RANKED: The 25 Best Caribbean Islands
If you're planning a tropical getaway, the Caribbean islands are a gold mine of beauty, seclusion, and adventure.
Even though all the Caribbean islands are beautiful, some are better than others. So we decided to rank them.
We figured that the best islands would have a low cost, be easy to get to, and have beautiful beaches and lots of activities. In most instances, we defined a Caribbean island as a single country, republic, or territory in the Caribbean.
To rank these islands, we factored in each island's average hotel room cost, according to Hotels.com; the distance from New York City; the number of attractions listed on TripAdvisor; and the amount of coastline per square kilometer, which we called the beach density score. Read more on our methodology here.
We also created an infographic and map that shows our ranking of the best Caribbean islands.
Average hotel room cost: $107/night
Haiti's capital city of Port-au-Prince is the ideal setting to unplug and unwind. While the Wi-Fi may be shotty, the island boasts 23 historic and picturesque attractions — like the Musee du Panthenon National Haitien and Marche de Fer flea market — to explore.
Haiti has a low beach density score of 0.06, indicating that it has relatively little beachfront compared to other Caribbean islands.
Average hotel room cost: $184/night
Guadeloupe is an outdoorsperson's paradise, although its beach density score is a low 0.19. Fifty-eight of the 84 attractions focus on nature, from the serene botanical gardens of Deshaies to the untouched, protected coral reefs of Pointe des Chateaux.
Average hotel room cost: $183/night
The aptly nicknamed "Nature Island" offers volcanic peaks, sparkling waterfalls, rainforest canopies, and 300 miles of trails — although it has a low beach density score of 0.2. Many of Dominica's 69 attractions are located in the capital city of Roseau.
22. Turks and Caicos
Average hotel room cost: $197/night
"The spice of the Caribbean," Grenada appeals to adventure seekers and beach dwellers alike. With 68 attractions to choose from and a moderate beach density score of 0.35, the island mixes South American and European settlement influences into its culture.
Average hotel room cost: $329/night
A casual, breezy island tucked away in the northern Caribbean, Anguilla has the third highest beach density score on this list (0.67). Of its 24 attractions, Shoal Bay — with its white sand and turquoise water — tops the ranking.
19. Antigua and Barbuda
Average hotel room cost: $329/night
While Antigua and Barbuda have just a moderate beach density score of 0.35, their winding coastlines made it difficult for outsider-explorers to navigate the shores back in the day. Today, trekkers can enjoy secluded, powdery soft stretches of beach. Stingray City, Valley Church Beach, and Galley Bay Beach are among the islands' 70 attractions.
18. St. Lucia
Average hotel room cost: $290/night
Despite St. Lucia's low beach density score of 0.26, its gorgeous palm-fringed beaches and miles of unspoiled rainforest make it a perfect escape into the tropics. The island boasts 96 attractions, including the majestic Pitons peaks that offer hiking with vista views.
17. British Virgin Islands
Average hotel room cost: $278/night
With a high beach density score of 0.53 and 77 attractions, the British Virgin Islands has something for everyone. Travelers can swim or stroll the award-winning beach, The Baths, on Virgin Gorda; explore ancient ruins; or try the local cuisine. There are four major islands in the BVI: Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke.
16. Trinidad and Tobago
Average hotel room cost: $196/night
Located just off the tip of Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago is home to the hemisphere's oldest protected rainforest, established in 1763 to combat European deforestation. It has a low beach density score of 0.07, but the twin island republic makes up for it with 107 attractions, including wildlife reserves and horseback riding on the beach.
Average hotel room cost: $305/night
Time slows on the award-winning white sand beaches of Aruba, which has a moderate beach density score of 0.38. With 78 attractions, the Dutch island's crown jewels are Eagle Beach, Arashi Beach, and Baby Beach.
Because of its steady year-round winds, the island is popular with kite surfers.
Average hotel room cost: $177/night
Located in the heart of the Caribbean archipelago, Martinique combines French and West Indies cultural influences. The French island has a moderate beach density score of 0.31 and 83 attractions, including the black sand beaches of the north.
Average hotel room cost: $124/night
While it's no easy feat getting there from the US, Cuba ranks as a top destination of the Caribbean. Its Playa Paraiso Beach is considered one of the best beaches in the world. With 259 attractions and a moderate beach density score of 0.34, the "Pearl of the Antilles" has breathtaking scenery, rich culture and history, and unparalleled nightlife.
