Antigua & Barbuda
The twin islands of Antigua and Barbuda sit just north of Guadeloupe. Antigua, the larger of the two is the main tourist destination and better suited to families with no shortage of resorts and plenty of activities to keep visitors entertained. St. John's, the vibrant capital of the island, is a spectacular day visit with colonial buildings, shopping malls and weekend farmer's markets while the Nelson Dockyard or Falmouth provide a bit of history and outstanding views. Antigua boasts 365 dazzling sandy beaches including the popular Fort James for watersports and seafood and Gallery Bay attracting surfers as well as more peaceful areas such as Rendez Vous Bay and Doigs Beach which are more secluded. The food in Antigua is a blend of authentic Caribbean seafood and international cuisines, and don't forget to try the popular local rum!
Barbuda is well suited to couples seeking a romantic break, the secluded pink sand beaches from crushed coral, shorefront seafood restaurants and local marketplace are largely unspoiled by tourism infrastructure. The island has limited accommodations with a few hotels and guesthouses making for the perfect, private getaway. Dine in a handful of restaurants serving deliciously fresh fish and barbecues or wander down to the several shops and bars to get a break from hotel amenities.
Lying north of Cuba are the 16 main islands that make up The Bahamas. The historic capital city of Nassau on Paradise Island has excellent shopping from straw market to designer boutiques; this is thought by many to be the most stylish spot in the Caribbean. By night the centre transforms into a vibrant clubbing spot. Exploring the area by ferry will take you to the pink sands of Harbour Island or face to face with the wild dolphins of Grand Bahama Island.
Barbados is the star of the Caribbean boasting amazing natural wonders and some of the world's best beaches. Barbados is one of the most diverse islands you will find; from rugged coral reefs and harsh tides of the beaches of Bathsheba in the East, to the white sanded tranquil surroundings of the western beaches.
Just south of Cuba is the island of Jamaica, famed for its natural beauty and laid back atmosphere, holidays to Jamaica can be as active or as chilled as you want to make them. Visit the capital city of Kingston and spot the European influence in its colonial architecture. Take a stroll around the Bob Marley Museum, housed in the late singer's recording studio to learn more of the nation's musical heritage. Alternatively head to Montego Bay, the islands second largest city and gateway to the northern coastal resorts.
Go hiking in the Blue Mountains or view the water cascading down the 180-metre drop at Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rios, continue your adventure by rafting down the Rio Grande River to St Margaret's Bay. If that’s too active then opt to do what many people go to Jamaica for, relax on Long Bay in Negril, a seven-mile stretch of pristine white sand, with tiki huts serving up chilled rum cocktails and spicy jerk chicken smothered in marinade to the blissful sounds of local reggae. In Jamaica, all the stereotypes are true with picturesque coastlines fringed palm trees, hidden waterfalls and soaring mountains as well as a fair share of history including Rose Hall in Montego Bay, old mansions and 18th century plantations.
Still very much the place to be seen, Puerto Rico combines the laid back pace of The Caribbean with the cosmopolitan nightlife of a US city. Whether you're watching the salsa dancers spin in Old San Juan or visiting one of the city's state of the art casinos, there is always something vying for your attention. Puerto Rico is home to 250 flawless beaches, most notably Mosquito Bay in Vieques considered to be the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world, a chance to swim in the liquid light and enjoy one of nature's most amazing gifts.
St Lucia, the largest of the Windward Island is an archetypal Caribbean getaway and much more than a beach retreat. Couples can relax on one of its many secluded beaches; relax in the sulphur springs or luxury spas. Those in search of a more active holiday experience can sail, horse ride or take on one of the many hiking trails and enjoy the unspoiled rainforest and dramatic twin peaks of the Pitons.
Soaring volcanic peaks, rainforests and waterfalls are just come of St. Lucia's highlights alongside cultural hubs including Rodney Bay in the North and Soufriere in the South. As well as gorgeous weather St. Lucia boasts a vibrant nightlife, lush beaches and a rich island history just waiting to be discovered.
Turks & Caicos
Made up of 40 islands, only eight of which are inhabited, Turks and Caicos Islands are encircled by coral reef and home to some of the most varied marine life in the Caribbean, making the islands a diver's paradise. Between late December and April, humpback whales can be spotted off the coast of Grace Bay on the island of Providenciales. The laid back pace, makes the island a perfect relaxation spot. Also worth checking out is the local ripsaw music scene and trying the locally sourced conch fritters.
With each island boasting its own individual character, alongside its serenity and secluded parts, Turks Caicos offers unbeatable diving, world class golf and upscale shopping venues. Salt Cay offers one of the largest reefs in the world while the middle and north of Caicos is famed for its cultural ambience and authentic vibe. No matter what your occasion, you'll find an island to suit your personality and Caribbean dreams.