Undiscovered Caribbean: 8 Under-the-Radar Island Vacations You Must Book Now
Stretching from the southeastern United States down along the east coast of Central America to the north coast of South America, the Caribbean consists of more than 700 islands, islets, reefs, and cays. Yet, for some strange reason, the vast majority of travelers seem to visit the same old chestnuts year after year. For more adventurous travelers seeking an escape from the crowds, here are seven serene island getaways that are perfect for really getting away from it all.
Scuba divers in Culebra, (Photo: Geoff Galice/Flickr)
Culebra, Puerto Rico
Located 19 miles east of Puerto Rico, the smallest of the inhabited Spanish Virgin Islands feels like it’s a world away. Seven miles long and three miles wide, with fewer than 3,000 residents, Culebra has virtually no nightlife to speak of. But it does have crystal clear waters with visibility that extends more than 60 feet, gorgeous white sand beaches (Culebrita is among the best.), and the oldest lighthouse in the Caribbean. Thanks to the establishment of the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge in 1909, there are also lots of seabirds and turtles, not to mention exceptional scuba diving.
Where to Stay: Set on a private bay, the cottages at Tamarindo Estates offer ocean views, fully equipped kitchens, and an 1,800-foot beach with great shelling and snorkeling.
A Dominica waterfall (Photo: Chris Favero/Flickr)
Often confused with the Dominican Republic, “The Nature Island” is 65 percent covered in tropical rainforest, with 300 miles of hiking trails. Thanks to copious rain, impressive waterfalls are everywhere, with Emerald Pool, Trafalgar Falls, and Victoria Falls all worth a visit. Other highlights include the Morne Trois Pitons National Park (the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the eastern Caribbean), snorkeling Champagne Reef (where geothermal activity makes the water warm and bubbly), and the Kalinago Barana Autê (home of the pre-Columbian Carib people).
Where to Stay: Rosalie Bay, an eco-conscious boutique and wellness resort, was named the No. 2 resort in the Caribbean by Condé Nast Traveler in 2013.
Wild pink flamingos on Isla Holbox (Photo: Raq_escobar/Flickr)