New year. New adventures. Bring it on! But where do you go? For some, the decisions of where and when have already been made. Kudos to you for getting a head start on your travel plans. However, for those of you who are still sorting through research and weighing your options, that’s OK too. There’s a lot to consider and it can be overwhelming making a commitment of that magnitude. So, to help you along in this process, I’ve compiled a list of 6 gorgeous Caribbean destinations you should consider visiting in 2018.
Trinidad & Tobago
Why visit: Best of both worlds
Two for (almost) the price of one. And we’re not just talking about the number of islands. Trinidad and Tobago is one of those rare Caribbean destinations that offers two very different experiences. As the most southern nation in the archipelago, getting to T&T might be a bit of a pull, depending on your origin, but this is one long haul flight that will definitely be worth it. Often referred to as the ‘NYC’ of the region, Big Sister Trinidad is one of the most industrialized islands in the Caribbean with a bustling capital city, pumping nightlife, diverse cuisine and the BEST, most EPIC Carnival in the world. In contrast, Little Sister Tobago is known (and loved) for its rich culture and slow paced, authentic island vibe made even better by its many secluded beaches and postcard perfect views. Whether you want to start with the hype and end with the chill or vice versa, it’s just a quick 20 minute flight or 3.5 hour ferry ride to hop between the two.
Why visit: Amazing eco-experiences
Hiking. Hashing. Diving. Tubing. And waterfalls galore. Grenada is where you go when you love being out in nature and beautiful beaches (as ah-mah-zing as they are) just aren’t enough. Beyond this Caribbean destination’s gorgeous white-sand and blue-water coastline, the island is home to the Grand Etang Forest Reserve with its many waterfalls, including the famous Seven Sisters; the Balthazar River, with its exciting river tubing excursions; and the Molinere Underwater Sculpture Garden, which is perfect for diving and snorkeling. Curious about what else you can do while you’re on the island? Check out this list of 10 you must do in Grenada. And, if you need a change scenery, hop on the Osprey ferry service and spend a couple days on neighboring Carricou where you’ll most likely be one of a handful of tourists on the island!
Why visit: Rich history and culture
History. Art. Culture. And just a little bit of intrigue. Cuba has it all. And then some. You could easily spend hours walking through Old Havana taking in the eclectic mix of architectural designs that seems to span every era. Or spend a Sunday soaking up the colorful local art and live music on the Callejon de Hamel. Rent a mint condition classic car and cruise through the narrow streets. And of course, hop on a bus tour and take in the contrast of the serene and scenic Viñales Valley. No matter what experiences you indulge in, they will be steeped in history and usually topped off with a passionate, Cuban-centric perspective that will make this trip very unique. Check out Island Girl’s Guide to Cuba to discover all the cool things you can do while on the island.
St. Vincent & The Grenadines
There’s the small island experience, and then there’s St. Vincent & The Grenadines. With a population of under 110,000 spread across several picturesque islands, SVG is one of those Caribbean destinations you go to when your primary goal is to fall off the radar during the day and catch up on sleep at night. There’s not much of a party scene to speak of, especially during the off season (Aug to early Oct) when most of the larger hotels and restaurants close down. Daytime activities lean toward eco-adventures, such as hiking the towering La Soufriere volcano or touring St. Vincent’s many waterfalls. Even if the idea of all that walking doesn’t float your boat, you can spend some soaking and sunning at the Owia Salt Pond or head west and enjoy a brief (and offbeat) tour of what used to the be the set of the hit movie, Pirates of the Caribbean. If however you’re partial to white sand and clear water beaches, schedule the majority of your stay on beautiful, Bequia where you’ll happily spend your days laying out on Princess Margaret Beach. Either way, walk with some books, several long playlists and a lot of sun screen because you’ll need it.
Why visit: Check it off your bucket list
If you’re contemplating Caribbean destinations, chances are Jamaica is under consideration. Home to legends like Bob Marley and Usain Bolt, Jamaica would be a place of interest for many even if it wasn’t blessed with natural beauty. But it is. Clearly, Jamrock won the lottery and its littered with beautiful beaches, lush forests, and a proud culture you can’t help but admire and adore. If you do make it to this iconic island in 2018, I strongly recommend giving yourself enough time to split your stay between Kingston’s city life and the more popular tourist hubs. While in Kingston, be sure to schedule a day trip to Portland and cruise down the Rio Grande on a bamboo raft because, ‘Why not?’. However, the majority of your itinerary should be dedicated to the western part of the island. There you can indulge in cliche but mandatory experiences like jumping into the Blue Hole (Ocho Rios), snorkeling at Doctor’s Cave Beach (Montego Bay) and relaxing on 7 Mile Beach (Negril).
Why visit: A little bit of everything
Looking for an island with a healthy variety of outdoor activities that can cater to a diverse range of interests? St. Lucia is it. You can journey to Soufrière in the north of the island one day to dive alongside the Pitons or hike to its highest point. Then spend the night down south at the Fish Fry hosted in Gros Islet. If you’re into natural therapies, spend a few hours at the Sulphur Springs soaking in the hot baths and slathering yourself in the soft, gray mud before washing off and cooling down under the powerful force of Diamond Waterfalls. Into history? Take a tour on one of the many pirate themed ships the sail along the coast every single day, or venture to Pigeon Island for a self-guided tour of the fort that delivers spectacular views.
