The land of beautiful beaches, a visitor to the Bahamas will be presented with many choices. From pink shorelines and palm trees, to silky white sands and turquoise waters, the variety is exquisite. There are over 700 islands in the Bahamas, so if you’re spending a week or less on one of these islands, you’re going to want to immediately know which beaches are king.
Consider this your exclusive guide to the best beaches in the Bahamas.
Since the Bahamas is home to over 2,000 beaches, we compiled four short lists of the best beaches in the Bahamas - each ranking beaches in a different category. The most beautiful beaches in the Bahamas are sometimes harder to come by, and might not always be a great place to snorkel. Expect beaches that are popular amongst U.S. visitors to be saver, easier to reach, but also more crowded.
Bringing the kids? Make sure the water is calm and the sand is free of rocks. Also check out if there are restaurants and rest rooms nearby. These family-friendly beaches might not be the best if you are looking for peace and quiet though.
You decide which shortlist fits your preferences best!
Popular Bahamian beaches with animals
Swim with the pigs: Big Major Cay (Pig Island)
The famous swimming pigs of the Bahamas are ready for your visit. Eager to find out what food you are bring with you, they will swim out to you as soon as the boat arrives. The ‘beach babes’ are friendly, a sight to behold and ready for a unique photo opportunity.
Chill with iguanas: Bitter Guana Cay
You’ve likely never witnessed a community of iguanas quite like the ones that can be found on this island. Described as somewhat domesticated, if you take a boat to this island, the iguanas will greet you by walking right up to you just as soon as you set foot onshore. They are friendly, fun, and photogenic!
Swim/walk with nurse sharks: Exumas
Swimming with sharks might sound terrifying to some, but when we’re talking about nurse sharks, this is a risk-free experience. One you’re able to get over your fear, you’ll find yourself swimming with nurse sharks, which are for the most part, harmless. Many divers and snorkelers visit the Bahamas just for this experience.
Ride horses on the beach: Paradise Island
Horseback riding on pristine Caribbean beaches is a dream that can be brought to life in the Bahamas. One of the best horseback riding expeditions in the Bahamas can be found in Paradise Island, which is located near the island of New Providence in the Bahamas.
Swim with dolphins: Blue Lagoon Island
Best beach for families with kids.
The best swimming with dolphin’s tour in the Bahamas starts from the Nassau Harbour to Blue Lagoon Island. There you will be able to get up close and personal with friendly dolphins that will (if you’re lucky) perform neat tricks for you and treat you like one of their own! The dolphin swimming program takes about one hour including orientation.
The best beaches in Nassau / Paradise Island / Rose Island
Cable Beach (Nassau)
Most popular beach amongst U.S. visitors.
Cable beach is the most popular beach in Nassau, and for good reason! On these beautiful sandy shores you can take advantage of fantastic views, and calm, clear blue seas with water sport adventures in abundance. If you would love to rent a jet ski for a daily dose of adrenaline, this is the place to be. Moreover, it’s a great beach to sip on a cocktail and just enjoy life. Cable beach is quite expansive, so you may need to do some exploring before settling down for the day.
Insider Tip: If you’re looking for a luxury resort right on Cable Beach, all-inclusive resort Sandals Royal Bahamian might be the best way to go. Plus, this resort will give you access to a private island just off the shores of Cable Beach.
Rose Island Beach (Rose Island)
Explore this small Bahamian island by boat (about 30 minutes from Paradise Island) and add some excitement to your vacation. Once you get to Rose Island, you’ll find great snorkeling on one side, and swimming pigs on the other! There’s also a beach bar, and plenty of lounge chairs to relax.
Love Beach (Nassau)
In Nassau you can choose whether to take a bus (jitney) or a taxi to get around. Jitneys, the local term for buses, are cheaper to get around, and usually drivers are very helpful about giving directions, and dropping you close enough to where you’d like to go. Lots of people take the local jitney to get to Love Beach, but a regular cab will also take you there. Love Beach features beautiful turquoise waters and white sand shores. Low-hanging airplanes fly over this beach regularly and it’s quite a sight to behold! Don’t forget to visit the Nirvana beach bar for a cocktail or two. Love Beach is convenient, beautiful, and a favorite amongst locals.
Jaws Beach (Nassau)
Is this sand or baby powder? You’ll find yourself contemplating this once you set foot on this spectacular beach. That and why on earth such a slice of paradise is named after one of the most terrifying movies of all time! Have no fear; you’re unlikely to see any sharks here. The beach is named as a tribute to ‘Jaws Revenge’, which was shot at this location. Take lots of photos, as Jaws Beach is probably the most picturesque beach in Nassau. It’s not every day you get to bask in the sunshine at a world-famous movie set! Jaws beach is more off the beaten track for its remote location and that is the exact reason why it’s loved by locals.
Cabbage Beach (Paradise Island)
Cabbage Beach is the most visited beach on Paradise Island and offers a long stretch of sandy shores on the North coast. This place is prime location for well-known resorts and restaurants and can get crowded at some parts. However, the beach is long enough to find a quite spot as well. Cabbage Beach is beautiful and the views on the turquoise waters are amazing. The water can get rough at times, so keep an eye out for the flags that’ll tell you whether it’s safe to swim. This beach is also a great place to race around with a jet ski!
Junkanoo Beach (Nassau)
Famous for its Junkanoo celebrations which happen between December and January (annually), it’s quite appropriate that there would be a beach with the same name in the Bahamas. This beach offers plenty of beach bars and restaurants, often playing loud music. Junkanoo Beach is quite a vibe, great for people-watching and has a beautiful view on the cruise ships docking in the port. Since Junkanoo is on walking distance from the cruise port, it can get a bit crowded during peak season.
The best beaches in Exuma, the Bahamas.
Coco Plum Beach
Most beautiful beach in the Bahamas.
If finding a nice beach with fun water swings is something you’ve dreamt about your entire life, then Coco Plum Beach in the Bahamas is very likely what you seek. This beach is not only one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, but it is a popular site for kite surfing, wind surfing, and snorkeling. When the tide goes out on this beach, you can walk out almost half a mile on the sand, in water that’s about ankle deep. Many visitors use this opportunity to collect sand dollars, which are in abundance on this beach. If you’re traveling as a family, Coco Plum beach is ideal.
Insider Tip: Sandals Emerald Bay, an award-winning all-inclusive resort in Exuma, is located on a 10-minute drive from Coco Plum beach and is located on a gorgeous stretch of white sand beach. Visitors can also book a tour to the swimming pigs from this resort.
Tropic of Cancer Beach
Tropic of Cancer Beach has become almost synonymous with the Bahamas. You are pretty much guaranteed a good time once you decide to spend the day at this beach located in the Exumas. Once you get here, you’ll see why some people describe it as the most beautiful beach they have ever seen. Of course, you’re not going to want to just stand around in admiration. Slather on some sunblock, take off your beach wrap or t-shirt, and dive into some of the bluest waters on the planet.
Insider Tip: This beach is about a 15-20-minute drive from Great Exuma. It’s relatively quiet, so pack what you need.
Stocking Island Beaches
The Exumas are blessed with great beaches, and the beaches of Stocking Island are no exception. On this beach with crystal clear waters you’ll get the unique opportunity to feed stingrays! If you can get over your fear (if you have any at all), you’ll find that the stingrays are quite friendly. They may even swim right up to you! Some visitors choose to feed them bits of leftover conch, which can be sources from caretakers. Though this beach is beautiful with lots of attractions, the stingrays are the star of the show!
Insider Tip: There’s often a good beach volleyball game happening on this beach. Don’t be shy to join in!
Highbourne Cay Beach
You may need reservations to get to this island, which features some of the most outstanding private beaches in the Bahamas. Highbourne Cay is located 35 miles southwest from New Providence Island, and here you will find a top-notch marina and high-end cottages. Visitors who plan on visiting this island should make bookings prior to arrival, as the island is extremely popular, particularly for yachtsmen. Highbourne Cay is also known as the gateway in the Exumas!
Big Major Cay (Pig Beach)
This beach isn’t known for swimming as much as it is for its swimming pigs. They are absolutely unforgettable! From the moment you approach this beach in a boat, you’ll find that the pigs swim out to greet you. It’s quite an exciting moment, and second to no other experience in the Bahamas. There are pigs of all ages, and you can watch the keepers on the island as they care for and feed the pigs. You can also get up close and personal, and swim with the pigs. This experience is great for families.
The best beaches in Abaco, the Bahamas.
Great Guana Cay
Locals love this spot on long weekends, and visitors are catching on. The appeal here includes a beach bar and grill, clean shores and calm waters. Great Guana Cay, the largest Cay in the Abaco Islands, and in recent times has developed the reputation for being the best of both worlds – here you can find a relatively private space, with amenities to keep you comfortable throughout the day.
This island is famous for its 18-hole championship golf course, but of equal attraction are its beaches which have a reputation of being the perfect place to spot sea turtles. You may not even need to go snorkeling to witness the native sea creatures that are known to frequent this top beach. Chances are you’ll spot them bobbing up and down in the seagrass, not too far from shore. If calm waters and a private beach are what you’re after, Winding Bay is perfect.
Treasure Cay Beach
Don’t judge a beach by its name, except when it comes to Treasure Cay. What an absolute find! This mesmerizing beach will have you wondering why you took so long to plan a beach vacation in the first place! Now that you’re here, waste no time in falling in love with its crystal-clear waters and silky white sands. At low tide you’ll be able to walk across the sandbars and find perfect spot for shelling!
Located on Great Abaco Island, and not to be confused with the picturesque French Polynesian Island, Tahiti beach has its own compelling attributes that draw visitors to its shores. For one thing, there’s a floating restaurant and bar, and to top that off the waters here are warm, shallow, and perfect for floating around or tanning while submerged in the ocean. When the tide is out you may even encounter sand dollars and star fish!
The best beach in Andros, the Bahamas.
Kamalame Cay Beach
Kamalame Cay is known as the beach where socialites and celebrities sip and play all day. Guests can book bungalows on this 97-acre private island and take advantage of miles of deserted beach. Kamalame is getting more popular as an island getaway as it continues to be sustainably developed by the owners. Celebrities who’ve been spotted here include Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem, Mick Jagger, Emma Watson, and Karolina Kurkova. Notably, Serena Williams spent some time on this island while on honeymoon!
Best beaches in Grand Bahama
Gold Rock Beach
Best beach for snorkeling.
Part of Lucayan National Park on Grand Bahama Island, Gold Rock Beach is described as being “as pretty as a postcard”. This high ranking beach is notorious for being one of the filming locations in the Bahamas for the Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and though you’re unlikely to find any pirates on your trip there, you’re bound to leave rested and completed unwound.
Famous Movie Shot Here: Pirates of the Caribbean!
Fortune Beach in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island in the Bahamas is a great place to start any beach hopping expedition. The only drawback is that once you get here, you might not want to leave. Islanders say the beach got its name after a multi-million-dollar shipwreck was discovered here. In any case, the water is calm and shallow, making it a good choice for families, especially those up for a day of adventure and exploration. Fortune Beach is located just about five miles from Port Lucaya Marketplace.
Taino Beach is as beautiful as they come, and the azure waters will steal your heart as you choose from a range of activities to partake in for the day. Whether you’re a fan of jet skiing, parasailing, or simply swimming in the warm waters of the Caribbean, you’re bound to love Taino Beach!
Best Beaches in Eleuthera, the Bahamas.
Lighthouse beach on Eleuthera Island is the definition of serenity. Kick back and watch the waves lap against the shore as you regain clarity, peace, and parts of yourself long forgotten in the chaos of everyday life. A 4x4 may be required to get to the beach, as the road is quite rugged, but once you get there, you’ll find that it’s well worth the effort, just as soon as the first sweet smelling sea breeze greets you at the shore. When venturing to Lighthouse Beach, pack everything you’ll need for the day, including food and a cooler packed with drinks on ice!
French Leave Beach
French Leave Beach is one of the notorious pink sand beaches in the Bahamas. Even with the refreshing Atlantic breeze blowing across this beach, don’t forget to apply your sunscreen. French Leave is relatively quiet, so you’ll want to walk with everything you’ll need for the day.
Insider Tip: There is little to no shade on this beach, so walk with a beach umbrella!
Cotton Bay Beach
Cotton Bay Beach is located on the southern coast of the island of Eleuthera. If you’re looking to get away from the crowd, this beach is ideal. Just over a half mile away you’ll find the Cotton Bay golf Club. Cotton Bay Beach is also located in close proximity to the seaside town of Rock Sound.
Ten Bay Beach
The road to this beach is half of the adventure. If you’re considering heading to Ten Bay Beach, it might be best to head there by boat as even 4-wheel drives sometimes struggle in this territory. Other than that, this is a great family friendly beach, hidden with pretty awesome sunset views. This beach is shaded by lots of trees, and it’s long and winding for a good beachside stroll.
Hang-ten, or simply just hang-out on this beach of sugary white sands. Just two miles south of Gregory Town, the surfing experience at Surfer’s Beach has been compared to that of some of the best locations in Hawaii. This beach is best for strong swimmers, or people who just want a cool place to chill.
James Point Beach
One of the exclusive beaches of the Bahamas, James Point is long, wide and definitely worth a visit. On this beach you’ll find an ancient shipwreck, and if you’re willing to walk a few yards, a natural Jacuzzi rock formation, and another private beach! James Point is located to the north-west coast of Eleuthera.
Plum Creek Beach
One of the more family friendly locations, Plum Creek located in Deep Creek, South Eleuthera is one of the lesser known beaches in the Bahamas. Here you’ll find calm and shallow seas at low tide, and waves that sweep across the main road during high tide. On the upside, there’s some great scenery at Plum Creek which sets it apart from other more popular beaches in the area.
Insider Tip: You’ll need to schedule a visit to this beach when the tide is low, as the road tends to get flooded with water during high tide, making passage impossible in some cases.
Best beach on Harbour island, the Bahamas.
Pink Sands Beach
There are many miraculous things waiting to be discovered in this world, and one of them is Pink Sands Beach in the Bahamas. This gem of a beach on Harbour Island is an absolute dream. It’s incredibly popular with honeymooners, and with regular vacationers seeking a convenient beach getaway. To get to this beach you’ll need to walk down a short dirt path through the trees. Once you set foot on its shores, you’ll find little shops selling snacks and drinks to cool you off.
The best beach in Long Island, the Bahamas.
Cape Santa Maria Beach
Long Island in the Bahamas is famous for its outstanding beaches. As the best beach on Long Island, Cape Santa Marie is the most highly rated. You won’t be able to stop your jaw from dropping once you get here,..
SNUBA®, a genius combination between scuba diving and snorkeling that makes it possible to enjoy the best of the undersea world. Two words to describe it? Pure magic. That is precisely what you’ll find once you decide to set out on a SNUBA® expedition.
From Hawaii, to the Florida Keys, all the way to the Bahamas, SNUBA® diving is known and loved by vacationers. It is, in a sense, a gateway from snorkeling, right on through to scuba diving, without getting thrown off the deep-end prematurely. It should be noted that SNUBA® cannot be considered scuba diving training, though some people find that this easy transition helps prepare them mentally for scuba diving. SNUBA® doesn’t always have to lead up to scuba diving though, as it does well on its own, and offers you the chance to see much more than you would on a typical snorkeling tour.
A group of PADI® instructors got together in the late 80s (1988 by way of some accounts), and decided to plan out an avenue that would push the limits of snorkeling. Thus, SNUBA® diving was born, and later perfected into what it is today. SNUBA®, an experience that incorporates snorkeling gear, a floating raft, breathing apparatus, and compressed oxygen, makes it possible for you to breathe freely as you explore the magic of the undersea world!
