Because deciding where to travel in the Caribbean, home to 7,000 islands, can be overwhelming, we narrowed it down to the ultimate Caribbean experiences.
Planning a trip to the Caribbean isn’t easy. For starters, which island do you choose? The Caribbean is famous many things: beautiful beaches, warm weather, romance, and family fun. Do you want utter relaxation and to feel like you have an island to yourself? Or do you prefer pulsating music that gets your hips moving? Maybe you are an eco-traveler who is looking for something off-the-beaten-path and experiences that are not for the timid. Or, perhaps you want to spend every day relaxing on a beach with a fruity rum drink in hand.
Whichever adventure you choose, the Caribbean has an island to satisfy your needs and desires. Each island has its own vibe and shares picturesque turquoise waters, balmy weather, exquisite cuisine, and some of the best hospitality found anywhere in the world. You’ll probably start packing before completing this list.
WHEN TO GOThe weather is mostly consistently perfect year-round in the tropics. December through April is busy season as many travelers escape snowy northern winters. Late summer and early fall run into hurricane season.
Top Picks for You
Cay-hop in Anguilla
Eleven miles north of St. Maarten lies Anguilla—an island with six traffic lights, approximately 15,000 inhabitants, unmatched beauty, and superb beaches. But, here’s an insider’s tip, don’t feel compelled to only visit the mainland’s beaches. Anguilla has over half a dozen (offshore) cays that prove why travel magazines find it besotting and call it the Caribbean’s best-kept secret.
There’s Dog Island, Prickly Pear, Scilly Cay, Scrub Island, Anguillita, and Sandy Island. Each offers varying levels of quaintness, and getting to each isn’t difficult, simply book a boat ride from a popular watering hole like Elvis Beach Bar. You may have to pack a picnic as not all the cays have bars and restaurants. However, Sandy Island has both, and the restaurant is darn good! Cay-hopping in Anguilla is perfect for an afternoon jaunt with impromptu photoshoots that will make your friends jealous that they didn’t come along.
Support Eco-Tourism in Guadeloupe
Fun fact: over three-quarters of Guadeloupe is classified as a natural reserve. Its unique ecosystem makes the French-Caribbean territory a haven for eco-conscious travelers. Guadeloupe is replete with parks and reserves like La Désirade National Natural, Cousteau, and Petite-Terre National Nature Reserves. Guadeloupe is home to several species of flora and fauna, so don’t be alarmed if an iguana darts across your path or runs atop your hiking shoes. Guadeloupe is also home to a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve considered one of earth’s “highest biodiversity hotspots.” Visitors can partake in numerous activities that show Guadeloupe’s natural splendor, including diving, hiking, and hit springs. Want to boast you’ve climbed an active volcano? Hike La Soufriere via the (challenging) Le Pas du Roy trail. Want a route that’s less strenuous? Take the Maison de la Foret and Saut d’Eau de Matouba trails.
Sail in the Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands (BVI) may hold the reputation as the “Sailing Capital of the Caribbean,” with the Sir Francis Drake Channel ensuring plenty of safe anchorages, but that doesn’t mean you should write off the U.S. Virgin Islands. Sailing is popular on all three of the U.S. territory’s islands—St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas. BVI has more islands (including Richard Branson’s private island), but Tortola is a dream for sailing enthusiasts. Sail from either set of islands, exploring the hundred-plus untouched islands and secluded cays scattered within the 50-nautical-mile radius. Once you visit, you’ll understand why Yacht Week attendees can’t wait to dock or drop anchor there.
Shop in the Cayman Islands
The pluralization of the Cayman Islands isn’t a misnomer; the territory comprises three islands—Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac. Each possesses a particular allure. Little Cayman is very boho-chic, thrill-seeking travelers love Cayman Brac, and Grand Cayman is a magnet for luxury-oriented shoppers because it is famously tax-free. Get hand-crafted jewelry, luxury European clothing, fragrances popular on the pages of Vogue, top-of-the-line luggage (we know you’ve been eyeing that aluminum Rimowa carry-on for years), designer watches, and beauty products for up to 30% less than elsewhere as the Caymanian government waives the import duty and taxes on numerous luxury items. Find exquisite items at every corner throughout Grand Cayman’s main shopping areas.
