Caribbean Vacations: Best Places, Hotels, Beaches, Activities, Traveler Tips and Reviews

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Caribbean Vacations: Best Places, Hotels, Beaches, Activities, Traveler Tips and Reviews
Caribbean Vacations: Best Places, Hotels, Beaches, Activities, Traveler Tips and Reviews

In Russia, the swimming season lasts from May to October, in Turkey or Cyprus it is a little longer, but where on the planet can you swim and sunbathe among palm trees all year round? One option is the Caribbean region in the Western Hemisphere. Where is the Caribbean Sea, which is great for holidays, for example, New Year's holidays?


It is located between North and South America, which leaves a specific imprint on the countries of this region. All of them are former colonies, where the official language is English, French, Spanish or Dutch. There remains some colonial architecture on the islands, and ancient Mayan ruins can be visited on the mainland. If you are planning a vacation in the Caribbean, where is the best place to stay and which country to choose for your vacation? Consider several options.

Caribbean coast
Caribbean coast

Caribbean vacation in the Dominican Republic

Do not confuse the two states of this region - the Dominican Republic and Dominica. The first occupies about half of the island of Haiti, and the state languagethere is Spanish, and the second is a tiny island state with 70 thousand inhabitants and a size smaller than Moscow. Their official language is English.

The Dominican Republic is more suitable for a holiday in the Caribbean. There are major airports, an island metro system rare for our planet, many beaches, colonial architecture with a dozen museums in Santo Domingo and a dozen UNESCO heritage sites.

There are no beaches in the capital, they are located in Boca Chica, Bani and Juan Dolio. Some of them are suitable for surfers, but you should be careful due to strong waves and currents. The beaches near the town of Bani are interesting because they are adjacent to sand dunes.

Cathedral in Santo Domingo
Cathedral in Santo Domingo

Vacation on the beaches of Punta Cana and Barahona

190 kilometers from the capital, on the eastern tip of the island, is the city of Punta Cana, famous for its beaches. It has its own international airport, so you can fly on a charter flight from Moscow, and if there are no tickets, then get there by land transport from Santo Domingo.

As in any resort town, here you can stay in a hotel and spend your free time swimming, sunbathing, fishing, diving, playing golf, watching sunsets. In addition, holidays on the Caribbean Sea in Punta Cana can be diversified with the following activities:

  • Take a day trip to the picturesque island of Saona. It is located in a nature reserve.
  • Organize a safari tour to get acquainted with the life of the Dominican province. During it you can see sugar plantationscane and ride horses on the beach.
  • Visit Altos de Chavon. This town of artists with its appearance resembles a Mediterranean city of the 16th century. It has an amphitheater for 5000 spectators and an archaeological museum.
  • Watch the dolphin in Manati Park. It is home not only to dolphins, but also to exotic fish and parrots, as well as gardens with orchids and other tropical plants.
  • Take a helicopter tour and take a bird's eye view of the coast.
  • For lovers of rafting, a one-day excursion to the city of Jarabacoa is provided. The area around it is called the "Dominican Alps" due to the presence of a cascade of waterfalls.
  • Take a night tour with a pirate show on board the ship.
  • Visit the "Cave of Wonders". It is located on the way to the capital. Inside, there are drawings of Indians that are 800 years old.
Beach in Punta Cana
Beach in Punta Cana

If noisy Punta Cana and the bustling capital are tired, then you should make a trip to the southern part of the Dominican Republic. The reference point is the city of Barahona. This part of the country is the poorest, tourism here began to develop later, so more wildlife and pristine black sand beaches have been preserved. Interestingly, the Spaniards brought coconut palms to the island. They did not develop its southern part so actively, so the pre-colonial landscape with uneven mountains and lush green vegetation has been preserved here. Of the sights, it is worth visiting the s alt lake with alligators, which is surrounded by a rocky desert. Sometime in the past it was all a partsea.

Perhaps the best Caribbean holiday will be in the Dominican Republic, as all other island nations are smaller and often poorer.

Trip to Mexico

From the continental countries in the Caribbean region, it is worth taking a closer look at Mexico. It is relatively easy to get an online visa there and find an inexpensive air ticket. The best season for a Caribbean vacation in Mexico is winter, when there is no extreme heat and hurricanes. The rainy season falls on the period from May to October, during these months you can swim in the south of Russia.

For a beach holiday, the city of Cancun on the territory of the Yucatan Peninsula is suitable. It is good to combine a beach holiday there with an educational one. For example, first visit the Mayan Museum of Culture, and then go on a one-day excursion to the ruins of the city of Chichen Itza, 200 kilometers west of Cancun. It is also worth visiting the ruins of the city of Tulum. It is interesting because it was built on the Caribbean coast, so it is sometimes called the "city of dawn".

Beaches in Cancun (Mexico)
Beaches in Cancun (Mexico)

Trip to Cuba

This socialist state with slow internet and lots of vintage cars is quite suitable for a vacation in the Caribbean. A visa is not needed, and flights from Moscow to Havana are among the cheapest in the region.

The best Caribbean holidays are worth looking for in these resorts:

  • Cayo Largo Islands. Purity, authenticity, miles of white sand.
  • Pilar Beach on the island of Cayo Guillermo.
  • Beaches of Ancon 15 kilometers from the city of Trinidad.