The SNUBA® raft
SNUBA® diving rafts are generally made of high-quality inflatable fabric, with fully welded seams and can hold up to two air cylinders, depending on the make and model. The air cylinders are placed for convenience and ease of change in a recessed compartment. SNUBA® rafts often come in either the ‘Standard’ or ‘Quad’ models, which provide air for two, and four divers. The SNUBA® raft is great for support before divers get into the underwater action.
What is the difference between SNUBA® and scuba diving?
SNUBA® is similar to scuba diving in the sense that it allows you to navigate the ocean’s depths while still being able to breathe. It is not a rite of passage to scuba diving, but can help give you a feel of the scuba diving experience. SNUBA® diving and scuba diving are still worlds apart though, particularly as you don’t need to get a scuba diving certification to participate in SNUBA®. Even for skilled scuba divers, SNUBA® offers a simplified and relaxing adventure, complete with a feel that is comparable to scuba. Simply put, Snuba allows you to get into the water more quickly than you would for a scuba diving expedition.
Picture: Scuba diving involves an oxygen tank that has to be attached to your back, with SNUBA® diving you breath through a tube attached to a floating raft.
SNUBA® versus snorkeling
For anyone who wants to experience the ocean snorkeling can be an amazing place to begin you journey, but SNUBA® undeniably has the edge when the two are compared. This is because SNUBA® diving, in general, is more in-depth and liberating than snorkeling. It allows you to dive deeper and experience more, with the convenience of a breathing apparatus, which means you don’t need to rush to the surface because you’re out of breath. This makes it possible to be completely immersed in the experience and swim about freely, while still being connected to the raft, which adds an element of safety (or comfort).
Picture: Snorkeling involves breathing air through a snorkel, this limits the depth you can go underwater. SNUBA® diving allows you to go deeper and still be able to breath.
Pros and cons of SNUBA® diving
No need to come up for air during your SNUBA® diving expedition
Not as complicated as scuba diving and does not require previous experience
No heavy equipment to carry as with scuba
More fun than snorkeling
SNUBA® diving may not be available at your destination of choice. Find out in advance.
Usually this is not an issue, but viewing can be limited depending on the diving location. Do some research to ensure you sign up with a company familiar with the best SNUBA® locations at your destination of choice.
Expert Tip: Ask you tour company to make special arrangements if you prefer private SNUBA® sessions as opposed to being part of a group.
Know before you go
In the start of the SNUBA® diving session you’ll get to practice your breathing techniques by holding onto the raft, which basically acts like a pool surface while you’re in the water (10 mins).
Your safety briefing may happen at the dive site (15-30 mins).
Equipment outfitting will usually be done on the beach, or on the boat ahead of the expedition (5-10 minutes).
Aside from your diving mask, fins, and regulator, you’ll also be fitted with a SNUBA® harness, which keeps the air hose and regulator in a comfortable positon.
You’ll have a weight belt which allows you to easily swim under the surface.
Children as young as eight can participate in SNUBA® tours! Some tour companies make it possible for even four to seven year olds to join their families by “Power Snorkeling” near the surface using a mask and regulator.
You’ll explore the ocean with your tour group (25-30 minutes).
You’ll have a debriefing session once your SNUBA® tour is over, where you’ll be able to share and listen to feedback from other participants of the tour (5 mins).
Overall, you’re in for an adventure which may span at least two hours.
Getting to the SNUBA® dive site
In some cases you’ll take a boat out to a designated SNUBA® dive site, or you’ll start out straight from the beach. If you’re on a boat, all you’ll need to do is climb down the ladder, get into the water, and grab onto the SNUBA® raft. If you’re on the beach, your tour instructors may have you take a kayak in some instances, out to the Snuba raft once you’re all suited up.
You must know how to swim to SNUBA® dive
In order to enjoy the benefits of SNUBA® diving, it is important that you know how to swim. If you don’t, perhaps this is a good time and reason to learn!
As SNUBA® dives take you nearly 20-feet deep, basic swim skills are a must. Not to mention that it helps to be comfortable in the water to make the most of the experience.
How deep can you go when SNUBA® diving?
Keeping in mind that the air hose which is attached to the SNUBA® raft carries the oxygen, you can dive to a maximum depth of 20 feet (6 metres), which is the length of the hose, during your SNUBA® expedition. Not everyone decides to go that deep however, as you can enjoy the benefits and sightings SNUBA® makes available even from a more shallow vantage.
Keep in mind that your guide will be with you every step of the way to help you navigate this experience. As you can only go so deep during a SNUBA® dive, it is easy to return to the surface to ask questions, or just to take a breath of fresh air.
Avoid touching the marine life
To be a good SNUBA® diver, one of the most important things to note is that you should always avoid touching marine life, particularly coral reefs. You can however, take lots of photos for cool memories later!
How safe is SNUBA® diving?
All instructors are certified to ensure every SNUBA® dive is as safe as possible. Ahead of any SNUBA® experience, participants are briefed on what to expect during the expedition, and what marine life they can expect to see, based on their location. Extended safety briefings are a feature of all SNUBA® tours, and most touch on the following:
If you are still concerned about how safe SNUBA® is, consider this; The SNUBA® system is designed with safety in mind, and the guides are trained to ensure your safety and wellbeing at all times!
Essential SNUBA® skills
Breathing through the regulator
Breathing through the regular is understandably different from regular breathing (hey, you’re underwater!) and may take some getting used to. Just keep breathing long, deep breaths, which you may find add to the therapeutic feel of the experience.
Don’t worry; you’ll get the hang of it!
Getting back to the surface
To get back to the surface while SNUBA® diving, you’ll need to use the hose to pull your body upwards, with “hand-over-hand” movements. This helps to control ascents and descents, which can be important when navigating over reef systems.
Important hand signals
Hand signals make it easy to communicate while underwater. Some of the important signals you will learn during your SNUBA® diving tour are how to indicate you’re ready to go back to the surface, how to draw another SNUBA® diver’s attention to something you’ve seen, and how to alert others of potential dangers.
Simple skills like equalizing can be important during a SNUBA® diving session. All you need to do is squeeze your nose and blow outward gently as you descend. This should help your ears feel a little more comfortable while diving.
Recovering your regulator
It may seem unlikely that you’re going to misplace the very thing that keeps you breathing under water. Stranger things have happened. In the event that you do, there are various ways you can go about recovering your regulator. If it falls out in front of you while SNUBA® diving, you’ll simply need to reach out, place it back into your mouth, and clear it of water by blowing forcefully into it. If your regulator falls out behind you, or you aren’t quite sure where it is, you may just want to return to the surface briefly to get it back in place, making sure to breathe the air out of your lungs as you make your way to the surface.
Water getting into your diving mask is a common occurrence during SNUBA® diving expeditions. You can minimize the chances of this happening by ensuring your mask is strapped on right – tight enough to stay put, but not so tight that you’re uncomfortable. If water gets into your mask anyway, you can simply follow these PADI® endorsed steps to clear your mask.
Press the top of your mask firmly against your face
Blow through your nose and tilt your head back
The air forces the water out of the bottom of the mask, so you should be ready to continue your exploration in no time!
If this doesn’t work, you can simply return to the surface to empty the water out of your mask.
Ascents and descents
The weight belt makes it easy to descend and maintain the correct depth while SNUBA® diving, but you can also use your arms and legs to control buoyancy. The most important thing to remember is that you can easily ascend back to the surface by using “hand to hand” movements to propel your body in the direction of the surface.
Don’t touch the corals, and don’t take any with you even if they appear dead.
Keep your breathing regulator in at all times.
Be at one with nature, do not harass the sea creatures.
Wear reef-friendly sunscreen.
Always listen to your tour guide.
Stay alert and aware of your surroundings and of other participants.
Please note that SNUBA® is not recommended for women who are pregnant.
SNUBA® diving equipment
Diving Mask & Fins – The mask and fins used in the SNUBA® diving experience are the same which are used for snorkeling.
Weight belt – The weight of each belt is determined by certified SNUBA® guides. Weight belts are optional, but recommended, particularly for divers who prefer to stick to “power snorkeling” on the surface near the raft.
Harness and regulator – Air is delivered to the regulator system’s mouth piece through a 20-foot hose, or airline. This airline is secured to you by a harness strapped to your body. The ailine is also connected to the compressed air cylinders on the raft, which will float above on the water's surface.
The raft - The SNUBA® raft keeps air tanks floating, and an air pressure gauge on the raft, which is monitored by one of the guides, makes certain the group has plenty of air. All the regulator hoses are connected to a raft so that it will be easier for your SNUBA® group to stay together.
There is an entire world waiting to be discovered beneath the deep, blue sea. Much of what is hidden beneath the ocean remains a mystery, but fortunately, underwater scuba diving explorations have brought some of these mysteries to light. Now it is possible for curious adventurers to swim beneath the waves, and witness first hand marine life in a beautiful and mostly uninterrupted state.
Tip: Combine your Caribbean vacation with your scuba diving certification and stay at one of the 15 award-winning Sandals all-inclusive resorts. Get certified for 450 USD and dive the rest of your stay for free!
All it takes to be able to do this is gaining a PADI® certification. This is important in order to learn all the technical aspects of diving, as well as how to do it safety. Once you’re certified you’ll be able to explore some of the most magical dive sites in the world, including reef explorations in places like Australia, Hawaii, and the Caribbean.
Things to do before attaining PADI® certification:
1. Do a fitness check
You will be required to fill out a medical form prior to being able to go on any dives. This is for your safety and will be checked for authenticity. If you have a medical condition you will be required to get a signed (and possibly noterized) letter from your doctor.
2. Find a PADI® approved diving facility
Find a PADI® approved dive certification center. If you decide to take your PADI® certification in the Caribbean, have a look at the Sandals and Beaches Resorts. All resorts are certified learning and certification centers!
3. Learn about necessary equipment
Learn out about necessary equipment and whether it will be provided at your facility of choice. Rest assure, may you decide to take on your PADI® certification at one of the Sandals resorts, everything you need is included.
With state-of-the-art Newton Dive Boats, a PADI® Certified staff and unparalleled dive locations, Sandals has been voted one of the Top 5 Dive Operations in the Western Hemisphere by PADI®.
4. Purchase / rent equipment if necessary
Having solid, working equipment is essential to having the best scuba diving experience. If you do not have any of your own, and you are certain you want to dive often, there is no substitute for purchasing your own equipment. Renting equipment is another solid option, just make sure you inspect it beforehand to ensure its quality. Sandals and Beaches resort provide you with state of the art equipment at no extra fee.
5. Register for training course and pay required fees
Many certification centers will allow you to expidite learning by going online and starting your course before you arrive. Even if you do not plan to study before you beging your course, it is important to secure your spot early, as space on boats is limited, so book and pay early, if there is an online sign-up option.
6. Find out about swimming pool / open water practice sessions
Want to get a leg up on your upcoming course? Call the resort or dive center ahead of time, or even visit if you can, and ask to see their facilities. Ask them about what to expect during the swimming pool practice sessions. Read on to find out what to expect from a practise session at Sandals.
Take the big plunge
For scuba newbies, the decision to dive can be both exciting and scary. Who knows what you’ll run into underwater, especially if you’ve recently watched ‘Jaws’? For another, who knows how long it will take to get certified so you can scuba dive?
Fortunately, there are answers to both of these questions.
As far as scuba diving goes, guides at most locations have pretty detailed expectations on what sights can be witnessed at any given time. For example, at Fish Reef in the Bahamas (Exumas), you’re likely to come face to face with white grunts, yellowtail snappers, blue parrotfish and squirrel fish during a scuba exploration. While at Gallery Reef in Jamaica (Negril), you’re likely to see large crabs, turtles, sea horses, moray eels, sting rays, and nurse sharks.
Dive guides are able to tell you with some degree of certainty what you can expect to see by taking into account tradition, patterns, and climate. The experiences of other recreational and professional divers in specific areas also come into play here – if sightings of sea turtles have been reported in a particular area by every other diver who goes scuba diving there, it is likely that you will witness these too.
Predictions like these make it easier to choose where you’d like to dive, once you’re PADI® certified, based on what you hope to experience. It must be said though, that even with the most solid predictions, there are the odd days where you may see nothing at all of what is expected. This is one of the reasons people get hooked on scuba – because it is always full of surprises!
Getting PADI® certified takes determination, and drive to really get it done. The prize is an opportunity to dive underwater, witnessing the world from a whole new perspective. In some places, you can get PADI® certified in 48 hours. Caribbean resorts like Sandals allow you to do this as part of your vacation! All you’ll need is two days (or longer, you decide the pace!) to go through the entire training process at one of Sandals beach resorts and you’ll be well on your way to your first big dive!
Learn about the equipment
Knowing about the equipment that keeps you safe makes a world of a difference, while you’re underwater. It is useful to make every effort to pay attention during your training course to instructions on how to assemble your gear, and what goes where. Here are some of the basic things you’ll need to be familiar with:
Wet Suit or Dry Suit – Typically made of neoprene rubber, you’ll find most divers wearing short or long versions of these, depending on where they’re diving.
Regulator – Serves as a converter of high pressure air into ambient pressure, which makes it possible to breathe the air from your tank.
Purge Valve – Facilitates the clearing of masks and regulators without having to remove either.
Scuba Tank / Cylinder – Made out of steel or aluminum, this holds all the air you’ll need for the trek and is connected to the regulator.
Full or Half Foot Fins – Their primary purpose is to help you control your movement underwater. Fins help you navigate more quickly underwater.
Diving Mask – A diving mask protects your eyes from the salt water, and helps you to see everything clearly. It’s worth spending money on your own high-quality mask, as an ill-fitting mask can really put a damper on your experience, not to mention make it harder to keep water out.
Scuba Gloves – Not everyone wears these, but they can help keep your hands warm and protected, depending on the extent of your dive.
Weight Belts & Pockets – These more or less help counteract or balance off the buoyancy of diving equipment, like tanks and other equipment.
Defogger – You can invest in a defogger solution to prevent your mask from fogging up while under water, or you can just use baby shampoo, which in most cases, works just as well.
Learn the Buddy System Terminology
BWRAF (“Begin with Review and Friend”), or:
B – Buoyancy – The Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) is a jacket worn over the wetsuit. It is a vital part of diving wear, as it is connected to your tank and all the associated equipment. During the buoyancy check, make sure that you and your partner check the inflator button, and deflate valves.
W – Weight – Weights are important while scuba diving and help you to maintain the correct depth. As part of the BWRAF buddy check, you’ll want to ensure that both yours and your scuba buddy’s weights are secured, and locked into place. E.g. weight belts, weight pockets.
R – Releases – Learn how to open / close the various releases on yours and your buddy’s wet suit. Check tank straps, shoulder and chest straps, etc.
A – Air – Check regulators, cylinder value (to ensure its open), air monitoring device, and even taste of air at this point. Check alternative air source, and be sure you and your buddy know where to locate yours, and theirs.
F – Final Check – This is where you cross your T’s, and dot your I’s. Check all gear, including mask, snorkel, fins, dive light, etc.), and be sure to secure loose hoses and other objects.
Once both divers are ready, you’re good to go!
Getting Scuba Certified in 48 hours
Check-in at any Sandals or Beaches resort in the Caribbean and go to the watersports/dive kiosk to register. Once there the staff will take your name, and other necessary information. Your training will start the next morning!
How to get PADI® certified in 48 hours:
1. Watch the training video (Day 1)
Starting from about 9 am, your training session will begin, likely with a training video. You can expect to receive all your course material on that day, so you can follow along and do study prep. If you are part of a group, you will collectively watch the training video, which is about 20 minutes long.
2. Do the practical training (Day 1)
Ideally you’ll have two opportunities for practice while in the water before your big dive. One of these will happen in the pool, and the other in the ocean. The pool dive session spans for around three hours, and will happen before the ocean dive, which usually happens the next day. You can expect a range of pool floor exercises.
The main purpose of the pool training is to get you comfortable in the water, and with your equipment. You will undergo confined water skills training, which includes learning key skills like alternating between your snorkel and regulator on the surface, and clearing your regulator.