Learn Merengue in the Dominican Republic
There is so much more to the Dominican Republic than its thousand miles of stunning beaches, delicious cuisine (you must try mofongo and the national dish La Bandera), cigars, and the UNESCO-designated Colonial City of Santo Domingo. Its complex culture is rich with West African (Santo Domingo was home to the “first black people in the Americas”) and Spanish influences. Among them merengue—a musical genre and dance style native to the Dominican Republic. Each summer, at the end of July, the world’s top merengue dancers converge on the island for the annual Santo Domingo Merengue Festival. The biggest two-week long festival in the country is a beautiful celebration of culture, heritage, and history. One of the best parts is the many opportunities to learn to dance the merengue from the world’s best teachers and teachers’ performers.
Swim Au Naturel in Sint Martin
There are few sensations, in our estimation, that equal the feeling of balmy ocean water and the sun’s rays caressing your bare buttocks. Topless sunbathing is quite ordinary in Sint Martin (the French sister island to the Dutch St. Maarten). There, Orient Beach is a famous nudist destination, but it’s not the only one. Though the island is still rebuilding beachside infrastructure damaged by 2017’s Hurricane Irma, nude beaches Baie Rouge, Happy Bay (kitty corner to Friars Bay), and the off-shore nudist enclave of Islet Tintamarre are more popular than ever. Forget the tan lines (if you’re prone to them, that is), embrace body positivity, and feel the breeze across your nether regions as you frolic au naturel in Sint Martin.
Discover Alexander Hamilton’s Birthplace on Nevis
St. Kitts was considered the “Gibraltar of the West Indies for its domination of 18th-century colonial battles.” Along with its sister island Nevis, both were once the gateways to the Caribbean. On Nevis, you’ll find a museum displaying the western hemisphere’s largest collection of Lord Horatio Nelson memorabilia and the therapeutic hot spring baths that drew poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The island is one giant history tour. However, the island’s biggest claim to fame is being the birthplace of a certain “bastard, orphan, son of a whore.” What’s his name? Alexander Hamilton. Theater lovers will barely contain themselves when they see the two-story Georgian house where Hamilton was born in 1757 and lived until the age of nine. Today, the building is in full use. The first floor houses a museum, and the second floor is the meeting place for the Nevis House of Assembly.
Eat Real Jerk in Jamaica
Jamaican jerk is not just a seasoning blend, it’s a cooking technique as revered and protected as Southern Barbecue. Authentic jerk is smoked over pimento wood that imbues chicken, pork, and seafood with an unmistakable flavor that big brand manufacturers and television chefs with product lines have tried to imitate but have gloriously failed at doing. Jamaican jerk seasoning is a complex combination of thyme, pimento (allspice), Scotch bonnet peppers, onions, ginger, garlic, and scallions. The cooking involves slow smoking for hours before finishing over high flames, sometimes with generous douses of Red Stripe Beer.
Throughout the island, there are numerous jerk centers (restaurants specializing in jerk cuisine) and roadside vendors selling delicious, succulent, and authentic Jamaican jerk. Jerk is such an integral part of Jamaica’s culinary heritage that stakeholders are attempting to register Jamaican Jerk to have the same protected status as Champagne and Prosciutto di Parma. You’ve not had real jerk until you’ve had it in Jamaica.
Go Spelunking in Barbados
Barbados has long enjoyed regular mention in the press as it is a preferred vacation spot for A-listers. For example, the island’s exclusive Sandy Lane Hotel has hosted Cara Delevingne, Simon Cowell, The Beckhams, and of course, Rihanna. Though celeb-spotting isn’t an official activity, spelunking (cave exploration) is, and there’s no better location than Harrison’s Cave. Upon entering, you’re overwhelmed with wonder as your eyes dart from stalactites to stalagmites. The one-and-a-half-mile-long cave system sits 700 feet above sea level and has streams and pools of crystal-clear water. It’s a spelunker’s dream! The cave is moderate-to-difficult to spelunk, so it is best for experienced (or very adventurous) folks. If you’re not into harnesses, ropes, and a lot of protective gear, visitors (especially families with kids) can explore the cave from the comfort of a tram.
Tour Puerto Rico's Distilleries
In 1508, by virtue of colonialism, Ponce de León received the title of Governor of Puerto Rico. Almost immediately, sugar and rum production became integral parts of the nation’s economy. Though sugar is no longer a significant contributor to Puerto Rico’s GDP, manufacturing, including that of rum, continues to be. The island boasts a number of epic distilleries, and you can visit them all. Though the architecture of the distilleries reflects a colonial past, the distilled spirit fueled revolutions, and the distilleries that remain in Puerto Rico are reminders of that. Casa Bacardí is the closest to San Juan, however, the 25-minute drive to Hacienda Santa Ana is worth it. Ron de Barrilito makes the oldest (and, in some circles, most celebrated) Puerto Rican rum. If you can, make the 90-minute trip to the the town of Jayuya, where Destilería Cruz makes overproof rum and a deliciously flavored moonshine called PitoRico.