Trip to Jamaica

Visa-free English-speaking country in the region. The population is mostly black.

In the northern part of the island, the city of Montego Bay deserves attention. There is an international airport and you can stay for $20 in a guesthouse (bed) and $35 in a private room. Rooms in hotels - from $100 (1 dollar is about 65 Russian rubles).

In the west of the island, the city of Negril is suitable for a Caribbean holiday, where conditions are good for diving and there are many sandy beaches with turquoise water.

A beach holiday in Jamaica should be combined with an active one, for example, a trip to the Blue Mountains north of the capital. They are famous not only for their beautiful scenery, but also for their local coffee.

Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda

Vacation in Antigua and Barbuda

English-speaking state of two islands. Planes fly to the capital island of Antigua from the USA, Canada, from Jamaica and from several major European cities (Milan, London, Frankfurt). Barbuda is worth a visit for its gorgeous deserted beaches, but in 2017, 90% of the buildings on the island were destroyed by Hurricane Irma. There are ferries from Antigua to the island. In general, a promising tourist destination, only a little expensive, like all the islands of the region, because most of the products there are imported (except for fish, local rum and seafood).

Vacation in Grenada

Another English-speaking Negro state in the Caribbean region. A visa is not needed, but getting to Grenada by plane is more difficult than to Cuba or the Dominican Republic, fewer airlines fly to it. Grenada where vacation atThe Caribbean Sea is no worse than on neighboring islands, it may interest tourists with such sights:

  • The Belmont Estate's unique cocoa plantation. It takes about an hour to go near the capital.
  • Grand Etang Reserve with a lake in the crater of an extinct volcano.
  • Mount St. Catherine, the highest on the island, about 850 meters.
  • Cascade of waterfalls "Seven sisters". Despite its small size, the island is famous for its waterfalls.
  • The oldest rum distillery in the region.

Vacation in Costa Rica

Some states of Mesoamerica are very poor and criminal, for example, Honduras. However, Costa Rica stands out among them for its high standard of living and relative safety. It is conveniently located between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. You don't need a visa to go there. The main airport is located in the capital - San Jose. From Santo Domingo, it’s really possible to fly there with a direct flight of the Condor airline.

From the capital from 6 am to 6 pm every hour there are buses to the city of Puerto Limon on the Caribbean coast. You can use this relatively large city for recreation. It takes about an hour by bus to go towards the border with Panama to the city of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. It differs from the rest of Costa Rica with a dry climate and a unique combination of cultures: Afro-Caribbean, Indian and Latin American. It is adjacent to the nature reserve, picturesque rivers and banana plantations.

If you want to visit two exotic countries in one vacation, then you can cross from Puerto Viejo with the help of buses and a ferryborder with Panama and get to the Bocas del Toro archipelago.

Jamaica beaches
Jamaica beaches

Vacation in Panama

The country as a whole is similar to Costa Rica. It has quite a decent standard of living and security. It separates not only the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, but also North and South America. Once upon a time, in the early 2000s, the first season of the Last Hero program was filmed here. The filming location was the Bocas del Toro archipelago.

In addition to a beach holiday, the archipelago offers fishing, surfing, scuba diving, and yachting. Prices in hostels start from $12.

Reviews of Caribbean vacations in this region tend to be positive, as evidenced by the high (4, 7-5) hotel ratings.

Holidays in Colombia

On the southern coast of the Caribbean Sea there are two major oil-producing states. One of them - Venezuela - is now experiencing an economic crisis, so it is better to bypass it, despite all the splendor of the nature of its southern regions. Neighboring Colombia is much more suitable for a vacation trip. The country is big, you can find not only beaches, but also magnificent mountains and colonial architecture.

Columbia is difficult to get to by land from Panama due to the jungle, so it's best to fly from Panama City or another major airport.

The following cities in the north are suitable for a beach holiday:

  • Cartagena.
  • Barranquilla.
  • Santa Marta (Palomino Beach is good for surfers).
  • Rioacha.
  • Cabo de la Vela. Beach inscenic area where the Wayu Indians live. The Caribbean coast here is surrounded by the Guajira desert. Suitable for ecotourism.
Beach on the Caribbean Sea (Punta Cana)
Beach on the Caribbean Sea (Punta Cana)

Vacation in Haiti

Destination for brave tourists. The country is visa-free, but the poorest and most backward in the region. However, it has an interesting Negro culture, an unusual religion (voodoo) and a heroic history - the Haitians were the first in the region to gain independence in the early 19th century. You should get there by plane or bus from the capital of the Dominican Republic.

Despite the low standard of living, for tourists, Haiti will be a very expensive place to stay. The price of a place in a low-quality room starts from $30-40.

To the north of the capital is the city of Cap-Haitien, which is interesting not only for its beautiful beaches, but also for its colonial architecture, the ruins of the Sanssouci Palace and the citadel on a 1000-meter mountain. It is the largest fortification in the entire region; it was built by King Henri-Christophe of Haiti at the beginning of the 19th century.

Cap-Haitien in spirit it resembles New Orleans in the distant past. Prices for hotel rooms start at $50. You can not only swim, sunbathe and ride water taxis, but also try Creole cuisine (it was formed on the basis of French) or watch voodoo ceremonies.

Jacmel in the south of the country is suitable for a Caribbean holiday.