As part of your training you will learn how to rid your mask of water underwater, something that may sound impossible, but is actually one of those things that definitely comes in handy, and is easy to do. You’ll also learn underwater signals, and undertake air depletion exercises, both of which help you to feel in control and prepared for anything while underwater.
Part of the training is learning how to assemble your equipment, equipping /un-equipping your weight belt underwater, inflating / deflating your BCD, and learning how to breathe using a free-flowing regulator in the event that you encounter issues with your regulator while diving.
Skills like relieving pesky underwater leg cramps will also be in focus, as this is one of the things that can negatively affect your diving experience. To do this you can use a stretching technique where you hold the end of your fin, and bring it in towards you, and straighten your leg.
You’ll also learn how to:
Perform fin pivots / neutral buoyancy exercises
How to do it:
Lay face down on the bottom, keeping your legs as straight as you can. Take deep, paced breaths, and then add little bursts of air into your BCD – this helps to develop neutral buoyancy. As you continue the exercise, you will gradually increase your buoyancy.
Fill an inflatable tube / signaling device
How to do it:
The inflatable tube is usually located in the VC pocket, or attached to another part of your equipment. Get familiar with this beforehand. To inflate it, you’ll first need to unroll and flatten the air tube on the water’s surface. You can use your air source to inflate the tube. To do this, you’ll need to hold the open end of the tube beneath the surface and insert your mouth piece into the opening. Press and hold down the purge button until the tube is fully inflated, and stands upright. You’ll need to keep holding the open end under the water to prevent the air from getting out.
Perform a tired diver tow
It’s rare that you’ll need to do this, but handy in the case of an emergency where you’re required to help someone in need make their way back to the boat. You’ll learn how to do this as part of your practice pool or open water dive.
How to do it:
There are various types of tired diver tow methods, including the tank valve tow, do-si-do tow, and push tow. The tank dive tow as the name suggests, requires that you pull your dive buddy’s tank valve, while swimming on your side or back. Intertwine your arms into your diving partners as you swim on your side for the do-si-do tow, while the push tow requires that you put your partner’s fins on your shoulders, and navigate the waters by swimming on your stomach.
You will also learn how to use a depth chart, which more or less lets you calculate how long you can safely stay under water on a dive, at specific depths.
3. Read through the theory on the beach (Day 1)
Picture: Sandals Royal Bahamian, one of the best Sandals resorts for scuba diving! The resort is located right on Cable beach in the Bahamas, not a bad place to read through your theory.
Read through the theory, while sipping a drink at the beach. Emphasis on the beach, sipping, or reading…
In all seriousness, getting through the approximately 5 chapters (about 70 pages) as part of the theory component of your certification process is mandatory, and will help you to be able to complete the review quiz at the end. Depending on how fast a reader you are (and how well you’re able to retain information), you may well be able to complete this in one day. It helps to get it out of the way as early as possible, in preparation for the actual exam the next day.
Insider Tip: You’ll find chapter reviews at the end of each chapter, and various practice quizzes that you can review with your instructor.
4. Complete the exam! (Day 2)
This is where your studying will pay off; you’ll be required to complete 3 sections of about 10 questions each, as part of your exam. In order to be granted scuba certification, you’ll need to make a passing grade. Be sure to pass the exam before, or after your practice dives to gain certification!
5. Going out for your first real dive (Day 2)
Making it to this step means that you’ve successfully acquired your scuba certification. Congratulations! You’re now just about set to head out on your first real dive. Hopefully you’ve already planned this out with your tour operator or resort. If you haven’t, now is a good time to do so.
Quite a number of resorts have only one dive boat, so try to get the schedule your dive upfront. Be on time and ready when the day comes.
In most cases, your first dive will be a two-tank trip, which means that you will go out on the boat and embark on two separate dives, likely with a break in between. Most trips leave early, from about 8:30 - 9 am. Depending on whether you’re on a private tour, or with a group, you can expect to return between 12 pm and 1 pm. Some boat charters offer lunch as part of the scuba excursion tour, and thus the tour may end later.
What to do once you arrive for your Big Dive
Check in with Watersports, or the dive shop.
Get prepped for your dive, which includes being fitted with your equipment.
Board the boat and head out to your dive location.
Last, but not least: take the big leap!
One giant step…
At the end of your amazing first dive, you and your group will do a controlled safety stop. This happens at about 15 feet below the water’s surface. It spans for about three minutes, as is important in order to allow any built up nitrogen within your body to be released. Shortly after that, you’ll embark on your second dive.
Enjoy it to the fullest!
Day three & the rest of your stay
You can rest easy for the duration of your stay, or go dive some more.
We’re pretty sure you’re going to take full advantage of your new certified diver status, and who can blame you, especially considering dives post the certification period are absolutely free for guests of Sandals resorts.
Note: it is not advisable that you go diving on the day that you’re leaving, as you may be at risk of Decompression Sickness (DCS). Most experts recommend that you take your last dive at minimum 18-24 hours before flying.
Fast track your PADI® certification by preparing at home
Many people choose to get PADI® certified while on vacation, but some instructors might argue it is best to do this beforehand, as the certification process can be time consuming. Getting your PADI® certification done before embarking on a vacation can be beneficial to travelers who prefer not having to focus on anything serious during their holiday. Both are options though, as some resorts offer the possibility to get your certification in a short space of time as part of your vacation.
1. Sign up for the PADI® e-learning certification
Getting your scuba training on the fast-track by getting certified prior to your arrival is very possible with Sandals. This adds to the time you get to relax and enjoy your vacation, and explore as many scuba sites as you desire. To take the fast-tracked route, you’ll simply need to sign up for the PADI® e-learning certification.
2. Undergo the practical training on arrival
Once you’ve signed up you can get ready for the written exam by watching the videos and doing the required reading. You can also do additional reading to get you ready for the practical training that you will still need to undergo once you arrive to your destination.
After you’ve completely your pool and open water dive, you’re free to explore life beneath the waves!
Now that you’re scuba certified, you may be wondering what’s next.
There are various levels of PADI® certification, from PADI® Scuba Diver or Junior PADI® Scuba Diver to Teacher of Teachers: Course Director.
For your vacation however, just getting to the first PADI® certified level should suffice. For the more ambitious, you can opt to get certified as an Open Water Diver (OWD) or Advanced Open Water Diver (AOWD), both still on the recreational levels. Having these certifications opens the possibilities of where you can dive once at your destination of choice, but it is highly recommended that people seeking advanced levels of certification factor that in while planning the duration of their next trip, if of course they intend on making the certification process part of their getaway plans.
There are also specialty levels like Rescue Diver, and Dive Master Certifications that expand your diving horizons even further!
The best Sandals resorts for scuba diving
Scuba diving can be costly, but guests of Sandals don’t have to think too much about this..
As the waves glide against the shore, a gentle breeze rustles through your hair. You can distinctively hear birds chirping, over the soft instrumental music you chose specifically for this moment. Everything is perfect, just like you’ve always dreamed…
There’s no doubt that a beach wedding is romantic, and it seems simple in theory.
You find a beach, throw on a dress or lightweight suit, skip the shoes, and get ready for a tropically themed walk down the aisle. Many people who want a hassle-free wedding opt for a beach wedding. Getting it all together however, isn’t always as easy as many would assume.
Looking for a beach wedding in the Caribbean? Have a look at Sandals’ destination wedding packages. Get a free wedding if you stay for a minimum of three nights!
There are some important considerations when planning a beach wedding. Contrary to popular belief, these guidelines expand above and beyond the need to dress ‘appropriately’, though that is definitely one of the most important things to keep in mind.
Perhaps you were inspired to travel to Bali after seeing a glossy magazine advert of the popular tourist destination. With the possibility of endless entertainment before and after the fact, maybe Cancun is more your thing. If you prefer to stay closer to home, Florida or California might be good options. Perhaps the peace and serenity found on islands like Saint Lucia and Grenada compel you to take your wedding party to Caribbean shores. This is where you also might consider the Bahamas or Jamaica - both beautiful island getaways in close proximity to the US.
Whatever the case, it is important to pinpoint a destination before getting your planning underway. Sometimes it helps to select a few potential destinations, weigh the pros and cons, and go from there.
1. Find the perfect beach
Picture: Sandals destination wedding in the Caribbean.
In most cases, whatever destination you choose for your beach wedding, you will have multiple beaches to choose from. Most of them are gorgeous, so a good way to set them apart will be determining which ones are public versus private, and the amenities that can be found at each.
Private beaches may require you to make reservations ahead of time, while public beaches often require permits for occasions like weddings.
One of the important things to look for when selecting a beach for your wedding is its level of accessibility. Will your grandparents and your sister’s toddlers be able to make the mile long trek to your dream beach? Can the tables, chairs, and food make it there without hassle or spoiling? These are all things to keep in mind when deciding on a beach wedding location.
Keep in mind that some beaches can get crowded on weekends or holidays. Week day ceremonies often work best.
Expert Tip: Check out Sandals' wedding venues for some of the most amazing beach wedding locations in the Caribbean.
2. Check for amenities
Is there a washroom, a comfortable place for seating, potential dancing area, etc.? Will you be having the reception at the same location, and if so, is there a restaurant nearby? If you’re having catered food delivered, is there a proper area where you can set things up? These are all some of the questions you’ll need to ask to narrow down your list of venues.
If you’re getting married at a local venue, take the time to visit the location ahead of time. This makes it possible for you to make a final decision, and also clues you in on the things you’ll need to put in place on the day. If it’s a foreign venue, try to source as many photos and videos as possible.
Expert Tip: Are you dreaming of a resort beach wedding? All-inclusive resorts are perfect, as unlimited gourmet food, soft/alcholic drinks and airport transfers are already included in the price of the booking.
Some public beaches require permits for large scale events like weddings. You can find out whether or not this is necessary via the local City Hall. In addition to your permit, you may have to follow rules (or use your discretion) pertaining to alcohol, bonfires, number of guests, and music. There may be applicable fees or restrictions. Find out all you can about the application process (inclusive of liability insurance, etc.) ahead of time.
Good to know: A public beach permit can range from $30 to $300.
Planning to get married on a private beach? Getting a permit may be one less thing on your to-do list, as most private beaches are free for all as far as weddings are concerned. It is worth it though, to find out about any rules which may have been set out by the owners or persons responsible for maintaining the beach. A good example of this would be beaches located in close proximity to hotels or resorts.
4. Consider the noise factor
Not every beach is as quiet, serene and romantic as it may appear in the movies. Nature can get loud, i.e. crashing waves and strong breezes. Factoring these in may fall far from your priority list, but they are things worth keeping in mind. What you don’t need is for your vows to be interrupted, or worse, be inaudible by your significant other and wedding party, as a result of being on the beach when the waves are particularly rough and loud. This is where a professional sound system comes in, and possibly a windscreen for your microphone.
5. Prepare for windy shores
Intricate flowers, ribbons, and other decorative accents are common elements in the dreamiest of weddings. The possibility of these being blown away after the hard effort of setup is disappointing, to say the least. There’s no way to predict how windy any particular beach is going to be on your wedding day, so with this in mind, try to use decorations that are unlikely to be tossed about in the wind. For other lightweight items that you can’t do without, a good adhesive (or string) will be your best friend.
6. Choose the best time for your beach wedding
Most beach weddings are held on sunny shores with high temperatures. Proper planning helps ensure you and your guests are comfortable at all times. Since the afternoon sun tends to be a little more intense in some parts, early (8am to 10:30am) or mid-morning (10:30am to 1pm) ceremonies are encouraged. Late afternoon (3:30-5pm), just before the sun goes down, is also ideal. If you end your ceremony about an hour before sunset, you’ll be in good timing to get amazing photos whether or not you hire a professional!
7. Expect the best, but prepare for the worst
Outdoor weddings are for the most optimistic couples. Beach weddings are more risky than traditional church weddings, or weddings at private indoor venues, but that same risk can lead to you having the most memorable day of your life. There’s a much less chance of rain ruining your big day if you schedule the right time of year to go, but it’s still a good idea to formulate a ‘Plan B’ when putting together a beach wedding. Select an alternative venue nearby that you can go to if the weather deteriorates significantly on the day.
Canopy tents are perfect to ensure there’s sufficient covering, and can help increase the comfort of children and older guests. A 30' x 60' tent can accommodate 225 seated theater style, or 144 seated at round tables, according to wedding experts. Always remember to factor in buffet tables when planning the size of your wedding tents. There are so many different types to choose from, so take your time in this department. You can either rent, or purchase a canopy tent, if you plan on using it later. There are many creative ways to decorate your tent – including using firefly string lights, added greenery along the sides, tulle (fine mesh), and more. If you’re fully confident in the weather and prefer to focus on ambiance, skip the tent and go for a lightweight, white fabric, draped over bamboo support poles!
What to wear for a beach wedding?
Casual, but not too casual is the way to go. For brides especially, beach weddings give you the opportunity to experiment with non-traditional gown options – everything from crochet and linen, to chiffon and lace. The goal is looking smart, and staying cool. Here are some tips from the experts:
1. Skip the princess gowns – it may be difficult to get around on a beach in a full skirted dress, or with a gown that has a never-ending train. Rather than spending time to figure out how to work around this, get something equally as dazzling, but less cumbersome.
2. Go for backless or strappy looks – these are perfect on beaches and allow you to keep cool, while still looking amazing. A beach wedding gives you room to be more daring with your look, so be sure to take full advantage!
3. Updos are perfect (and super flattering!) – Especially when you’re on a hot, sticky beach. Hopefully you’ve set your wedding at a convenient time (early morning, or close to sunset), but even if you do not have that option, wearing your hair up will help maintain your hairstyle for longer out on the beach.
4. Ditch the heels – need we say more? Other options include customized beach wedding sandals, or gorgeous bedazzled ones you can order online or pick up in store. You may also opt for espadrilles or wedges. When planning your wedding, keep in mind that sand heats up significantly at high temperatures. To avoid having to hop over hot sand as you make you way down the aisle, make sure your aisle runner is placed correctly, and is thick enough to keep you comfortable throughout the ceremony.
5. Informal groom – Sweating it out on the big day is way more common that you think, and not always on account of nerves. Keep your guys cool by factoring in the heat, and making provisions for less than formal attire. Light weight cotton pants work well on the beach, or even a linen suit in a light color, like sand or wheat.
6. Go tan line free – before you go tanning as you relax and take in the ambiance of your beachside location, keep in mind that the goal is to avoid tan lines as much as possible. Even if it might seem minor, these can spoil your perfect wedding look, and even worse, if you don’t protect your skin you could get burnt, which will be nightmarish on the day and beyond!
Expert Tip: Consider including a shoe station, where guests can swap shoes for flip flops.
Things to keep on hand
What to look for in a beach wedding vendor
The magic is in the moment, and in small details! To ensure your beach wedding goes smoothly, there are a few things you can do ahead of time. If you’re choosing to work with a beach wedding vendor, here are some of the things you’ll want to know…
Marriage license and certificates. Find out if they can help you get your marriage license and certificates sorted out, before and after the wedding.
24/7 communication. Ask whether you’re going to have 24/7 support and communication in case something comes up.
Ask about limitations. Ask about guest limits, or if weddings are limited to certain days of the week.
Services at extra costs. Find out what services come with extra costs (sunset weddings, weekends, bridal aisle way, recorded music, professional photo and videography, etc.).
Is support included? Ask whether meetings, conference calls or emails are included in your wedding planning package.
Get a local beach wedding vendor. Keep in mind that hiring local vendors helps to make sure you have everything you need, when you need it!
Ask about military discounts for active military, which is offered by some vendors.
Picture: Garden gazebo, available at most Sandals resorts.
You don’t necessarily have to buy in on the idea of the simplicity of a beach wedding. You can tone it up or down as you please.