Catch a Sundowner in Antigua and Barbuda
There isn’t a shortage of activities in which to participate on Antigua and Barbuda. The island’s pink sand beaches, bird sanctuary, heritage sites, and vertical sinkholes are all must-see attractions. However, on a Sunday, there is only one place to be. Shirley Heights Lookout has been at the center of Antiguan social life for over twenty years. The 490-foot-high lookout point hosts a weekly Sunday sundowner party from its perch, which shows off one of the most scenic shots of the bays below. Keep your camera steady as the sun sets behind the ocean and, if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to snap the money shot of the green jet of light that quickly flits across the horizon. If you miss the sunset, don’t worry; the party carries on late into the evening.
See Aruba's Monuments from a Trolley
Originally a member of the Netherlands Antilles before succeeding in 1986 to become a separate Dutch territory, Aruba offers visitors to the Caribbean a real glimpse of how multifaceted the region is. The English-speaking Caribbean gets most of the glory, but the Dutch territories are in a league of their own. The best way to see the capital city of Oranjestad is from a trolley/streetcar. And it’s free! The trolley connects the cruise ship terminal with the pedestrian mall, however, it makes stops at the city’s monuments—the Archaeological Museum, Huisje Wild (a 19th Century merchant’s residence), the House of Parliament, Fort Zoutman (the city’s oldest remaining building), and the Protestant Church. Enjoy 360-degree views and learn about the history of the Dutch-Caribbean city from the comfort of a trolley seat.
Glamp in The Bahamas
Move over, swimming with pigs! Glamping is the new hot activity to do in The Bahamas that influencers have yet to ruin. The Bahamas are aptly suited for glampers as they offer both off-the-beaten-path and easy to get to accommodations that highlight the beauty of the archipelago. Fun fact: the island comprises 700 islands and 2,400 cays, however only 30 of the islands are inhabited. Whether it’s a quaint brightly-colored beach house on Eleuthera, eco domes a stone’s throw from Great Exuma Island or the seven-tent wonder that is The Other Side located on a secluded beach close to Harbour Island, glamping in The Bahamas should be on your travel bucket list.
Snorkel in Bonaire
Once you announce your trip to Bonaire, prepare yourself to repeatedly answer the question, “where’s that?” Though you’ll be tempted to reply, “Google is free,” the B in the ABC islands (Aruba and Curaçao are the others) should be on more Caribbean travelers’ radars, especially folks into underwater activities. The island is a paradise for divers and snorkelers. Though hurricanes and tropical storms have damaged some of the coasts, the coral reefs are some of the Caribbean’s healthiest.
It’s rare to need to go out on a boat to snorkel, there are amazing spots easily accessible from the shoreline. How is that possible, you ask? Most of Bonaire’s waters are part of its National Marine Park. But don’t forget your snorkeling shoes, as most of the reefs are fossilized coral (jagged and rocky). The best snorkeling spots include Boca Slagbaai, Bari Reef, 1000 Steps, Petrie’s Pillar, Pink Beach, Karpata Reef, and the uninhibited island of Klein Bonaire.
Discover Isla de Juventud, Cuba
Yes, Havana, Holguín, and Varadero are Cuba’s shutter bait cities and great for nightlife, but there’s something inexplicably enthralling about Isla de Juventud. It lies 60 miles off the island’s south coast, is the Cuban archipelago’s second largest island, and is the territory around which Robert Louis Stevenson based Treasure Island. Getting there is straightforward, there’s an international airport and marina.
Must-do activities include visiting the Punta del Este Caves, where the Taíno people of Cuba (The Ciboney) left some of the Caribbean’s most important rock art, considered the “Sistine Chapel of rock art in Cuba.” Don’t forget to explore the area’s museums, many ecological reserves, and pristine beaches. Watch as each evening’s balmy air sweeps the magenta sunset under a carpet of indigo sky.
Be Amazed by Curaçao's Otrobanda Quarter
It seems that every corner of Curaçao is full of wonder. The capital Willemstad is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Otrobanda Quarter is home to two-thirds of the capital city’s 800-plus monuments. Otrobanda is Papiamento (the island’s official language) for “the other bank”—the other side of the famous pontoon bridge. Otrobanda has breathtaking views, fantastic restaurants, luxury hotels, and shopping. It is regarded as the “most impressive historic neighborhood in the Caribbean” and is often mentioned in the same breath as Paris’ Quartier Latin. At every turn, you’ll struggle with whether you should soak it all up or snap a few pics of local architecture, alleyways with street art, or colonial mansions. And, if you feel you’ll miss something important during a self-guided traipse through the neighborhood, opt for one of the many historical walking tours, a few of which are free.