American citizens can travel there, but only with an authorized tour group. Some travelers navigate around the Cuba travel ban by first flying into Canada, Mexico, or another Caribbean island that has regularly scheduled flights to Cuba.
Average hotel room cost: $102/night
Montserrat offers volcanoes for climbing, ruins for exploring, and pristine beaches for sunbathing and napping after you've worn yourself out from visiting all 16 of the island's attractions. Montserrat has a moderate beach density score of 0.39 and the most affordable hotel rooms on this list.
Average hotel room cost: $217/night
Nothing beats an island breeze and a glass of rum punch on the beaches of Barbados, which has a moderate beach density score of 0.23. Its 103 attractions include the calm, sheltered waters at Carlisle Bay, many tropical gardens, and a 360-foot freighter ship accessible by deep-sea diving.
10. US Virgin Islands
Average hotel room cost: $262/night
Made up of St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas, this Caribbean island archipelago is home to 185 attractions. Although it has a low beach density score of 0.1, the US Virgin Islands boasts two Travelers' Choice-winning beaches: Trunk Bay and Magens Bay.
Average hotel room cost: $226/night
Whether you’re looking to kick up your adrenaline in the great outdoors or just chill out under some palm trees, Jamaica has something for everyone. It has a low beach density score of 0.09, but 164 attractions, including the Blue Mountains and a Bob Marley Museum.
8. St. Kitts and Nevis
Average hotel room cost: $221/night
Sister-islands St. Kitts and Nevis have a high beach density score of 0.52 and 71 attractions to choose from. A hidden gem of the Caribbean, the republic's 38-acre Brimstone Hill Fortress and Clay Villa Plantation House & Gardens are as breathtaking as they are historic.
7. Cayman Islands
Average hotel room cost: $294/night
Perhaps best known for their offshore bank accounts, the Cayman Islands have so much more to offer. Made up of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman, the islands boast world-class diving, gourmet restaurants, and the world-famous Seven Mile Beach. They have 151 attractions and a high beach density score of 0.61.
6. Dominican Republic
Average hotel room cost: $193/night
Despite having the lowest beach density score on this list (0.03), the Dominican Republic blows away other islands because of its accessibility, affordable hotel rooms, and 219 attractions. Bavaro Beach, Macao Beach, and Paradise Island & The Mangroves all made TripAdvisor's list of the top 25 beaches in the Caribbean.
Average hotel room cost: $190/night
Curaçao is the destination for serious divers. More casual beachgoers will find heaven on its sugar-fine sands; the island has the third highest beach density score on this list (0.82). The hidden inlet Kenepa Beach and Curaçao Underwater Marine Park are among its 61 attractions.
4. St. Martin – Sint Maarten
Average hotel room cost: $267/night
The perfect marriage of French and Dutch cultures, St. Martin and Sint Maarten are two different colonies on one island. There are no border patrols or customs separating the colonies, so tourists can enjoy the best of both worlds — including their 44 combined attractions. The island has a very high beach density score of 1.09.
3. Saint Barthélemy
Average hotel room cost: $305/night
It's neither the nearest nor the most affordable of the Caribbean islands, but Saint Barthélemy has an absurdly high beach density score of 1.52 — indicating that the coastline is curvaceous and complex. Saint Barths offers 17 attractions, including the isolated and sunny Anse du Gouverneur beach and a historic district where the French first settled.
Average hotel room cost: $300/night
The Bahamas, which has a moderate beach density score of 0.26, has more to do than anywhere else in the Caribbean. The island chain's pristine beaches, golf, duty-free shopping, gambling, nature parks, and 368 total attractions ensure there's something for everyone. The capital city of Nassau on New Providence Island is a must-visit.
1. Puerto Rico
Average hotel room cost: $187/night
Located in the balmy northeast of the Caribbean, Puerto Rico is without a doubt the easiest island to access — which is good news, because you'll want to visit again and again. There are 348 attractions to choose from, including the Spanish colonial district of San Juan and the rainforests' ziplining parks. Despite having a low beach density score of 0.04, the island's Flamenco Beach is considered one of the best in the world, according to TripAdvisor.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/best-caribbean-islands-2014-12?op=1#ixzz3OMgFqPgb