If you’re among the restless wanderlusters still unsure of your travel plans for 2018, you should check out at least one of these Caribbean destinations. The region’s diverse population and varied terrain lend themselves to a range of unique experiences so you’re bound to find an island that has the vibe you’re looking for. Maybe it’s on this list, maybe its not, but I do hope this list gives you a good head start.
Whatever you decide though, here’s to getting those passport stamped in 2018! Wheels up!
Great destinations! I have been wanting to explore the Caribbean more too!
Probably I would choose CUBA for the culture, arts, local living and history. WOW! Thanks for your sharing!
I absolutely LOVE Cuba and I think you will too!
Great list. We lived in Jamaica for two years and early December was our favorite time – enjoy the Reggae Marathon, weather is pleasant, and holiday prices haven’t kicked in yet. Can’t say I’d recommend staying in Kingston, though. Portland or Treasure Beach might be better, especially for first time visitors.
Thanks! I totally understand your hesitation to recommend Kingston but it really is a great city and as a West Indian I always think its important for visitors to experience the areas that aren’t as touristy to get a true sense of the place 🙂
The Caribbean looks stunning. It’s been on my list for a while but I haven’t made it to any destinations there yet. St Lucia and Cuba in particular I really hope to visit in the next few years. Thanks for sharing and telling us a bit about each of your suggestions.
You’re welcome! I hope you make it to St. Lucia and Cuba soon!
I’ve only been to Cuba but hope Trinidad & Tobago is next!
I hope you make it to T&T, it’s awesome! (If I do say so myself lol). But Cuba was amazing, I’m actually thinking of returning this year.
There so much history going on in Cuba, I’ll skip it. T&T is and will always be the best the Caribbean has to offer. T&T gives life to you both hot and cold, you know what I mean????. I like other destinations, especially Grenada. One of these days, I’ll mark the Caribbean off my list.
Looks amazing. Always wanted to sail this area
This all look stunning. I’ve heard that Grenada is beautiful and cheap! That’s somewhere that I’ve always wanted to go – but honestly any of these look great.
Grenada is relatively cheap but I T&T is actually cheaper 🙂 They’re all great destinations though so whichever you choose, you’ll have a great time!
wow…Great list of places in Caribean to visit. Looks so beautiful, would definitely want to visit all these places one day. Thanks for sharing.
You’re very welcome!
wow another great info about Carribean islands. It makes me eager to visit.
I have always wanted to go to the Caribbean Islands because I am more of a beach person. These destinations are a must-visit, just by looking at your photos. The way the sea and sky meet with your Trinidad & Tobago photo makes me want to go so bad! The gorgeous beaches and natural beauty of these islands make them the ultimate bucket list items!
Some awesome Caribbean destinations! I went to Barbados last year – some awesome culture, beaches and scuba diving as well!
BIM’s diving is supposed to be LEGENDARY but unfortunately the only times I’ve made it over there is for work – really shameful since its less an hour’s flight away. Hoping to fix that this year though!
I just pinned the post to my wish list! I would love to visit all of them but by the way you explain Grenada I think I would enjoy it the most as I love outdoor adventures and scuba diving! And I am chasing waterfalls so that picture with you and the waterfalls made the decision too!
Grenada’s waterfalls are the BEST! And most of them are so easy to get to. I spent one day driving from one to the next but its impossible to get them all in one go 🙂
Trinidad sounds and looks amazing!! Especially when you say it has the most EPIC carnival! Would love to experience that, plus the diverse cuisine. But I am totally love the ‘off the grid’ type of travel so I think St. Vincent & The Grenadines would totally suite me…and I would love to travel here slow and really experience the local living. The eco adventures would be amazing and it would be so wonderful to be so close to nature, while being surrounded by the beautiful ocean.
Yes, Trini Carnival is EPIC, the best in the world (but I might be a little biased lol). SVG is such a great destination, I’ll be publishing my first post from that trip next week so stop by again to see exactly what it has to offer!
And all these islands are on my bucket list. Cant wait to check them all out one day. Loving the photos and my lips are getting wet. Think I need to visit the Caribbean sooner than later.
I couldn’t agree more – everyone needs a Caribbean getaway!
I couldn’t agree more – everyone needs a Caribbean getaway!
Are these colours for real? <3 Everything is so bright and vivid – it makes me want to visit the Carribean ASAP! Cuba has been really high up on my bucket list for a few years, so I'd love to make it over soon – just have to find a more direct way of getting there from Hong Kong.
Lol yes they are! We’re not all blue skies every single day but the sun’s out most of the time and when it is I just love to soak it all up (with sunscreen of course). But Cuba is a truly remarkable place to visit so I do hope you’re able to find a more direct path from Hong Kong!
I love this list! Not the typical places you see, I feel like everyone goes to Aruba and it’s so over run with tourists. I’m not sure which I’d pick, they all look beautiful! Cuba is really high on my list, I really hope to make it there later this year.