Explore Your Adventurous Side in Dominica
Dominica’s waterfall hikes will convert even the most fervent hiking haters. The mountainous island nation is slightly smaller than New York City but has less than one percent of the city’s population and is blessed with 365 rivers and 12 waterfalls. There’s a waterfall hike suitable for each activity level. Advanced hikers will love the journey along an unmarked trail to get to the secret waterfall, Catedral Falls. Be prepared to scale rock faces and climb down a canyon. If this rocks your boat, please seek out an experienced local guide. Intermediate hikers should take the half-hour trek through the Dominican rainforest to get to Syndicate Falls or marvel at the beauty of the Eastern Caribbean’s tallest waterfall, Middleham Falls. Adventurers seeking a moderate hike will be blown away by Victoria Falls and the milky blue waters of Riviére Blanche that run through it. It’s like Iceland’s Blue Lagoon without the hefty price tag and gaggle of influencers.
Tour Grenada's Nutmeg Farms
In the 1300s, “A pound of nutmeg in Europe cost seven fattened oxen and was a more valuable commodity than gold.” Globally 9,000 tons of nutmeg are demanded each year. Grenada’s tiny 40-beach island, known as the “spice of the Caribbean,” produces 20% of the world’s nutmeg. Nature lovers will enjoy touring the Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station. There you’ll see the labor goes into processing the spice—most of it done by hand—a key ingredient in “pumpkin spice” flavorings. The tour will make you appreciate the work that goes into processing, drying, sorting, and grading the spice synonymous with the fall and Christmas holidays. At the end of the tour, you can buy fresh nutmeg and delicious nutmeg jam, a unique confiture that tastes phenomenal.
Lose Yourself in Martinique's French-Caribbean Culture
Yes, the English and the Spanish speaking Caribbean, with their splashy resorts and hip-swaying music, are fantastic. However, the French-speaking islands, especially Martinique, are heaven on earth. Not only is Martinique “the best gourmet island in the Caribbean” (Cayman, please unclench), the island’s unique French-Caribbean culture is unparalleled. Upon landing in the overseas French territory’s capital Fort-de-France, your eyes will find it challenging to find just one thing of beauty on which to rest.
The skyline seems airbrushed with lush mountain ranges, a volcano, a 21-floor glass tower called Tour Pointe Simon, and historic cathedrals. The markets, the colors, and the architecture are so French yet distinctively Caribbean. The resorts are impeccable, the world-class shopping, and each meal seems worthy of a Michelin star regardless of its simplicity. Each experience and activity are imbued with a Parisienne cosmopolitan flair. No wonder folks can’t resist traveling there despite its December to April peak season being exorbitantly priced.
Check out Montserrat's Black Sand Beaches
The Caribbean’s Emerald Isle is one of 14 overseas UK territories and marches to its own beat. From its unapologetically Afro-Caribbean national dish, goat water (a stew made from male (ram) goat meat) to its two-week St. Patrick’s Festival that celebrates the island’s African and Irish heritage to its captivating black sand beaches, nothing about Montserratian is typical. But let’s get back to those black sand beaches. Of the nine public beaches, eight are black sand (the color is derived from the 1995 eruption of the Soufrière Hills volcano). If you want black sand beaches with dining facilities, stick to Carr’s Bay, Bunkum Bay, Isles Bay, and Little Bay. But whichever of the eight you choose, rest assured that you’ll have views like no other and photos that are sure to set your Instagram account ablaze.
Go on a Mayan Chocolate Tour in Belize
Though technically a Central American country, that shares borders with Mexico and Honduras, Belize is considered a Caribbean state. Don’t believe us; just ask Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Origin stories matter, and there’s evidence that cacao was used in what is now Ecuador over 5,000 years ago. As empires spread and trade popularized cacao beans became currency for Aztecs and Mayans in Mexico. And, now you know why we mentioned proximity to Belize. In the Belizean district of Stann Creek, visitors can immerse themselves in Mayan chocolate history at the Che’il Mayan Chocolate Factory. Once you’ve toured a farmer-owned cacao farm and tasted cacao in its raw form, you’ll head to the factory. There you’ll assist the pros with grinding roasted cacao beans and making chocolate. You’ll never look at Ferrero Rocher the same again.