Make a fun welcome sign, which is as colorful and bubbly as you’d like your wedding to be. Use this to instruct your guests where they can leave their shoes, before they step into your tropical paradise.
Make it a super fun experience by having your seating arrangement worked into a shiny mirror, a treasure map, or even on a surfboard.
Emphasize the natural environment by adding beach grass, seashells, or even coconut tree branches. Sea glass and driftwood host immense creative possibility.
Use a treasure chest as part of your décor, and have guests write notes of love for you and your spouse to be. You can keep this chest, and note for memories later.
Platforms like Pinterest are great for coming up with wedding ideas. You can find anything from color schemes and décor, to wedding favor and theme ideas! For more wedding inspiration, also check out these cool ideas from Sandals.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s):
Do you have to pay to have a wedding on the beach?
In most places, no. In some places you may need to get a permit, which will grant you all the permissions you need. At beaches with hotels or resorts, you may be required to pay a price to use their facilities, though these services are usually reserved for guests.
How much does a beach wedding cost in total?
A do-it-yourself beach wedding on a public beach could cost anywhere from $200 to $2,000, depending on the number of guests and what your ceremony entails. A local beach wedding package can range anywhere from $200 to $5,000. Exotic destination weddings on average end up costing $17,000, compared to $25,000 for traditional weddings.
It is safe to conclude that beach and destination weddings are less costly than traditional weddings – most of the time.
What is the best time to have a beach wedding?
Early morning ceremonies are the best time to have a beach wedding, from 8 am - 10:30am. The sun will be less intense, so your beach wedding will be less of a sweat!
Is it OK to wear black to a beach wedding?
Guests are free to wear whatever color they’d like for a beach wedding, unless the bride and groom specifically request a special theme or color. Black can be a little intense for a daytime beach wedding, and it is not the best color for keeping cool. It may be worth considering opting for a lighter color which better suits the occasion. Options are unlimited, just as long as you don’t upstage the bride!
Can you wear white to a beach wedding if you are a guest?
Times are changing, and it started with the beach wedding. If you want to wear white on a beach wedding, perhaps choose off-white instead. It’s a little more understated, and that way you will avoid being a distraction, or coming off like you’re looking for attention.
What should I throw at the couple on a beach wedding?
Biodegradable options are best. If you’re staying at a resort, find out which options are available, and approved. It is best to buy these and other party favors ahead of time.
1. Lavender / Dried flowers / Rose petals
Traditional and sweet. Dried flowers add a nice scented touch that’s also classic. With that, you will never forget the sweet smelling send off from your wedding day. Scoop and save some of the flowers for later!
Expert Tip: If you’re doing this yourself, keep in mind that it takes a few weeks for the flowers to dry.
2. Biodegradable / Sugar confetti
Heart cutouts, sugar sprinkles, and bio-degradable confetti. Yup, it’s a thing. There are so many options when it comes to..
A tiny dot on the map, it’s hard to imagine the boundless adventures that can be had on the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia. The island is heavily influenced by both the English and the French, and a proper, yet colorful and exciting way of life is the end result.
When travelling to Saint Lucia, you’ll be happy to know there’s no short supply of things to do on this rock. Whether you want to climb the world famous Pitons, or choose from a plethora of beaches or waterfalls to cool off in, or even explore the world’s only drive in volcano, you’ll definitely need to schedule more than just a day or two in this tropical paradise.
Ahead of your trip, here are some of the most highly rated activities and attractions you probably don’t want to miss out on, while in Saint Lucia!
40. Watch a cricket game at Daren Sammy cricket ground
Matches on the grounds start as low as US$15.
In the north of the island, the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground (DSCG), named after the famous West Indian cricketer, is home to local and international cricket matches. A live cricket match at the DSCG located in Beausejour is always filled with excitement, but you’ll have to keep up with regional and international match dates to see if you can find any around the time that you want to travel.
39. Go deep sea sport fishing
Group deep sea fishing starts at US$150 per person.
It’s not hard to find a company that specializes in deep sea fishing in Saint Lucia – the sport has gained popularity over the years. The best deep sea fishing locations in Saint Lucia are quite near to the shoreline due to the volcanic nature of the island, and the fact that the underwater drop off area (where fish populate) is just two miles off the coast. During a deep sea fishing adventure in Saint Lucia you can expect to find big game fish such as blue marlin, sailfish, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, and dorado.
38. Shop for local crafts at Castries Market
Who doesn’t want to return home with a few souvenirs to share their experience? The Castries Market is a top choice for picking up small trinkets, and souvenirs of every variety. You can even get local spices and handmade soap here, which are a few of the things found at the market which are worth shelling out a little cash for.
37. Play golf at Sandals St. Lucia Golf & Country Club at Cap Estate
The Sandal’s Golf & Country Club located in Cap Estate is perfect for lovers of the sport. With a well-appointed golf club and immaculately maintained grounds, this facility, shaded by lots of surroundings greenery is a great place to spend the day.
36. Enjoy fresh fish, samba dancing and chilled beers in the streets of Anse La Raye
Much like the Gros Islet Street Party, the community of Anse La Raye offers a weekly event where the emphasis is on dancing, and tasty eats. This happens every Friday, and is a must visit, particularly if you’re staying in the north of the island.
Insider Tip: A taxi ride from Castries to Anse La Raye will take about 25 minutes, while the trip may take about 45 minutes to one hour from Gros Islet.
35. Enjoy the view from Morne Fortune
Morne Fortune has a sort of charm you likely won’t experience in any other part of Saint Lucia. The area is home to the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, and the official residence of the Governor General of Saint Lucia. Near the Governor General’s residence, you’ll find a view point which on most days attracts tourists seeking the perfect photo opportunities, and vendors selling drinks, snacks and souvenirs.
Insider Tip: If you’d like to visit the Governor General’s residence, call to make arrangements ahead of time.
34. Stroll along Vigie Beach
Located near the island’s George F.L. Charles Airport, Vigie Beach is perfect for visitors hopping quickly in and out of Saint Lucia. It is also a top choice for stop-over cruise visitors disembarking from the nearby Port at Castries city. The beach is perfect for people who just want an early morning or afternoon dip, or stroll along a white sandy beach.
33. Swim under the Toraille waterfall
About US$3-5 per person.
Located in Soufriere, the Toraille waterfall is one of the most visited waterfalls in Saint Lucia. With a powerful flow, Toraille Falls demonstrates nature at its best. Depending on the time of day, you may find that the water is cold initially, but once you get used to it, you’ll agree that it is probably the most refreshing experience you’ve ever had!
Insider Tip: Wear water shoes as the bottom of this waterfall is on the rocky side.
32. Relax at La Toc beach
La Toc Beach is a relatively private beach in Saint Lucia. The beach is located in close proximity to Sandals Regency La Toc, and as such it is popular with guests. Watersports are available on this beach, but you’ll likely have to secure a day pass from Sandals to partake. Guests can enjoy unlimited free drinks, food and watersports on this beach!
Insider Tip: Planning on going to Saint Lucia and not sure of where to stay? Sandals Regency La Toc is perfect for couples looking for a romance included vacation!
31. Bike along the mountain trails of Saint Lucia
Mountain bike rentals start at around $25-30 for two hours, and US$70 for a full day of biking. Most companies require a deposit of around $US100.
Picture: View over Soufriere from the mountain trail.
Go with a guide or another experienced rider to explore the best of Soufriere by bike. There are lots of scenic points along the route, and all it takes is a map, and choosing a time when traffic is at its slowest, to take advantage of this opportunity. Early mornings are ideal for bike rides in Saint Lucia.
30. Marvel at the active volcano Mount Soufrière
The entrance fee to the Sulphur Springs Park is US$15 inclusive of all attractions.
Not many places in the world can boast having a drive-in volcano, but Saint Lucia certainly can. Have no fear, there haven’t been any eruptions in recent times, but a trip to Soufriere’s volcano will find bubbling hot springs, a waterfall, and a mud bath.
29. See how chocolate is made at Fond Doux Plantation
Chocolate making tours are relatively new to Saint Lucia but have gained popularity over the years. Though the island has produced cacao for centuries, incorporating chocolate and tourism is a new concept which has been well received by visitors. Popular chocolate making sites include the Fond Doux Plantation where guests can tour the site, and try their hand at making chocolate delights of their own!
28. Embark on whale or dolphin watching tour
Whale and dolphin watching tours cost around US$70-80 per person for adults, and can span for 2 or 3 hours, or more depending on whether other activities are included.
Want to see whales or dolphins? There’s a huge chance you’ll see either of the two while out at sea on a whale or dolphin watching excursion. Most tour companies know and inform guests when the best times are to witness marine life at its finest, so all you have to do is ask.
Insider Tip: Typically the best time to spot whale or dolphins in Saint Lucia is mid-June to November, though some species can be spotted off season.
27. Explore ‘Five Dollar Beach’
Anse La Vout also known as ‘Five Dollar Beach’ is quite possibly the most amazing beach in Saint Lucia, with the only drawback being the rugged road that takes you there. That too can be a plus in that you’ll have the whole beach to yourself and your party, for a small cost of EC$5 per person, which goes toward the upkeep of the beach. This beach located in Cas En Bas is perfect for barbeques, photoshoots, and other beach side events.
Good to know: The road to ‘Five Dollar Beach’ traverses over private property of local land owners, who maintain the beach, but charge a small fee to beach users.
26. Ride a horse on Cas En Bas beach
Horse riding tours can cost around US$75.
Located just 5 minutes away from Pigeon island in the north of Saint Lucia, Cas En Bas beach is beautiful, and remains mostly undeveloped. The beach is a popular trail for horse riding tours, some of which include riding with the horses into the water. There is a separate horse-free section of the beach you can dive into to cool off once you’ve safety secured your horse, and a restaurant where you can grab a bite.
25. Take your kids to Splash Island Water Park
US$10/hour, US$30 for a half day or US$50 for a full day.
Located in Rodney Bay on the popular Reduit Beach, Splash Island Water Park is a good time for kids who know how to swim. While you relax on the beachside, kids can enjoy the floating obstacle course under the watchful eye of Splash island lifeguards. After splashing about in the water park, there are plenty of restaurants on the beach that are great for dining.
24. Unwind at the secluded Anse Mamin
There are lots of things to see and places to explore in Saint Lucia, but the bucket list begins with Anse Mamin in the south. If you’re on a Caribbean vacation, chances are, relaxation is what you seek, which is just what you’ll find at Anse Mamin beach in Soufriere.
23. Watch the sun set at Reduit beach
The green line is real, and while you’re waiting for the sun to go down on Reduit beach, drink in hand and in good company, be sure that you don’t blink at the precise moment the sun disappears from the horizon! Reduit beach can be considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean.
22. Join an open-air aerial tram ride above St. Lucia’s verdant forest
Around US$90-95 per person.
A smooth and easy going way of exploring Saint Lucia’s flora and fauna, the aerial tram ride in Saint Lucia is part of the offerings from Rainforest Tours Saint Lucia. The tour includes an aerial tram ride, fern nature trail, and one nature interpreter per eight guests. This tour is great if you want to learn the ins and outs of Saint Lucia’s rainforests.
Insider Tip: Though the aerial tram ride is covered to protect you from the sun, it’s still a good idea to walk with sunblock and a snack.
21. Climb Mount Gimie
Climbing Mount Gimie with a private guide cost can cost anywhere between US$100-150 per person.
The Mount Gimie climb is less popular than that of the Pitons, but it appeals to those desiring a more challenging experience. The experience is best described as something in between the moderate climb of Gros Piton, and the difficult Petit Piton excursion. It is the highest point of the West Indies, with a breathtaking view from the top.
Insider Tip: You’ll need a good guide for this trip. Contact the Forestry Department in Saint Lucia for more information.
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20. Enjoy a beer at the Antillia Brewing Company
Antillia Brewing Company is a popular choice for visitors as it is located at Point Seraphine, a shopping complex near central Castries. When cruise ships are in port, you can expect to find Point Seraphine bustling with visitors, which could mean it’ll take just a little longer to get a cold one from Antillia’s. Wait times are not usually a problem though, and you’re unlikely to regret stopping by!
19. Climb to the summit of Petit Piton
The Petit Piton climb starts at around US$70.
Want to raise the stakes? Challenge yourself to climb Petit Piton in Saint Lucia, where your reward will be in achieving something not many people, even those on island, have been able to do. Petit Piton is steeper, and more difficult to climb than Gros Piton. If you decide to try it out, we recommend getting a trusted and experienced guide who can help you find your way to the top.
Insider Tip: This tour is challenging and takes about 5-6 hours. Wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty, as there is some rear sliding involved on the way back. It’s not recommended to do this climb without a guide.
18. Bathe in the black water pools at the Sulphur Springs
US$15 per person.
Choose between the black water pools, or the ‘Pool of Love’ – made famous from The Bachelor, Jake Pavelka’s season, where he serenaded Vienna Girardi, and chose her from a bevy of beautiful women. Either option will allow you to submerge your skin into water that will infuse you with rich minerals, simply and naturally. The minerals have medicinal properties which are a great remedy for a variety of skin conditions. Health benefits aside, these waters make way for deep relaxation, which is something we could all use these days!
17. Climb to the summit of Gros Piton
The Gros Piton climb starts at around US$125.
Climbing the Pitons ranks high on the to-do list of many visitors to Saint Lucia. Though Gros Piton is the bigger of the twin peaks (Gros Piton and Petit Piton) that are a World Heritage site, it is the safer of the two to climb. You’ll find stunning views at the top, and an opportunity to rest up before heading back down!
Insider Tip: This tour is moderately challenging and takes about 4-5 hours. It’s not recommended to do this hike without a guide.
16. Swim in the crystal-clear waters of Jalousie Beach
Jalouise beach is a gem. This beach located in Soufriere features stunning views of the Pitons, which adds to the experience. Costs associated with accessing this beach as part of a tour group usually start at around US$50, and includes lunch and snorkeling. Ask your tour operator for a breakdown before paying.
15. Stroll around in the Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens & Swim under the falls
US$7-$15 dollars per person.
Spanning six acres, the Diamond Falls, a multi-award-winning site, features the Diamond Falls Waterfall, Mineral Baths & Spa, Botanical Gardens, a nature trail, and the Old Mill Restaurant. You’ll likely want to spend at least 3 or 4 hours in this location taking everything in!
14. Enjoy the music and local food at Gros Islet street party
You simply can’t go wrong with the Gros Islet Street Party in Saint Lucia. From about 7 pm in the evening until 2am, the streets of Gros Islet are closed off to traffic and the party begins. Often there are live bands performing, or a DJ setting the mood. Go between 8 pm to 11 pm to get the best of what this experience has to offer, including barbequed meats and seafood.
13. Take kite surf lessons in Cas En Bas
Kite surfing lessons cost US$60 per hour, with additional fees associated with jet ski assisted lessons.
Always wanted to learn to kite surf? Saint Lucia is the perfect place to start. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, Kite Surfing Saint Lucia has a package to meet your needs. The company is run by local kite surfer Beth, who is passionate about the sport, and teaching others to share the joy that she has found in kite surfing. As part of your lesson, you can ‘learn to fly a power kite and body drag’ in a two hour Discover Kitesurfing session.
Insider Tip: Ask about Jet ski Assisted lessons which are highly recommended!
12. Charter a sailboat at Marigot Bay
Private charters start at around US$250.
Marigot Bay is one of the most amazing locations in Saint Lucia. No matter how many times you go, its beauty doesn’t fade. New developments in the area have enhanced its appeal, including a sprinkling of new restaurants. There are quite a few boat chartering companies where you can plan a half day, or full day trip. With full day trips, there’s more time to check out nearby bays for an even more exciting experience.
11. Hike through the rainforest at Millet Bird Sanctuary
The Millet Bird Sanctuary’s well-informed guides will take you on a tour of the facility for a small fee (about US$30), which goes towards the maintenance of the trail and other upkeep.
