The Caribbean islands are desirable vacation destinations due to their warm weather and amazing white sand beaches.
In this article, we explore the best destinations that we believe are suitable for first time visitors to the Caribbean.
These were selected mainly due to their ease of access, things to do and also the relatively low crime rates of the islands.
Read on for further details and explanations on what are the best Caribbean Islands for first visitors. This article was written by a Caribbean National who lived and traveled throughout the islands.
Our first recommendation is the beautiful Caribbean island of Barbados. The island of Barbados is the most Eastward of the islands and is a major tourism destination in the Caribbean.
The terrain of the island is flat and hence if you decide to rent a vehicle, driving should be seamless to navigate.
Furthermore, public transportation is easy to access and hence visitors can utlize this service especially if you are staying in the South of the island.
Barbados is well known for its amazing white sand beaches. One of the most popular beaches is Crane Beach.
The island also has a vibrant nightlife climate with Fish Friday being one of the major events on the weekly calendar.
In the community of Oistins, vendors prepare local dishes with fish being the principal ingredient.
There is usually a live band as well as local individuals selling handmade and craft items.
Barbados has numerous daily non flights from major international cities so getting to the island is effortless.
Fondly known as the isle of Spice, Grenada is located in the Southern region of the Caribbean and is an excellent destination for a first time visitors.
The island is extremely safe and the locals are warm and welcoming to visitors.
Grenada also has beautiful white sand beaches with Grand Anse beach being the most famous.
The beach is located in the South of the island and it shares its shoreline with hotels such as Allamanda Beach Resort and Spice Inn Beach Resort.
Grenada has numerous lakes, waterfalls and fantastic dive locations. If you are an avid diver, this one of a kind sculpture park was constructed in 2006 and is located in Molinere in Grenada.
The British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor is the creator of the park. It is about 5-8 metres deep and is accessible by scuba diving, snorkeling and glass bottom boats.
Grenada does not have as many direct and non-stop flight options when compared to islands such as Aruba and Barbados.
The Eastern Caribbean Dollar is the official currency used for day to day transactions. However, US dollars are used widely by businesses on the island.
The Dutch Caribbean Island of Aruba is one of the most popular tourism destinations in the Caribbean due to its amazing beaches.
Aruba has one key advantage as a vacation spot in that it is located outside the hurricane belt.
The official currency of Aruba is the Aruban Florin. It was introduced on the island in 1986, replacing the Netherlands Antillean Guilder.
Moreover, Aruba also has amazing beaches with Eagle beach being the leader of the pack.
It is located in Oranjestad, the island’s capital city and is over 1000 metres long. Also, Eagle Beach is the widest beach in Aruba.
It is known for its white powdery sand and there are shaded areas with parking available. Turtles are fond of nesting on Eagle beach.
Another factor that makes traveling to Aruba seamless is the presence of US customs and immigration in Aruba.
This means that US travelers do not have to clear customs again once they arrive in the USA.
4. St Lucia
St Lucia is one of the more popular tourist destinations in the Southern Caribbean and has gained notoriety for celebrity weddings.
The destination has excellent direct and non-stop access from international cities. One challenge however, is that the international airport is located in the North of the island.
The drive to the South of the island where there are a number of hotels and marinas will take in excess of one hour.
St Lucia is also known dearly for the UNESCO World Heritage site, called The Pitons,
The Gros Piton is 2462 feet while the Petit Piton is 2619 feet and these have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage site since 2004.
The Gros Piton is the official hiking trail while the Petit Piton is rarely climbed.
Though climbing the Gros Piton is one of the key attractions on the island, the hike may be strenuous to complete with small children.
L’Express Des IIes provides effective transportation to the French Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe from St Lucia.
The vessel also stops in the Eastern Caribbean island of Dominica.
5. Antigua & Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda is a perfect choice for individuals who are all about beaches.
The island prides itself on having 365 beaches being one for every day of the year.
To provide support to its visitors in determining which beach is ideal for their needs, the authorities have designed a beach personality test.
The island of Montserrat which is a British Overseas Territory is located nearby. Ferry services are available from Antigua to Port Little Bay, Montserrat.
One of the must visit venues on the island is Nelson’s Dockyard which is perfect for families which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
This dockyard allows visitors to enjoy the park’s beauty. There is also the dockyard museum which provides deep insight into the dockyard’s history and current research on the island.
Anguilla is a small British Overseas Territory located in the Northern region of the Caribbean.
It shares the Eastern Caribbean Dollar as its official currency. Anguilla is known for having some of the best beaches in the Caribbean.
Shoal Bay is one of the most frequented beaches on the island. This beach is long strip about 2 miles with perfect pinkish white sand and clear blue waters.
Furthermore, Shoal Bay shares its shoreline with many hotels, restaurants and beach bars. The beach is perfect spot on the island for diving, snorkeling and kayaking.
While Anguilla is a quiet destination with nightlife limited to primarily beach bars and restaurants, the destination has seamless access via ferry services to St Maarten/ St Martin.
There are numerous ferry services that leave Blowing Point from Anguilla daily. St Maarten is known as one of the best destinations for parties in the Caribbean.
Anguilla is also the perfect spot for foodies to consider. The restaurants on the island tend to cater to high end and luxury visitors.
Therefore, the quality of food prepared even by the smaller venues is exquisite.
One drawback of traveling to Anguilla is the limited number of international flights available to the island.
The only international airline that currently serves the island is American Airlines which has daily flights from Miami International Airport.
Consequently, international travelers from various cities may consider flying to Antigua or St Maarten and transfer unto smaller airlines such as Seaborne or Winair to Anguilla.
7. St Thomas
If you will like to enjoy the warm weather of the Caribbean but still remain in the United States of America (USA), St Thomas is island to consider.
As an overseas department of the USA, no passport is required for entry and exit into the island.
The official currency of St Thomas is also the US dollar as the mainland USA. St Thomas is also well loved by visitors for its amazing beaches.
The most famous beach on the island is Magens Bay Beach which is located in the northern region of the island.
This beach is perfect for swimming and snorkeling and is suitable for individuals of all ages. There is a fee to enter and this price is higher for non-residential persons.
We trust that you found our recommendations above helpful as you consider exploring the Caribbean islands for the first time.
Also, consider travel insurance if you are keen on visiting the Caribbean between the hurricane season which runs from June 1 to November 30 annually.
Need More Information?
Feel free to browse our website for more content on the Caribbean by using the search bar located at the top of this page.
The following are some of our articles which we believe may be suitable for you.
Best Caribbean Islands For Solo Female Travel
Best Caribbean Islands For Foodies (The Ultimate Guide)
Best Caribbean Islands To Retire (A Complete Guide)
Best Caribbean Islands For Single Guys
Best Caribbean Islands For Young Adults (A Complete Guide)
Best Turquoise Beaches In The Caribbean (A Complete Guide)