hopping in the Caribbean: Grenada

Pristine beaches, untamed nature, preserved history, delicious chocolate, and a welcoming population are just a few of Grenada’s top-selling points. However, its tri-island status is what makes the “Spice Isle” perfect for island hopping in the Caribbean. Chase waterfalls and trek through the rainforest in mainland Grenada before slowing things down with a hop, jump and skip over to paradisical Carriacou where scuba diving, snorkeling, and sun-bathing will be the order of the day. Once you’ve had your fill of all of nature’s finest offerings, make your way over to peaceful Petit Martinique where you’ll have all the time in the world to do absolutely nothing but disconnect and spend time with your thoughts.

Must-do on the islands:

  • Grenada: Hike to the Seven Sisters waterfalls
  • Carriacou: Hire a boat to take you over to Sandy Island for the afternoon
  • Petit Martinique: Walk to the highest point on the island and take in the view

How to hop-around:

  • Carriacou: From Grenada you can take a 2-hour ferry ride that runs daily or a 20-minute flight via SVG Air
  • Petit Martinique: From Grenada (or Carriacou) you can take the ferry that runs daily

How to allocate your time:

  • Spend the most time on…Grenada, because: there’s a lot to see and do
  • Spend the least time on…Petit Martinique, because: there’s literally nothing to do but enjoy peace and quiet

St. Maarten (& St. Barths, Saba & Anguilla)

As far as island hopping in the Caribbean goes, St. Maarten is Mecca. In under 20 minutes, you can fly from this Dutch & French territory to three equally epic and blissfully uncrowded destinations. Go from plane spotting and ziplining in St. Maarten; to ultimate beach bumming on some of the world’s top-rated beaches in Anguilla; to scuba diving and hiking in Saba and wrap it all up by experiencing all the luxuries St. Barth’s has to offer.

Must-do on the islands:

  • St. Maarten: Plane spotting at Maho Beach
  • Saba: Hike Mt. Scenery to the highest point in the Netherlands
  • Anguilla: Take a beach-hopping boat tour
  • St. Barth’s: Get a day pass to one of the luxury resorts and live your best life

How to hop-around:

  • Saba: From St. Maarten you can take the 1.5 hr ferry ride (runs daily) or a 15-minute flight via WinAir
  • Anguilla: From St. Maarten you can take a 40-minute ferry ride that runs daily
  • St. Barth’s: From St. Maarten you can take a 45-minute ferry ride or a 15-minute flight via WinAir

How to allocate your time:

  • Spend the most time on…St. Maarten, because: there’s so much to see and do.
  • Spend the least time on…St. Barth’s, because: it’s expensive.

St. Vincent & the Grenadines

Any list featuring the best destinations for island hopping in the Caribbean has to include St. Vincent and the Grenadines with its impressive cluster of dozens of islands and cays. From inhabited gems like Bequia, Union Island, and Canouan; to the protected marine park that is the Tobago Cays (just to name a few)…SVG serves up more options than could ever be included in a single travel itinerary. Hike, dive, snorkel, sail or soak in an incredible saltwater pond. Whatever your preference in the great outdoors, you’re bound to find numerous options to keep you contentedly occupied in this tiny archipelago.

Must-do on the islands:

  • St. Vincent: Make the drive north to visit the Owia Salt Pond
  • Bequia: Swim, snorkel and soak up the sun at Princess Margaret Beach
  • Tobago Cays: Take a boat tour around the cays
  • Union Island: Get a day pass to one of the luxury resorts and live your best life
  • Canouan: Hike and befriend the many turtles roaming freely around the island

How to hop-around:

  • Bequia: From St. Vincent you can take a 1-hour ferry ride that runs daily or fly with SVG Air
  • Tobago Cays: Various private boat charters offer daily tours
  • Union Island: From St. Vincent you can take a 3-hour ferry ride that runs Tuesday and Fridays
  • Canouan: From St. Vincent you can take a 2-hour ferry ride that runs Tuesday and Fridays

How to allocate your time:

  • Spend the most time on…Bequia, because: beaches!
  • Spend the least time on…Tobago Cays, because: as beautiful as it is, overnighting isn’t an option

Trinidad & Tobago

Island Hopping in the Caribbean: Trinidad & Tobago

The perfect 2-for-1 special, Trinidad and Tobago offers the best of both worlds. You can experience Caribbean life in the “fast lane” with all Trinidad’s mini-metropolis has to offer – cruise down four-lane highways; shop at some of the largest malls in the Caribbean; dine at high-end restaurants and dance the night (or day) away at some of the best parties in the world. Then, when it’s time to slow things down hop over to peaceful Tobago where secluded beaches, incredible nature, quaint accommodation, and family-run restaurants serve up delicious home-style cooking with a side of Tobagonian hospitality.

Must-do on the islands:

  • Trinidad: Attend a GOOD Trini fete to experience the vibes
  • Tobago: Take a glass-bottom boat tour to the Nylon Pool
  • DDI: Take a boat tour and spend the day out on the water

How to hop-around:

  • Tobago: From Trinidad, you can take a 3-hour ferry ride or 20-minute flight with Caribbean Airlines (multiple times daily).
  • DDI: Hire a boat in Chaguaramas or charter a tour

How to allocate your time:

  • Spend the most time on…Tobago, because: paradise!
  • Spend the least time…Down the Islands, because: limited activities

Island hopping in the Caribbean is one of the most appealing factors about visiting the region. And, while at first glance, it may appear to be a daunting undertaking, the key to identifying the ideal destinations, is to find those with affordable ferry services and/or very brief flights, allowing you to save on both money or time.

Of course, this list is only based on my island hopping experiences thus far. I know there are quite a few more options out there and I hope to check a few of out in 2020 but I’m always open to recommendations so feel free to drop them in the comments!

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