Hiking shoes, t-shirt, and shorts are perfect for this expedition through The Millet Rainforest. The Bird Sanctuary is home to six endemic species; including the Saint Lucian parrot, Black Finch, Oriole, Pee Wee, Warbler, and Semper’s Warbler. All of these are unique to the island of Saint Lucia, with the latter being near extinction.
Insider Tip: The best time for bird sightings is early morning, so call in advance to set up your tour.
You made it to the top 10 things to do in Saint Lucia, let's have a look what some of the top attractions are!
10. Explore Pigeon Island National Landmark & Visit Fort Rodney
US$8 (adults) and US$3 children (aged 5-12 years).
A trip to Saint Lucia is incomplete without checking out the Pigeon Island National Park. Within the park you’ll find Fort Rodney, a historic hilltop with ancient canons and other old war artifacts. There are amazing views from the top of Fort Rodney, and you’ll be able to get great photos to take home. Once you trek back to the park, there are two private beaches inside where you can spend the day lounging, eating at a restaurant, and drinking at the bar.
9. Snorkel at Anse Cochon
Beach snorkeling tours cost around US$65-$110 depending on the activities included. Most tours span for a duration of 3.5 hours including boat transportation time to your location of choice.
Anse Cochon literally means Bay of Pigs, though the name is not at all relevant to the experience. Snorkeling on Anse Cochon Beach in Anse La Raye is highly recommended because of the wide variety of fishes that can be witnessed there. Go with family or friends and make a beach day of the occasion. There is also a restaurant located on this beach.
Insider Tip: If you don’t want to walk with your own equipment, there is a dive shop where you can rent some out for the day.
The Tet Paul nature trail is a good choice if you’re looking to reconnect with nature. Located in the town of Soufriere, the trail is relatively easy to navigate, with lots of information from guides along the way. The hike takes about 45 minutes to complete and is easy..
Is there anything Jamaica isn’t famous for? The Caribbean island has some of the most renowned athletes, including now retired sprinter Usain Bolt and sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and is home to some of the biggest Reggae and Dancehall acts in the world. Much like other developing Caribbean nations, Jamaica has more to be proud of than just super-talented people. The landscape and overall beauty of the island sets a tone of adventure captured only on the silver screen, so much so that Jamaica has been featured in multiple international blockbusters over the years. If you’re hearing this for the first time, read on to find out which famous flicks are set in Jamaica, and which celebrities made special appearances.
Some of the most famous movies shot in Jamaica include, ‘Knight and Day’,‘How Stella got her Groove Back’, ‘Cocktail’, and ‘Papillon!’.
There’s something about Jamaica and spy films, and this old British film was one of the first to feature the island in this light. Dr. No is the first James Bond film ever made, and details a mission to Jamaica where lead characters investigate the death of a British intelligence agent. Ursula Andress, Honey Rider in the film, makes a memorable appearance dripping wet as she walks out from the Laughing Waters Beach in front of Dunn’s River Falls, singing Cibelle’s famous ‘Under the Mango Tree’. In the movie, she is pure perfection in a white bikini, and since that time, ‘Bond Girls’ have had quite a high bar to reach. That same bikini was later auctioned for over 60,000 USD!
Cocktail is one romantic drama that just might have you packing your bags and heading straight to the Caribbean. This movie is romantic beyond belief… it’s almost as though its director’s knew the sort of romance and charm they’d get out of Jamaica, and found just the right actors to bring that to life.
A bartender is the star of this flick. He learns on the job, and becomes a master at his craft. The jet-setting benefits of his job take him to Jamaica, where he is swept off his feet by a beautiful bombshell. Will he choose to let go, and love to the fullest?
If you haven’t yet, now’s a great time to kick back and watch this movie straight from the 80’s. While watching, look out for scenery including Dunn’s River Falls and Sandals Royal Plantation in Ocho Rios. Despite not-so-great reviews, the movie earned more than $170 million, a lot in its time. Likely attributed to the beauty and charm of Jamaica, and a young and dashing Tom Cruise!
Based on the international best-selling novel, Papillon is one of the greatest tales of adventure to ever make it to the big screen. It brings together legends of film in a way that solidified their reputations in the entertainment industry, particularly Dustin Hoffman. Both he and McQueen were incarcerated at the French penal colony (Devil’s Island), near French Guiana. The movie follows their failed attempt to make a prison break, and later, McQueen’s epic cliff jump to freedom. Some scenes in this movie were filmed in Falmouth, Jamaica. Falmouth is the capital city of Trelawny Parish on the Caribbean island of Jamaica. Other scenes from this movie were shot in Negril’s coastal Cliffside. This movie has since been remade, but as with everything else, there’s nothing quite like the original.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is one of the most unforgettable movies ever made. Still today critics admit that it is one of those films that have stood the test of time. Since being produced by Walt Disney Productions, the film has won two Academy Awards for Best Art Direction and Best Special Effects. Notably, parts of this popular movie are shot in the Bahamas, and Jamaica also makes several prominent appearances. Caves in Negril, Jamaica receive particular attention in this production. This movie opens the doorway to adventure for visitors heading to both Jamaica and the islands of the Bahamas, as tours in both countries will take you to the filming sites, and we’re certain that’s not something you’ll want to miss!
Based on a true story, this feel-good romance is one of the must-see movies filmed in Jamaica. The romantic comedy is directed by Kevin Rodney Sullivan, and was adapted from Terry McMillan’s bestselling novel which goes by the same name. In the movie, Stella is a high flying American stock broker, who is convinced by a close girlfriend to go on vacation in Jamaica. She is swept off her feet by a much younger stud muffin, and the rest is history. ‘How Stella Got Her Groove Back’ proves that there is nothing better than a Caribbean getaway that ends with love.
1993 | Leon, Doug E. Doug, Rawle D. Lewis, Malik Yoba, and John Candy
No listing of movies shot in Jamaica is complete without mention of the hit movie, ‘Cool Runnings’. A Disney film, ‘Cool Runnings’ features a Jamaican underdog bobsledding team’s journey of perseverance and triumph. It’s all worth it in the end when they walk away with a major win at an international competition. This movie is one of those that put the Caribbean island on the map showcasing the beauty of the island and the easy going nature of the people who live there, and summing it all up in an inspirational flick.
With Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz at the forefront, what more incentive do you need to watch a movie? Add the island of Jamaica into the mix and it’s a sure recipe for pure magic. Hang onto your seat for this action packed movie where spontaneity meets romance in the most unforgettable way. Jamaica comes alive in the beach scenes of this flick, where you’ll see possibly the hottest screen couple alive frolicking on a local beach - filmed at the Frenchman cove. From casting, to location and storyline, the directors certainly got it right for this film!
Jamaica (Saint Ann, Ocho Rios to be more specific) stands in for Polynesia in this film, which tells a World War 1 tale and the consequences thereafter. The lives of the main characters are forever changed after deciding to fight with the Canadian army. A love story happens behind the scenes, but doesn’t quite end how viewers would expect. Amid all of the drama, the beauty of Jamaica is unmistakable to those who know it best, proving that sun, sea, and sand aren’t the only way to recognize Caribbean islands in all their blockbuster glory!
Jamaica is sometimes known as the land of wood, water and variety. While we have no idea why that is, at least the variety aspect translates into the value of the movies which are filmed there. You’ll be dancing and shimmying from start to finish as you watch this film that tells a love story shared between a Rasta man (Ry-Mani Marley) and a Pastor’s Daughter. The movie literally starts with the groovy Reggae hit ‘One Love’, and things progress from there into what is probably one of the most compelling story lines you’ll see in a while. This movie will give you a sense of life on the ground in Jamaica, while you enjoy the best of Roots Reggae music, in some places fused with traditional gospel.
2009 | Milla Jovovich, Chris Hemsworth, Timothy Olyphant
Much like many other movies with optimistic names, ‘A Perfect Getaway’ doesn’t waste time in turning into a complete nightmare. The beginning is blissful enough though, with lovers on honeymoon getting set for the vacation of a lifetime. Although the movie takes place on the volcanic islands of Hawaii, the Sea Cave scene shows limestone rocks - which cannot be found on Hawaii. This scene is actually shot in Jamaica.
2007 | Robin Willams, Mandy Moore and John Krasinski
Picture: Sandals Ochi, featured in the ending scene of 'License to Wed'.
Directed by Ken Kwapis, this movie featuring the late Robin Williams is one of those feel-good love stories that will have you laughing along the way. A warner Bros film, ‘License to Wed’ stars Ben and Sadie are about to get married, but first they have to pass Reverend Frank’s (Robin Williams) marriage preparation course. Things get challenging for the couple, and after a huge argument, their decision to wed comes into question. Sadie decides to use her honeymoon tickets regardless, and that’s where the Jamaica connection comes in. The movie ends with Ben and Sadie finally getting married at Sandals Ochi, a resort that features prominently in the film. A perfect love story, if there ever was one!
It is hard to describe the Caribbean without speaking of its breathtaking natural beauty. While the islands are all similar, in that most feature the perfect mixture of sun, sea and sand, there are notable differences to the sort of landscapes one can find on each. Some islands like Barbados are flat and made of limestone; others like Saint Lucia and Dominica are volcanic and somewhat mountainous.
Jamaica is one of the biggest islands in the Caribbean; with a melting pot of cultures and just the right blend of rolling hills, more mountainous terrain, and flatland. The people are super-talented in this part of the world, and always willing to help. This may be part of the reason film crews descend upon the island, because they are sure to get more bang for their buck on an island where their presence brings excitement, and lures people in who wholeheartedly want to see their island being acknowledged for all that it is.
Even the film Commissioner in Jamaica, Dell Crooks, notes that there is enough talent on island so crews can come with less people. This means that even low-budget film crews can consider making Jamaica their location of choice, with lower overheads as relates to travel, and perhaps even the costs associated with the transportation of equipment, as Jamaica is one of the most technologically advanced Caribbean islands. The landscape in Jamaica is also very versatile, from luxury settings, to rugged outback locations, meaning that scenery in Jamaica can resemble pretty much anywhere on earth!
The films mentioned are some of the best of the best, but they are just a few of the productions that get underway in Jamaica annually. The island has a robust entertainment industry, and makes big bucks from film companies who choose to use the island as their location of choice. Other productions that come together on the island include music videos, reality shows, documentaries, photoshoots and commercials.
Like a beauty pageant of nature, the best beaches of the Caribbean shine like nothing you’ve ever experienced. It’s simply amazing how beaches in this region, while diverse, collectively manage to exude irresistible Caribbean appeal and charm. Irrespective of the fact that the Caribbean is a hurricane prone region, beaches in this part of the globe have largely been able to maintain their magnificence throughout the years.
As you travel across the region, you’ll notice that some beaches have similar names, but are located in different countries. Although it is difficult to compare each beach to one another, if you are not a well-traveled Caribbean explorer, know that each beach has something special to offer.
Picture: Sandals Negril on Seven Mile Beach (beach number 18 in this list)
Keep reading to find out what the top 45 beaches in the Caribbean are, and where they are located.
45. Maracas Beach
Trinidad & Tobago
A scenic rainforest drive leads the way to this gem of a beach located on the Caribbean island of Trinidad. Almost an hour out from Port of Spain, this popular beach tends to be livelier than most, especially on public holidays. On week days, the beach is quieter, perfect for resting and sunbathing. There are lots of food stalls on this beach offering tasty snacks and drinks. Make sure you grab a bake and shark (fish sandwich) from one of the many beachside restaurants. Savor it on the glistening sands of this northern strand, taking in the unforgettable mountainside backdrops.
Insider Tip: Be aware of the sometimes strong currents on this beach.
44. Jalousie Beach
Saint Lucia’s Pitons are a World Heritage site, and Jalousie beach is located smack in their bosom. The view of the towering Pitons from the beach is humbling, magnified by the mesmerizing blues and greens on the beach front. Jalousie Beach is located in the southern community of Soufriere, and is a must visit for any beach lover. Snorkeling in this area is good, but swimming or taking a boat a little further out is even better!
43. Anse Chastanet
The stunning green backdrops reflected on the sea give this beach a unique feel. Anse Chastanet is known to be a popular scuba diving and snorkeling site; there’s even a dive shop on location! The long and windy road to this beach is a bit rough, but it’s worth the trip. The beach is located near Saint Lucia’s twin Pitons. It is also possible to visit this beach via boat.
42. Crane Beach
The coral island of Barbados is known for its beautiful beaches, and Crane Beach is one of the top picks. Breezy, clean, and quiet, Crane Beach is perfect for relaxing and forgetting the world. Surfers of all kinds love this beach because of its great waves. Swimming here is something best left for strong swimmers.
41. Reduit Beach
This beach is hugely popular, especially for tourists. If cruise ships are in port, expect to find the beach lined with umbrellas and sun seekers. Reduit beach, also called ‘The Ramp’ by locals, is loved by most for its accessibility. There’s excellent swimming here in clear, warm waters, great views, and lots of restaurants nearby.
A rugged road takes you to Bathsheaba, but it is scenic, and filled with the possibility of seeing unusual wildlife – like monkeys. Barbados is known for its population of green monkeys, and if you’re vacationing there, you’re bound to run into at least one. Bathsheaba beach is great for relaxing, and especially taking pictures. The rock formations here are stunning. As this beach is open to the Atlantic Ocean, the water tends to be rough. It is not the best choice for swimming, but still beautiful for those of you who care not to get wet.
39. Maxwell Beach
Dip your toes into the Caribbean Sea at this tropical gem in Barbados. The sands here are powdery, white and clean. You might even hear guitars strumming the background as you stroll along and take a dip in the warm ocean, cooling off after an afternoon in the sunshine. This beach tends to be calmer than most in Barbados, so it is especially popular with both locals and tourists.
This beach is fairly easy to find, though the access road is quite rocky. Long Bay is in close proximity to Grace Bay, in the Providenciales. Kite surfers on this scenic beach are a sight to see. Many people come to this beach for that purpose. If you’re into horseback riding, this beach is also ideal. Horses are able to get far out because of the shallow waters, and that in itself makes for a great experience!
37. Pigeon Point Beach
Trinidad & Tobago
There is more than one ‘Pigeon Point Beach’ in the Caribbean, and Saint Lucia and Trinidad feature the top two beaches with the name. Trinidad’s Pigeon Point Beach is located in the south-west of the island and is one of the more popular beaches on the island. As part of your adventure at this beach, it may be worth your time to venture out on a glass bottom boat to the nearby Bucco Reef. You’ll find great snorkeling there, and lots of colorful fish species and coral. While there you can swim in Nylon Pool (named by Princess Margaret), which is essentially a natural swimming pool about a metre deep with a sandy bottom, bordered by a sand bar. Overall, you can’t go wrong with this beach!
Insider Tip: For a less crowded experience, don’t go when the cruise ships are in. There is a small entrance fee of TT$20 to go to this beach.
36. Darkwood Beach
This beach is quite popular for snorkeling and beach combing. Yup, you heard right. People actually go to Darkwood Beach to comb through the sand to see what interesting things they’ll find. There are shells plentiful on this beach – beautiful ones at that. This is a calm beach, away from the crowds, and relatively secluded. There is a small water park in this area for kids.
Insider Tip: Be aware that there is shelf drop once you get about waist deep into the waters on this beach.
35. Dickinson Bay
Clean, with clear waters and white sands, Dickinson Bay is one of the most talked about beaches on the island. Not far from the cruise ship port, this beach tends to receive lots of cruise visitors, but the beach itself is large enough to accommodate. You can find pretty much anything you’d like on this beach, including lots of fun sea excursions. Sandals Grande Antigua is located right off the beachfront, and the property adds to the ambiance of the beach.
34. Pinel Island
Pinel Island is hard to beat when it comes to finding a great spot for a beach day. There’s a lot to do while on Pinel Island, including snorkeling, hiking, and turtle seeking! Make it an adventure, and rent kayaks to get there. This beach is quiet, but tends to get a bit more populated when cruise ships are in port.
