The magical Caribbean islands offer relaxation unlike anywhere else on the planet. There are hundreds of laid back destinations from lively Cuba, glamorous St Barts and secluded Anguilla. Here’s what you can expect on a first time escape to this palm fringed paradise.
When to visit
Although the sun shines throughout much of the year, it can be best to avoid the hurricane season. This period lasts from June to September where you may encounter the odd storm and heavy downpour. This can depend largely on the island you choose, where the weather can vary significantly. Generally, the best time of year to visit is during the months of December to April. There’s few days of rain and the humidity levels are low, providing pleasantly cool nights and long, dry days.
The Dominican Republic remains a firm favourite with a great selection of all-inclusive resorts to suit the whole family. It is a popular destination for golfers although there is more to this island than luxury hotels and putting greens. Comprising mainly of rainforests, the islands Capital Santo Domingo is home to an array of colonial Spanish landmarks.
Aptly named the Jewel of the Caribbean, Barbados is one of the most popular islands. A celebrity hotspot, the Platinum Coast is home to some of Barbados’ most prestigious hotels including Sandy Lane and The Colony Club. Take a catamaran trip over the crystal clear waters or explore the world class scuba diving sites inundated with vibrant reefs and tropical fish.
Honeymooners should consider the picture postcard setting of St Lucia. The rugged mountain scenery and endless stretches of golden sands create the most romantic setting. Stay at an exclusive resort such as Jade Mountain and indulge in an unadulterated five-star service. One of the Caribbean’s most unique hotels, the majestic suites merge with nature as an absent fourth wall creates the most breathtaking backdrop with private infinity pools and sensational views.
For a fascinating mix of cultural sights and historic treasure, the island of Antigua has it all. There’s also over 365 beaches to choose from – one for every day of the year. Be sure to take a canopy tour of the islands lush rainforest and head deep into the spectacular caves of Indian Town. The hospitality of the Antiguans is almost as legendary as its world-renowned cuisine. The local favourite Jerk chicken is best washed down with a glass of sweet island rum.
Although Cuba is famous for its beaches, no trip would be complete without visiting Havana. The capital has retained much of its colonial charm with some architecture dating back to the sixteenth century. Faded grandeur and candy coloured cars lure visitors to this time capsule where most of the city remains unspoiled by 21st century modernisation. However this untouched charm does mean there are not many accommodation options for the luxury traveller. Expect generic all-inclusive hotels in Cuba’s most popular beach resort Varadero.
On the other end of the spectrum is St. Barts synonymous with the rich and famous where tropical beaches meet streets lined with gourmet eateries and designer boutiques. The Kardashians, Beyonce and a whole host of Victoria’s Secret models have all flocked to the island seeking the glitz and glamour St. Barts is famous for. The Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle De France, part for the LVMH family, is the place to stay with its impossibly elegant French design and premier beachfront location.