So glad I was able to point you in the direction of some new destinations to consider! I thoroughly enjoyed Cuba and I think you might too! I hope you’re able to visit this year!
We used to go to the Caribbean every year when we lived on the East Coast because it was so easy and it was a great place to get out of the cold in the winter. Jamaica was always one of our favorites, although you’ve given me some new ideas here. We may have to make another trip soon!
Jamaica is truly a gem! I could see why you would fall in love with it! I hope you get to check a few of the other island on the list though 🙂
I’m off to Jamaica in Feb (plus week cruising central and south America). Staying in Runaway Bay. Really can’t wait:-). Caribean is a heaven on earth place to visit. Will enjoy it as if there is no tomorrow;-).
Oh that sounds like such an amazing trip! Have all the fun!
What a great list! Trinidad and Tobago sounds amazing. I want to visit all these places. It is going to be though deiciding which one to visit. The blue of the water is so unreal!!! St. Lucia has been high on my list. The Sulphuric springs are too good to pass on.
The Sulphur Springs are AMAZING! I love all of these islands (and many more) but St. Lucia was definitely an amazing place to visit so if it’s already on your list I think you should make that your first stop!
I’m not a beach person, but admittedly, Grenada has been on my travel list so long. The thick tropical forests and waterfalls always draw me, plus it doesn’t seem as touristy as St. Lucia or the other Caribbean countries. I tried creating a Havana trip for this, but hasn’t panned out as of yet. The rich culture and history is what attracts me to it as well!
Havana is amazing and a city you’d definitely enjoy if you’re into history and culture! But Grenada is perfect if you love the outdoors and a little bit of adventure. I think you’ll do well with either destination 🙂
I’ve been wanting to to go Trinidad and Tobago! The carnival like you said is supposed to on point! Where else have been to a carnival?
St. Lucia looks divine! Just added it my list!
Thanks for sharing!
I really want to visit the Caribbean and have been thinking of taking one of those cruises, that take you from one island to another. But it’s so hard to choose the best one. I’d love to go to Trinidad and Tobago, your pictures are so nice! St Lucia looks pretty awesome too!
I’m actually doing my first Caribbean cruise this year – so excited! I think you’d love T&T so I hope you make a visit – whether on a cruise or for a longer stay!
Wow every place looks so beautiful and I love your photos. I would love to visit Jamaica – for some strange reason, have always wanted to see the place. Great post 🙂
Thanks so much! Jamaica is awesome so its no wonder you’d like to visit. I hope you can make it happen soon!
Im looking forward to my Cuban trip on March and can’t wait to explore more of the other Caribbean places. It’s lovely list and looks beautiful places to explore!
Oh you’ll have so much fun in Cuba, it was one of my most memorable trips for that year! Have fun!
OMG such a wonderful list! I wish I could just visited all those places especially Cuba and Jamaica! Ive been dreaming about those two since forever ! Ive never been in that part of the world but from photos I can tell its so beautiful!
I hope you’re able to visit them soon, you’d love both! They’re AMAZING islands with so much to offer!
These Carribean destinations are so astonishing and deserve to be a part of everyone’s bucket list. When’s the best time of the year to explore Cuba?
Unless you love the heat I’d recommend avoiding the summer months because it can get really hot, so probably between Oct-May would be best in relation to weather 🙂 Other than that, it’s great year round!
I didn’t know Trinidad and Tobago were so different. I didn’t know it was described like NYC. Did someone say Pirates of the Caribbean???? I never knew the Caribbean was slow during certain months that they would actually close hotels. We went to St. Lucia and had an incredible experience and highly recommend that island.
Funny thing, I live in the Caribbean and had no clue some establishments closed during the slow season but I think for the smaller islands in particular this is necessary as they just don’t have the traffic to sustain these businesses. But yes, Trinidad and Tobago are two very different islands that offer two very different experiences. We party hard in Trinidad then head to Tobago to cool down 🙂 It’s the perfect combo!
Those are indeed very lovely tropical destinations. Many are quite similar to our very own El Nido, Palawan here in the Philippines. That large promontory in St. Lucia—is it possible to climb that? Is there a rock climbing scene there?
The Philippine is on my travel bucket list and I hope hope hope I can visit in 2019! You’re so lucky to live in your own paradise 🙂 The mountain is one of the Pitons and yes you can hike it 🙂
These are some of the most exotic of places in the Caribbean. All of these places are the stuff that dreams are made of. Though I would love to visit all of these, my favourites on the list would be Jamaica and Grenada. Hope to get there and revel in the spirit of the Caribbean.
I do hope you can visit both Jamaica and Grenada some day…they’re absolutely beautiful islands!
Fantastic and very concise list! There are loads to explore in the beautiful Caribbean! these spots look great and they offer great holiday adventures for all types pf travellers too!
So happy you appreciate the list, I hope it inspired you to visit the region some day!
Great list: I’ve already visited Cuba but Jamaica is on my bucket list for this year. Always fascinates me 🙂
Wow! Stunning Caribbean destinations. It is a great list. Pictures look awesome.
Thanks so much!