Insider Tip: If you’re traveling with kids they may enjoy seeing the small and large hermit crabs and iguanas which are plentiful on this island.
33. Saint Jean
A top-rated beach, this calm and beautiful oceanside vantage draws scores of visitors to Saint Barthelemy. Saint Jean beach is mostly calm in the shallows, with wave action happening further off shore, which sometimes attracts surfers. You’ll find just about everything you need for a perfect beach day here. Like many Caribbean beaches in this area, Saint Jean has been affected by recent hurricanes. It is steadily bouncing back to its former glory.
32. Frenchman's Cove
The only thing more mesmerizing than a sea of blue, is a sea of blue surrounded by the richest of greens. Frenchman’s Cove in Jamaica is a nature lover’s delight. This is a relatively secluded beach which comes with a small entrance fee. But once inside, you’ll find a beach with decent service and offerings of reasonably priced food and drink. A river runs through this beach all the way down to the surf.
31. Cable Beach
Cable Beach comes complete with excellent online reviews, and if you’re looking for a great beach in Nassau, you’ll be happy to know it lives up to the hype. Most days you’ll find this beach buzzing with activity, from children running about exploring the sandy shores, to visitors and locals taking in the warm waters and amazing views. You can swim around freely in waters of the clearest variety, or go out into the water sports zone where activities are plentiful. Take some time to explore this expansive beach before claiming your seaside vantage for the day.
If you can’t say you’ve been to Punto Cuna, can you really say you visited the Dominican Republic? The same goes for Bavaro beach, located in that same territory. This expansive beach draws in thousands of visitors each year and it is a top choice for beach lovers in the Dominican Republic. There are lots of palm trees here, which add just the right measure of tropical authenticity when you’re taking a romantic walk down these white sands.
29. Playa Kenepa
There are so many outstanding beaches in the Caribbean that it is hard to choose a favorite. Kenepa Beach located in Willemstad Curacao is near the top of the list of best beaches for its accessibility, and touristic appeal. Whether you’re a fan of cliff jumping, snorkeling, of just lounging on a sunny beach, Kenepa will meet your needs. You’ll find a snack bar, and plenty of beach umbrellas and chairs for rent on this beach.
28. Grand Anse Beach
Coconut vendors, palm trees and even the occasional fruit vendor, Grand Anse Beach in Grenada has it all. This beach draws visitors in because of its calm surf and convenient location. Grand Anse Beach is mostly serene and peaceful, with the exception of high traffic times when cruise ships are in port. You can take a water taxi (ferry) or regular taxi to this beach.
27. Maho Bay
Saint John, U.S. Virgin Islands
Maho Bay, located within the Virgin Islands National Park is a popular beach in Saint John. On this beach you’ll see tent-cottages, 114 in total, which are part of the island’s eco-tourism thrust. Snorkeling at Maho Bay is highly recommended, as running into sea turtles and other sea life is common. Maho, less-trafficked than Trunk Bay, features a stretch of postcard-worthy sand and turquoise waters, the essence of what makes Saint John unique!
26. Palomino Island
If you want to feel like a celebrity for a day, this is your beach. The beautiful islet of Palomino has been known to feature high-end shoots of famous people, and other VIPS. Spanning around 100 acres, this beach is located at the northeastern tip of Puerto Rico. This beach is super exclusive though you may spot the occasional private yacht docking for a couple hours while on island. This is your go-to if you want a peaceful beach. Palomino is an 8-minute ride on a fast moving catamaran available from the resort.
25. Valley Church Beach
With 365 beaches to choose from, one for every day of the year, beach options are endless in Antigua. Valley Church is in the top 5 because of the combination of great facilities and privacy that can be found here. There’s a beach club at one end of the beach and complete peace and serenity at the other. Valley Church features a long stretch of white sand and great facilities. It is family friendly, and a must visit on a trip to Antigua.
24. Bottom Bay
Bottom Bay in St. Philips Parish Barbados is a gorgeous place. Some call it the most beautiful beach in all of Barbados and a visit here will show you why. Palm trees swaying in the wind will greet you as you make your way to the beachfront. You may find a coconut vendor or two at Bottom Bay, but it’s best to walk with your own goodies. This beach is located on the Atlantic side, which means there are bigger waves so be cautious if you decide to get into the water.
Insider Tip: If you take a cap here make arrangements with the driver to come back to pick you up as this is a low traffic destination.
23. Lindquist Beach
Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Located in Smith’s Park, Lindquist Beach is one of the most pristine beaches on the island of St Thomas. This beach features a stretch of bright, white sand and luminous blue water. The water on this beach is so unbelievably clear and calm that on a typical day, you’ll feel like you’re standing in a tropical swimming pool. This beach features cool views of nearby islands, and it is located on the East end of St Thomas, on Smith Bay Road. Lindquist beach is best enjoyed in a group. Keep in mind that there are no bars and restaurants on this beach, so walk with your own snacks and a cooler stocked with drinks.
Insider Tip: Be aware of the rocky areas on the water’s edge. Wearing water shoes, particularly for children, is recommended.
22. Cow Wreck Beach
Anegada, British Virgin Islands
Located within the British Virgin Islands, this is a lesser known beach that will pleasantly surprise you. Visitors often leave rave reviews after they visit this beach which features shallow waters and a beautiful atmosphere. Cow Wreck Beach offers easy access to Horseshoe Reef for snorkeling and the shallow waters on this beach are great for the whole family.
Insider Tip: Be aware that on some days the current on this beach can be quite strong.
21. Varadero Beach
Cuba is a top choice for people looking for the vacation of a lifetime, at reasonable cost. With that said, hardly anyone who goes to Varadero beach as part of their vacation comes back with bad reviews. This beach is hands down one of the most gorgeous in the Caribbean, with soft sand, and the necessary amenities for your comfort. There are a few resorts along this beach, so it is safer than most, and kept impeccably clean. Varadero is especially breathtaking at night. You’ll never forget the moments you spend here, so make sure you go with people you don’t mind being etched into this memory forever.
20. Trunk Bay
Saint John, U.S. Virgin Islands
The stunning blues on this beach are mesmerizing, and the sands are powdery white. This beach is one of the most photogenic beaches in the Caribbean, and it has racked up the awards to prove it. There are lots of useful facilities here, which add to its popularity. When visiting Trunk Bay Beach, be sure to check out the 225-yard-long Underwater Reef Trail! This beach tends to get busy when there is cruise ship activity, so it might help to look out at the ports ahead of time to decide. It is possible to take a ferry over from nearby Saint Thomas.
Historical note: This beach was donated by Laurence S. Rockefeller to the National Park Service almost 50 years ago!
19. Horseshoe Bay Beach
Soft pastel pink sand, calm waters and breezy skies – three of the ingredients needed for a relaxing beach day. Horseshoe Bay Beach in Bermuda has all three. Located in Southampton Bay, these sands will steal your heart. There is a lot to see here so walk with your camera. You may even spot some mega yachts from your beachside vantage, as this a popular destination for wealthy Caribbean island hoppers. Horseshoe Bay Beach is ideal for a taste of Bermuda’s famous pink sand beaches, some of the loveliest in the world. There are lots of caves and coves to check out on the edges of the beach.
Insider Tip: Just east of Horseshoe you’ll find some truly iconic coves including Warwick, which features beautiful pink sands.
18. Seven Mile Beach
This beach is one of the most loved beaches in Jamaica, and for good reason. With sand comparable to the softness of baby power, warm breezes, and cool waters, Seven Mile Beach will take your breath away. Jamaica’s laid back party atmosphere comes to life on this beach and when it’s time to go, we’ll bet you’ll be asking for one more hour.
Insider Tip:Sandals Negril is an award winning all-inclusive resort directly located on Negril's Seven Mile Beach.
17. Rendez-vous Bay
This wide expanse of beach is perfect for unwinding. The soft sands here just might be the softest you’ve ever set your feet on. This beach offers an unobstructed view of the nearby island of St. Maarten, which will really make you feel like you’re getting the best of both worlds. With striking blue waters that are conducive for swimming, it’s hard to beat Rendevous Bay.
Insider Tip: Visit the Sun Shine Shack on the beach for BBQ or lobster or fish.
16. Seven Mile Beach
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Rave reviews would lead just about anyone to Seven Mile Beach in the Cayman Islands. Luckily, the reviews are right when it comes to how beautiful this beach is. If you’re in this area, we recommend starting your walk down the stretch near Coconut Joe’s and walking north. There is a lot to see along the way, and you’re bound to end up at Calico Jacks restaurant and bar which offers great food and drinks!
Insider Tip: A walk further up this beach can lead to more peace and quiet.
15. Eagle Beach
Soft white sand and a breezy atmosphere, Eagle Beach is a must visit while in Aruba. Beach umbrellas and chairs are available for rental, so you’ll be able to take in the views in comfort. The gradual slope of the sea bed on this beach makes it perfect for swimming. The waters..
Before visiting any country, it is important to figure out what the best time to visit is. This differs from person to person, based on individual interests. Knowing what the weather is like, the peak times for crowds, or the dates of popular events, are all things that may help make your jet setting decision easier. Selecting a time to travel to Antigua is no different.
Many people wanting to escape wintery conditions travel to Antigua between December and April, but the best time to visit is from May to August. This is the period right after peak season and just before the rainy months of September, October and November. The temperature is usually in the mid-80s.
Between June to November, the hurricane season can sometimes put a damper on things. However, that may not be a worry during your vacation as the last hurricane to hit Antigua directly was in 1999, and in 50 years’ time there have been only 6 direct hits.
Though there is less rain between December and April, resorts tend to be fully booked at that time. If you choose to travel near the end of July, you’ll also find yourself in Antigua smack in the middle of carnival.
Antigua and Barbuda are a pair of islands in an area known as the Leeward Islands, where the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea meet. Some people know the island of Antigua by the name Wadadli, as it was once called by native inhabitants, who settled on the island before colonization. Antigua is a small island of roughly 108 square miles. It’s sister island, Barbuda, is only 68 square miles, and is a small coral island which is bordered by both the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. However, since 2017, Barbuda has become relatively uninhabited after Hurricane Irma greatly destroyed the island’s infrastructure, and many of its residents moved over to Antigua. Since 2017, Antigua and Barbuda have been fairly spared by any major Hurricanes, and its citizens have recovered.
Interesting facts about Antigua
Don’t let the mention of hurricanes scare you away from Antigua. It’s interesting to note that Antigua is actually one of the warmest Caribbean islands, being only 17 degrees north of the equator. Its constant tropical temperatures are perfect if you’re looking to escape the long winter months. During winter, when cold air from the north blows down to the Caribbean, the temperatures in Antigua still peak around the mid-70’s (Fahrenheit). In the summer months, it climbs to the 80’s.
Antigua has tons of unique natural features like the Devil’s Bridge, which is a natural arch into the sea, as well as old plantations, sugar mills, rainforests and the popular Nelson’s Dockyard. If you’re traveling to Antigua from the United States, or if you’re someone who just loved former president Barack Obama, you might be fascinated to know that in 2009, Antigua renamed its highest peak - once known as Boggy Peak - to Mount Obama.
Apart from lots of high-end duty-free shopping, many people may not know that gambling is legal in Antigua and has been for many decades (unlike some other Caribbean islands). Visitors to the island can feel free to pop into any of the island’s casinos or sports betting locations.
Perhaps the most interesting fact about Antigua is that there are actually 365 beaches on the island - all with pristine pink and white sand. The island is known around the rest of the Caribbean for having one beach for every day of the year. Set apart from other islands in the region which are mainly volcanic, Antigua is largely a coral island, and so the pink and white sandy beaches can be spotted from miles away. Most of the 365 beaches are located along the side of the island where the gentle waves of the Caribbean Sea brush along the shore – which means the waters are calm all year round. The island is also surrounded by coral reefs which add to the beauty of its beaches.
If you need a little more convincing, keep in mind that tons of writers, fashion designers, celebrities (including popular actors) and several famous cricketers (Antiguans love cricket) have either built permanent or vacation homes in Antigua. Some of the more popular names include Giorgio Armani, Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey and Jamaica Kincaid.
Ready, set, pack!
Now that your mind is made up about visiting Antigua, the next thing to discuss is the best time to visit Antigua, based on your preferences. Do you base your travels on the weather, high or low seasons, or events? Do you like Carnival, or are you a sailor who dreams of taking part in the highly rated Antigua Sailing Week? Or do you just want to forget it all, and bask in the island’s warmth on an Antiguan beachside? Whatever your preference, it is worth noting the kind of climate you can expect during your visit.
Antigua, like the rest of the Caribbean islands, is located in the tropics. This means that Antigua enjoys hot weather all year round, and temperatures less than the mid-70’s are rare. While sunshine is the norm, it does rain in Antigua. The island’s climate is classed as tropical-marine and this means that Antigua has distinct wet and dry periods.
If you’ve done any research on the Caribbean, you would have heard about the wet and dry seasons. While countries in the temperate zone like The United States, The United Kingdom and Canada have four seasons, Antigua only has two.
The wet/rainy season
Across the Caribbean, the rainy season begins on June 1st and ends on November 30th every year. This is typically during the summer and fall months. The season is categorized by greater amounts of rain, and occasionally, tropical storms or hurricanes. It’s understandable that you may be uneasy about traveling to Antigua during the rainy season, but the chances of you being caught up in bad weather are very slim. In fact, if you plan a two week vacation to Antigua, it might only rain once during your whole trip.
If you do book your trip during the rainy season you may want to pack the following:
Closed toed shoes
Light sweater for cooler nights
Sturdy water proof hiking boots (if you’re one for adventure!)
The dry season
The dry season runs from December to May - or the winter and spring months. If you want to escape winter, this would be the best time, as the weather is usually warmer and the chances of rain ruining your plans are less likely. While prolonged droughts are not common, there may be instances of water shortages. If you’re booked at a resort, have no fear; most hotels and resorts make provisions for this. The weather is always exceptionally pleasant during this season, and the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea are even calmer.
Here are a few items to pack if you travel to Antigua during the dry season:
Wide brimmed hat or cap
High SPF sunscreen
Lightweight clothing (cotton or linen is best)
Portable water bottle
There really isn’t a bad time to visit Antigua based on the weather. However, if you’re not willing to brave a few days of moderate rain, you may want to avoid the rainy season. Remember, it’s from June to November. If your dream is to catch a tan on one of the 365 beaches, the dry season from December to May is your best bet – although the beaches might be a bit more crowded than usual.
Insider Tip: If you’re looking to catch the island at its most lush and green period, travel between the months of December and January. The weather also tends to be more moderate, with cooler breezes, around this time!
Peak season vs Low season
Some people decide on travel dates based on crowd sizes at their destination, at any given time. Antigua’s population as of 2011 is 80,161, and in 2017, the island saw a total of 247,000 tourists, so chances are, you’ll want to avoid those crowds. Here are important periods to note if you prefer a more intimate island experience.
The peak tourism season in Antigua runs from December to April. Although only three months long, there are several activities that attract travelers to the island at that time. Not only will visitors be looking to escape cold winters, but the Antigua Charter Yacht Show is held in December which means that sailors from across the seas will be descending upon the island. Additionally, the Antigua and Barbuda International Kite Festival takes place from late March through early April. Kite flying is still a big part of Antiguan culture, specifically during Easter.
Since it’s neither quite the high nor low season, the months of May through June are referred to as the shoulder season. These spring months still attract relatively large crowds since the Antigua Sailing Week begins in late April and carries through to early May.
If you’re looking to avoid crowds and roam any of Antigua’s 365 beaches without tripping over people, the best advice is to visit the island any time from July to November. The only major activity happening during this period is Carnival and related activities, from July to August. Tourism arrivals dip in August - September so this may be the best time to avoid crowds and feel like you’re just another Antiguan and not get caught up in the hustle and bustle. Less people means that finding the perfect accommodation should be relatively easy.
