Planning a vacation to the Caribbean, but don’t know which island is right for your family? Here, we recommend our favorite islands based on various travel types and ages, to give you a starting ground.
Best Caribbean Island for Teens: Cayman Islands
For teens, it’s all about high-adrenaline activities—or just lounging by the pool. Our favorite place for both is The Cayman Islands. The Cayman Islands are a SCUBA diver’s paradise, with more than 300 dive sites for teens old enough to dive. Other teen-centric experiences in the Cayman Islands include Stingray City, where you can get up close with a gentle group of stingrays; shopping at Camana Bay; bioluminescent kayaking with Cayman Kayaks; and sunbathing on world-famous Seven Mile Beach.
Recommended Resort: Caribbean Club
Best Caribbean Island for Infants: Jamaica
Infants are typically easy to please when it comes to an island vacation. But for parents, perhaps the best place for infants is Jamaica—more specifically Franklin D. Resort and Spa. This resort assigns every family with their own full-time nanny (included in the cost of the stay). This nanny can put baby down for a nap while you and your partner lounge by the pool, babysit while you enjoy a quiet dinner, and play with baby when you want to enjoy some of the island’s adult amenities.
Recommended Resort: Franklin D. Resort and Spa
Best Caribbean Island for Adventure: Dominican Republic
The large island of the Dominican Republic is fast becoming the “it” destination for families, but has long been considered the adventure capital of the Caribbean. The island’s rain forests beckon to be explored by foot, zip-line and canopy tours, and the long coastline is perfect for surfing, snorkeling, diving, sailing and more. The mountainous interior is also a great place for canyoning, caving and rock climbing, as well as river rafting and mountain biking.
Recommended Resort: Melia Caribe Tropical
Related Article: All-Inclusive Adventure Resorts With Zip-Lining
Best Caribbean Island for Parents: Aruba
With more and more all-inclusive resorts offering all-day supervised kids’ programs, mom and dad have more time to hit the links, relax in the spa, or explore on their own. We love Aruba for moms and dads because not only is there a wide array of hotel options with programs for kids, but the capital town of Oranjestad is a fantastic shopping city with a number of restaurants, bars and casinos to enjoy. Golfing on the coastal north shore provides fantastic views, and spas are aplenty.
Recommended Resort: Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort and Casino
Best Caribbean Island for Budget: Jamaica, Puerto Rico, The Bahamas
Some islands are trickier than others to get to, so even if you find a great deal at a resort, it’s important to check out the airfare and connections it will take to get to your final destination. Direct flights are more common to islands such as Jamaica, the Bahamas and Puerto Rico. These popular islands are also sprinkled with all-inclusive resorts and family-friendly hotels, making them very competitive and wallet-friendly.
Recommended Resort: Comfort Suites Paradise Island
Best Caribbean Island for History: Puerto Rico
All of the islands in the Caribbean are rich in history, many of them once thriving plantation and mill islands or overrun by pirates. We love Puerto Rico for its historic Old San Juan district, where a stroll through the winding streets can easily conjure up feelings of colonial life in the 1500s. Here, Castillo San Cristobal is one of the largest Spanish forts of the new world, and the Castillo San Felipe del Morro citadel provides expansive play areas and views with its dose of history. You’ll also find the ancestral home of the Ponce de Leon family and his burial site, at the San Juan Cathedral, in Old San Juan. Bonus: U.S. citizens don’t need passports to visit!
Recommended Resort: San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
Best Caribbean Island for Culture: Martinique
Ever heard of Martinique? It’s technically part of France, except it’s located in the Caribbean! Everyone on the island speaks French (and English), and the island’s infrastructure largely resembles that of France. Yet the island feels very much Caribbean, with beachfront resorts, water sports, historical attractions, and ultra laid-back vibes.
Recommended Resort: Club Med Buccaneer’s Creek
Best Caribbean Island for Scenery: St. Lucia
St. Lucia is considered one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean, and with its heavily rain-forested and mountainous landscape around its Pitons and volcano, many feel this island most resembles an exotic Polynesian island. We recommend it because the resorts are spread out and nestled into the mountains and garden landscapes; this is an island that never feels overrun with tourists.
Recommended Resort: Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa