When we think of paradise, the first place that still comes to mind is the Caribbean. A region made of more than 7,000 islands, islets, reefs and surrounding coast lines, encompassed within a land area of just over 239,000 km2 and a population of 36,314,000 as of 2010.
With such a huge variety of destinations within the Caribbean sea and bordering coasts, it’s impossible to take a look at all of them within this one article, so lets focus in on the top 10 destinations in this area that may appeal to second home buyers and holiday makers.
10 – Barbados – A great island to find something for everyone no matter what the budget. With outstanding beaches and surf, also one of the best infrastructures in the region, this is a paradise with a home away from home feel. Friendly and progressive (the literacy rate is around 98%) the most populated areas, including the capital Bridgetown, are alive with the strong characteristic confidence of an island that is booming. There is a large tourist industry in Barbados, with a huge amount of choice when it comes to places to stay for holidaymakers, from low budget, chic, funky and relaxing to the extravagant. Famed for world class windsurfing, hiking (across the rolling limestone hills) diving, West Indian rum and a place to chill out in style, Barbados has half a million tourists passing through a year and certainly deserves it’s firm place in this top 10.
9 – Saint Croix, US Virgin Islands – This is a paradise with a difference, as the main income here does not stem from tourism but from the Hovensa Oil Refinery, and as such with so many regular workers here in normal jobs the tone of the island is different from the overt commercialism of some of the other Caribbean islands. However, that is not to say that Saint Croix is not as lovely as some of its counterparts, quite the contrary, this is a place with truly abundant beauty. With mountains, a rain forest, a lush coast line and some wonderful accommodation, this is a great island to put on your map.
8 – The British Virgin Islands – Comprising of over 40 islands, gentle currents and a huge number of idyllic bays, makes the BVI’s a sailors delight. A millionaire’s playground with everything here that one would expect from a class A island resort, from heavenly beaches to luxury spars, great bars and restaurants. There are some great places to relax and get away from it all and if boats or sailing are your thing, then these are the islands for you.
7 – St Martin – A great island for variety of experience rutas de senderismo brought about by the combined ownership of St Martin by both France and Holland. This gives a feel of two islands in one and there is friendly competition on each side of the island that gives off a vibrancy and sense of fun. On the French side we find a European flavor, shown by its food and local customs and on the Dutch side there is a more chilled out party feel. With outstanding beauty mixed with the fun and diversity of cultural attitudes and things to do, this is a must visit Island.
6 – Aruba – A small island located just 27 miles off the coast of Venezuela, with a land area of 180 miles and a reliable sunny climate, Aruba is a favorite getaway for New Yorkers looking to escape the cold US winters, so much so that it can often feel like a Caribbean extension of New York. However, just off the beaten track there are some incredible and wonderfully empty beaches with a great deal of beautiful space to do as little as possible.
5 – Jamaica – Unfortunately over shadowed by its recent civil unrest, which was localized to certain areas, for the most part the majority of Jamaica is safe to holiday in. This is an island with real character and strong roots back to Africa, which are apparent in the music, culture and colorful personality that exudes from the Jamaicans. Jamaica is a hugely ever popular island, full of things to interest any traveler, from diving and hiking to wetland tours and cosmopolitan cities.