Take a Ferry to St Barth's
For years wealthy scions, celebs, and cultural tastemakers have enjoyed using St. Barthelemy (St Barth’s for the initiated) as their playground. Private jets and yachts seem to be the preferred ways of getting there, but one of the easiest and most effective ways of getting to the island is flying to St. Maarten and then hopping on the ferry. The connecting 15-minute flight between both islands can cost more than the ticket from JFK to St Maarten. The ferries and hydrofoils are a lovely way to travel and cost as low as $70 each. Yes, it takes 45 minutes to an hour to cross, but the money saved can go towards cocktails garnished with tiny umbrellas.
Live Like a Local in St. Eustatius
Where? Don’t worry, we’re about to introduce you to a destination that may quickly become the place that will have friends exclaiming, “you’re going there again?!” It’s almost difficult to locate the tiny Dutch island of Sint Eustatius on a map, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in charm. You don’t visit for the beaches, you visit for the opportunity to immerse yourself in its culture. You can walk around the whole island in approximately four hours. Locals are warm and welcoming, and the island is very safe. Street robberies are non-existent and the police spend a lot of their time dealing with motor vehicle collisions—another reason why walking rules. The island has 119 historical monuments, no wonder why locals call it Statia, meaning “open-air museum.” The community spirit is palpable on St. Eustatius, and you’ll probably hear neighbors shout your name and wave to you on your second day.
Hike Gros Piton in Saint Lucia
If you’ve never visited the Caribbean before and only have one chance to do so, head to the verdant island of St Lucia. Most of the island’s enchantment lies within the Pitons. These volcanic plugs rise like hefty bosoms from the island’s supple torso. Their beauty is so captivating that they received UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2004. You can snorkel or scuba dive at the foot of the Pitons. However, hiking Gros Piton is the real treat. The smaller Petit Piton is such an arduous trek that even the most experienced hiker would look at the trails and say, “immediately, no!” You can hike Gros Piton in three hours at a moderate pace while bird watching, inhaling the crispest air you’ve ever experienced, and taking in the majestic views. Just watch out for trail runners. Yes, even they take vacations.
Meet Artisans in Saba
As far as the Caribbean’s best-kept secrets go, the Netherlands Antilles keeps coming out on top. Saba is 28 miles from Sint Maarten, and you can get there easily by puddle jumper or ferry. There are around 2,000 inhabitants on the island who are proud to be the custodians of this pristine paradise. Sustainability is at the core, and this commitment makes the objects created by local artisans unrivaled. On a Thursday afternoon, you can watch the Saba Lace Room ladies create intricate, hand-sewn works of art. At Kakona, an initiative prides itself on selling nature-based keepsakes from local creators, pick out a gift for your BFF or man’s best friend. And at the five-square art gallery (the name, all lower case, pays homage to Saba’s five-square-mile size), find paintings, pottery, jewelry, and sculptures from talented local visual artists.
Fall in Love with Bequia, St Vincent, and the Grenadines
Bequia—the second largest island in the Grenadines—is the most impressive gem in St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ crown. If celeb spotting or rich-spouse hunting are at the top of your list, this island isn’t for you. Although a handful of Hollywood elite and members of the British Royal Family are known to vacation there. The inhabitants are some of the friendliest you’ll ever meet. According to its tourism bureau, “Centuries-old dependence on inter-island shipping and trading has meant that Bequians have been eagerly welcoming visitors to their shores for generations.” To say that Bequia is dotted with beaches is like saying a chocolate-chip cookie is dotted with chocolate morsels. Its numerous beaches and coves are pristine. Oftentimes you’ll find yourself part of a group of less than a dozen folks enjoying the sun and powdery white sand (on Bequia, that’s considered a crowd). The island easily wins you over; each turn unveils a memorable touchpoint. You’ll find it so hard to leave.
Jump Mas in Trinidad and Tobago
The highlight of the Caribbean’s social calendar is Trinidad and Tobago Carnival. The annual celebration of soca and calypso music attracts over 35,000 visitors to this destination annually. The multi-day celebration, like Mardi Gras, takes place before Lent, culminating on Shrove Tuesday. It’s such an integral part of the culture that there’s a National Carnival Commission. With events that include Panorama and costume judging to determine the King and Queen of carnival, Trini Carnival climaxes with jumping mas—marching in costume-coordinated bands. It’s a marathon of dancing, jumping, and wining/whining, for which many folks spend months in the gym preparing for. Imagine not eating carbs during Christmas? However, the festival is also a celebration of Black and Brown bodies of all sizes. Though there are various popular Caribbean carnival celebrations like the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, Miami Carnival, and Carnival in Jamaica, nothing compares to jumping mas in Trinidad and Tobago.
