6 Best Caribbean Islands for those Who Want White Sand, Gourmet Food, and Private Resorts
Is there a dreamier image than a secluded white-sand beach encircling deep blue waters? A sunset cocktail in a seaside hammock? Spending time together in your own private pool? The Caribbean has been the backdrop to many a honeymoon, anniversary, or “just-because” romantic trip. This region in the Americas, just south of the Gulf of Mexico, is made up of the islands and surrounding coastlines in the Caribbean Sea.
The area is a hotspot for luxury resorts, gourmet cuisine, and beach fun. With a spread of islands, reefs, and cays, each more beautiful than the next, the Caribbean might seem daunting to some travelers. Here, we point you in the right direction and outline the perfect location for any romantic getaway, including where to find the best hotels (several of which are adults-only and all-inclusive), restaurants, and local attractions.
1. St. Barts The Caribbean charm, European influence, and overarching natural beauty of St. Barts is an incredible combination. This is perhaps why honeymooners and couples continue to flock here in droves, despite the heftier price tags. On the island, 11 beaches await and the best include Anse des Flamands for rolling white sands and verdant greenery, Baie de Saint Jean for beachside restaurants like Nao Beach, and Anse de Grand Cul-de-Sac for watersports. If you’re after a romantic setting with Hollywood glamour and world-class views, try the famous Eden Rock hotel.
2. Dominican Republic If you want to feel like you’ve uncovered an opulent yet secluded spot with your partner, the Samaná Peninsula region of the Dominican Republic is it. Samaná is a sleepy and traditional town on the peninsula, which drops off into the sparkling waters of Samaná Bay — home to hundreds of humpback whales during mating season from January to March. For accommodation, couples must head to the dizzyingly beautiful isle of Cayo Levantado. Palm tree-lined beaches and chalky-white sands can be explored at the five-star resort of Cayo Levantado Resort, set to open summer 2023.
3. Jamaica Located on the island’s far western side, Negril is perfect for couples in search of a lively and picturesque vacation. Sun-basking, reef-swimming, and all out indulging take place here, on the golden sands of the famous, sunset-facing Seven Mile Beach. Negril boasts stylish, boutique hotels atop the stunning limestone cliffs, the most impressive of which is The Caves. There are also plush beachfront hotels like the Royalton Negril.
4. Corn Islands, Nicaragua Head to Nicaragua’s pleasingly affordable Caribbean coast, where Big and Little Corn Island offer untapped beauty with a rustic edge. A short flight from Managua, the islands will tempt you with their crystalline waters, coconut bread, and diving options, but the larger of the two, Big Corn, houses more locals and better beaches. Stay at Casa Canada for cabanas overlooking the ocean, an impossibly pretty infinity pool, a no-fuss restaurant, and charming service. In comparison, Little Corn does well at maintaining its party reputation and offers a larger range of boutique accommodations, like the luxury resort Yemaya Island Hideaway.
5. Turks and Caicos Two hundred miles of powdery, white sands and gorgeous reefs meet utter indulgence in Turks and Caicos, an archipelago of 40 low-lying coral islands. While technically part of the Bahamian chain in the Atlantic, this tropical destination is often considered to be part of the Caribbean. Hotels and resorts are pretty much luxury only: Como Parrot Cay, a resort on a private cay, is for the couple who wants to absorb all the beauty of the islands without feeling as if they’ve stepped onto a resort. Amanyara, on the other hand, is pure opulence with private villas and bungalows surrounded by nature reserves.
6. St. Kitts and Nevis GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTOThis pair of tropical islands off the coast of Puerto Rico is not one of the Caribbean’s best-known spots, but there are few better places for couples looking to unwind somewhere serene, secluded, and adventurous. The UNESCO-protected Brimstone Hill Fortress offers history, and climbing one of St. Kitts’ volcanic peaks, like Mount Liamuiga, is for adventurers seeking monkeys and wild orchids. Fall asleep to the gentle lapping of the waves at the luxury, beachfront Four Seasons Resort Nevis.