The Caribbean is a solo girl’s paradise. Known for white sandy beaches, steel drums, and plenty of rum, they are the perfect region of the world for some relaxation. But, with so many islands how do you choose the right region of the Caribbean for you? Having spent three months solo in the Caribbean, here is my guide to the Caribbean.
Unless you love the sun and beaches, on some islands there is not much else to do here. Although idyllic, the Caribbean can also mean isolation, which is great for those seeking solitude but you may prefer to stay in a resort to meet others. A resort can also save you money on your food, transport costs and accommodation. Shop around for a package for different island locations to make the most of your Caribbean holiday.
Montserrat, Martinique, The Cayman Islands, St Barts, St Lucia, Bonaire and British Virgin Islands are some of the safest islands in the Caribbean. Head to one of these for a chic boutique hotel with a view or to meet others try Puerto Rico, Barbados and Aruba, known for their nightlife, where you are guaranteed to meet others.
The Greater Antilles are formed of: the Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Puerto Rico.
Cayman Islands – Three islands known for their coral reefs and diving. Grand Cayman is the largest and is popular with scuba divers or visit Cayman Brac for wildlife such as iguanas and seabirds.
Jamaica – The island of coffee, reefs, and waterfalls. Enjoy the outdoors and hiking here whilst exploring Seven Mile Beach and Dunn’s River Falls.
Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico is also known for its fabulous beaches, as well as its salsa scene and numerous music stars. With historic forts and castles and a Spanish flair, this island is for the music lovers. Visit the smaller islands off the coast to see wild horses and one of the most picturesque beaches in the world.
Cuba – Put on your dancing shoes on for salsa, rum and culture. This country in the Caribbean is like no other, with American classic cars, horse and carts, cowboys smoking Cuban cigars and endless dancing. Visit the towns of Trinidad for colourful houses and locals, Holguin for turquoise waters and white-powder beaches, and Havana for a derelict-chic old town.
Dominican Republic – Beaches, kite-surfing, cobbled backstreets, and plenty of adventure sports.
The Lesser Antilles are made up of the Leeward Islands, Windward Islands and ABC Islands:
The Leeward Islands consist of: Anguilla, Antigua, British Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Saba, Saint Barts, Saint Martin, Saint Eustatius, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and US Virgin Islands. These islands are all safe to travel to with some being the most exclusive in the Caribbean.
Explore the Virgin Islands whether the U.S. Virgin Islands or the British Virgin Islands. Sail around the islands, take part in the water sports or just enjoy the Caribbean islands on one of the beaches.
There is no shortage of French islands here. St Martin is unique as it is half-French and half-Dutch (called St Maarten). This island is so well developed that there are more duty- free shops than beaches, as well as numerous casinos to pass away your time. It is also popular with sporty travellers and has plenty of action to keep you entertained, all in a European style. Visit St Eustatius for its rich past and slave history.
Anguilla – This small island is accessible from St Martin. It is one of the most underrated Caribbean islands with transparent waters and coral reefs. If you are searching for tranquility this is your island.
Saint Kitts & Nevis – Known for mountains, sugar plantations, and fortresses. They are ideal for hiking.
The Windward Islands are: Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Martinique, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago.
St Lucia's coastline has a different kind of vibe from your usual couples and families. Hospitable people, warm beaches and soothing waves makes this a perfect relaxation getaway. You can watch live sea turtles hatching, snorkel in clear waters, walk-through abandoned sugar plantations, as well as rejuvenate your body and mind in the island's healing mud. There are many resorts here to choose including Sandals Halcyon, Sandals Grande St. Lucian and Sandals Regency La Toc.
Barbados – One of the most popular of the Windward Islands. Barbados has fantastic nature, historic buildings and architecture, not to mention lighthouses.
Dominica – Known as the “Nature Isle of the Caribbean”, Dominica is perfect for nature lovers. Imagine tropical forests and jungle adventures. Hike beautiful nature in Morne Trois Pitons National Park and relax in the Boiling Lake before seeing the Emerald Pool.
Martinique – If you prefer your islands with a French flair, stop at Martinique for black sand beaches, rainforests and wildlife spotting. Martinique has historical sites and Mont Pelee has the most active volcano in the Caribbean.
Grenada – The “Spice Island,” famous for its diving and rainforests which are ideal for hikers.
Guadeloupe – Another of the French islands oozing with French and Creole traditions. See the volcano and waterfall, explore the mangrove, or spend time learning more about the making of rum in one of the rum distilleries.
Trinidad and Tobago are an ideal eco-destination. As well as watersports and sailing around Trinidad’s islands, you can hike through lush scenery while enjoying the island’s Calypso music. They are also known for their famous carnival. Snorkel in Tobago Keys, explore the tropical rainforest or just listen to the sound of calypso music and steel drums. As a solo you may prefer to stay in Tobago than Trinidad; the former has more of a holiday vibe and is safer.
St Vincent & The Grenadines – Wander around the cobbled streets, explore the volcanoes and shipwrecks or just listen to Reggae music.
Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao are known as the ABC Islands, and are located above Venezuela. These Dutch Caribbean islands are all very different, but one thing they do have in common is the language called Papiamento.
Aruba is the most well-known. Known as ‘One Happy Island’, it has rolling landscapes and a rugged coastline. Cruise ships do stop here, but don’t let that deter you from visiting, as the island offers great shopping and nightlife. Visit the donkey sanctuary or take a jeep tour of the island.
Curacao is known for its diving and snorkelling. From forts to museums and art galleries, visit the colourful colonial town of Willemstad or take an ATV across the island. As well as having a resident ostrich farm, Curacao produces its own liquor.
Bonaire is lesser-known than the other ABC islands, but it does attract kite-surfers and those wanting to see colourful slave houses and pink salt lakes. You may not meet as many others here as in Aruba though. See the colourful slave houses, and the pink and white Salt Pans.
Near the USA is the Lucayan Archipelago which are: Bahamas, Turks and Caicos.
The Bahamas are easily accessible from the US and boast some of the bluest waters in the world. These well-known islands have picture-perfect beaches, pirate history, flamingos and slave huts. Take a boat cruise to spot dolphins and stingrays in its waters. They are the perfect islands to see flamingos and dolphins in the wild.
Or visit the undeveloped islands of Turks and Caicos, an area now placing itself firmly on the Caribbean scuba-diving map thanks to its 14 mile reef and underwater wall.
From silky warm seas, lush scenery and endless sunshine, the Caribbean is a mix of exotic customs, wildlife-rich wilderness, cultural attractions and unique architecture (some dating back hundreds of years). What more do you need from a tropical paradise?