Idle at a Beach Bar in Turks and Caicos
Numerous studies have shown the benefits of slowing down, and the Turks and Caicos Islands are the ideal places to do just that. Have you ever spent the entire day lounging at the beach with a bar steps away? One of life’s little experiences will make you wonder why you don’t idle more often. The best idling spots are on Providenciales, the archipelago’s third largest island. You’ll find Grace Bay Beach, which has received the World’s Leading Beach award numerous times. Other unspoiled public white sand beaches include Sapodilla Bay, Taylor Bay, Pelican Beach, Blue Hills Beach, and Long Bay. Whichever you choose, rest assured there’s a beach bar (some fancier than others) to ply you with tropical drinks. Hemingway’s serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week, da Conch Shack is a Providenciales institution, and Froggie’s On Daa Beach is where locals relax, especially on the weekend.
Helmet Dive in Bermuda
Bermuda is another island that’s not in the Caribbean but it shares a culture and history similar to that of the English-speaking Caribbean. Hence, it gets off on a technicality. And that’s a good thing! The island has a proud African heritage, approximately 60 percent of Bermudians are descendants of enslaved persons. Its street art scene and pink sand beaches are also sources of pride. Most of the best tourist activities involve getting wet, and helmet diving should be among the top of any visitor’s itinerary. The boat heads out to a reef where the depth is between eight and 12 feet. Each dive is conducted in small groups, so the tour can last close to four hours of there are many divers that day. Unlike snorkeling or scuba diving, helmet diving is ideal for non-swimmers. The helmet (more like an inverted rectangular glass) rests on your shoulders, and air displaces the water. Science! As you walk on the ocean floor, your head is dry, thus making this a great underwater activity for folks who wear glasses. Whatever the reason or swimming ability, helmet diving is fun for the whole family (kids should be at least five years old).
Learn About Suriname’s Biodiversity
Considered “The beating heart of the Amazon,” Suriname shares a border with Guyana, the smallest independent country in South America, and enjoys CARICOM membership. Suriname is probably the most mysterious territory on this list, but its fascinating and complex history (it was a former member of the Dutch Antilles) adds to its allure. Yes, Dutch is the official language. However, locals speak over ten others, including six Creole variants. There’s a whole lot going on in this territory which is the size of England and Wales combined. Suriname has over 5,000 species of plants and possesses seven types of ecosystems. It’s an eco-traveler’s dream with its 16 protected areas that include 11 nature reserves. Whether you finish your hike with a dip in a river, birdwatch, or attempt to identify as many plant species as you can, Suriname’s biodiversity is out of this world.
Eat Duck Curry in Guyana
First off, it’s duck curry, not curried duck—don’t argue with the Guyanese about the nomenclature of this prized dish. The South American mainland is mainly known for its waterfalls (over 275 of them), rivers, nature and wildlife, and culture comprising a “vast mix of ethnic backgrounds.” However, its cuisine has long gone underreported in notable travel publications. Not anymore. From its delicious coconut bread called salara to black pudding with sour (a reflection of its colonial past), Guyanese cuisine is a beautiful mélange of cultures and histories. Duck curry is an ode to the nation’s East Indian culture and is enjoyed especially during the holidays and on special occasions. It’s a moreish dish. The fattiness of the Muscovy duck is beautifully balanced with the addition of lime juice, garlic, hot peppers, and Caribbean curry powder, which is darker (garam masala) and more complex than other yellow curries. Duck curry is a delicious expression of a multi-cultural nation.
A Note About Haiti
We would be remiss not to have Haiti on this list, as the Caribbean would not know about emancipation without Haitian revolutionaries. However, at the time of publishing, the State Department advises folks not to travel to the island due to the “current security situation and infrastructure challenges.” It’s a pity as the beaches of Cap-Haïtien can easily rival those on the Adriatic coast. Fun fact: the city is called the “Paris of the Antilles.” Cap-Haïtien is also home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site—the Sans-Souci Palace ruins. They date back to 1811, six years after Haiti became the world’s first independent Black republic. Freedom comes at a cost, and Haiti continues to pay that in spades, in addition to encountering civil unrest and natural disasters of epic magnitudes. But once it’s safer to travel there, you should.