For most people, the appeal of a vacation is to not get tangled up with other visitors, but to get some time off. Unless you’re a sailor, or are very keen about kite flying, the low season is recommended for added tranquility.
Events in Antigua
Antigua’s calendar of events is always jam-packed with traditional festivals, and those with a more modern twist. Let’s look at some of these festivals which may influence the dates of your next flight to Antigua.
Super Yacht Challenge
January 31 to February 3
2019 saw the ninth edition of this race, which took the form of a series of five races over four days. The challenge took place along Antigua’s south coast.
Jolly Harbor Yacht Club’s Valentine’s Regatta
February 14 to February 16
One of the more exciting events on Antigua’s sailing calendar, the Valentine’s Regatta features exciting races and live bands. The event will next be held over February 14th - 16th, 2020.
The Rohrman Triathlon
This sporting event is the largest of its kind in Antigua. It is open to children as young as 6 years old, and is held in honor of triathlon athlete Jonathan Rohr.
Antigua and Barbuda International Kite Festival
This festival is held at Devil’s Bridge and is a gathering of hundreds of kite enthusiasts and their bright homemade kites.
Antigua Sailing Week
April 27 to May 3
Set in the Nelson’s Dockyard, this world-renowned regatta attracts over 100 yachts from local, regional and international crews.
Run in Paradise
This half-marathon attracts runners from all over the world and follows a course through some of Antigua’s beautiful and historical locations.
Antigua and Barbuda Mango Festival
Mangoes in every possible way - and not just food! This event is organized by Antigua and Barbuda’s Ministries of Agriculture and Tourism. The mango festival is held at Antigua’s Botanical Gardens.
Antigua Summer Carnival
July 26 to August 6
10 days’ worth of events for Antigua Carnival includes pageants, concerts and streets fairs meant to celebrate the abolition of slavery. The festivities end on the first Monday and Tuesday of August (which are observed as National Holidays) with J’ouvert along the city streets and then Carnival City.
Street vendors in Antigua are encouraged to set up shop with local treats at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium for the annual Food Fair. November 1st is also Antigua’s Independence Anniversary.
Jolly Harbor Yacht Club’s Annual Regatta
This is a regular on the calendar of events and features a number of boats with both experienced and amateur crews. The regatta is a day of water-based activities for both members and non-members.
Gemonite Moods of Pan Festival
A staple for steelpan lovers, this festival features the best steelpan musicians and international acts. There is also a competition aspect.
Looking for romance?
Antigua is one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean, and the infusion of simplicity and beauty make it one of the most romantic places in the world. If you’re planning a dream destination wedding, or looking for an exotic honeymoon getaway, Antigua may just be your go-to destination. Wedding and honeymoon packages available at all-inclusive properties like Sandals Grande Antigua are definitely worth exploring.
Insider tip:Sandals Grande Antigua has been voted the “World's Most Romantic Resort” for multiple years in a row!
Repeat visits likely…
Antigua is such a perfect Caribbean island, that it offers the best of both worlds – a tropical paradise, and the pinnacle of convenience. This is the island where there are activities year-round, and serene locations abound, making Antigua one of the top choices for an unforgettable Caribbean vacation.
For most people, getting married is a big deal. You sign on the dotted lines, and make a commitment to be devoted to one person for the rest of your life. This is significant in so many ways, and thus couples place a huge amount of focus on the ceremony marking their wedlock.
When it comes down to it, everyone wants perfection…
It all depends on what your idea of perfection is. Traditional weddings come with a plethora of themed options, as do smaller ceremonies like an elopement wedding. There are numerous checklists that can be found on the web concerning the things you need to have in place ahead of your traditional wedding, but far less of these for elopement weddings. If you’re planning to elope, you’re probably either anxiously wondering how your wedding will pan out or are floating on a cloud of bliss and anticipation. Either way, we’re here to help!
An elopement wedding is a wedding often planned in secret, without the knowledge of friends and family. Couples choose elopement weddings over traditional weddings for a number of reasons, and some of these are highlighted in our ‘What is eloping?’ post earlier this month.
Considering you’re here, it is safe to assume that you’ve gotten through the hardest part of planning an elopement – proposing the idea to your significant other or fiancé. This is often the most difficult part because you never quite know what kind of reaction to expect particularly if your partner is someone who has always hinted at the desire to have a more traditional wedding. Perhaps you’ve found a way to compromise. Many couples find common ground within the finer details when it comes to choosing between a traditional wedding and an elopement wedding ceremony. Those who might have opted for a traditional wedding often breathe a sigh of relief once they find out that elopement weddings don’t necessarily equate to a guest list of zero, or a rushed theme.
In planning an elopement wedding, one of the first things you need to consider is why you’re doing it. What exactly is your reason for wanting to keep your wedding small scale and private? Once you’re able to answer that question, you’re well on your way to planning a successful elopement wedding.
Without further ado, here's the ultimate elopement checklist:
1. Choose a budget
First and foremost thing on the checklist, how much are you willing to spend? You will get absolutely nowhere with wedding planning until you determine a budget. Will your wedding funds come primarily out of your savings, or will family members and friends help? In some families, it is tradition for parents of either the bride or groom to contribute to the cost of a traditional wedding, but considering most elopement weddings are kept secret until after the fact, this can limit the amount of funds available on the day. Nevertheless, you can choose whether you want your elopement wedding to be a low budget or luxury affair.
2. Select a destination and wedding venue
There is a kind of spontaneity added to the mix when elopement weddings are brought into focus. How far are you willing to travel for love? Discuss with your significant other whether you want a breezy Caribbean beach wedding, a classic all-American garden wedding, a fancy French affair in Paris, or even a shotgun wedding in Las Vegas. There are lots of venues and themes to choose from, and these are all determined by your personal preferences on the kind of wedding you wish to have. Once you select a destination, the next step is booking your flight!
There are legal aspects to keep in mind before taking off for your elopement wedding. It is important to do this early not only to ensure that your union is legit, but to save yourself unnecessary stress. Who really wants to get to a destination only to find out that they needed to fill out forms for their marriage license months ahead of time? Absolutely no one!
4. Choose a date
Choosing a date, sets things into motion in a very real way. You are about to skip off and say ‘I do’ to the love of your life. Considerations when selecting a date include weather, budget, and sentimental value of the day(s) under consideration. Make sure all of these things mesh and are given due priority before making your final decision.
5. Make travel arrangements (if needed)
Making travel arrangements ahead of your wedding is super important. If you’re choosing to cross the borders, keep in mind you’ll want to know the best time to travel to your elopement destination. In travel industry terms, there are three seasons for travel, all of which have their pros and cons.
Travel in the ‘high season’ often comes with higher costs, and busier destinations. On the upside, there’s usually more happening around that time. The ‘low season’ is the least busy time to travel to a particular destination. You may find better flight and accommodation deals around this time, but the weather might be a risk. The ‘shoulder season’ is somewhere in between, and gives travelers the best of both worlds. Travel seasons vary for individual destinations, so make sure to do you research in advance.
It often pays off to arrange your transport to your elopement destination well in advance, whether it will be a taxi, train or flight.
Tip: When you are planning a destination wedding far from home, make sure to arrive a few days before the planned wedding date, so you don’t have to stress when your flight gets delayed. It also gives you some time to recover from a long trip.
If you are planning an elopement far from home, you’ll want to book accommodation that is in close proximity, if not at the same location as your wedding ceremony. This is helpful to minimize travel once you get to your location. The last thing you want to do is get lost on your way to your wedding! When booking a resort or villa, ensure you read reviews online, and call ahead with any questions you may have. Many couples who have eloped have found that it is better to go with popular destinations with good reviews, as you are more likely to get what you paid for.
Tip: Although an elopement wedding is all about adventure and spontaneity, it’s best to book in advance to ensure a good rate and availability.
7. Plan the ceremony
Next up on the elopement checklist: the ceremony. There’s no need to let go of some of the things you’ve always dreamed would be part of your wedding, just because you made a decision to elope. Ring exchanges, straight from the runway gowns and tuxes, flowers, and professionally done hair and makeup can still be part of your wedding mix – that is of course, if that is what you want. Other things to keep in mind are whether or not to book a professional photographer/videographer. Keep in mind that considering all your closest friends and family may not be invited to the wedding; hiring someone to capture the memories will be a fun way to share the moments with the people you care about.
Tip: If you plan on hiring a photographer / videographer for your elopement wedding in a foreign destination, do your research early to ensure you find someone who will meet your needs on the day. Some wedding venues, like Sandals, might be able to help you out as well.
8. Write your vows (if any)
Elopement weddings are known to be more flexible than traditional church weddings, in the sense that there is no limit to what you can say as part of your personalized vows. On the contrary, incorporating religious aspects, quotes or scriptures, into your elopement wedding vows is typically uncommon. In the end, you choose! Do whatever suits you as a couple.
9. What to wear?
Simple, extravagant, or something in between? Depending upon your destination, you might need to pay close attention to what you wear on your wedding day. Beach weddings may require a more understated wedding look, while you’ll need more traditional wear for a wedding in a chapel. Shoe choices are an important consideration, especially for beach or garden weddings. As elopement weddings are less than traditional, there is lots of room to play with your look, including gown color choice!
10. Make provisions for hair and makeup
This checklist wouldn't be complete without thinking about hair and make up. Sometimes elopement weddings are rushed or low budget, so there really isn’t much room to fit in a professional hair stylist. This isn’t always the case. Couples opting for luxury included elopement weddings are known to invest large sums of money to ensure every aspect of their appearance is catered to, especially hair and makeup!
Tip: At some all-inclusive resort weddings a professional hair stylist and make up is already included in your stay. Just ring them up in advance!
11. Flowers or no flowers?
What’s a wedding without flowers? Hardly a wedding at all! Personal preference comes into play in this category, but there is no need to opt for a flowerless wedding just because it d0esn’t fit into the mold of what you think an elopement wedding needs to be. If you want a bouquet, go for it. The same goes for the groom, and the classic boutonniere.
12. Low key and budget friendly, or styled and fancy?
Understated weddings can be charming, if of course that is what you’re looking for. Over the top works for some people, and that’s completely fine. Considering you’re saving money by having a condensed guest list, why not shell out more cash for other details that make you happy, like décor?
13. Plan your guest list (if any)
Yes, it is possible to have a guest list even if you’re planning an elopement wedding. How cool is that? Literally, like having the best of both worlds, elopement weddings allow you the option to bring along a friend or two, and even key family members. This is handy as most elopement weddings happen out of state, and it’s nice to have at least a couple of people around to help you keep your head screwed on right, on the day. It isn’t necessary, but for some people, it is something worth looking into. Make a list just in case you decide to invite a small circle of family and friends. Emphasis on small!
14. Plan the party
A wedding after-party is a must, even it’s just the two of you. It is a momentous occasion, and there is need for celebration. Decide whether you want to wait until you reach home to celebrate with family or friends, or plan a quiet and romantic evening with your new spouse while at your destination of choice! Resorts like Sandals plan every detail of your destination elopement wedding with you and for you, down to the after party.
15. Announce your elopement
Next up on the elopement checklist comes the moment you’ve (hardly) been waiting for. It’s time to tell your friends and family that you are officially off the market! There are many ways to do this, but these are some of the most common:
Pre wedding elopement announcements
Some couples choose to share plans for their elopement wedding with family and friends ahead of time. This is a less shocking way to go about an elopement wedding, but as with all aspects of planning a wedding, it is entirely up to you. Make this decision taking into account your need for privacy, and the need to tread carefully to avoid hurt feelings.
Post Wedding Elopement Announcements
Many couples choose to let people know about their elopement wedding after the fact. Common reasons for going this route are to minimize outside influences and maintain privacy.
Elopement announcement for family
Many people note differences in the way post elopement announcements are made to family, versus friends and acquaintances. In person announcements are often recommended for family because of the personal nature of the subject matter. Some people recommend telling parents before the fact. For those who choose not to go that route, and even those who do, it is a good idea to follow up this announcement with an invitation to a smaller celebratory event.
Recommended: Anticipate that not everyone will take this news well. Allow your family members some time to warm up to the idea. Consider that they may feel left out of a significant event in your life. Share lots of photos and videos to lighten the mood.
Elopement announcement for friends
The nature of elopement announcements to friends depends on the significance of the friendship, and how long you’ve known each other. Most people agree that in person announcements are also necessary for close friends, who can also be invited to smaller post wedding events. The best time to deliver your elopement wedding news to family and friends is one or two days after you return.
Tip: It helps to ensure that both parties are present to deliver the news as a united front. You are after all, joined at the hip for life!
Most people choose to notify acquaintances (including coworkers) via email, or a phone call with the happy news. You can also create a unique post card with a picture of the ceremony. The best time to make this announcement is one or two weeks after your wedding.
Bonus: Best places to elope in the Caribbean
If you decide to have a romantic elopement wedding in the Caribbean, rest assure Sandals Resorts are among the most romantic on the planet. With all-inclusive properties in some of the most breathtaking locations across the globe, there’s no going wrong with choosing Sandals for your elopement wedding. Here are a few of the most romantic elopement destinations:
Known for its beautiful mountain backdrops, lush foliage and cascading waterfalls, Jamaica is a tropical paradise. There are tons of wedding location options in this vibrant land of Reggae music, and with six Sandals locations to choose from including the idyllic Sandals in Ocho Rios, you’ll be able to customize your wedding to suit your specifications.
The Bahamas – land of beautiful beaches. You can’t go wrong with choosing the Bahamas for your beach wedding, and especially not with Sandals’ all-inclusive resort in Exuma. Not only is this destination made for romance, but with 700 islands making up this tropical archipelago, there’s lots of room to explore.
Home to the world-famous Pitons, Saint Lucia is known to be a wedding and honeymoon destination of choice for travelers the world over. There are three stunning Sandals resorts in Saint Lucia, all top choices, with the opportunity to ‘stay at one, play at three’.
Land of 365 beaches, one for every day of the year, Antigua makes for the best romantic beach wedding. While staying at the Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa (voted ‘the Most Romantic Resort in the World’ year after year), you’ll fall even more in love while exploring the natural beauty of this tropical paradise.
Exotic and unspoiled, Sandals Grenada is known and loved for its romantic and authentic Caribbean experience. Whether you’re looking for a resort wedding, or a wedding in the midst of the Spice Isle, there are lots of options to choose from in Grenada including: villa weddings, plantation weddings, yacht weddings, tropical garden weddings and more.
Tip: Take advantage of the Red Lane Spa at Sandals Grenada to set the mood.
Sandals all-inclusive resorts in Barbados, located in the St. Lawrence Gap area, and offer unique features like an authentic Indian restaurant, innovative bar and pool designs, the largest and longest lagoon pool in Barbados, as well as private Tranquility Soaking Tubs™ on most patios and terraces. In Barbados, you’ll experience two resorts for the price of one, taking you from wedding to honeymoon, effortlessly!
Tip: For Caribbean elopement weddings, don’t forget to bring along your birth certificate and other paperwork needed (if applicable). You can ask Sandals to help you out with this!
Benefits of eloping
Once considered taboo, elopement weddings are becoming much more common nowadays, and with good reason. Here are some of the positives that lead people to make the decision to elope:
You and your fiancé can make decisions about your wedding that are all about you. The canvas is yours to decorate. Have fun!
There are no overly helpful family members trying to convince you to adjust your plans to suit others, and certainly no uninvited guests!
Anyone’s opinion can wait – whether that has to do with your wedding plans, the timing of your wedding, or the person you plan on marrying.
Budget friendly or super fancy
You decide. You can opt out of writing big checks since it’ll just be the two of you, or you can choose to splurge on the most romantic day of your life.
Elope and be on your honeymoon at the same time! This can save money on travel expenses, and also grant you more time to stay in your fabulous wedding destination. A win-win!
