8 Caribbean Hidden Gems
Discover the best kept secrets in the CaribbeanWith its stunning beaches, perfect weather and celebrated culture, it’s no wonder that the Caribbean is one of the most popular destinations for travellers. Many countries in the region are consistently top vacation spots, yet with thousands of islands, there is still much left to explore. Now more than ever, we want to visit less crowded and more secluded destinations. Everyone loves Punta Cana, Varadero and Cancún, but the real hidden gems are often in unexpected places.
Start your culinary journey in the restaurant-heavy town Savaneta. For the freshest seafood imaginable, beachside favourites Flying Fishbone and Zeerovers are right on the water.
Head to the southern tip of the island for a curry lunch at Kamini's Kitchen, followed by coconut ice cream served right out of the husk. This spot is near Baby Beach, named for its kid-friendly shallow and calm waters.
Every cuisine has a half-moon pocket of flavour. In Poland, it’s perogies, Japan’s got gyoza, South America: empanadas. Aruba has pastechis, deep-fried dough stuffed with either lobster, veggies, beef or more. Locals swear by The Pastechi House in Oranjestad.
Always order Pan Bati; a flatbread to dip in stews, soups or anything really. Once you’re carbed up, enjoy Aruba’s snorkelling, kayaking and windsurfing. Or, hike to see cave drawings in Arikok National Park!
Sailing enthusiasts will find Antigua weather perfect for their passion, and those wanting to race should book in the spring for Sailing Week. There’s also a mentorship program dedicated to encouraging girls and women to master the often male-dominated sport.
Antigua golf courses are both challenging and rewarding. Tee off with a view of the sea at Cedar Valley Golf Club, where the famous cricketer Sir Viv Richards is a member and often seen on weekends.
For even more outdoor fun, visit Half Moon Bay. This lunar-shaped wonder is one of those things you have to see to believe. Trek to the remote and isolated Rendezvous Bay, which is as secretive as its name suggests.
Date night in paradise looks like sharing local delicacies such as flying fish and cou cou at Barbados restaurants. Or, an open-air fish fry in Oistins for fresh marlin, tuna and snapper to enjoy and live music to dance to together.
If your sweetheart is more adventure-minded, there’s plenty of Barbados hiking. Trek through the rainforest at Welchman Hall Gully to see protected monkeys in their natural habitat. Or, descend down into Animal Flower Cave and swim in the natural rock pools.
You’ve definitely seen the candylike buildings along the waterfront in Willemstad. The postcard-perfect capital city is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Curaçao's thriving music scene gave the world tumba, a genre named for the distinct drums central to it. Ritmo Kombina (“combined rhythm”) is a modern take that’s gaining popularity. Check out a show at Club Mangoes and see what the hype is all about.
While small, Curaçao has over 35 beaches. Favourites include Cas Abao, named one of the 21 Best Beaches by National Geographic, and tiny Playa Kenepa that has the best snorkelling in Curaçao.
Pro-tip: Curaçao has tons of LGBTQ+ friendly hotels and resorts.
Above the surface, the best beach to beat the crowds is the remote Bathway Beach. For a once in a lifetime escape, take a boat to the island Carriacou and hike to the secluded Anse la Roche beach.
Grenada is often synonymous with spices, which are the country’s main export and what its yearly carnival Spicemas is named for. Spice up your life with the national dish oil down, a stew that gets its golden hue from turmeric, then try nutmeg ice cream for dessert.
Saint Lucia has two mountainous volcanic plugs, known as The Pitons. Their names might lead you to believe differently, but Petit Piton is higher and a lot harder to hike than its neighbour, Gros Piton. The latter has several trails and stairs, whereas Petit Piton is steep, unmarked and reserved only for climbing experts. Whatever your skill level, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views at the summit of both and will have earned a soak in the volcanic mud baths of Soufrière.
The best beaches in Saint Lucia are the ones where you can watch a live sea turtle hatching, like Grand Anse beach.
Pro-tip: Saint Lucia has lots of green hotels to help you vacation more sustainably!
Start at the Museum of the Royal Houses. This palace was built in 1511 to house the Spanish government. Now, it’s a museum dedicated to the customs and life of the colony. Skip the line and do a self-guided tour with audio in several languages.
Down the street you’ll see the mighty Reloj de Sol (sundial) which was the first official clock in North America. It still tells the time!
Grab a coffee or cocktail at nearby Mamey Librería Café. It’s easy to spend an afternoon in this plant-filled bookstore, gallery, cinema and restaurant. Browse rare books and enjoy the gorgeous terrace. We recommend the croquettes with passionfruit jam and a cold brew to wash them down.
Forget the world at beautiful Grace Bay Beach, a 19km stretch of soft white sand and clear turquoise water on Providenciales island, or Provo. Long Bay Beach is where you’ll find the best kiteboarding in Turks & Caicos.
Provo has charter companies for big-game, deep-sea fishing. If on North Caicos or South Caicos, try bonefishing at Caicos Banks, the marine plateau that connects the archipelago. If you don’t feel like cooking your catch, many restaurants will do it for you. We like Omar’s Beach Hut!
The small island Grand Turk is home to the capital, Cockburn Town. This storybook-like setting has pastel houses and wild horses that roam the streets. Seeing them in nature might inspire you to take a riding lesson on the beach.