We’re all thinking about the trips we’ve taken and the places we can’t wait to explore. One thing is for sure, any getaway that includes warm Caribbean waters and beautiful beaches and incredible cultural and historical sites is an escape worth daydreaming about. With more than 7,000 islands in the Caribbean Sea, which ones top your list? Until Royal Caribbean can set sail again, we’ve picked 10 can’t-miss destinations to accommodate adrenaline junkies and beach bums alike.
While you’re thinking about your next adventure, check out our list to find the Caribbean island of your dreams:
The largest of the six islands that comprise the Netherlands Antilles, you might know Curacao for its distinctive blue liqueur—but Curacao has so much more.
Take a night stroll past the colorful Dutch-, Portuguese- and Spanish-influenced homes lining the Historic Area of Willemstad, Inner City and Harbour, an example of an early colonial trading settlement and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can also learn about maritime history on a fascinating journey to ancient forts.or explore the mangroves and lagoons on a speedboat tour of the island, making stops to snorkel in the crystal-clear waters.
Visit the colorful island of Curacao for yourself.
To put it simply, you have to see Perfect Day at CocoCay to believe it. Royal Caribbean’s private island paradise in The Bahamas lets guests of all ages plunge down the tallest waterslide in North America or relax on the beach, seamlessly blending “thrill” and “chill.”
Want more excitement? Hop on a helium balloon to soar up to 450 feet above the ground or kick back at the swim-up bar at Oasis Lagoon. There are a variety of ships and itineraries to choose from to take you to this island paradise.
Head here to book your vacation to Perfect Day at CocoCay.
Are you looking forward to vegging out on a beautiful beach or are you an adrenaline junkie? Either way, this private Royal Caribbean destination on the north coast of Haiti is the spot for you. A gorgeous cove backed by jungle-covered mountains, Labadee lets you sink into white sand and savor stunning, 180-degree ocean views or fly down the island’s 500-foot-high zip line—the world’s longest over water and certainly one of the most amazing on the planet.
Catch a cruise to this private oasis.
There’s something for everyone in Mexico, and in Cozumel, we recommend visiting the numerous Mayan ruins first. After exploring the island’s incredible ancient sites, including San Gervasio—hidden deep in a lush jungle—try scuba diving (a top activity here) or visit the mainland historic site of Tulum, which stands on a bluff overlooking the sea. The Mayans loved beachfront property as much as the rest of us!
Set sail for adventures to discover Cozumel’s beaches and Mayan history.
On Jamaica’s northern coast, Falmouth was a center for dramatic social change during the British colonial period—among the 19th-century Georgian architecture that remains, there is plenty to see and do. Today’s Falmouth is all about adventures in nature, like visiting the spectacular Dunn’s River Falls and exploring Negril’s beautiful beaches. When it’s time to grab a bite, there are plenty of must-try Jamaican eats, from famous jerk chicken to ackee fruit and salt fish.
Soak up the island’s flavors and beauty with a cruise to Jamaica and other parts of the Western Caribbean.
If shopping is your favorite pastime, don’t miss the most cosmopolitan of the U.S. Virgin Islands: Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas is a duty-free shopping paradise. Be sure to pick up local spice mixes, hot sauces and tropical jams for friends, and some jewelry or fine linens for yourself.
Visit St. Thomas on a Caribbean cruise.
This Caribbean gem in the northeast is actually split in two parts: St. Maarten, the Dutch side, and St. Martin, the French side. Philipsburg, the Dutch side’s capital, displays its heritage with charming cobblestone streets and candy-colored buildings. There’s also the famous Maho Beach, where planes zoom overhead. Speed seekers can compete in a friendly yacht race or take a food tour to taste Dutch, French and Creole cooking (try the lobster!).
Experience it all on a cruise to St. Maarten.
Did you know this southern Caribbean destination boasts more than 3,000 hours of sunshine a year? A coral island, Barbados is home to white sand, blueish-green water and colorful reefs perfect for snorkeling or scuba diving among tropical fish, turtles and even shipwrecks.
Barbados is also the birthplace of rum. It’s definitely worth experiencing the history—and learning about rum’s age-old connection to pirates—at the Mount Gay Distillery, the oldest in the world, with a tour and tasting.
Check out all Barbados has to offer by catching a Caribbean cruise.
Craving lush rainforests, rich history and once-in-a-lifetime adventures? This off-the-beaten-path West Indies isle has it all, with more than a quarter of its land protected as a national park.
You can also explore manmade marvels in St. Kitts, like the 18th-century plantation homes in the capital of Basseterre, or take a day trip to sister island Nevis to see more colonial-era buildings and the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton (it’s still easier than seeing him on Broadway!)
Head here to plan your cruise getaway to St. Kitts.
Roatan is a western Caribbean jewel located off the coast of Honduras. Here you’ll find the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef—the Caribbean’s largest—which makes for epic snorkeling and kayaking adventures. See colorful corals and an array of marine life, including groupers, sea snails, rare seahorses and Gorgonian soft corals.
Looking for extreme adventure? Head into the jungle to zip line among the treetops and traverse suspension bridges for up-close viewing of tropical flowers, iguanas and birds.
Plan to embark on your eco-adventure to Roatán here.
While these 10 destinations are must-see spots, you can’t go wrong with any of the many Caribbean destinations we visit. Best of all, on a cruise, you can visit multiple locations and only unpack once! Explore all your options here to set sail on your next adventure.