Our Favorite Caribbean Destinations
Escape to paradise with our top picks for romance, adventure, seclusion, and local flavor in the Caribbean.
The most seductive place in the Caribbean is just 16 miles long and circled by 33 mostly deserted beaches. Big cruise ships don't visit, so it's quiet and serene. With no casinos or tourist traps, there's little to distract you from your sweetheart. While away your days on stretches of the softest sand you've ever wiggled your toes in on Shoal Bay, one of the Caribbean's most picturesque beaches. When you're not flirting with each other at the pool or clinking Champagne flutes by candlelight, you'll love snorkling around the coral reefs or trying the island's Greg Norman golf course.
Couples Only: Cap Jaluca (pictured)Between your room, the beach, and the restaurant, you'll have everything you need. From $425 to $1,595 (junior suite, high season); capjaluca.com.
Super Spa: CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa
Try a massage with warmed seashells. From $400 to $1,020 (high season); cuisinartresort.com.
Sexy & Serene: Viceroy Anguilla
Sophistication comes to shore in this Kelly Wearstler-designed beauty. From $995 (resort-view room, high season); viceroyanguilla.com.
Euro Style: Malliouhana Hotel & Spa
Atop a lush, terraced bluff, this lodging overlooks Meads Bay and Turtle Cove beaches on the island's west end. From $430 to $1,120 (beachfront room); malliouhana.com.
An Italian Affair: Trattoria Tramonto Oasis Beach Bar
This is the place for champagne cocktails, lobster, and tiramisu amid strains of Andrea Bocelli; 264/497-8819.
Haute Cuisine: Blanchards Restaurant
Try spicy dry-rubbed snapper with sautéed wild mushrooms, sweet potatoe puree, and ginger bok choy; blanchardsrestaurant.com.
Amazing Seafood: Mango's
A perennial local fave with super-fresh seafood (lobster cakes, crayfish, snapper in sesame-soy tahini) overlooking the ocean; 264/497-6479.
Best Beach Bar: Gwen's Reggae Grill
A perfect oceanside meal of grilled seafood on Shoal Bay, with hammocks for a post-lunch nap; 264/497-2120.
In St Barts it's easy to fall in love with food. You sit in your white-canvas banquette, tan and radiant, with the sound of the Caribbean lapping softly in one ear and a handsome garçon speaking French in the other. The waiter tempts you with mahi mahi served en papillote, fresh ingredients imported from Bordeaux, and your heart's desire of desserts, from flambéed crêpes suzette to chocolate mousse.
While many of the meals here are haute-cuisine, you can also find amazing food at affordable prices. Try O'Corail for burgers and frites on the beach, Le Vietnam for noodles, Eddy's for Creole specialties, and Nikki Beach for sushi.
Most Privacy: Le Toiny
Enjoy a bungalow with a private entrance and pool. Breakfast is included, and you can have it on your patio. From about $780 to $2,750 (high season); letoiny.com.
Ultra Chic: Eden Rock Hotel
It's on the main drag in St. Jean, but the beach is private, and the quiet suites and villas welcome you with Caribbean-modern style. From about $730-$1,935 (ocean-view suite, high season); edenrockhotel.com.
Best Beach Hotel: Hotel St. Barth Isle de France
Lounge by peaceful Flammands Bay or by the pool, large by St. Barts standards. Rooms have a soft-white, French country flair. From about $670-$1,652 (tropical villa, high seasons); isle-de-france.com.
Everybody's Talking About ...
L'Isola. Italian fare in Gustavia; lisolastbarth.com.
Best Beachside Seating
Eddy's, in a walled-garden setting; 011/59/027-5417. Kiki-è Mo, a delish deli in St. Jean; 011/59/027-7047.
Accessible only by helicopter or water, the eastern tip of this sliver of land may the world's largest water sports playground. It's sheltered by Virgin Gorda's steep mountains on one side and a smattering of low-lying islands on the other—ideal conditions for sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, kiteboarding, and snorkeling. There are no large swells but plenty of wind, which means it's calm enough for a beginner but still fun for the more skilled.
Good to know: The U.S. dollar is the official currency on Virgin Gorda.
More playcation islands: Little Cayman, Roatan, Bonaire
Best for Families: Bitter End Yacht ClubFrom the upscale cabin-like accomodations to the nearly infinite range of day and night activities, it's like summer camp. From $530 to $960 beach-front villas, high season); beyc.com.
Easy Cruising: Biras Creek Resort (pictured)
Perfect for couples looking for solitude in their own oceanfront villas and a chance to get out on the water. Staffers are available to resort guests for lessons and outings. Bonus: Guests get beach cruisers for exploring the property. From $700 to $1,150 (ocean suite, high season); biras.com.
On Petit St. Vincent, you can be completely, blissfully alone—just raise the red flag on your villa and no one will bother you. But a yellow flag quickly brings staff, eager to assist, whether to bring a piña colada to the beach or to schedule an afternoon seaside massage. There's nothing but a resort on the 113-acre, privately-owned island, which is part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It's just you, the staff, and the other guests staying in the 22 guest cottages tucked deep into the landscape, surrounded by white sandy beaches. You can dine in your villa, on remote beaches, or in the restaurant, which is about the only place you'll see people.
It's a journey to reach Petit St. Vincent, but it's worth it for the rejuvenating solitude. Most visitors fly to Barbados, then take a short flight to neaby Union Island, where they meet a boat for the brief trip to the resort.
Good to know: Petit St. Vincent's dock house offers guests sailboats, windsurfing boards, and glass-bottom kayaks at no extra cost.
More islands for blissful solitude: Mustique, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Andros Island, Bahamas; La Desirade, Guadeloupe
Petit St. Vincent ResortFrom $675 to $1,020 per couple (high season); psvresort.com.