Romance, that feeling of excitement, mystery, and giddiness that can only be felt between you and your loved one. With the right person you might be lucky enough to feel it more often than not, but every now and then you just need to escape to re-ignite that excitement.
For some it may be blissful seclusion, for others it may be the excitement of exploring cascading waterfalls and discovering exotic wildlife. Whether you are looking for a romantic island getaway close by, or a more tropical rendezvous filled with turquoise waters and golden beaches, you will find it in the list below.
Get inspired by the 40 best island getaways in and around the US, where you can leave all your worries behind and truly escape from the hustle and bustle of daily live.
Find out which one of the below is your couples utopia:
40. St Martin / Sint Maarten
Distance from New York: 4 hours 10 minutes
Distance from Miami: 2 hours 50 minutes
Best time to visit: May to June, or November to mid-December
Saint Martin offers countless breathtaking beaches, crystal-like waters and a stream of outdoor activities. Split across two cultures, the population of St Martin serves up options for couples from all walks of life.
Feel the excitement and join in the festivities across the Dutch-half of Sint Maarten. Found on the Southern side of the island, you can shop until you drop (duty-free), sunbathe on the pristine beaches, or dance under the stars until the sun comes up.
The French side of St Martin, on the northern end of the island, will have you quietly tucked away on laid-back beaches, each capable of tapping into your appreciation for the finer things in life. The finest of which are a fusion of French and Caribbean spiced cuisine, views of exquisite sunsets while sat amidst charming mountainside scenery or sipping cocktails on topless beaches. Saint Martin offers all the makings of the perfect romantic getaway.
Distance from New York: 5 hours 30 minutes
Distance from Miami: 4 hours 5 minutes
Best time to visit: September to November
You and your loved one will find this the friendliest and largest of the British Isles. Tortola has a wide variety of water sports, a selection of luxury resorts, private villas and a scenic campground; all makings of a luxurious getaway that you both will remember for years to come.
World famous for its dozens of white sandy beaches, lush mountain terrain and yachts docked in harbors and coves, couples from all over the world head to Tortola for the vacation of a lifetime. Take surfing lessons, picnic at the Sage Mountain National Park while overlooking neighboring cays, or go sailing amid the festive surrounding isles. Whatever you seek, you will find exactly what you need on this romantic getaway for two.
38. Block Island, Rhode Island
Island getaway close to New York.
Distance from New York: 1 hour 10 minutes
Distance from Miami: 3 hours 5 minutes
Best time to visit: Late May or early September
If taking relaxing walks with your dearest love sounds like paradise, then this New England getaway is perfect for you. The myriad of walking trails on the protected island means you can walk the green trails from virtually any point, promising magnificent views for miles on end. Though quaint, Block Island is home to 17 miles of untouched beaches, two lighthouses and plenty of things to do. While the island is perfect for a summertime day-trip, the welcoming restaurants and hotels make it a cozy island for a longer romantic getaway. If scenic walks aren't enough then try your hand at bike riding, hiking, horseback riding, bird-watching, snorkeling, fishing, parasailing, kayaking and sailing. The world is your oyster at this beautiful destination just 13 miles off Rhode Island’s coast.
37. St. Vincent & the Grenadines
Distance from New York: 4 hours 45 minutes
Distance from Miami: 3 hours 40 minutes
Best time to visit: May, June, November
Mile upon mile of fine ivory beaches and sky-like waters on the backdrop of lush mountainous surroundings make St. Vincent & the Grenadines one of the most beautiful destinations in the Caribbean. Vincy, a name coined by the locals, boasts luxurious boutique hotels, yacht-filled harbours, black coral reefs and enough rum-filled punch to keep the pair of you happy for days. This less-travelled 32 island-nation is the perfect sanctuary for sun-worshipers, adventurers and foodies alike. Should you and your partner feel the need for a change of scenery, highlights you can enjoy include climbing a 4000-km volcano, swimming among glittering waterfalls, or catamaran trips to the nearby secluded islands.
36. Tybee Island, Georgia
Distance from New York: 2 hours 25 minutes
Distance from Miami: 1 hour 40 minutes
Best time to visit: May, June
Sometimes a quick getaway is all you need to just stop for a moment and appreciate the love you have for one another. Tybee’s is quiet, and its small island charm makes it the perfect destination for those last-minute impromptu getaways.
Easily accessible from anywhere in the US, this small beach town is the quintessential romantic hideaway. Though Tybee has endured a few changes in recent years, the fun family-friendly atmosphere still prevails. Old-meets-new on the little island of Tybee, but it never escapes excitement - the island’s annual calendar is full of entertainment. From foodie events, to fitness or Bottlenose dolphin tours, to bicycle rides along the beach, there is something for every couple all year round.
35. Saint Barthélemy (St. Barths/St. Barts)
Distance from New York: 5 hours 58 minutes
Distance from Miami: 8 hours 5 minutes
Best time to visit: November to June
You’ve seen it on postcards, and you’ve read about the dream-like pearly beaches burrowed amongst tropical landscapes, rugged cliffs and flowery gardens. St Barts, as it is commonly known, is unquestionably the jewel of the Caribbean, perfect to let your passions run wild. 22 uncrowded white-sand beaches are host to gorgeous panoramic views, unspoiled waters, yacht lovers and some of the biggest names in Hollywood, specifically The Kardashians and George Clooney.
Living up to its reputation as the Caribbean’s most elite, the island is dotted with small-scale luxury resorts, designer-label boutiques and the finest of beach bars, which cater to the most discerning clientele. All beaches are public, along with various outdoor activities from surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing, to sailing, diving and snorkeling. Almost any water sport is available here, for the two of you to enjoy.
34. Trinidad and Tobago
Distance from New York: 4 hours 55 minutes
Distance from Miami: 3 hours 40 minutes
Best time to visit: January to May
Like the perfect love story, together Trinidad and Tobago embrace one another. As a pair, the dual-island Caribbean nation offers its own version of unmatched beauty. Trinidad does the heavy lifting as the larger commercial hub, while Tobago is the more exotic island of natural wonders. While Tobago’s shores are fringed with white-sand beaches lining almost every side of the island, Trinidad’s appealing qualities are its peaceful mangrove swamps, rainforests and seasonal birdwatching. If you’re up for a real razzle, plan your romantic rendezvous later in February, and experience the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, one of the biggest Carnival events in the Caribbean. There’s really nothing you cannot experience on this off-the-beaten-track escape.
33. Marco Island, Florida
Island getaway less than one hour away from Miami.
Distance from New York: 3 hours 10 minutes
Distance from Miami: 50 minutes
Best time to visit: January to May
An unexpected oasis just off the shores of Florida sits Marco Island. The largest and only developed island of the Ten Thousand Islands, Marco island panders to couples in need of a tropical getaway, that’s also right on their doorstep. Almost infinite stretches of panoramic beaches, luxury resorts, and untouched wildlife parks, makes it an enticing vacation destination for couples who want to unwind together. Boating and fishing among the mangroves islands, more watersports than you can fit in a 24 hour day, and relaxing spa days are just a few of the activities couples can delight in on their romantic getaway.
32. British Virgin Islands
Distance from New York: 3 hours 46 minutes
Distance from Miami: 2 hours 44 minutes
Best time to visit: September to November
You never know who you two will bump into while casually strolling the exclusive yacht-fringed beaches of the British Virgin Islands. If you love the idea of being star-struck, Guana Island has welcomed honeymooners such as Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig, while the nearby island of Necker is home to Sir Richard Branson. Known locally as “nature’s secret”, the islands’ blue waters and sheer opulence offer something for even the most elite of couples. Here you will find a plethora of water sports, remote locations for those intimate and seductive moments, deliciously prepared cuisine and the promise of adventure. Don’t miss out on The Baths - a collection of sky-high boulders, near the island’s southwest corner, that flood with seawater, making them an exhilarating and unique location for swimming and snorkeling.
31. Freeport, The Bahamas
Tropical island getaway less than one hour away from Miami.
Distance from New York: 4 hours 45 minutes
Distance from Miami: 50 minutes
Best time to visit: mid-December to mid-April
Don’t be fooled by the name. Freeport is more than just a free-trade zone. Dating back as far as 1955,
Financier Wallace Groves was instrumental in helping to bring what was a pine forest, in a swampy Southern part of Grand Bahama island, into a blossoming paradise for its visitors.
While in Freeport you and your love can explore the beautiful Lucayan National Park, which boasts six distinct ecosystems, and get lost among the natural beauty of the Bahamas. If scuba diving is your passion, you can also enjoy nature at its best and visit the area’s famous underwater cave system. It is the largest in the world, stretching out 6 miles long, and promises an experience you can’t find anywhere else. Prefer an intimate and romantic stroll? Walk along any one of the two boardwalks that take you through the local mangroves, at the journey’s end you will meet Gold Rock Beach, a sight of pearly white perfection. There you can take in the sea breeze, and curl up in the sand to watch the waves dance.
Beneath the shimmering waters, the island’s coral reefs teem with wildlife. Common, larger creature sightings include turtles, nurse sharks, dolphins and so much more. Due to its close proximity to the US, Grand Bahama island has become a prime holiday destination.
Distance from New York: 4 hours 25 minutes
Distance from Miami: 3 hours 35 minutes
Best time to visit: December to May
French Urban flair gives Martinique a vibrant personality that you will only find on this small island in the middle of the Caribbean Lesser Antilles. As you would expect, here you will find striking landscapes, stunning beaches, and exquisite hiking trails that prove this island is a magnificent natural wonder. Escape the civilized world and meander through the rain forested, mountainous north of the island, while exploring parts of still-smoldering Mont Pelée volcano.
Indulge in unique culinary experiences, though heavily influenced by the French, provide something unlike anything you will find in France. You will find Caribbean specialties across the island that deviate from the traditional European cooking style, like fresh fish prepared in a mix of both Caribbean and French spices, often accompanied with delicious sugary rum. Unparalleled beauty is waiting for you both at this little piece of French-heaven, in the heart of the Caribbean.
Distance from New York: 4 hours 20 minutes
Distance from Miami: 3 hours 25 minutes
Best time to visit: December to May
With a twist of French culture, the warm Caribbean vibes give the island of Guadeloupe something different that you won’t find in any other direction. Visit any of the cafes or walk out onto any of the island’s white sandy beaches and you will feel the lifestyle massage its way into you both. Practice your Parlez-vouz, indulge in French-Creole cuisine, and get a tan, while simultaneously sipping on rum laced with fruit-juice.
Like the perfect butterfly, the wings of the west and east sides are joined together by bridges and a primordial mangrove swamp. Basse-Terre, the mountainous west, is host to the superb Parc National de la Guadeloupe, which is crowned by the astounding La Soufrière volcano. Grande-Terre, on the east, is home to stretches of secluded beaches buzzing with activities that will provide hours of fun on your getaway.
28. St.Kitts & Nevis
Distance from New York: 4 hours 10 minutes
Distance from Miami: 2 hours 55 minutes
Best time to visit: May to June
Both splashed with history, beaches, mountains and outdoor activities St. Kitts & Nevis are the perfect destination combination. This dual-island serves up a diverse vacation experience with luxury at its epicenter. The wilder-at-heart St. Kitts offers beaches, resorts and a bustling party strip.
New roads and developments are quickly generating more excitement too. Comprised of just a handful of pristine beaches, Nevis, the more refined of the two, promotes hikes up the flourishing Nevis Peak, and guided tours of historic sites. The stories of yesteryear are of massive significance to this island’s history.
27. Catalina Island, California
Island getaway less than one hour away from Los Angeles.
Distance from New York: 7 hours
Distance from Los Angeles: 36 minutes
Best time to visit: January to June
One of Southern California’s best-kept-secrets and a welcoming respite from a bustling Los Angeles, Catalina Island is a great opportunity for couples living on the West-Coast. Accessed via the Catalina Express, this destination is just a 22-mile trip to the quaint waterfront city of Avalon. See the island by sea on a rented boat or kayak. Follow the trails of Native Americans and pirates on horseback or explore the island at your leisure by renting a bicycle or gas-powered golf cart. While quaint, this charming resort island has much to offer you as a quick and close getaway.
26. Roatan, Honduras
Distance from New York: 6 hours 54 minutes
Distance from Miami: 3 hours 15 minutes
Best time to visit: December to May
If you love nature and being surrounded by it both above and below the ocean, Honduras is the place for you. Cascading falls and lush greenery host exotic birdlife, friendly monkeys, and iguanas all across Roatan’s sprawling parks. If that isn’t enough to get you packing for two, Roatan is also famous for being a diver’s paradise. Having over 170 dive sites, the east side of Honduras is heaven for couples who love to explore the underwater world together. Above the waters the wildlife splendor continues. Explore the West End and its comforts, a lively traveler’s scene where visitors can enjoy spectacular white-sand beaches, all-inclusive resorts, amazing Spanish cuisine and a few nights out on the town with locals and visitors alike.
Distance from New York: 7 hours 2 minutes
Distance from Miami: 6 hours 15 minutes
Best time to visit: February to April
Locally known as nature island, Dominica defies all the common island attributes of blindingly white beaches, crystal blue waters and rum-fueled parties. In fact, the island is hell-bent on preserving itself as one of the most pristine islands of the Western hemisphere. While there is little commercial development and no hotel chains, the island boasts many natural wonders that are friendly for eco-tourists and nature-lovers. Boiling Lake, Champagne Reef, sulfurous hot springs, superb diving and the Caribbean's first long-distance hiking trail are just a few of the island’s top attractions.
Distance from New York: 7 hours 45 minutes
Distance from Miami: 5 hours 25 minutes
Best time to visit: May to August
Unwind, relax, get pampered… repeat! If you are seeking seclusion, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that there really isn’t much else to do but enjoy the luxuries offered on island of Anguilla. Unlike many of the surrounding islands, the local government banned cruise ships from their ports, and the building of casinos and high-rise hotel buildings across the island. Anguilla’s environment is calm and uncorrupted, which you will experience when you both spend your days sidling under shady coconut palms and sea-grape trees.
The two of you can also have a fun time bar-hopping, sampling local barbeques and perfectly mixed cocktails, all while swaying to the sounds of reggae. When the long days end, you will be met with some amazing alfresco dining options and a festive live music scene. For you lovers of live music, you will be pleased to know that the likes of Quincy Jones (Jazz artist) to Bankie Banx (Reggae artist) and Jimmy Buffett (famous for the song Margaritaville) have been known to perform on these shores, so keep an ear out, and you may get lucky to hear famous tunes.
Distance from New York: 4 hours 40 minutes
Distance from Miami: 3 hours
Best time to visit: May to October
If the words ‘adventure trip’ don’t pique your interest, then this may not be the trip for you.
Sea life trumps land on Bonaire island, and its main coral reef, now a national park, is within walking distance of the shore, making dozens of stunning dive sites easily accessible.
If it’s not sea dwellers you’re after then kite-surfing on Lac Bay, kayaking among the mangroves, or a bike trails off the beaten path are equally thrilling. Complete with mid-range resorts and restaurants, Bonaire makes for the perfect romantic outdoor getaway.
Distance from New York: 3 hours 34 minutes
Distance from Miami: 1 hour 55 minutes
Best time to visit: November to March
Once one of the busiest tourist attractions in the Caribbean, Haiti’s tranquil beaches and coves, and crystal-like waters are enough to spark excitement in any couple. The island’s breathtaking waterfalls and flourishing landscapes easily rival the natural beauty found anywhere else in the Caribbean.
Haiti is richer than you think, in so many other ways, and the cuisine is a testament to this. Unlike the rest of the Caribbean, Haitian food will be unlike anything you've ever tasted. Combining French, Spanish, and African flavors, foodie couples will be chomping at the bit to get their hands on another mouthful.
With a rich history, culture, and the world's largest population of endangered species, any couple looking for a romantic getaway would do well to consider Haiti as one of their top pics.