These Books Let You Travel The World From Home

Everyone with wanderlust should give these a read.
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Escape your everyday with enthralling titles.


Books are a great source of inspiration to fuel your wanderlust, and perhaps now more than ever, they’re also a reliable way to easily “experience” different places or relive favorite memories when we’re at home in between vacations. A good story can be the perfect travel supplement for a deep dive into a destination’s history, culture, legends and culinary specialties. They can open up many adventures—just like our cruises—from pirate-era Caribbean treasure hunting to traditional Mexican cooking.

While we’re all grounded for the time being, here’s a list of our favorite titles to help you “travel” and even inspire your next cruise vacation:

“Caribbean” takes you through 700 years of fascinating history.

Credit: Penguin Random House

“Caribbean” by James A. Michener 

When we think of the Caribbean, beautiful beaches come to mind—but there’s a tumultuous history behind those palm-lined coasts. From the Mayan empire to Captain Henry Morgan’s buccaneering, to revolution and revolt, Michener makes the stories of Caribbean islands come alive.


Author Ann Vanderhoof details the story of leaving her career to jump on a sailboat to the Caribbean.

Credit: Penguin Random House

“An Embarrassment of Mangoes” by Ann Vanderhoof

Leaving behind a high-stress job, Ann Vanderhoof and her husband left Canada to move onto a 42-foot-long sail boat and head off to the Caribbean for a two-year tour. With plenty of sun, sea and delicious meals like curried lobster and conch with a papaya salsa and rum punch, you can experience her trip secondhand and even recreate her recipes with this Caribbean “interlude.”


The queen of mystery uses the beautiful Caribbean as the backdrop for a perfect murder.

Credit: HarperCollins

“A Caribbean Mystery” by Agatha Christie

One of Agatha Christie’s most famous characters—Miss Marple—is kicking back in the Caribbean enjoying the sunshine but feeling a bit bored. In an interesting twist of events, an ex-military man shares the strange story of a murder; and just like that, a case opens before her, setting off this classic, Christie-whodunit.


Written in the 1960s, “The Rum Diary” was first published in 1998 when it was discovered by a friend of Hunter S. Thompson.


“The Rum Diary” by Hunter S. Thompson

Adventure to the palm-lined shores of San Juan, Puerto Rico on this twisting, turning tale of corruption, shady deals, love and jealousy as seen through the eyes of Hunter S. Thompson’s semi-autobiographical character, journalist Paul Kemp. With romance, intrigue and a tropical setting, not to mention Thompson’s signature fast-paced style, it’s not surprising it was eventually adapted for the screen in 2011.


“Pirate Latitudes” was published posthumously in November 2009 after it was discovered by Michael Crichton’s assistant.

Credit: HarperCollins

“Pirate Latitudes” by Michael Crichton

Travel back to 17th-century Jamaica as you follow privateer Captain Charles Hunter on a daring treasure raid filled with bootleggers and buccaneers. Interestingly, the story builds off of actual events from maritime records, so you’ll get a bit of history with this tale of plunder.

“Caribbean” by James A. Michener

“Bad Monkey,” published in 2013, was on the New York Times Best Sellers list for nine weeks.

Credit: Penguin Random House

“Bad Monkey” by Carl Hiaasen

This fast-paced thriller about an inspector on a strange case is great crime fiction. The beautiful Bahama Islands serve as the backdrop as the mystery travels there from the Florida Keys and Miami. With a Vodou practitioner, greedy real estate developer and quirky medical examiner (plus a severed arm in a freezer), this snarky, suspenseful tale gets rolling right away, so brace yourself.


Published in 1994, “Tap-Tap” is a children’s book that depicts the vibrant life in the countryside of Haiti.


“Tap-Tap” by Karen Lynn Williams

This children’s book takes you on a beautiful, colorful journey in the Haitian countryside with the protagonist, Sasifi, via the “tap-taps” (brightly painted cars and buses) that many Haitians use as public transportation. The vehicles earned their moniker because passengers would hit the side of it–tap-tap–to let the driver know where to stop.


“Like Water for Chocolate” sold more than 4.5 million copies in 35 languages and eventually was adapted into a film.

Credit: Penguin Random House

“Like Water for Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel

Become entranced with traditional Mexican cooking in this magical world that tells the story of a young woman and her relationships with her sisters and mothers, and their cultural traditions. Bring the book to life at home by trying to recreate one of the many delicious, intricate recipes generously sprinkled throughout the pages, such as cream fritters and oxtail soup.


“How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents,” written in 1991, was Julia Alvarez’s first published novel.

Credit: Workman Publishing

“How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents” by Julia Alvarez

An exploration of both New York City and the Dominican Republic in the 1960s, this book will take you across borders, cultural barriers and languages seamlessly. Even though the Garcia sisters–Carla, Sandra, Yolanda and Sofia–are far from their homeland, their lives in their new home still bear the familiarity of their childhood in the Caribbean.

You’ll feel like you’re on an immersive journey, and may even add a few destinations to your future travel list.